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abbynews

Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel finds some truly extraordinary names in this week’s baby name news.

Too often I’m casually dismissive of Top 100 names.  It isn’t that they’re not likable – most popular names are tremendously appealing, otherwise they’d never reach such great heights.  Still, mentions of Isabella and Chloe, Noah and Logan are so constant that they fade into the background.

Except that sometimes there’s a story about a name that reminds me of how wrong-headed that attitude really is.  The tenth anniversary of September 11th included so many heart-breaking accounts, but here’s the one I noticed: a little girl called Grace, whose father died in the attacks just weeks before she was born.  In the face of unthinkable tragedy, her name shines.

On to the names in the news this week:

Enoch – Sweet and somber at once, Gus Van Sant’s quirky little indie flick Restless includes a romantic hero called Enoch, along with characters named Annabel, Mabel, Alger, and Hiroshi.  It screened at Cannes in the spring, and opens in the US next week.  Old Testament boys’ names have been vogue for years, but Enoch is rarely used.  I’m not sure about his sound, but I do love his meaning – dedicated.

Madison – From the obscure to the over-exposed, Spice Girl Mel B’s third daughter wears the wildly popular appellation Madison.  It turns out that Melanie let her oldest daughter, twelve-year-old Phoenix Chi, choose her new sister’s name.  This makes Melanie far braver than most of us!  I wonder if it also suggests that Phoenix would have preferred less of a stand-out name?  The family also includes Mel’s daughter Angel Iris.  Dad is movie producer Stephen Belafonte, father to Giselle.  The four girls’ names defy categorization, but Phoenix, Giselle, Angel, and Madison still sound like sisters.

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