When Julia Roberts named one of her twins Hazel in 2004, there was a great public outcry against "another one of those nutty celebrity names." But we didn't see why. Now that the old Hazel the Maid cartoon image has faded from view, we're left with a pleasantly hazy, brownish-green-eyed, old-fashioned image of Hazel we that more and more parents are choosing to share. Since it reentered the popularity lists in 1998, it has jumped over 800 points.
In addition to being a celebrity pick--most recently by Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, Hazel is a nature name, coming from the hazelnut tree and there was a time when a wand of hazel symbolized protection and authority. Hazel was one of the botanicals that were all the rage at the turn of the twentieth century, when it was in the Top 25, then fell out of favor, off the list completely from 1976 to 1998.
Hazel Motes is the protagonist of Flannery O'Connor's 1952 novel Wise Blood, and In The Hunger Games, one of the characters is the variant Hazelle. But the most influential Hazel of recent years is the heartrending heroine of Fault in Our Stars.
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