Baby Name News: Raden, Ransom, Revere and the rest of the Nameberry 9

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.

MatisseAnna at Waltzing More Than Matilda shared a birth announcement for Australian cricket star Ricky Ponting’s second daughter, Matisse, a little sister for Emmy. It’s the second time I’ve heard a girl called Matisse, and it seems like a great hero name – artistic, undeniably different, but instantly recognizable and easy to spell and pronounce.  It’s a bold choice, but I think it stops just short of outlandish.  Henri Matisse, incidentally, named his daughter Marguerite.

MurielDid you see Babble’s list of names so out they may never come back?  It is the kind of article that surfaces every few months.  Inevitably, the lists are a mix of names that may, indeed, be headed for obscurity, mixed in with those that are just not quite ready for revival.  Muriel caught my eye because I happen to know an adorable tot called Murielle.  Rather than dissect their list name by name, I’ll say this: declaring any choice gone for good is a dangerous business.  Not so long ago, we would have been equally dismissive of Arthur or Stella or Beatrice.

Raden – Country singer Ashton Shepherd and husband Roland Cunningham welcomed a daughter named Raden Delilah.  Yup, Raden.  For a girl.  She joins big brother James at home.  Since mom’s name is boyish, maybe it is a family tradition to choose conventionally masculine monikers.  I do like the way the frilly Delilah balances out her androgynous first name, and it turns out that that’s a family tradition, too – Ashton also wears the Biblical appellation in the middle spot.

Ransom – I’m fascinated by the children’s book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The author used found vintage photographs to string together his tale of a child unraveling a family mystery.  I’m equally intrigued by the author’s name – Ransom Riggs. While we hear ransom and think of small, unmarked bills in a duffle bag, the word traces its roots to the Latin redemption – which makes this something of a modern virtue choice.

Revere ­– Speaking of modern virtue choices, would this one work?  If you read Rebecca Woolf’s blog Girls Gone Child, you know she’s hit the name nerd jackpot – twin girls!  Rebecca and husband Hal are parents to son Archer Sage and daughter Fable Luella.  They’ve yet to reveal the names for their new daughters, but she did let slip the names that they’d shortlisted for boys.  Son #1 might have been Revere Blaze.  It’s a heavy meaning, but it also conjures up the patriotic Paul Revere and a modern word name for girls, Reverie.

Wayne – The BET Hip-Hop Awards nominations came out last week, and rapper Lil Wayne was among the top contenders.  Born Dwayne Carter, Jr., he’s a veteran recording artist at the age of 28 thanks to his early start – he signed with Cash Money Records at the tender age of nine.  Despite his successful career, both Dwayne and Wayne are about as out as can possibly be circa 2011 – though if I stick with what I wrote for Muriel, I suppose they might be stylish once more around the time I have grandchildren.

Vox – The second of the unneeded boy names on Rebecca Woolf’s list was Vox Shepherd.  At first glance, Vox – from the Latin for voice – seems extreme.  But on sound alone, Vox is right at home with modern inventions like Jax.  The multiplication of Max has prompted parents to seek out other ends-in-x options, too – if Dex, Dax, and Lex are possibilities, why not Latin word names like Lux and Vox?

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22 Responses to “Baby Name News: Raden, Ransom, Revere and the rest of the Nameberry 9”

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CountryLizB Says:

September 12th, 2011 at 1:29 am

Ransom makes me think of cowboy.

jiminy cricket Says:

September 12th, 2011 at 2:23 am

Jimmy Stewart’s character in “The man who shot Liberty Valance” is named Ransom.

frf1537 Says:

September 12th, 2011 at 8:22 am

Blaze is the only middle name my husband would agree on so our boy will be William (my dad’s name) Blaze. Although I like it paired with Revere much more.

appellationmountain Says:

September 12th, 2011 at 8:42 am

@frf1537, I love a traditional first name with a sparky middle – William Blaze is a great balance of the expected and the wild!

@CountryLizB, Ransom is more wearable than I thought at first glance, right? I need to go order the book – couldn’t find it in a store ydy and just what I could find online was fascinating.

Marginamia Says:

September 12th, 2011 at 8:49 am

Mabel is so lovely, as are Enoch and …well, Gus. Seriously, what a fantastic name he has from start to finish. I can’t wait to see the movie!

So it seems GGC may in deed go the route of using more word names. While I guessed Reve and Reverie for them (along with many other GGC-ish names both on my own blog and over at YCII), I have a wee bit of hope that they *won’t* use it. As of now, I know of only one other Reverie (found here on Nameberry) besides my own baby, and well, we’ve seen what happened with the names Archer and Fable after she chose them! But I say ‘wee bit’ because it’s a wonderfully worn name and it should make happy more families–we can’t be stingy! Part of why we love it, though, is because it *doesn’t* have a modern feel to us; it seems like it’s always been a name, and fits right in with all the older virtue names. I would argue the same is true for Revere. Now I wonder if Revere rules out Reverie? I don’t think it does; I think it makes Reverie even more likely. And I’m also now pretty set on the B name I’ve guessed! Just trying to guess these names unearthed so many new possibilities. It’s one of my favorite lists!

I also think Muriel is totally ready for a come back. It’s just so pretty.

klcalder2 Says:

September 12th, 2011 at 9:41 am

Crazy! A girl I went to high school with just named her second son Enoch. I was very surprised when she first brought it up a couple months ago as a possibility. Her first son’s name is biblical as well, but top 100.

kaybee3 Says:

September 12th, 2011 at 9:54 am

Raden? Yet another letter put in front of Aiden. Will it ever stop? Muriel and Enoch could definitely grow on me.

Names4real Says:

September 12th, 2011 at 10:29 am

I saw somewhere that Ashton Shepherd combined her grandmothers’ names Rachel and Diane and came up with Raden. I can’t say I’m a fan of the name, but I like the sentiment behind it.

I have a friend whose little boy is named Ransom. They named him Ransom after the hero in the C.S. Lewis’ character in “Out of the Silent Planet”. Plus, Dad thought it was cool that it rhymed with handsome. 🙂

Can’t wait to see what GGC names her babies.

Have a good week!

Sassy Says:

September 12th, 2011 at 10:59 am

@Names4real, I was going to say the same thing about Raden, but I think it was Denise, not Diane. I could be wrong though. It makes me thing of Mortal Kombat, only I think his name was spelled Rayden.

Names4real Says:

September 12th, 2011 at 11:06 am


Thanks. You’re right. It is Denise, not Diane. That’s what I get for commenting while talking on the phone. 🙂

anniebee Says:

September 12th, 2011 at 12:32 pm

I like Matisse, but I sort of wish it weren’t used on girls. I was never on this bandwagon of not using boys names for girls, but this one bugs me because I want Mathis to stay for the boys.

The only other names I like are Vox, Reverie and Enoch, though I’d have to hear someone else use them first.

appellationmountain Says:

September 12th, 2011 at 4:14 pm

@anniebee – I know exactly what you mean about someone else using them first! BTW, I used to have Matheson on our boys’ short list but not with Madison everywhere …

jgirl525 Says:

September 12th, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Revere:Bostonians :: Jersey Shore:NYC (and now the world).

clairels Says:

September 12th, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Growing up in the early ’90s, there was this eccentric guy who wrote a column on video games for our local newspaper named Vox Day. My little brother, of course, read him religiously and thought he had the coolest name in the world. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that it was just a pen name based on the Latin phrase “vox dei,” or “voice of God.” How humble of him.

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

September 12th, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I guess now Monet is becoming a litte ho-hum, Matisse seems pretty fresh (next stop – Maillol?)

I don’t know if this is the inspiration, but there is a type of women’s shoe called the Matisse Ellie. Either Matisse’s mother got the idea shoe-shopping, or else it’s one of those times when “products with people names” has queered the pitch.

(There’s something about Enoch which appeals to me, although it does have a rather heavy sound).

skizzo Says:

September 12th, 2011 at 9:51 pm

@ frf1537: It’s a shame you didnt switch the names around, Blaze William. I think parents should keep the more unique name first, and give a more common names as a middle name. If only to distinguish a William for example, from every other one. Instead he would be known as Blaze, and unlikely to run into many others.

GoodHope Says:

September 12th, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Out of curiosity, I called my 12-year-old niece and asked her what she would name a baby sister if her mom gave her the chance. Her answer: Madison Macaiah. I guess she and Phoenix Chi are on the same wavelength.

I love Enoch, Grace, Mabel, and (although I know they’re not the names begin showcased here) Rebecca and Hal.

frf1537 Says:

September 13th, 2011 at 9:07 am

Blaze is definitely growing on me. We discussed switching the order, but with our last name it flows better with William first. And my daughter is Jocelyn so William goes better. My husband loves Liam as a nn which would have bothered me with it’s popularity if Jocelyn hadn’t boomed after I it chose for my first.

Starbaby News: Welcome Reverie Lux and Boheme Shalom | Appellation Mountain Says:

September 13th, 2011 at 8:21 pm

[…] initials R. and B.  After she revealed that Revere had been on their boys’ shortlist, we all wondered if Reverie might be a possible option.  Indeed, the R is for Reverie – Reverie Lux.  […]

encore Says:

September 29th, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I like Revere. And I met a 12 year old boy named Wayne who made me like the name. On him, it seemed more childish and not old man or Lil’ Wayne.

alexandramae Says:

July 11th, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Ransom is growing on me but Ransom Riggs went by Randy in school, so I’m sure he got some teasing for it.

psg007 Says:

June 16th, 2014 at 3:26 pm

I do not get why Ransom gets so much love on this site?! It makes me think of kidnapping, and is that really something you want associated with your child?! It does not have a nice sound, and the only intuitive nickname is Randy, which would get the kid teased in high school. You could maybe get away with it as a middle, but I would not use it as a first, it’s awful!

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