The Nameberry 9: From Noah to Sabbath, normal to neo

July 8, 2012 Linda Rosenkrantz

For The Nameberry 9 this week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel picks names that are both inside and out of the safety zone.

If you’re a long-time name nerd, I have a question for you.

Have you become more tolerant of names that fall outside your personal comfort zone?  Or are your convictions about certain topics – spelling, gender, nicknames – growing stronger?

This week’s most newsworthy baby names run the gamut, from the truly unusual to the just-a-little-different.  They remind me that I’ve become far more accepting over the years, appreciating the most common and the outlandish choices alike.  After all, there’s a fellow called Barack in the White House and a challenger called Mitt, making it tough to argue that only people called John and Elizabeth can attain lofty positions of power and influence.

But can you go too far?  The names that trouble me tend to be those that express a parent’s personality or beliefs so completely that they crowd out the child’s own wishes.  They’re the un-subtle names, the ones that make the headlines for all the wrong reasons.  Pilot might be a stunningly unusual choice, but it isn’t quite in this category.  Name number nine on this list, however, just might cross that line.

The nine most newsworthy baby names from last week were:

Coco – Did you see the Swistle post from the parents looking for a formal name for Coco?  I’ve heard Coco under consideration more and more, and possible formal versions abound, from Caroline to Nicole to even more daring possibilities.  It’s the ultimate option play – a wild short form with a conventional name for the birth certificate.

Miles Alexander – It is a safe combination, but an easy one to like, too.  Country crooner Joy Williams and her husband Nate Yetton chose the preppy Miles Alexander for their firstborn.

Eliza – It’s a girl for Private Practice star Caterina Scorsone and husband Rob Giles.  No word yet on whether Eliza has a middle name.

Noah Rev Noah is something of a plain vanilla choice these days, ranking in the Top Ten for the past three years.  But Lucas Maurer and his wife Jessica paired the conventional Noah with the sporty, unexpected Rev in the middle spot for a great, zippy combination.

Ava Jaymes – Another super-popular first name with an unexpected middle comes to us from Backstreet Boy A.J. Alexander James McLean and wife Rochelle.  The Backstreet Girl isn’t due ‘til November, but her parents have already shared her full name, with the middle apparently inspired by dad.

Ana Flor – Brazilian actor Mouhamed Harfouch has welcomed a daughter named Ana Flor.  It might not be unusual in Portuguese, but the compound name is stunning in English.  There’s also Anne Fleur or Anna Florence or maybe even Ann Flora.

Monroe – The last time Monroe made headlines, it was a tribute to Marilyn, courtesy of the Hollywood icon’s superfan, mom Mariah CareyCarey gave the name to a daughter, but this time, Monroe is for a boy – the son of actor Jackson Rathbone and his girlfriend, Sheila Hafsadi.  Their new baby boy is named Monroe Jackson Rathbone VI, meaning that dad was a V.

Indi Joon – Model-actress Josie Maran welcomed a second daughter, Indi, a little sister for Rumi Joon.  The girls’ names both have a global, culture-spanning vibe that feels fresh, if a little offbeat.

Sabbath PageLegendary guitarist Zakk Wylde and wife Barbaranne have welcomed a fourth child, son Sabbath Page.  The name choice reflects dad’s oft-stated religious beliefs.  It’s a more extreme choice than his siblings Hayley Rae, Hendrix, and Jesse.  This is the one that has my eyebrows permanently raised.  Meaningful names are great, but I’d file Sabbath under “difficult to wear” – especially if the newest Wylde turns out to be more on the mild side.

Do you think these names go too far?  Or are some of them too plain for your tastes?

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