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

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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20 Responses to “The Nameberry 9: From Noah to Sabbath, normal to neo”

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Poppy528 Says:

July 8th, 2012 at 11:56 pm

My favorite Fleur compound name is Millefleur, thousands of flowers. These names are not my style but they do keep us on our toes … and help us think creatively.

alibaba Says:

July 8th, 2012 at 11:59 pm

I was so excited for the name Eliza and to hear your thoughts. I was disappointed that the only commentary was wondering if she had a middle name. 🙂

auroradawn Says:

July 9th, 2012 at 12:32 am

Since I joined Nameberry, I’ve become more tolerant of names that aren’t my style; and some names I disliked before Nameberry I now like. It’s helped open my mind to more possibilities. However, I still don’t like James (or Jaymes) on a girl.
I was surprised to see that Sabbath Page is a boy. Seeing the name in the Nameberry celeb announcements, I assumed he was a girl!–probably because celebrities seem to give daughters wilder names than sons, and because Sabbath has a soft sound. Very interesting choice. I’ll have to think about it some more.
I like Miles Alexander and Eliza. The others aren’t really my style, though Noah Rev is cool.

Abby Says:

July 9th, 2012 at 6:45 am

@Alibaba – I’ve written about Eliza here: It’s a nice choice, and one that feels in step with Caterina’s name, I think. She’s gotten more attention in recent years, but isn’t exactly leaping up the popularity charts, making her something of a safe choice – recognizable, stylish, but probably not the next Olivia. Yet.

The breaking news this morning is, of course, the newest Kardashian! Let’s say this: I adore the name Penelope, find Scotland a clever nod to dad’s name and mirror to Mason’s middle, Dash. But this just might make Penelope the new Olivia …

sarah15 Says:

July 9th, 2012 at 6:50 am

I thought that Sabbath Page would more likely have been a nod to Black Sabbath and guitar legend Jimi Page rather than religious beliefs?

littlebrownpony Says:

July 9th, 2012 at 7:45 am

I taught a “Coco” last year….full name, Charlotte!

I, too, am surprised Sabbath Page is a boy. It makes me think of Nicole Kidman’s Sunday Rose, in a way.

rollo Says:

July 9th, 2012 at 7:50 am

Miles Alexander is so handsome. 37 years ago when I named my son Miles it was considered a very unusual choice. So happy to see present day baby namers using the forever handsome Miles.

miloowen Says:

July 9th, 2012 at 8:28 am

Naming your child after the Sabbath is traditional in Judaism. Shabbatai for a boy and Malkah for a girl.

Miles Alexander and Eliza (my niece is Eliza Catherine) are nice names.

I’m afraid my prejudices against bizarre names are stronger because, as a teacher, I have met so many students whose names define them. Shouldn’t a person have the chance to define his/her name? Why label a child with a name that he/she can never overcome? A child with a classic name can become whomever they wish; a child named Chandelier will always remain that girl with the weird name….

Sassy Says:

July 9th, 2012 at 9:32 am

I agree with Sarah15, as soon as I heard Sabbath my first thought was Black Sabbath. I didn’t think of Jimi Page but that totally makes sense to me as well.
I’m not really a fan of any of the names on this list. Of course I’m going through a “I hate every name” phase trying to come up with names for my own child due in November. 🙂

linelei Says:

July 9th, 2012 at 1:07 pm

I have definitely become more tolerant of ‘weird’ names over the years – although I liked many out-there names to start with! I guess the ones that I still feel are over-the-line are ones that are either too self indulgent on the parents’ part (like Danger or too kree8iv spellings) or are difficult to imagine on an adult (Princess or Baby for example). Other than that I’be grown to respect and even admire many choices. Heck, I even kind of like Sabbath, although I’d never personally saddle a kid with it. But I’d think it kind of cool if I met that kid!

capturedcastle Says:

July 9th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I like Sabbath. I like the religious sense of completion, rest, and honor. I like it’s exotic look, with the a’s and the double b’s in the middle. It’s a soft-sounding name but full of “metal”.

Flick Says:

July 9th, 2012 at 3:31 pm

I’ve been in and around the naming community for close to a decade and my convictions stay the same if not stronger. Boy’s names for girls looks like your trying way too hard and it’s way over the “hey thats cute and different stage”. Kr8tiv spellings will *always* look less educated to me. To me, those don’t qualify as weird – just trendy. Poor Ava Jaymes really got the short end of the stick.

I can deal with a whole variety of “weird” names from eccentric “virtue” names like Bravery and Solace to rare biblical names like Tzipporah to ancient revivals like Aurelius.

The whole surnames on girls, funky spellings, gender benders and “made-up” thing is honestly past the initial “oh thats different” stage and I do.’t even blink twice anymore.

From this post, I really like seeing Monroe used for a boy and Miles. Sabbath doesn’t bother me greatly but it’s not a personal favorite.

alibaba Says:

July 9th, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Thanks, Abby! And I totally agree with your thoughts on the newest Kardashian.

Abby Says:

July 9th, 2012 at 8:31 pm

@Sassy – I think that strikes lots of expectant parents!

@Flick – May I just say that I adore the idea of Bravery as a given name? A lot to live up to, but maybe in the middle spot …

@miloowen – Thanks for the info – I didn’t know that. And I think you’re quite right about the kid called Chandelier …

miloowen Says:

July 9th, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Abby, the kids used to tease her that she had a brother named Window and a sister named Chifferobe. She was a nice kid, though, just a good candidate for changing her name to something “normal” when she turned 18.

maris0416 Says:

July 9th, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Love seeing the name Eliza on the list!

Flick Says:

July 10th, 2012 at 12:35 pm

@abby – there is a little boy on another site named Bravery Owen and i just fell in love with the idea. I’ll admit I’m probably not “brave” enough to use it up front, either, though. 🙂

MaryB Says:

July 11th, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I generally o keep an open mind when it comes to naming styles, bc for me it is more about how an name sounds and ‘wears’ not the idea of a name or how it looks on paper.I have selected most of my favorites after hearing them on a person, even a store clerk or a person from reality tv. If I like the sound, it goes on my new favorites list. For example I heard/saw the name Shawntel/Chantel (two contestants) on the bachelor and I thought, that is a pretty name. However, this name does not have a good image, bc when I say I like it to family and friends they imply that it seems trashy. I really don’t care about the image of a name, I just select a name when I like the way it sounds on a person.
In relation to the post, names like Eliza bother me bc although it is a very safe, ontrend choice, parents will try to brand it as risky or ‘a little different’. This is false and annoying.
I also loved the choice Penelope Scotland for Kourtney and Scott’s daughter. Along with Scotland being an honor to dad Scott, it might also relate to Kourtney’s mom Kris, who is of part Scottish heritage. This might be Kourtney’s way of honoring her mom’s side of the family as well.

The Nameberry 9: Unusual but usable boys’names – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

October 15th, 2012 at 6:28 am

[…] For The Nameberry 9 this week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel finds a nonet of  familiar boys’ names that you might not have considered. […]

lisaj87 Says:

July 22nd, 2013 at 3:30 pm

My son is named Cohen and we sometimes call him “coco” or his older sister calls him coey! Xx

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