Your Hero Name!

Kennedy, Monroe, Landry, Truth — hero names are becoming increasingly popular, with parents naming their babies after their favorite heroes and heroines from history, Hollywood, sports, and beyond.

Surname names from Palin to Picasso are popular, but so are first names: think of Ava (Gardner), Amelia (Earhart), and Ashton (who else?).

Hero and heroine namesakes may be fictional rather than real: Atticus or Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird, for example, or Jo from Little Women.

Then again, your hero or heroine may be from your own family and circle of friends and acquaintances: a favorite teacher, an acquaintance you’ve always admired.

Celebrities have recently been incorporating hero names into their choices for their children: Mariah Carey‘s daughter is named Monroe after Marilyn, for instance, while Jennifer Jason Leigh and Noah Baumbach named their son Rohmer, for French director Eric.  Several politicians in recent years have named their children Kennedy, for example, a conscious choice to identify with that powerful political family and legacy.

Tell us about your favorite hero name: What would you or did you pick for your child, and why?  Which of this group do you like best, which would you and wouldn’t you use?  And do you think hero names can inspire a child to greatness?

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37 Responses to “Your Hero Name!”

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shellezbellez Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 2:06 am

My favorite names are heavily inspired by people I love and admire: Susannah Immaculee Jewel(NN Sansa) and Tosca Elisabeth Rose are my two favorite girls names. My mom is Sue, and my grandmother is Betty, so Susannah and Elisabeth are for the two women whom I love most in this world. Jewel is the first name of the actress who plays my favorite character (Kaylee) on Firefly/Serenity, and in addition, is similar enough to the name of my favorite character (Juliet) on LOST. Rose is for my favorite Doctor Who companion, Rose Tyler. All three of those characters mean a lot to me for different reasons, but basically I relate to each of them in some way. Tosca is for one of my favorite authors, Tosca Lee, whom I met at a writer’s conference last year and who has inspired me to really commit to my writing. Finally, Immaculee is for a true hero, Immaculee Ilibagiza, a woman who survived the Rwandan genocide by hiding in a tiny bathroom with seven other women for three months and lived in terror of the enemy for every minute of every day. She even heard some of the enemies talking outside the room about how they had killed her brother! After it happened, she was actually able to forgive her enemies and now travels the world encouraging people to love and forgive. She’s Catholic (I am not), and she had a retreat in a town near my own. I was able to attend, and I have to say she is the most amazing woman I’ve ever met. Definitely my hero!

ebenezer.scrouge Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 2:47 am

I would use Dahlia in honour of Roald Dahl as a middle name or Annette for Annette Kelellerman or Nancy for Nancy Wake but all as middle names a bit too dated for a first name

ebenezer.scrouge Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 2:47 am

I would use Dahlia in honour of Roald Dahl as a middle name or Annette for Annette Kellerman or Nancy for Nancy Wake but all as middle names a bit too dated for a first name

TheFutureMrsB Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 4:41 am

My fiance wants to name a son Samuel Colt after the inventor of the Colt guns. I don’t really have many heroes, or even many people I’d like to honor (I know one of the top of my head).

Samantha-Bianca Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 4:42 am

I love the idea of using Adler as a third middle name for a girl, after one of my favourite fictional characters, Irene Adler – aka, The Woman…one of very few females to win the respect of Sherlock Holmes.
I would also use Emily for Emily Bronte, Conan for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Joan as a middle name for my grandmother, Kimbra as a shout out to my mum Kim. Timothy as a shout out to my brother. Nathan as .ca shout out to many cousin.

LilySong Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 6:21 am

We contemplated using William or Wilbur as a tribute to William Wilburforce, a British politician who peacefully brought in legislation to abolish slavery in England and also started the RSPCA to protect animals. We decided not to for baby #1 but maybe in the future. I also like the name Francis, for Francis of Assisi… but not a big fan of the meaning of the name itself.

mermuse Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 8:27 am

I’m not too big on naming after people, at least not first names, but I have considered middle names after the following:

Jane ~ Jane Austen

Benigna (first or middle) ~ Countess Benigna von

Gloria ~ grandmother

R_J Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 8:28 am

I would use Sagan as a middle name, for Carl Sagan. He is definitely a hero to me.

jbdcampbell Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 8:32 am

We named our son Atticus – a polarizing name here on NB. He was born the day after Father’s Day this year and named for Atticus Finch of TKAM.

My husband and I both really liked the name indpendently prior to becoming a couple, so imagine our surprise when we started dating and discussed baby names. It was the only boy name we considered; when we found out we were having a boy, it was too good to be true. (My husband writes about film for a living and so naming our son after a character who was named the #1 Hero in film by the American Film Institute was a nice plus.)

I hope to raise my son with the same values Atticus Finch possessed and passed along to his children.

LexieM Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 9:49 am

I don’t think I’d name a child fn or mn after a famous person/ hero. My running name list (well it’s more like a spreadsheet) has a section for Other considerations which lists famous people who have that name. In some cases it’s a deterrent from a name I really like in others it’s like an extra brownie point. However, giving my children a family name to honor an important person in my life is a definite possibility. (Though all that might change when I start planning on having children).

CaraMichelle Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 9:49 am

Sybil after Sybil Ludington.

She’s a very underrated Revolutionary War Heroine. She did the same thing as Paul Revere’s midnight right when she was 16 and rode farther than him.

She’s just very inspiring, plus I love history.

brynnash Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 9:50 am

My husband and I are planning to name our first son Desmond, after Desmond Tutu. I really love the idea of hero names, because I think it would be so meaningful to know you’re named after someone with a wonderful history and who has left a legacy in the world.

Poppy528 Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 10:17 am

I guess I like the name first and then find quality namesakes to justify my choice? Like take Harriet for example. It’s a nice vintage name with a family link, but Mrs. Tubman and Mrs. Beecher Stowe aren’t personal heros of mine. Vashti is my favorite biblical heroine but I’d rather use Esther on a baby.

Supermomwannabe Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 10:22 am

My great-grandmother Mary Everline. If I ever have another girl I’d love to name her Everline. DH doesn’t like it though, or any variation/nickname/short form I can come up with either.

Flick Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 10:35 am

See…..a lot of our “heroes” have names that I do not like. Stephen Hawking….I suppose Hawk might be cool, but not really my style and Stephen is bland. Isaac Asimov…..I really do like Isaac….just a couple examples. We even threw around Emerson after Emerson Fittipaldi – a small, not-so-obvious nod to our love of all things cars.

I guess the only people who I would actually honor with a name are family members who have had impact in my life. My son is partially named for my father who was born handicapped and should not have lived past age 3, he is now 50 and has 4 children and still kicking around and I think partially out of sheer will and determination. 😉

MamaMaassy Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 11:37 am

Pretty much all of our boy names are inspired by “heros” – Caspian, after the Prince in CS Lewis’ famed children’s novels; Leonidas, after the famed Greek king; Elias, after the Biblical prophet; and Bear, after two of our most favourite people, Bear Grylls, and Bear Rinehart.

Middle name is after a real life war-hero, my grandfather; Alexander.

Lo Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 1:28 pm

We’ve picked saint names for our children’s first and middle names. The children enjoy hearing about their saints, finding their saints in churches, and celebrating their saints feast days. Since we’ve choosen popular saints it’s easy to find books and prayer cards for their saints.

maggiemary Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Florence (Nightingale) and Christabel (Pankhurst).

watermellie Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Well I don’t have much heroes, I guess maybe:

Henrietta (Dad, Henry)
Faith (Mom, Joy)
Marine (Marie Curie)
Louisiana (Louis Pasteur)
Annalee (friend, Annie)

Some of them are a bit far-fetched though. The only two I would actually use are Henrietta and Annalee

blueberry1215 Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 2:42 pm

While I do love many names that have no special meaning to me, I find those that carry some weight to be so much more attractive! That’s why I especially love to find one of my favorite names on the family tree. <3

I've grown up admiring a wonderful girl named Julia, and I've secretly been planning on naming a daughter after her, maybe even just as a middle name. In my town it's all too common, so I'm just hoping it goes down in popularity by the time I'm ready for children. I think it means enough to me to use it anyway.

I also like the name Wyatt, because I'm related to a family with that surname, and one of them a poet who my heart just goes out to. I'm in love with it because I'm in love with his sad romantic story.

I do love the nickname Scout, but more as a nickname than a given name.

ashthedreamer Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I love hero names! Options I’ve been sorely tempted by:

Oscar (Wilde–I’ve also considered Wilder for him, as well!)
Booker (T. Washington)
Lincoln (Abraham)
Amadeus (as in, Wolfgang _____ Mozart)
Edvard (for the composer, Edvard Grieg, who penned “In the Hall of the Mountain King”)
Gladys (too bad I actually hate the name, haha. I’d love to honor Gladys Aylward in some way, as she’s one of my favorite heroes, saving approximately 100 Chinese orphans in WWII, but I really would be loathe to use Gladys itself, haha, or even its more Roman variant, Claudia)

Or some literary choices:

Sebastian/Olivia/Viola (Twelfth Night)
Armand/Marguerite (The Scarlet Pimpernel)
Eliza (Miss Eliza Bennet, who else?!)
Elliot/Bennett (again, for two charming Jane Austen families. :))
Avery (I suppose it’s not LITERARY, really, but for me it seems like it. The hero for a family radio drama I’ve listened too since I was itty bitty–his name is John Avery Whittaker, and I think a future son would so love being named after him!)

I’m a HUGE fan of literature, so I’m sure there are tons I’m accidentally leaving out there. 🙂

And of course, family names, as well:

Lily, Wren, Ruby/Rue/Ruth, Claire/Clara, Kate (and all her variants), Esme/Mae, Jane/Johanna/Giovanna/etc., Rebecca, Eleni/Helena/etc., Natalie/Noelle/Ivy/ (insert other Christmas names here), Tallulah, Grace, Anne/Anna/Anneliese/Annabel/etc.

And Conrad. Partially for the writer Joseph Conrad, partially because it’s the name of the street I grew up on and it holds a lot of great memories for me.

A ton (most of them, actually) of the family names are on my list, and of the others, Olivia, Elliot, and Avery are currently on my list (and very high candidates, at that).

GrecianErn Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I love the idea of Hero names… but find them sort of common, or really old-fashioned.
I am named for 2 family traditions, on my mom’s side, the 1st daughter is Mary ____ (grandma is Mary Jane, Mom is Mary Anne.) on my Dad’s side, 1st daughter’s name is Elizabeth. So, my Mom changed things up and I am Erin Mary Elizabeth.

Our first born daughter’s middle name will be Maryelizabeth, all one word, because having 2 middle names, I always felt like I was leaving one out. (If we ever have a girl.)

For our son, my in-laws wanted a boy to carry on the last name (that 1/2 the world has.) so I purposely gave him an unusual name. and then I gave him my Dad’s name as his MN, since my Dad was the most important man in my life until my husband. So we have a Weston Christopher.

Right now… if I had to pick hero names, I’d choose:
Cordelia from King Lear
Katherine from Taming of the Shrew (Bianca too)
Hadley (family name from one of my favorite books)
Holden from Catcher in the Rye

And I am loving the name Eden right now, the lead from a book I just read. I obviously have a book thing going.

Movie heroes always simple common names: Clark, Bruce, Hal, Diana, Natasha, Tony.

All too common for our last name. and if we go back in the family tree the names are all in the top 10: Sophie, Lily, Anna, Ken, Charles… it goes on and on.

augusta_lee Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I’m a big believer in honor names, particularly in the middle. All of the middle names I’ve chosen honor specific family members or mentors. And all of the first names I’ve chosen have meanings or namesakes associated with traits I would want for my children — curiosity, intelligence, courage of conviction, etc.

chicamerlin Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I like the idea of Adler as a MN from Sherlock Holmes 🙂 Also Scout from TKAM, I loved that book…

Laura (Secord)
Elizabeth (There are so many Elizabeths worth naming after!)
I like the physical sound of Sherlock, but would never, ever, use it
The sad thing is, I can’t remember any more heroes right now that aren’t american (not that theres anything wrong with that, and they are all deserving of namesakes) but since I’m canadian they aren’t really MY heroes, if that makes sense.

One that I like from a book is Lisbeth (The girl with the dragon tattoo) But i’m not sure if she counts as a hero….

CharacterNamer Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 6:35 pm

I would possibly use Josephine Anneliese as a double middle name to honor JK (Joanne Kathleen) Rowling.

Saskia5575 Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 6:41 pm

If I had boy, I would name him Kingsley after Martin Luther KING Jr. He’s my hero even though I’m not African American.

augusta_lee Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Also, can I just say that clearly we Nameberries have some fabulous heroes? Martin Luther King, Florence Nightingale, Stephen Hawking, Irene Adler, Carl Sagan, Christabel Pankhurst, Isaac Asimov…what an awesomely hero-worthy bunch!

encore Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 9:17 pm

I love Scarlett because of Scarlett O’Hara. And Rhett as well. Oh how I love that book!

Aurora Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Jo from Little Women made me think of a friend from high school who was named after Jo from The Facts of Life (she was born in 1982). Facts of Life Jo was a pretty kick-ass tomboy character, maybe even more so than Jo March. 🙂

Sari Says:

September 13th, 2012 at 12:54 am

I actually know a girl named Scarlett after Scarlett O’Hara. And a friend named after princess Diana. I would use:

Penelope (NELL Harper Lee)
Jean (TKAM & Hermione Granger’s middle name)

Rowling (JK Rowling)
Draco or Severus (both characters that are revealed to have some good in them)
Dolph or Raymond (TKAM Dolphus Raymond)
CorBEN (BENazir Bhutto.. Look her up) 🙂
Charles (Perks of Being a Wallflower, Charlie)
Lincoln (Abraham)
Walter (Disney)
Theodore (Dr. Seuss)

@ CharacterNamer I LOVE your idea of Josephine Anneliese after JK Rowling!

Dearest Says:

September 13th, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Most of my heroes have names I would never consider, but Amos for Tori Amos would be nice, Anaïs for Anaïs Mitchell whose music I’m addicted to lately, Okri perhaps in the middle for Ben Okri, or Azaro for the spirit-child in his most famous book ‘The Famished Road’. I also adore Neil Gaiman, but neither of his names. Maybe a name from ‘Stardust’, Yvaine, Tristran, Dunstan or Una. Or Morpheus or Orpheus from ‘Sandman’.
Regina for Regina Spektor, Susanna for Susanne Sundfør, Wolf for Patrick Wolf, Sufjan for Sufjan Stevens.
Most of my heroes seem to be music related…
The Unthanks have made me love Donald, and my neighbour when I was little was called Donald (a VERY rare name in Norway, only linked to Donald Duck) so I would like to use it but not sure I have the courage. Also Annachie but it sounds like a girls name. Sigh.

l0emkb Says:

September 14th, 2012 at 11:41 am

I’m actually a really big fan of Marilyn Monroe, but because a lot of people just like her as a pop culture/glamour icon rather than a person and an actress, I’m pretty wary of using Marilyn. I definitely wouldn’t use Monroe as it seems too trendy. Perhaps Jeane in the middle spot, or Nell/Lorelei after my favourite characters of hers.

I also really like Buster Keaton. Keaton is probably more usable than Buster, and his birth name Joseph is a bit too common for my liking.
I could also have Vincent for Vincent Price, George for George Harrison, Johnny for Johnny Cash and Johnny Depp or Helena for Helena Bonham Carter. Unfortunately, a boy called Bela after Bela Lugosi wouldn’t go down as well in 2012.

dayjoysky2815 Says:

October 10th, 2012 at 10:21 pm

I love the name Dallas for a girl as at tribute to Dallas Green (the “band” city and color)

GenevieveReine Says:

November 25th, 2012 at 10:47 am

Most of my names are based on literary heros, though some are family and one scientist.
Dalton – John Dalton
Thomas – My grandfather
William – Fitzwilliam Darcy
Christian – My father
Isaac & August – Characters from John Green’s The Fault in our Stars
Cordelia “Cora” – A friend whose pen name is Cordelia Noir and for Avatar Korra (Yes I know how nerdy and childish that sounds)
Alice – For Alice in Wonderland
Alexia – From the parasol protectorate

Jinxgirl Says:

February 12th, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Anya- twist on my grandma’s name, Annie

Mae- as a middle name, my grandma’s middle name

Mary- my mom’s first name, as a middle name

Katarina- twist on my mom’s name, Kathleen

Susannah- after Susannah in the Dark Tower series

Lenore- as middle name, Poe

Faith- after Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Faith

Angelina- after Ms. Jolie

Wesley Joseph- my grandfathers’ middle names

Gavin- after a character

Micah- twist on my brother’s middle name, Micah

Wade- after my brother

Vickster Says:

February 25th, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Alexander- it was the original name of the hero/narrator of the story I’m writing.

Christopher- my favorite character from “Charmed”. He died to save his brother and the world.

Daniel- “Danny Phantom”. It’s my favorite cartoon. Plus ghost powers are awesome.

Danielle- “Danny Phantom” character (younger female clone of Danny; no one knows how that happened)

Elizabeth- Elizabeth Bennet

And, yes, these are names I’ve chosen for future kids. Good thing about the names is my kids won’t be embarrassed because I’m a huge geek. 🙂

dannyva Says:

April 26th, 2013 at 12:37 pm

We are big fans of hero names and plan for each of our children to have at least one. Our daughter’s middle name is Harper after the author of my favorite book of all time (Harper Lee). Our son’s middle name is Desmond, after Desmond Tutu. We’re in the process of adopting our third child, and her name once final will be Coretta (nn Cora) after Coretta Scott King. 🙂

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