Arrow – Name or Not?

November 30, 2012 § 21 Comments

Stephen Amell stars as Arrow on the CW's new hit show.

Stephen Amell stars as Arrow on the CW’s new hit show.

Earlier this week, Las Vegas-based rock musicians Aja Volkman and Dan Reynolds announced the August birth of their daughter, and they named her Arrow Eve. I was intrigued. Unfortunately, in the interview where Aja announced her daughter’s birth, she didn’t explain the name choice, and I wish she had. Certainly, any time a name seems to come from left field, I want to know the story.

And I want to know what you guys think – is this a name of the future, or just another inaccessible celebrity baby name?

Arrow, to be sure, is not a traditional name choice, by a wide margin. But I was struck by its similarity to trendy or traditional selections like Harlow, Arlo, even Aaron or Ari. We know that names that sound like established favourites often rise as viable alternatives to names deemed “too popular.” But perhaps Arrow is too far removed from these other trendy choices. Still, what strikes me most about Arrow is its distinct unisex qualities. While Arrow Eve is a beautiful combination, Arrow would be just as acceptable (or ultimately not) on a baby boy. Indeed, the people of the Internet appear to agree: the majority of online references to the name appear to be for boys.

This fall, the CW debuted their latest superhero serial, Arrow (that would be him, portrayed by Toronto native Stephen Amell, in the photo above). Based on the Green Arrow comics, it’s becoming a bit of a cult hit in North America (and I’ve heard from more than a few people that those abs could be why), which will only serve to bump up the (potential) name in people’s subconscious. Canadian indie rockers Tegan and Sara enjoyed the biggest success of their long careers with their 2009 album Sainthood, which opens with a track called “Arrow” (and is, in my humble opinion, the best track in the set), a play on the legend of Cupid’s Arrow. Listen here.

The name is a noted variation on Spanish male name Arrio, which means “warlike.” And in the wake of culturally significant apocalypse stories The Hunger Games and The Walking Dead, the bow and arrow is enjoying something of a popular resurgence. In The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen is victorious with her bow, and in The Walking Dead TV series, beloved character Daryl Dixon is an absolute master with a crossbow. I’m not saying that the weapon is inspiring (and have stated previously that I think weapons make for dubious, negative baby names), but there are reports that enrollment in archery lessons rose in the wake of The Hunger Games‘ success.

But more universal than all of these pop culture references is the symbol itself, signifying direction. It makes this name the latest addition to the ever-growing list of Nouns as Names, which continue to find room on birth certificates as parents search for unique, original names with some sort of meaning. And that meaning differs for many: to some, arrows indicate moving forward, a symbol of progress; to others, an arrow belongs on a road sign, not a birth certificate.

So, what do you think? Arrow – name or not?

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§ 21 Responses to Arrow – Name or Not?

  • Abby@AppMtn says:

    I’m fascinated by this question. My daughter – who, at 4 is much too young for Hunger Games or the Walking Dead or Hawk from the Avengers or any of it – has become obsessed with a toy bow and arrow. It seems to be out there: Archer, Bo … why not Arrow? Arrow almost feels like a modern virtue name. Only I’m not sure WHICH virtue it supports. Still, I can see it working.

  • Definitely a name – I’m mainly seeing it in the middle at present, but Arrow seems a perfect fit with current trends, and also suitable for both boys and girls.

    I do love the positive associations with love, movement, change, direction, speed, accuracy and so on. Almost a metaphor for a baby’s conception really …..

    With Archer climbing and climbing, can his Arrow be far behind?

  • Melanie says:

    Yes! I love the name Arrow, it’s on my short list. For a boy only, even though I agree that’s it’s pretty unisex.

    • That’s awesome, Melanie! What do you love about it, if you don’t mind me asking? (I’m always curious!)

      • Melanie says:

        I tend to have a soft spot for word names, especially for boys. Cedar, North, and Atlas are favorites of mine, I think Arrow just kind of “fits”. I also really like nature names and despite being a weapon, Arrow has a sort of nature-y, earthy vibe to me.

      • I can see that, with the other names you’ve selected. I can connect Arrow to earthy names when I think of all the Native American arrowheads that have been unearthed through archaeology, or that most arrows are made of wood!

  • Blue Juniper says:

    I remember a few months ago there was a woman on the Nameberry forums who wanted to name her daughter Arrow. (http://nameberry.com/nametalk/threads/98036-I-LOVE-my-name-choice-for-2nd-girl-baby-3-amp-very-few-other-people-do?highlight=arrow). It was one of the most heated discussions I had seen on Nameberry – some loved it, some hated it, and many thought it was far too much as she already had a son called Hunter (there’s a whole other issue!). Seems it is a very polarising name.

    It doesn’t actually seem to strange to me considering a lot of other word names out there at the moment. I actually quite like the sound of it too. But I think people who aren’t name nerds might struggle with the idea of it as a name…

    • Juniper, only after reading (some of) the thread did it remind me that many North Americans would say the word “arrow” as a homophone of Aero.

      After thinking that over for a while, I’m inclined to feel more sympathetic to Arrow-dislikers, as to me that sounds quite unattractive.

      After more thought, it also reminds me of arrowroot, as in arrowroot biscuits … but that association doesn’t bother me at all.

      • Arrowroot cookies are quintessential toddler snacks here! I used to love those things. And it’s true, we do say Arrow like Aero, but that actually doesn’t bother me. If the name was spelled like Aero, it might even be a lot less polarizing, because at least then it’s not a noun or a weapon!

      • Arrowroots biscuits are family favourites here too – I’m still eating them, way past toddler age! ;)

    • That’s so fascinating, but not surprising. As the only true name nerd I know in my everyday life, Arrow as a baby name would not be well accepted. But I do have to agree that having a Hunter and an Arrow would be too theme-y, with potentially negative connotations, that even non-name nerds would easily pick up on.

  • […] – If Severine isn’t sharp enough, how about Arrow?  We’re naming children Archer, and Bo, so another archery name seems reasonable.  Musicians […]

    • Sarah says:

      I read this with interest. My daughters name is Arrow Winter Meg, she is 3 years old. Everyone loves her name and it suits her – she is beautiful and mischievous!

  • Kim says:

    My son’s name is Arrow Christopher, everyone thought of course that it was weird, or that I meant to say Aaron when asked…I still love it, i know that it was meant for him. He flies right into your heart…with flaming red hair.

  • Natasha says:

    My daughter 13 months name is Arrow I absolutely love it! My lil straight shooter. My Arrow who pierced my hear. The Direction I needed to take.. Arrow Rain my destiny
    . Definitely suits both male or female but my Arrow certainly suits her name she is absolutely AMAZING

  • Carolyn says:

    I am full blooded Navajo (Native American Indian) and I have a 4 year old son. I name him Arrow. It does have a meaning to it and I am very proud that I name him that.

  • I named my son Arrow Jonathan Ketchum. He was born July 14,2006. His older brother I named River. I liked River&Arrow together and both are strong. A moving body of water with a strong current. A strong sharp weapon. I hope these names stay off the trendy list, because my husband and I grew up with common names. A different name sets a child apart and helps them establish their uniqueness early on. I truly believe we rise to the labels we are given at birth. My Arrow certainly did. He flew quickly . He shot straight back to the creator after only 2 short months. No warning. A strong baby. A short life. My River keeps on flowing strong and full of life. Arrows pierce my heart.

  • matt says:

    My son was born in march and his name is Arrow Zade

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