Arrow – Name or Not?
November 30, 2012 § 21 Comments
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?