Revving Up…

September 20, 2011 § 9 Comments

Chaplin-Le Rêve

19th Century French artist Charles Chaplin's Le Rêve (The Dream), on display at Musee des Beaux-Arts in Marseille

In the last week, Reverie, thanks in part to Girls Gone Child, has become a bit of a buzzword. (It’s also a middle name of one of Kristen’s daughter’s at marginamia, and I think I kinda like it!) I’m new to the blog world and have never followed Girls Gone Child before now, but those babies are cute, I’m a sucker for photos, and damn can she write. Boheme, the name of her other daughter, has also become a bit of a buzzword, primarily because few have seen it in use as a first name before.

Anyway, I thought it odd that I should suddenly see this influx of Reverie all over the Net, then yesterday stumble upon a boy named Revel Young – Scott Ian, guitarist for Anthrax, had a son June 19th with Pearl Aday, the adopted daughter of ‘Bat Out of Hell’ Meat Loaf (who incidentally does NOT have a name I would choose to honour on one of my kids.) Over at Nameberry, the name Revel is listed for girls, a name to express a parent’s joy in their child, or as a non-traditional Biblical selection. Of course, since the Book of Revelations tends to describe how the world just might come to an end, it’s not a strong choice. As a nickname Rev, which as part of the cliched phrase “rev up your engines” seems fit for a little boy, loosely means to “ramp up” or, more basically, “start your engines.” It could also take on religious undertones, as Rev. is the common shortform of Reverend. “To revel” means to take great pleasure or delight in something (like your baby), and sounds like rebel, perfect for a tattooed metal musician.

For little girls, Reve, pronounced the same but from the French word for “dream” is a solid stand-alone, or a sweet nickname for the now anglicized Reverie – which means “daydream; a state of being pleasantly lost in one’s thoughts.”

Abby Sandel from Appellation Mountain did a post for Nameberry yesterday that wondered if blog babies like Reverie and Boheme had the power, like celebrity babies or literary figures, to influence name trends, and I think they do. Not the same power, of course – blogs are still a niche market – but there is certainly enough out there for little Rev- babies to start popping up all over the place!

What other choices are out there?

Reva – pronounced rayva. In India, the origin of the name is Sanskrit, and is one of the country’s seven sacred rivers (it’s also known as the Narmada, which is Sanskrit for “giver of pleasure”). In French, this name means “shore; riverbank.” Pronounced reeva, the name is well-known in US daytime soaps – Reva Shayne was one of the main characters on long-running Guiding Light. Emmy-winning actress Kim Zimmer portrayed her from 1983 to the soap’s curtain call in 2009. Reva hung around the middle of the US Top 1000 in the early half of the 20th Century, dropping out for good in 1950.

Revaya – pronounced rivayah. A Sanskrit variation of Reva, it might catch on in English-speaking countries following the popularity of River. It’s an uber-femme alternative to the unisex nature name.

Reveille – pronounced rev-ai-eh. From the French réveillé, which means “to wake up.” Not only is this name ripe for mispronunciations or alterations to make a new name entirely (without the accents, it’s technically rev-aye), it seems to carry with it just enough to make it feel unique and not overtly trendy. “Reveille” is a bugle call used by Commonwealth nations (it follows “The Last Post” on Remembrance Day) and the US military. It’s the sound you hear when you envision the cavalry charging into battle from the movies.

Revekka – pronounced rivikah. From the Hebrew word for “cattle stall,” this name, used primarily in Eastern Europe, is a lesser-known variation on the immensely popular Rebecca.

Reven/Revon – a variation on Raven, an English name that is derived from the famed blackbird. This one is equally suitable for boys as it is girls, and sounds like the popular boy’s name Evan.

Revuelta – Spanish for “revolt,” a splendid middle name (and fairly common Spanish surname) if you’ve got a mild (or major) anarchic streak.

Reverence – virtue names are everywhere these days, and this one means “to regard with deep respect.”

It’s a more feminine form of Revere, which has been floated lately as a boy’s name (by GGC herself, before she knew she was having girls). Paul Revere was an American silversmith, who became a folk hero upon alerting Colonial forces that “the British are coming!” in the midst of the conflicts of the American revolution in 1775. US rock band Paul Revere & the Raiders named themselves for the legend, and scored mainstream success in North America in the ’60s and ’70s. Their song “Kicks” was a #1 hit in Canada in 1966, and reached #4 in the US. It appeared on the album Midnight Ride, which was another tribute to the legend of Paul Revere. Then in 1971, the band released “The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian,” which shot to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 – and seemed to counteract their colonialist-inspired name. (Perhaps rightly so – the leader of the band was named Paul Revere Dick at birth, so his band name, though it played off the legend, was a byproduct of the choices of his parents and didn’t necessarily reflect his views at all.)

Reviva/Revital – Hebrew for “dew/full of dew.” Sounds like revival, which is a word that feels full of fresh new life.

Got any others for the list? Any strike your fancy or make you totally cringe?


§ 9 Responses to Revving Up…

  • I don’t think these are quite my style somehow, and the rev, as in revhead, puts me off a bit. But here are some unusual vocabulary names starting with Rev-:

    Revenant – this word for the undead has been used to describe vampires – pretty trendy, yeah?

    Revolution – a sort of counter-culture virtue name.

    Revolver – I’ve seen kids called Gun and Cannon – why not Revolver?

    Revue – oh la la; French names are tres chic, why not this artistic one?

    I have seen names more unusual than these ones for sure (mostly at Names 4 Real!)

    • namemuststay says:

      I would have to veto Revolver if anyone ever asked me what they thought 😉 Cannon and especially Gun are also awful. I’ve heard Cannon (best of the 3), but Gunn only as a last name. If I ever met a baby named Gun, I would immediately need to find something adorable about that kid to coo over so I stop thinking about how awful and violent and wrong his name is 😉

      I like the way that Revue sounds, and Revolution would make a stirring middle name with the political upheavals all over the world lately.

      Revenant is nice, and sounds similar to Reven – the connection between ravens and vampires and other dark creatures, but it’s probably not about to surpass Cullen or Esme in vampire trending. (too bad?) Nice work bringing the trends in 😉

    • namemuststay says:

      I had to look up revhead! We don’t have a particular name for car enthusiasts here, but I can see where you’d be turned off the Rev- names if it’s a common phrase down there.

  • The french verb for to wake up is se réveiller, and réveillé is the past tense of the verb (je me suis réveillé), sans the last accent you have the present form for ‘I’ (je me réveille), so it’s a French word either way 🙂

    Sticking to the French theme, there’s the word for river: rivière (technically not a rev- name, but oh well!)

    Personally, I quite like the name Reve, she’s short, sweet and if I were to use, say, Revekka, I’d rather her nickname be Reve not Rev – just personal preference!

    • namemuststay says:

      I knew if anyone could correct my awful French it would be you! Been far too long since my last high school French class and I KNEW reveille was already conjugated. Thank you 🙂

      River, Riviere, Revaya, Rio…in any language, this is officially my new name crush.

      And I totally agree, Reve is lovely but Rev looks off, somehow…

  • Marginamia says:

    Ahh, I’m obviously on board. ; )

    I wanted to use either Reve Eudora or double-name Jane Reve, but husband just wasn’t into it, because this is America and he didn’t want the whole “Rev your engines” thing. I kept saying, “But there’s Neve! It will liken more to Neve!” He didn’t buy it. He also thought we’d be constantly correcting the pronunciation. I’m happy with the name we chose, but man oh man, someone please use Reve as a stand-alone!

    And thank you for the sweet mention!


    • namemuststay says:

      Your husband makes decent points – like how Reva is pronounced rayva outside of North America, but here it’s always been Reva, I can totally see how, without the accent from the French word, you might have to continually say “No, it’s pronounced rev,” which would probably then make some people say “Like NASCAR?”

      Still, I think Reve is actually beautiful!

      When I was really young, Neve Campbell starred on a Canadian TV show I would catch sometimes (Phil Collins’ daughter Joely was on it, too), and I always thought her name was “Neeve” in the opening credits. It wasn’t until she became famous for Scream that I knew for sure it was “Nev.”

  • […] by Reverie, Namemustsay looked into other Rev- names.  Reverence, Reveille, or Revel, […]

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