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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Baby Name to Discuss: Honor

Jessica Alba and Cash Warren had their baby girl this week and named her Honor Marie. During my last pregnancy, I came upon the name Honor in a novel and lovvvvvvvved it. I immediately added it to my girl-name list and considered it a strong candidate: I love virtue names, and I love the way the name Honor looks.

Then I said it out loud to Paul, and I realized I didn't like the way it sounded out loud. Onner. And then within about 5 minutes we'd made allllll the jokes: "Honor, thy father and mother," "Love Honor, and obey," "Defend your Honor," "Medal of Honor," "Code of Honor," "Honor system," and OMG ETC. And I realized that Honor could not be on our list, just as the beautiful name Hope can never be a serious contender for our family because we WOULD NOT STOP making "jokes" (quotes indicate non-funniness of such jokes) even when NO ONE, not even US, thought they were funny. We cannot stop.

My mom is the opposite. She doesn't like virtue names and she doesn't like the way the name Honor looks, but she DOES like it said outloud: "Like Connor, without the C," she said. She also pointed out that it's a great name for people who like names such as Anna and Andrea pronounced with more of an O-as-in-octopus sound instead of the A-as-in-apple sound more typical in the U.S.

And my friend Mairzy says: "It's still a little out in left field. But it's a good left field: the sound is similar to Tori and Nora, and the meaning is faultless. Its drawbacks are that it's a bit pretentious (almost impossible not to intone the name in an impressive bass voice) and doesn't have any good nicknames. Still, when I read that Jessica Alba had used the name for her daughter, my first thought was, 'What a good name!' So I guess that's my final verdict."

I'm interested to know what YOU think of the name Honor. I'll put a poll over to the right. [Poll closed; see below.]

[Poll results:
Love it, would use it: 8 votes, roughly 6%
Love it but wouldn't use it: 23 votes, roughly 16%
Like it: 41 votes, roughly 29%
Neutral: 24 votes, roughly 17%
Dislike it: 34 votes, roughly 24%
Hate it: 10 votes, roughly 7%]


Nowheymama said...

I like it when people use virtue names as middle names.

Alice said...

see, MY mind went straight to the standard frat boy toast of "here's to honor: if you can't come in her, come on her!"

i apologize heartily to anyone whose daughter is named honor. please blame the frat boys.

jennifer, playgroups are no place for children said...

I like the way Honor looks and I think it's meant to be a pretty name...but it isn't my favorite.

Jana said...

As a history nerd, using a name like that reminds me of the Puritan days when people just picked a word out of the Bible and used it as a first name (like the Mather family with first names like Cotton and Increase).

I wonder if they'll name baby #2 Chastity or something similar to go along with Honor?

Linda said...

Alice, I laughed so hard I gasped and wheezed.

I was kind of neutral on Honor, but Alice pushed me over to a strong NO.

Dallas said...

Honor is a pretty name but I'd hate for the kid to get told "live up to your name" so Id stay away from virtue names.

el-e-e said...

I think it's a great name for a celebrity baby, because it's so unique, yet trendy-sounding. And kinda pretty, especially paired with Marie.

But I'd never choose it.

janet said...

I'm in the don't hate it but would never choose it camp.

I heard about a baby recently named Honorah, nn Norah. That's kinda cute, huh?

Maggie said...

I'm not wild about it, but I don't hate it either. And I like the way it looks more than I like the way it sounds. But I do like it much more as a middle name -- virtue names as middle names are always a good pick I think.

Hope said...

I hadn't heard it until a few years ago when I met a guy with a daughter named Honor, and thought it was soooo pretentious because he also has a son named Sarsfie1d. Ugh.

But as someone named Hope I clearly can't beat up on the virtue names. I don't hate Honor as much as when I first heard it, but I would never use it, for obvious reasons.

P.S. I love my name, but every one and their mother has to get in at least one pun when they meet me.

Meredith said...

I like "virtue names", but not for my babies. I would feel like I was giving my child something to live up to, which doesn't seem fair for a brand new little baby. Maybe as middle names - I like Grace, especially. Little Gracie - how cute!

As a teacher, I have seen/heard several interesting ones: Special, Destiny, and Legend to name a few.

Why do we not hear any BOY virtue names? Ha ha - Sensitive, Charming, Noble, or Strong.

Peace said...

So I'm in a unique place to comment on this, I am the only Peace I've ever met. I've had a handful of people tell me it was something they would consider, especially religious people. I've always loved my name. I totally love Honor.

I considered virtue names for my daughters, but I didn't want to be matchy. I very rarely heard a joke growing up. I was a senior in high school when a friend's mom mentioned "getting a piece" as sexual slang. I like the jokes like 'give peace a chance.' I do have to repeat my name and spell it for people, but I've had to do the same with both surnames I've had, so that's nothing new. The most common comments I get are
'What is your REAL name?'(yes)
'Were your parents hippies?'(no)

I've known at least one Justice (1 boy & 1 girl), a Harmony, my god-daughter is Hope, and my best friend in high school . . . . Charity.

brooke said...

I love the name Honor and prior to the Alba baby I would have used this name in a second. Right now, I am waiting to see how much people associate the name with the celebrity. For me, Maddox belongs to Angelina Jolie, but Angelina does not. Violet is up for grabs despite little Violet Affleck. Pax is another virtue name I love, but I have delegated this one to the mn only category because of Pax Jolie-Pitt. I do think that Honora and Annora are nice, unique names that would not make parents look like celebrity copy cats. My friends and family all think that Honor is a crazy celebrity name, but I love it!

Thanks for bringing-up this fun topic!

Mairzy said...

I've known a boy Honor and a boy Noble. Noble on a skinny kid with glasses simply invites giggles, though.

brooke said...

I know of a sib set:
Justice - boy, 8ish
Joya - girl, 7ish

Parents are total hippies - former Peace Corps volunteers, social worker and college professor, etc. The names work well for their family.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

I had to vote for "Hate It".

Mostly because when I first heard the rumours she was going to name her daughter Honor (before the baby was born), the particular magazine said it was because she said, "It's an HONOR to have Cash's child".


I'm also not a huge fan of virtue names (also because they don't fly so well in my family either, LOL). But names like "Hope" and "Grace" are so widely accepted now that I don't count them out so quickly. Honor though??? I'd never heard it as a name until this Jessica Alba thing.

Also, as a CANADIAN (who is finding it very difficult not to spell it as h-o-n-o-U-r throughout this comment).... I read it outloud as "HONE---er" (hard H, as in "hone in") before I read it as "On--er" . So I find that yucky. LOL.

P.S. Peace -- I grew up with a girl named Peace!

P.P.S. There's a girl named "Haven" in the kindergarten class I volunteer in right now.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

I'd just like to clarify that I didn't read it as "HONE-er" (hone in sound) because I'm a dumbass who doesn't know how to read.... I just mean, because with names I always tend to read them phoenetically first (not sure what I do this, but I do), and that's why I read it as "HONE-er".

Just felt the need to clarify. LOL.

Bird said...

I found the name refreshing.

That frat boy quote--never heard it, and had to say it aloud before I understood it. I feel a little dense. It HAS been a long day, though.

Swistle said...

Steph the WW- Ha ha! That IS kind of barfy!

Maggie2 said...

Okay, well I love the name, but wouldn't use it personally. I was quite surprised with Jessica Alba picking it, as it's hardly your typical celebrity name (cough*Bluebell Madonna*cough). I mean, if my daughter went to school with a girl named Honor Marie, I wouldn't think twice about it. It's such a normal name to me. I thought it was sweet of her to give the child a name that won't be a total embarrassment. Not to mention all the virtuous associations etc.

Alison @ Pennythoughts said...

Boy virtue names are more rare, but my husband's name is Just!ce, and his brother's name is Nob1e (spelled with an i and an l, respectively). Personally, I LOVE Just!ce because its sound is familiar (Justin) but still comes across as fresh. It also sounds so solid and strong. Everyone says to him, "Cool name!!" Nob1e? Not so much. I don't think that using an adjective works nearly as well as using a noun. Still, he loves his name and both boys enjoyed having a "name to live up to."

I am very interested in these poll results because DH and I are considering continuing the virtue naming tradition that his parents started. Names like Verity, Honesty, Mercy (for girls), and Honor, Merit, True, Ransom, and Sterling (for boys). Any comments? Obviously, Honor is out now because of the celebrity connection. Grrrr.

Frema said...

Alice, I thought the same thing! I don't like the name at all. Hate is a strong word, but when the shoe fits....

Jan said...

I like the idea of slightly less common virtue names but think it's still important to be judicious about which ones. For me yes to: Verity, Mercy, Honor; no to: Honesty, Merit (makes me want to use two ts or visions of boy scouts), Ransom. I'm ambivalent about True.

Shelly Overlook said...

My Gran had neighbors who named their twins Faith & Hope. I am not a fan.

Isabel & Company said...

One of my mom's friends had a daughter named Honor when I was growing up. Loved it then, still do. If I'm lucky enough to have another daughter, it's on our list!

Misty said...

I also like the way it looks. And I like the idea of it. But I don't like it as a first name because of the sound, even though your mom had really good reasons to like the way it sounds! Reasons I even agree with!

Just not for me. But I love the idea of it as a middle name.

Angie said...

Too bad I didn't check this blog before this poll closed. Because Honor is one of those names I feel strongly about. Unfortunately, I can't say the feeling is positive. I don't like virtue names in principle. The virtue names almost always represent a good virtue, but seem to be too one dimensional to accurately fit any one kid. Although I do love Verity, so there's my exception.

However, a name I really like that is very similar to Honor, at least in appearance, is Honora, the long form of Nora. Honora just seems like a more substantial alternative to Honor, in my opinion.