Nameberry.com editors Pamela Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz — who penned the books Baby Name Bible and Beyond Ava & Aiden — are blogging for UsMagazine.com about why celebs choose the names they do, and what they mean.
In choosing the name Abel for their second son (born on August 6), Amy Poehler and Will Arnett succeeded in finding a biblical name — from the second son of Adam and Eve — that is both distinctive and familiar.
For although Abel has such a positive connotation, as one who is capable, competent, ready and willing, it has never been as popular as that of Adam, his Old Testament father, probably because Abel was the first biblical victim of fratricide.
Abel does, though, rank at No. 328 on the Most Popular list — the highest it's been since records have been kept, but this could be due to its popularity in the Hispanic community, where it is pronounced ah-BELL, as it is in France. Other pronunciations include A-bel in Hebrew and AH-behl in Greece and Hungary. It is the 55th most popular boys' name in Hungary, 75th in Catalonia and 107th in Spain.
Abel's namesakes include two movie directors, Abel Gance and Abel Ferrera, and a Dickens character in Great Expectations.
This choice makes Papa Will odd man out in a household of double A-initial names: Amy, Archie and Abel Arnett, with the new baby also having a set of musical initials — AJA — as in the classic Steely Dan album.
For Abel's middle name, the couple chose a classic family appellation, as they did with Archie. James is Will Arnett's father's name, while brother Archibald was given two middles — William Emerson — which are his dad's first and middle names, as well as his maternal grandfather's first.
Among the many other biblical boys' names chosen by celebrities are Abraham (Lila McCann), Asher (Campbell Brown), Benjamin (Gisele Bundchen & Tom Brady), David Daniel (Jennifer Hudson), Ezekiel (Tisha Campbell-Martin), Gideon (Ziggy Marley), Isaiah (Elisabeth and Tim Hasselbeck), Jacob (Courtney Thorne-Smith), Levi (Camila Alves & Matthew McConaughey, Sheryl Crow, Sara Gilbert), and Samuel (Naomi Watts & Liev Schreiber, Jack Black).