What’s in a Name? Angelina Jolie’s Twins, Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline

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 Splash News Online

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.

Happy second birthday, Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline Jolie-Pitt!

When Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's twins arrived on July 12, 2008, there were rumors swirling that both babies were girls and their chosen names were Isla Marcheline and Amelie Jane — which, of course proved to be untrue on all counts.

BLOG: Read more "What's in a Name?" columns

Always adventurous baby namers, this time around the star couple looked back to their family roots for inspiration. Knox was the middle name of Brad's grandfather, Hal Knox Hillhouse. By using a boy's name ending in 'x,' they followed the pattern set with older sons Maddox and Pax, making it a cohesive threesome. And, as with several other of the Brangelina choices, Knox, a surname rarely heard before, was taken up by other parents, entering the Top 1,000 list last year at #706.

Leon, Knox's middle name, also has family connections, being the name of Angelina's great-great grandfather, and, with its French accent and pronunciation, also reflects the culture of the country in which the twins were born.

Vivienne, the French form of Vivian, also reflects their place of birth. Used previously by Rosie O'Donnell, it has the uplifting meaning of "life, alive." It too entered the Most Popular list for the first time last year at #532.

Her middle name, Marcheline, was the name of Angelina's beloved mother, who had died just a year before Vivienne's birth, and whose heritage was French-Canadian and Native American. An actress, her birth name was Marcia Lynne, which she transformed into her own individual version of the French Marcelline.

Other parents have used Brad and Angelina as baby naming role models before, particularly in the cases of Maddox and Shiloh. Maddox began climbing in popularity the year following his adoption and is now is at #180, meaning that more than 2,000 parents followed their lead; Shiloh also entered the list soon after the birth of the Jolie-Pitt baby girl.

Like many other celebrity parents of boy/girl twins, this pair chose names that were distinctively different from each other, as did Julia Roberts (Hazel and Phinnaeus), Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony (Emme and Maximilian), Molly Ringwald (Roman and Adele) and Coldplay drummer Will Champion (June and Rex).

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