English: Detail of Apollo citharoedus or Apoll...

Kingston and Zuma have a new little brother!

This special Baby Name of the Day is in honor of the newest member of the Stefani-Rossdale family: Apollo.

Mythological names for boys have been gaining traction in recent years.  Orion is so close to Ryan, plus he’s the hunter – and Hunter is a Top 100 pick.  Chris Noth used it for his son in 2008, when the name ranked #536.  It has climbed to #419 since then.

And there’s Jason, of course, once the leader of the Argonauts, and now a former Top Ten pick turned dad name.  Hector has a long history of use, too.

But none of those are names of Greek and Roman gods.  Even as we’ve embraced Athena and Aurora for girls, we’ve tended to borrow warriors and heroes of the mostly mortal variety for boys.  Ajax and Achilles strike me as wearable, but Hercules implies superhuman powers on a scale that no boy could match.

Still, Hollywood has dared to name their sons after the immortals.  Anne Heche has Atlas, and Kelly Rutherford named her son Hermes.  And now, of course, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale have baby Apollo Bowie Flynn.

It’s a stylish, trend-setting choice, and here’s guessing that Apollo could catch on:

  • In fact, he’s already catching on.  Apollo entered the US Top 1000 at #993 in 2012.  He’s been slowly gaining in use since the 1970s.
  • Olympic champion Apolo Anton Ohno collected his first medals in 2002, and he’s stayed in the spotlight ever since, winning a season of Dancing with the Stars and serving as a correspondent during the Sochi games.  But Ohno isn’t named after the god.  Instead, his Japanese-American father crafted the name from the Greek elements apo – to steer away from – and lo – to look out for.  While that might be a bit poetic, it isn’t a complete stretch.
  • It’s been used for fictional characters from the Battlestar Galactica and Rocky franchises.

Add in record labels, legendary theaters, and the NASA spaceship that eventually would take Neil Armstrong to the moon, and Apollo has lots of interesting, positive associations.

But this name mostly brings to mind the god – an incredibly handsome young man, something of a Casanova according to many accounts.  The son of Zeus and Leto, twin brother to Artemis, Apollo was a major figure in myth.  Over the years he was charged with healing and medicine, light, prophecy – the oracle at Delphi was sacred to him – and music.  He’s often pictured holding a lyre, an instrument Hermes created just for him.  Just as Artemis is associated with the moon, Apollo is associated with the sun.

While there’s speculation aplenty, we really don’t know what Apollo’s name means, or even its exact origins.  Theories abound: to destroy, to redeem, to purify.  It could also mean hunter, or refer to the sun.

Regardless, Apollo seems like an extravagant name, maybe tough to live up to.  And yet, here’s guessing that the newest Stefani-Rossdale will inspire parents to embrace the name for their sons.  His vibrant ‘o’ ending, his upbeat sound, his associations with Greek myth – there’s so much to love about Apollo.

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About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Ooh I just googled “Apollo + Appellation Mountain” as you always have the best names, I knew you’d have this one!! I’m not pregnant or even planning another – but I’m studying ancient history and just realised that Apollo would make a beautiful sibling match for my son, Asa Atlas 🙂

  2. Ooh.. I really like Apollo, but I absolutely love the Biblical Apollos. Something about that ‘s’ really makes the name for me. 🙂

  3. This is my favourite celebrity boy name of 2014, so far, and love the sibset. It’s very handsome.