Publicity still
Jean Harlow publicity still from 1930; Image via Wikipedia

She’s a 21st century discovery rich with Golden Age Hollywood glamor.

Thanks to Virginia for suggesting Harlow as our Baby Name of the Day.

Harlow started out as a surname, and like many a surname, there is more than one possible origin.

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. Just another trendy, celebrity-inspired surname. I find it both boring and ugly (along with all the other Ha- names you mentioned). Plus, I see harlot too.

  2. @Virginia–Harlow is also a guilty pleasure for me; I enjoy the sound and hearing it on other people’s kids; however, due to the variety of possible problems presented here by others, personally, I would be more likely to use either Marlow or Harrow for a girl.

    1. I’ve been fascinated by the idea of Hallow ever since I saw it in a birth announcement at ForReal – only then I saw Megamind with the kids and it reminds me the tiniest bit of how Will Ferrell’s character botches the word “hello.” Still – also sidesteps the problems!

  3. My dad had cousins named Harlan, Marlowe and Arlo, (they were not siblings,) so to my ear Harlow sounds male.

    Honestly, I’ve never seen any of Jean Harlow’s films and I’m not sure I could pick her out from other blonde actresses of the era. For me, since I’m not a fan, It would seem disingenuous to pick a name so tied to a particular Hollywood figure.

    1. She’s not my favorite, either. The one time I heard the name out in the wild, the little girl was definitely born post-Harlow Madden AND her brother was Aidan/Aiden.

  4. Harlow doesn’t make me think of harlot as much as Charlotte does. I’m glad you pointed out that Patricia Arquette and Nancy McKeon both used the name before Nicole Richie did (if you hadn’t, I would have). My friend has a daughter named Harlow who was born a year before Nicole’s daughter and naturally, everyone thinks she got the idea for the name from her. Harlow is a guilty pleasure name for me. I wouldn’t use it myself, but I love the way it sounds on my friend’s daughter and think it’s a nicer choice than Harper or Harley.

    1. I absolutely adore Hadley. I like Piper and Parker better than Harper. And I do not understand Harley. I still like Haley/Hayley, mostly because I really, really, really wanted an identical twin in England, and I wanted to share my name with a comet. But these days, it is far too common – and confusing!

  5. I find names starting in Har- incredibly unattractive and heavy, especially on girls. Do not see the appeal whatsoever.

  6. I have to completely agree with Panya (surprise!). I only see harlot and think wh**e when I see it as a first name. As a surname it’s innocuous enough. Blech, Harlot, I mean Harlow. And I absolutely adore Arlo, funny that.

  7. Harlow makes me think of Jean and Nicole Ritchie’s baby pretty equally. The name is too much surname for it to conjure up ‘Hollywood glam’ though I see how others could think so. I personally would use a surname from my own family tree before using someone else’s like Harlow.

    Also, as huge movie buffs, we would probably use a character name before the name of an actress (Ilsa rather than Ingrid).

  8. I know a woman who was teased growing up for her middle name, Harlow. She was called a motorcycle, but she liked it!

  9. All I hear/see is harlot and wh*re. Arlo is fine for a boy, but those two extra letters turn this into something very unappealing to me.