A violent television series put this gentle nature name on the map.
Thanks to Danielle for suggesting Meadow as Baby Name of the Day.
The world met Meadow Mariangela Soprano in 1999, when she was the teenaged daughter of fictional mobster-in-therapy Tony Soprano. Growing up Soprano was no easy path. Sure, she drove a Lexus. But one of her boyfriends met an untimely end thanks to daddy dearest. Still, Med graduated from Columbia, so as mobster sprog go, she ended pretty well.
There may’ve been 1960s era Meadows at Woodstock with Sunbeam and Maple, but not enough to register in the US Top 1000. Meadow’s debut was in 2001, at #804. She made in into the 760s a few times during The Sopranos’ run, but had fallen to #864 by 2009.
But Meadow ought to fare better in the age of River, Lily and Skye. She’s a bona fide nature name with Old English roots. Mædwe referred to grass-covered land; a prairie. (Speaking of Prairie, a word with the same meaning from the Latin pratum, that’s another nature name that’s even less often heard, except for one minor Muppet and a Thomas Pynchon character.)
One bearer of the name is Meadow Sisto, sister to veteran television actor Jeremy Sisto, of Law and Order and Six Feet Under. I can’t say if their parents were hippies, but multiple biographies tell us that they were farmers.
Meadow does appear sparingly in US Census records, used for both men and women, perhaps because Meadows remains a fairly common surname.
The same parents embracing Harper and Piper for their frills-free, yet feminine, might fall in love with Meadow. And now that Willow, propelled into use by a television witch and Hollywood royalty, has reached #315 and shows no signs of slowing down, Meadow could emerge as an alternative.
Unlike some meteorological nature names – Misty and Stormy spring to mind – there’s nothing lightweight about Meadow. She’s not a classic like Margaret, but she doesn’t seem as outlandish as many an appellation.
Perhaps parents dislike the short form Med, but it is no more of a hazard than Pi or Har. Of course if you really craved a nickname, you might arrive at Maddie or Mimi, though both are a stretch.
Meadow occupies a nice middle ground – like many word names, she’s familiar and easy to spell, but your child will never answer to Meadow G. Her nickname-proof style will appeal to many, as will her crunchy granola vibe.
It is possible, of course, that you’ll be asked if you named her after Tony and Carmela’s kid. But as the series fades into the background, chances of that happening are slim. The only real challenge is that Hollywood might yet embrace Meadow, a sibling for Sparrow and Violet and all of those baby Harpers born of late.
But lightning can strike with any name, so for now, file Meadow with those modern choices that manage to be both distinctive and easy-to-wear.