Thanks to Elena for suggesting her daughter’s name as our Baby Name of the Day.
Our word miracle comes from the Latin mirabilis.
Poet John Dryden penned Annus Mirabilis in 1667 to refer to the events of the prior year. Here’s the thing, though – 1666 was a year packed with disasters, including the Great Fire of London. However, there were several military victories, and, of course, the fire was extinguished and the city rebuilt. So Dryden’s “Year of Wonders” or “Year of Miracles” entered into the common parlance.
There have been other years referred to by the term since.
It makes the name virtuous and bold, but unless you’re a Latin scholar, the link isn’t immediately obvious.
The name has never appeared in the US Top 1000. Cousin Maribel debuted in 1961, but has never topped the charts.
But this name has history aplenty. It was used in the Middle Ages. The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources includes an entry for Mirabel.
It’s a masculine nam win popular seventeenth century comedy, The Wild Goose Chase. A man named Mirabeau was president of Texas in the 1830s.
Other forms of the name abound. It’s a place name, too. The Crusaders built a castle in Israel by the name. The ruins are part of national park Migdal Afek. It can be found on the map in France and Spain, Canada and Austria.
Even if you’ve never heard of Mirabell Palace, you’ve almost certainly seen it. The Salzburg historic site was also the location for several scenes from The Sound of Music.
If you love edible names like Clementine and Olive, this name might be for you. That’s because Mirabelle is also a type of plum.
Despite the association between plums and the color purple, this variety is a dark yellow color. They’re popular for making jam and tarts, as well as brandy. In the Northern Hemisphere, they’re in season from July to the middle of September, making this a seasonal choice for a late summer baby.
Mirabelle: Belles and Elles
Of course, the reason this name is under discussion has little to do with palaces or plums. It’s all about the belles and the elles.
With Isabella, Annabelle, and Gabrielle in favor in recent years, plenty of other names with similar ending sounds have caught on. Think Ella, Stella, Bella, Brielle, Arabella, Aubrielle, and so on.
In fact, Mirabelle is on the rise. 99 girls were given the name in 2015 – a new high. But that’s still not enough to put this name in the Top 1000.
Mirabelle: Pop Culture
You might also think of a character in Enid Blyton’s St. Clare’s series, a friend to twin sisters Patricia and Isabel.
It’s the name of the lost little girl’s doll in Gone, Baby, Gone, which turns out to be a major plot point.
In 2005, Claire Danes played by a character by the name in Shopgirl.
Mirabella was a woman’s magazine in the 1990s, created by Vogue alum Grace Mirabella.
Speaking of Grace, she’s not the only one to bear this surname. It has a slightly different origin as a surname: the place name formed from the Latin mira – view, plus bella – beautiful.
If you love the idea of a name that ends in -belle, but would like a name less common than Isabella or Annabelle, this is a gorgeous rarity that would wear well.
What do you think of Mirabelle? Would you consider it for a daughter?
This post was originally published on December 7, 2010. It was substantially revised and re-posted on May 23, 2016.