As a middle name, it feels quirky and cool. But one high profile coupled promoted this spiritual name to the first place in 2014.
Thanks to Pete Wentz and Meagan Camper, our Celebrity Baby Name of the Day is Saint.
Saint: Hiding in Plain Sight
Let’s be clear about one thing: lots of people have this word in their name. Think of last names, like Sinclair and Toussaint.
Places are often named after notable religious figures, and they migrate from the map. If your village church was named for St. James, you might have ended up with the surname Santiago. Now it’s a popular given name. The story of Seymour is similar, though the link to the sixth century St. Maur isn’t quite as obvious.
Saint: Aren’t We All?
Plenty of parents have chosen names with spiritual significance: Old Testaments boys like Isaiah, Elijah, and Noah. Girls with modern monikers like Serenity and Nevaeh. Eastern-leaning appellations, like Bodhi.
So is this just another name along the lines of Hope or Faith?
In general terms, most faith traditions allow that any person can be considered a saint. Terms like guru and bodhisattva carry similar meanings.
In Roman Catholicism, canonization is the formal process for recognizing saints. But, as in many Christian denominations, the term “saints” can refer to a great many people – to anyone who strives to live a good life, living or dead.
The word comes from the Latin sanctus, which is considered the equivalent of the Greek hagios. It means to set apart, to make holy.
Sanctus may be connected to the Ancient Roman God, Sancus – the god of trust, among other things.
It arrived in English via the Old French seinte, and there are equivalents in nearly every European language: Sankt, Sint, Sanct, Santo/Santa, San.
Saint: In Hollywood
Before we were hearing it on celebrity kids, The Saint was a well-known fictional figure. The stick figure with a halo is the character’s calling card.
Leslie Charteris created Simon Templar – a.k.a. The Saint – for a series of novels beginning in the 1920s. Templar was a handsome, Robin Hood-esque adventurer and righter of wrongs.
The books became movies in the 1930s, a radio series in the 1940s, and then a television show starring a young Roger Moore in the 1960s. Val Kilmer played a big screen version of the character in 1997. There are constant rumors of another reboot.
For now, Templar isn’t quiet. But in 2011, Selma Blair and her designer husband Jason Bleick welcomed son Arthur Saint.
Then came Pete Wentz. He and ex-wife Ashlee Simpson named their kiddo Bronx Mowgli, so it was a safe bet Pete and new girlfriend Meagan Camper would choose some interesting.
And so they did. Saint Laszlo arrived in August 2014.
Around the same time, we learned that the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and Jordyn Blum had welcomed their third daughter: Ophelia Saint, a sister for Harper and Violet.
Saint: In the Real World
Maybe this is the most surprising of all: the name has been given to more than five boys a year as far back as 1890. There were 22 in 1921, 10 in 1948, 22 in 2013.
It’s potentially an awkward pairing – a boy named Saint Edward sounds like, well St. Edward. Reverse the names, and Edward Saint – or Ophelia Saint – sounds rather sophisticated, in the key of Yves St. Laurent.
What do you think of Saint? Is it too much pressure for a child? Or a great virtue name possibility?