The Russian military honor guard welcomes U.S....He’s the heroic name Emile Hirsch gave to his newborn son this past October.

Celebrity baby name week 2013 continues with Valor as our Baby Name of the Day.

It’s hard to argue with Valor’s meaning.  It’s a synonym for courage or bravery, originally from the Latin valere – to be strong, to be worthy.  It’s an obvious modern virtue name.

Parents have been all about modern meaningfuls in recent years.  They’re virtue names that you might not find on a Puritan, but would be right at home on a modern kiddo.  Valor is a brother for Truly or Promise, an alternative to Prosper and Sage.

No surprise then that Valor garnered mostly positive commentary from the name ‘verse.

But meaning alone doesn’t make for a great name.  Also in Valor’s favor:

  • His sound.  Valor’s -r ending is very much on trend.  Carter, Connor, Taylor … why not Valor?
  • We’re still loving those high value Scrabble letters.  Xander and Xavier are mainstream, so no surprise that Valor has plenty of appeal.

And guess what?  The name already jumped up in usage, from 17 newborn boys in 2011 to 42 in 2012.  Could it be thanks to Act of Valor, the 2012 flick about Navy SEALs?  It wasn’t a hit with the critics, but it did well at the box office.  Between the action sequences and the moving tale of personal sacrifice, could the flick have boosted the name?

There’s something about Valor that is masculine and martial, without feeling as aggressive as Slade or Gunner.  The photo above is from a Russian military honor guard during a visit from an American military delegation. Valor feels like that – a full dress uniform.

ValorThen there are the statues on the Arlington Memorial Bridge in Washington DC.  They’re near the approach to the Lincoln Memorial, The Arts of War are a pair of statues known as Valor and Sacrifice.  (Valor is in the photo to the left.)  A separate set of statues called The Arts of Peace stand nearby.

Has anyone actually been named Valor prior to the twenty-first century?

Not many, but yes.

First there’s a fictional character from comic bookland: Lar Gand, also known as Mon-El, M’Onel, and Valor.  He’s sometimes cast as a brother figure for Superman.  Other times, he’s a stand-in for the Man of Steel.  The character answered to Valor in the 1990s, and that may have helped spark initial interest in the noun name.

Even before that, a few Valors appeared in the 1930 and 1940 US Censuses.  They were male and female, and hailed from California and Arkansas, Texas and New York.  My favorite combination was a husband and wife pair named Valor and Violet from Oregon.  A few are named Valor Rea or Valor Lee – could they be fanciful spins on Valerie?  Others may an attempt to Anglicize various foreign forms of Valentine.

A tiny number of children have been named the related Valiant – 9 in 1960, 12 in 2012.  That’s almost certainly thanks to Prince Valiant, a comic strip started in 1937.  Hal Foster’s epic is set at the court of King Arthur.  Valiant is a prince from Norway, his kingdom lost.  He becomes a Knight of the Round Table and begins a new life, rich with the kinds of daring exploits that you’d expect from a knight in the Sunday comics.

Add it up, and Valor was ripe for a high profile birth announcement.  Here’s guessing we’ll be hearing more of Valor in the next few years.

Enhanced by Zemanta

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.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. My first name is actually Valer, but many people assume it is Valor as the pronunciation is the same.

  2. I am considering this as a MN for a future son – in honor of my mother, Valerie! I feel “Val” is too short with our one syllable last name, and the Valentine spins aren’t my cup of tea. Valor feels just right in the MN spot!

  3. I could swear I’ve seen a birth announcement for a Valour. I think it was a middle name, but I’m drawing a complete blank on the first name. Certainly a virtue a parent would want to encourage. It has a feeling similar to Justice or Noble and without the aggression of Danger or Rebel. I like it.