Emery Hope: Behind Angie Harmon's Name Choice

12/22/2008 at 08:00 PM ET
Donato Sardella/WireImage

With many readers expressing their opinions on Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn‘s choice of Emery Hope for their third daughter, we spoke to Linda Rosenkrantz, co-owner of NameBerry, as well as co-author of The Baby Name Bible: The Ultimate Guide By America’s Baby-Naming Experts to get her take on the moniker and the popularity of virtue names. She tells us,

“More than any celebrity since Sylvester Stallone (whose three daughters names all start with ‘S’ and have the middle name of Rose), Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn have established a definite pattern in naming their trio, Finley Faith, Avery Grace, and Emery Hope. The three first names are all formerly male names, and all end in the letter ‘y’ — giving them the ‘ee’ sound that makes them a bit more feminine. All three have virtue middle names — which also go a long way towards softening their names.

The couple’s first two choices have definitely had an influence on other baby namers — Finley, an Irish surname, had rarely been used as a girl’s name before, and it’s now an accepted option, while Avery is making a rapid climb up the popularity lists, already in the Top 50 last year, and definitely moving higher. The same thing could happen to Emery, which is a slightly more serious sounding name with German roots, but parents might well start to see it as a fresher alternative to the overly popular Emily and Emma.”

What do you think of virtue names? Would/did you use one for your child?


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Showing 34 comments

Jennifer on

Faith is on my list of favorites, so I would definitely consider it as a first or middle name for a future daughter.

Grace and Hope are lovely, but I’d be more likely to use them as middle names (I don’t mind them as first names, though).

Constance is guilty pleasure for me – I prefer it as a middle name, and although I probably wouldn’t use it, I don’t mind seeing it on someone else’s daughter.

Caitlin on

My middle name is Hope.

Growing up I hated it. Not least because my brothers always tormented me for it…’Hopeless’ was their favourite. Now I realise that while ‘normal’ it’s also unique and I love it. My parents named me after Hope Lange and after three boys…they were hoping for a girl.

If I ever have a little girl, I want to pass it down. I personally think it has the right balance of femininity and strength. But I could be biased.

Whitney on

love the last two girls first names – Hate names like Joy, Faith and Grace – it must be because I am not religious…..

Whitney on

My name is Whitney and my sister also ends in an ney…… my mom said had she had a third girl her name would have ended in an ney – kind of obnoxious…… then again my cats (my children) are Sammy, Zoey and Ginji – couldn’t stay away from the long “i” when I named them

Sarita on

I have no idea who she is, is she really famous enough to have single handedly made those names popular?

I wouldn’t usevirtue names because it’s not my style but I think they sound good with the first names she chose.

k on

My friend and I have this joke back forth since I love virtue names, especially the more unusual ones like Honor and Promise, and she is not so taken with them. I like to send her emails joking her baby’s middle name will be Integrity, heh.

Alecia on

Avery is both the first name of my mother & sister with the middle name of Ann & they’re 60 & 27 respectively. I chose body of water first names for my daughters (Jordan & Siloam)with virtue middle names (Faith & Grace)so we have Jordan Faith & Siloam Grace.

auntie on

Avery came to popularity *years* ago because of the sitcom ‘Murphy Brown’and has continued to be quite popular.

Angelika on

I like Avery. I probably wouldn’t use it, but it is a nice name. Emery reminds me of a nail file (Emery board) and Finley is not my style at all. But the names compliment each other and to each their own!

phoebe on

I LOVE the first two girl’s entire names, and I love the middle name Hope, but I really can’t get on with Emery, because it makes me think of an emery board, and I definately wouldn’t want to name my baby after one of those! But it does fit with the other girls names, so that’s definately a plus!

Katie on

I definitely disagree that you have to be religious to like or use so-called “virtue” names. I am an agnostic and we named my daughter Grace. I don’t look at it as a religious name at all.


I love the names, Hope, Faith and Grace! I love the meaning,plus the names are unique yet ‘normal’ 🙂

Happy Holidays!

Amanda on

I have an Avery, a Finley and a Briar— the names have been perfect for our girls, as will Avery, Finley and Emery be for their family. I love the musicality of each as said with the middle name!

Devon on

I LOVE the name Avery, but since it’s the name of one of my husband’s friends it’s out the window. I’m not so much of a fan of Finley for a girl, but I love the name Emery. I don’t really care for Faith or Hope, but I love the name Grace.

jjj on

To everyone who is saying that the names are “normal but unique” or “not very unique,” here is what unique actually means:
1: being the only one
2 a: being without a like or equal

Names are either unique or they are not. None of these names are unique.

Sarah on

My son’s name is Emery, so I am partial to it for a boy, but not so much for a girl.

Sarah on

Emery is my son’s name! I hope that it doesnt end up being considered more feminine………

Abby on

I love all their name choice. None are so out there they’re horrible. Since Angie is Southern, the name Emery might have come from the well known private college…Emery and Henry and not from an emery board. lol

Snow on

My Daughter’s name is Faith, my husband suggested to me during pregnancy, because of all the faith it took to get her here! I love the fact that she is one of only two in her whole school with that name!

Whitney on

I see virtue names as having a religious or spiritual connection to god- Something I don’t have – but they are better then Trinity and Serenity – sorry if those are your children’s names – I just feel like naming a child Grace is taking a step towards Gladys and Mildred…. so old….I think my least favorite semi normal names are Emma and Ava and if I I hear one more Jessica or Jennifer…. OY VEY –
my sister is Sydney and now all we hear are moms calling after their little Sydney’s…. but she is 24…..

TR on

My 2 1/2 year old daughter’s name is Emery. I named her after my dad and we call her Emmi. I love it and have received a ton of compliments on our choice for her name.

Kat on

I love using the fruits of the spirit (virtues) as middle names.

They flow well with first names and have a very nice meaning behind them.

I also like them because (except Charity) they are typically nice and short, so when you tend toward long first names, they don’t add too many letters.

I tend to pair a less common first name with a more common middle name, and Grace is also the middle name of my sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and late grandmother-in-law. So, since I loved the name anyway, it just made that the easy choice for using one of the fruits of the spirit for our daughter’s name.

She’s named after my grandmother Ruth and my mil’s favorite aunt Ruth, and we added Anne for my sister, whose middle name is Anne, to make Ruth sound even more feminine.

We also love the biblical story of Ruth and the meaning there.

So she’s Ruthanne Grace. After she was born, my niece (5yrs younger than us) had a baby… and she used Grace for the middle name, too. I was surprised she chose it because we’d just used it, but I couldn’t be more thrilled, as it really is a beautiful name, as are all the fruits of the spirit.

If I had another daughter, I would definitely use another one… either Joy or Hope most likely

Pam on

My granddaughter’s name is Magdalene Grace – we call her Maggie. Magdalene is a family name on the mothers side. (maggie is my son’s daughter) When I first heard her name, I wasn’t sure about it, but now, even though we usually always call her Maggie – the name is beautiful to me. I know it isn’t for everyone, and I can understand why – it sounds very old and fuddy duddy. But believe me, my 3 year old granddaughter is anything but…

CelebBabyLover on

jjj- It’s not “black and white” when it comes to names being unique (and I say this as someone who tends to be a very black and white thinker!).

Becky on

I have a 4 month old girl and we named her Emery. I think it sounds better as a girls name than a boys name. We get compliments on her name all the time because it isn’t heard much. But now who knows!!:)Kudos to Angie Harmon for naming her sweet little girl Emery Hope!!

Kristie on

We have a one year old girl Emery and it is so great to hear it be used more often as a girl. We get many compliments too. People say to us it use to be a name for a boy used many, many years ago, but I love calling her Emmy too.
Glad she named her Emery.

Emery on

My name is Emery and I am a female. I love the name, it is a great conversation starter and all of my friends and people that I meet love it and think it very pretty and interesting. I think it is very wonderful and amazing. Woo Hoo!! we need more people with interesting names.

Tessa on

I am due with a little girl in June. I am planning on naming her Emery Lillian after my great-grandfather (Emery aka “Em”) and my grandmother (Lillian Lois). We will probably call her Emmy for short!

Ceilia Smith on

Our 24 year old daughter’s name is Emory Caroline and she loves it. She is told constantly that her name is lovely and unusual…which she is as well.

Sara on

Emory is my son’s name and I want it to stay a boy’s name!

A on

My 14 year old daughter is named Emery. It’s a surname in our family. It is sophisticated and there are still cute nicknames like “Emmy” and “Em.” She likes her name!

Georgia on

My son’s name is also Emery named after my husbands Uncle and Great Uncle. They are southerm. Emery is traditionally a boys name. I really prefer it as a boys name. I hope it doesn’t start being considered feminine.

Jessica on

My 3 month old daughter is named Emery Ellen. I really had a hard time choosing her name because of how unusual and how it was traditionally a boys name. We really wanted a name with a “y” at the end, to go with her big brother, “Colby”. Avery is so popular and my friend had a baby 3 days after my baby was born and named her that. My other option was Chloe, but then my cousin named her baby Chloe 11 days before my baby was born. It left us with Aubrey and Emery and I was afraid people would call Aubrey, “Brie” for short, and then I would have Colby and Brie…. (cheese)
My mom isn’t too thrilled with her name of Emery, but I am hoping it will eventually gain popularity among little girls.

Dyan on

My daughter’s name is Freya Emery. We call her Freya. Freya is a Norse goddess of love, beauty and fertility. Emery is from my Mom’s name Emma. Instead of using the name Emma which is very popular, we used Emery. Some people said we picked a nice name for our daughter but some said no especially Emery is a name of a nail polish brand or sandpaper. But I love the meaning of the name Emery and I think that what matters most.