Celebrity Names Blog

On Libertad, Gael Garcia Bernal's Rebel-Luxe Baby Name

On Libertad, Gael Garcia Bernal's Rebel-Luxe Baby Name
ANG/Fame Pictures

Actors Gael García Bernal and Dolores Fonzi have welcomed a daughter named Libertad. Stylish namers, they are also parents to Lázaro

Libertad shares a lot with her English counterpart, Liberty. Both names derive from the Anglo-Norman word meaning 'freedom,' and both have seen action in revolutionary slogans. In the US, "Give me liberty or give me death!" is a cry attributed to Patrick Henry and credited with inspiring Virginia to enter the Revolutionary War. In Mexico, "Tierra y Libertad" is a cry associated with leaders of the Mexican Revolution and credited with showing the important link between land ownership and political freedom.

This sense that Liberty cozies up with history is exactly why people choose it. In The Baby Name Wizard, Laura Wattenberg writes:

This meaning name surfaces at historical moments when people contemplate their freedoms. Lots of little Liberties were born at the end of WWI; during the 1976 bicentennial celebration; and again in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The name's message speaks with equal power to people at both ends of the political spectrum.

But like all the best names, this one has opposing stories to tell. For afficianados of fabric, Liberty has quite an opposite connotation from the gritty, revolutionary vibe. By the 1880s, London's Liberty department store was known for its style preferences (Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau) and the beauty of its textiles. You can find Liberty print fabric today, made up into fine frocks with fancy price tags. It's a crisp cotton, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, covered by "the intricate (often floral) decorative patterns produced or sold by Liberty." Like Velvet, also used as a name, Liberty fabric evokes the luxe life.

Libertad's got its own glossy sheen; it's the name for gold and silver Mexican bullion coins. 

Joey Lawrence, best known as Blossom's cute-but-doofus older brother, caused chatter when he pre-announced the name of his daughter Liberty Grace several months before her birth. Casey Kasem also has a little Liberty, daughter Liberty Irene.

Libby, a cute and peppy nickname for Liberty, makes the name more versatile and may explain parents' willingness to adopt it. But it seems everything's sexier in Spanish. Liberty and Lazarus are certainly interesting, and come with plenty of associations. But we think their appeal pales in comparison to the exotic and fashionable Libertad and Lázaro.

What do you think of Libertad and Lazaro? Do you prefer them to Liberty and Lazarus?

--L.R. 

Comments

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April 12, 2011 11:39 AM
By Jennie

I love this stylish sib set and love your assessment of Liberty;s two sides!

April 12, 2011 12:13 PM
By miri (not verified)

I guess Libby is a better nn than Bertie.

April 12, 2011 12:37 PM
By Kristin (not verified)

I love Lázaro! Sounds like a very cool sib set.

April 12, 2011 8:38 PM
By Faye (not verified)

I love it! Libertad is a beautiful name.

Also interesting: Lazarus is the last name of the poet (Emma Lazarus) who's credited with the "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" poem on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, so even though it's likely unintentional, the names are linked historically (at least in translation).

April 13, 2011 7:31 AM
By Marie (not verified)

My sister named her son Lazarus, however, she spelled it Laczarus and his nickname is Czar. So I love the name Lazarus. His brother is named Legend. I think both names are unique and fun, not many people with these types of name anymore.

May 15, 2011 12:29 AM
By Alma (not verified)

I can't help but think of the famous Mexican actress, Libertad Lamarque. She was considered Mexico's acting queen.

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