It wouldn’t be a surprise if today, or very soon, you will be spending some time with Jacob Black and Isabella Marie Swan — more affectionately known as Bella.

“Eclipse,” the third installment in the Twilight series hits movie theaters today, with enough vampirism and lycanthropy to last until late 2011, when the fourth film in the saga is slated to come out.

The Twilight craze  is so pervasive that Jacob and Isabella were the most popular baby names of 2009, according to the Social Security Administration.

Jacob has been at the top of the boys’ names list since 1999, but this is Isabella’s first time as the top girl’s name. So, there’s no denying the effect pop culture has on anthroponyms.

In fact, over the past few weeks, South African hospitals have experienced a World Cup baby-naming fever. One woman named her daughter Fifa, after soccer’s international governing body, FIFA. Another couple named their twins Bafana and Mexico, the first two teams to play in this year’s World Cup. (“Bafana Bafana” is the team name for host country South Africa.)

But back to the more pressing issue at hand: Whence come the names Jacob and Bella?

In the Book of Genesis, Jacob was the name of Isaac’s son. In Hebrew, the name is Ya’akov, meaning heel- or leg-puller. Jacob had a twin brother Esau, who was born first. Hence, Jacob followed on the heels of Esau. Ya’akov also went by another name: Yisra’el, or Israel, which means to “persevere with God.”

Isabella’s etymology is a bit less clear. The name is believed to be a Spanish color name, meaning “greyish yellow.” (The name Bella has Italian roots, meaning “beautiful” or “fair.”)

And here’s an added Twilight word bonus: “Eclipse” is being released in IMAX, which is an amalgamation (or portmanteu) of two words — “image” and “maximum.” Impress your friends. Then sit back and enjoy the show.


  1. wolf tamer and coal miner -  February 12, 2014 - 3:59 am

    Well, “Jacob” and “Isabella” are nice names, but Twilight is not that great.

  2. buy boots cheap -  December 17, 2013 - 2:33 am

    There is definately a great deal to know about this issue.
    I like all the points you have made.

  3. Jim -  November 21, 2013 - 4:19 am

    Indeed an informative article. You know what even i have visited baby names sites and suggest a names to my friend. I am also regular visitor of babynology.com, Which helps to me collect unique baby names with meaning and origin.

  4. Earthling123 -  September 14, 2012 - 1:59 pm

    Why haven’t they mentioned anything about Edward’s name? I’m not a Twilight obsessive, but I do know that Edward is one of the main characters in the story. More “important” than Jacob.

    Is the name Jacob more popular only because females think that Taylor Lautner is “sexy” and “hot”? I assume so.

    If I had a kid when I was older, I wouldn’t want to name him/her Jacob or Isabella… I like the name Jayden. Of course, I’m too young to have one, I’m in middle school, but I have a friend named Jayden and the name also appeared on the 2011 top baby boy name list. The list is on another blog somewhere on this site.

  5. rachel -  August 13, 2012 - 3:04 pm

    it’s similar to this but have some differnces

  6. rachel -  August 13, 2012 - 3:02 pm

    has anyone seen castle ?

  7. Jacob -  June 11, 2012 - 8:22 am

    Because the names are used in a popular series doesn’t mean that that is why the name is popular. Jacob has been near the top for 15 years.
    Twilight came out in 2005. “This is Isabella’s first time as the top girl’s name. So, there’s no denying the effect pop culture has on anthroponyms.” no other factors could possibly have influenced this? None at all?

  8. Stella -  May 29, 2012 - 10:50 pm

    Isabella is too feminine… Rachel sounds rather forceful and strong.

  9. Stella -  May 29, 2012 - 10:49 pm

    For girls I’ll go for Tally (as in Scott Westerfeld’s Tally Youngblood) Short, sweet and original.
    Or maybe Rachel of K. A. Applegate’s

  10. Chantal -  May 17, 2012 - 9:37 am

    I have to say, I for one am planning to name my future children after the Harry Potter series, and not the idiotic Twilight series.

    For a boy I would name him Rune Sirius, or Rhys William (after ancient runes, Sirius Black, my best friend Rhys and Bill (William) Weasley).

    For a girl I would name her Lillian Clara, or Kendra Louise (after Lily Potter, my great grandma, Albus’ mother, and my other great grandma).

  11. The Cheshire Cat -  April 4, 2012 - 8:54 am

    I don’t care what Jacob’s name means, he’s f***ing hot!

  12. oniya -  February 26, 2012 - 4:17 pm

    you are a bat when you died what you want.

  13. Charley -  December 27, 2011 - 10:38 am

    Argh i mean I WOULDNT name my kid Isabella lol

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