According to some media reports, the name Maceo is of Spanish origin and means "gift of God" — fitting because the Oscar winner, who is 47, called the pregnancy the "biggest surprise" of her life, as she thought she was "past the point where this could be a reality" — but that interpretation is not necessarily correct.
"Maceo is a name with some history but no clear origin," name expert and author Laura Wattenberg from BabyNameWizard.com tells omg!. "You'll hear it described as a Spanish and Italian form of Matthew, but that's really a guess. It's a popular guess because of Matthew's attractive derivation: from the Hebrew for 'gift of God.'"
In the United States, "you'll find a smattering of Maceos in every generation," she continues. "In the early 1900s, many were Italian immigrants and their children. In the 1970s, when saxophonist Maceo Parker was playing with James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic, we saw more African-American Maceos. One example is basketball player Maceo Baston, who was born in 1976."
Wattenberg says Maceo falls into the musical name category. In addition to Maceo Parker, there's also famed "Sweet Georgia Brown" composer Maceo Pinkard.
"It has a jazzy, energetic sound," she notes. "It's also a name that navigates across borders and cultures smoothly, which is a good fit for this multiethnic, globetrotting family."
Robert, of course, is easier to attribute. The popular name (meaning "bright" and "fame") comes from Martinez's father, boxer Robert Martinez. And while there is still some disagreement over whether Maceo-Robert is hyphenated (different reports have it different ways, and a rep for Berry has not yet responded to omg!'s request for comment), if it is, that's a French thing.
"Martinez is from France, where the hyphenated style — à la Jean-Luc — is much more classic for boys than in the U.S.," explains Wattenberg. "It also makes for a fine way to honor Olivier's father, Robert, without being a direct namesake."
No doubt when the dust settles, Berry will tell us all about her name inspiration. Who knows — maybe it's something her daughter (and Maceo-Robert's big sister!) Nahla helped select.
What do you think of the name Maceo? Weigh in below.
- Halle Berry
- Olivier Martinez
- Maceo Parker
- Robert Martinez
- Maceo Baston