Why Moxie CrimeFighter is Not That Bad

There is a group of celebrity baby names that never fails to elicit scorn from the public. Right up there with Jason Lee’s son Pilot Inspektor is Penn Jillette’s daughter, Moxie CrimeFighter. These names have become the gold standard among the odd celebrity baby name club.

While, I will not comment on Pilot Inspektor at this time, I feel Moxie CrimeFighter has been given unwarranted flack. Let’s talk about Moxie first since that is most likely the name Penn Jillette’s daughter uses day-to-day.

Let’s Play the If you like Molly, you’ll love _______ Game

We’ll start with the obvious similarity to the perfectly acceptable Molly. Molly has hovered close to the lower rung of the top 100 for about 25 years, and has never left the top 500 since 1880, the earliest year data is available. Molly is very much an established name that is anything but weird to most people. By replacing the L sound in Molly with an X, Moxie is the result.

The X Factor

Speaking of X’s. X has become a hot letter for names. Several names with prominent X’s have been very fashionable at the moment, such as Alexander, Maxwell, Felix, and Xavier. If you think these names are only fashionable on boys, think again. Name Berry recently listed their 12-Best X Names, which includes some girl names, such as Beatrix.

Moxie has a similar style as Pixie from the Name Berry list. I’ve never known a Pixie, but I have known someone with a very similar name. I knew a woman named Dixie and it wasn’t short for anything. Was her name unusual? Sure. Did her name come across as cutesy? A little bit, but that impression quickly faded once you met Dixie and learned she was the very opposite of cutesy.

Overall, does Dixie venture from the unexpected territory to the damaging to live with territory? No. Being an ambitious type, Dixie rose to VP of Sales before her 30th birthday and went on to become a successful entrepreneur. If Dixie can do it, then Moxie can too!

Inspired Meaning

And if you are going to become a successful entrepreneur, what better name to have than Moxie:

mox·ie [mok-see] noun Slang.
1. vigor; verve; pep.
2. courage and aggressiveness; nerve.
3. skill; know-how.
From dictionary.com

For the purists among us, the origin of Moxie isn’t too impressive. Moxie as a noun was established around the 1920s after the soft drink. Perhaps the commercial origins are a strike against Moxie. However, Moxie is one of those brand names that have become a word, such as Q-tip. While I would never advocate for naming a kid Q-tip, Moxie is very name-like. Not only due to the qualities I mentioned above, but due to a history of other common nouns becoming adapted as names.

Moxie falls into another classification of names that are coming back in style: virtue names or modern meaning names. Many fashionable names such as Faith and Hope fall into this group. Some like Amity and Verity are a little more unusual, but still fall into this same group.

If All Else Fails, Moxie is the Perfect Nickname

Even if Moxie might be too cute for some parents to put on the birth certificate, it makes a great nickname. Moxie can add to the already extensive list of nicknames for Margaret or would make a terrific nickname for Maxine, perhaps replacing Maxie and the unfortunate maxi-pad association. This unfortunate association may explain why Maxine on girls has languished, even though her brothers Max, Maxwell, and Maximillian have become a powerhouse team.

While probably not Penn Jilliette’s intention, Moxie shares enough qualities with current hot names to hit the mainstream. Perhaps on the more unusual end of the mainstream curve, but mainstream nevertheless.

Maybe I have made a convincing case for Moxie – or at least I hope. But perhaps many are still scratching their heads at the middle name CrimeFighter.

Middle Names Are Rarely Used, People

While my tastes in first names reminds me that I’m less adventurous than I thought (I was slow to embrace Thaddeus, and nickname names don’t always go over well with me), my tastes in middle names reminds me that I’m not as conservative as I thought.

For middle names, I’m an “anything goes” person. For parents who wish to get really creative, the middle name spot is the safest place to do it. CrimeFighter was intended as a joke, because Penn Jilliette and his wife don’t understand the point of middle names. Regardless of whether you agree with his reasoning, he’s not the first parent to use an off-the-wall middle name.

I know non-famous people who have gotten a little imaginative with middle names. In my childbirth class five years ago, Rob and I met this young couple who were expecting a boy. The couple planned to carry on the family tradition of giving boys two middle names, but with their own twist.

Traditionally the newborn son got his father’s two middle names, but this young expectant Dad didn’t like one of his middle names. Therefore, they planned to replace the second middle name with Zeppelin, to honor the band of which the couple had been fans for years.

The couple was bracing themselves for the onslaught of criticism from family that would surely follow. I remember telling Rob, This might surprise you, but I don’t think what this couple is doing is that big of a deal. I actually find it oddly charming.

Now if this couple had used Zeppelin for the first name, my opinion would have been very different.

Back to Moxie

While I never hope to meet a little CrimeFighter, I would love to meet a little Moxie. The name has an endearing kitschy quality with its commercial origins. Is Moxie substantive? The answer is: Moxie is no less substantive than Pixie or Dixie!

Readers: What do you think? Does Moxie have mainstream potential?

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  1. I think Moxie’s a great modern choice with a lot of positive vibes. Would love to see more of her in preference to many another name!

  2. I could never understand the hubbub around Moxie, either. She certainly has a modern sound, and if Lexie can be in the Top 100 in England&Wales and Roxie within the Top 1000 – I see no reason why Moxie can’t join them.

  3. Moxie Crimefighter is cool and daring – I’ve actually seen names of ordinary kids just as outside the box as this one.

    I think the whole “crazy celebrity baby names” thing is just a media beat-up. Eg Last year, the newspapers here referred to Hudson (son of Curtis Stone) as one of the wackier celeb names of 2011. I don’t know in what universe they live in that Hudson seems in any way unusual to them.

    • “Dweezil” is cool and daring. However Pilot Inspektor and Moxie Crimefighter are based on an ill-conceived attempt to be original. “Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii” (The real legal name of a Kiwi girl) is original but devastatingly cruel. George Foreman naming all 5 of his sons after him (the youngest being George Foreman VI ) , a daughter Georgetta (What’s wrong with Georgia?) and another Freeda George is ridiculous. You gotta admit that some celebrity names like Tu Morrow are just an attempt to out-crazy each other. Making a joke out of your kid’s name seems pretty immature. They aren’t you play-thing. They are a person just like you. Some of the names celebrities come up with sound like something I would’ve come up with for one of my toy bears when I was 4-years-old.

      “We are gathered here today to join Pilot Inspektor Lee and Moxie Crimefighter Jilette in marriage.”


  1. […] downright ridiculous to many of us, including me. And then I remind myself I recently wrote about Moxie, which has origins as a soft drink, and concluded it’s not really that bad as a name choice. […]

  2. […] fictional associations can be diluted with other name-like qualities. A perfect example would be Moxie. While Moxie happens to be a soft drink brand, it is also very similar to Molly, which is […]

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