|David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man in "The Suicide Squad"|
Meaning: "My Father is a Light"
Other Forms: Avner, Abenner, Avenir, Ábner
I've been trolling the depths of the top 1000, on the lookout for new and rising names, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Abner, a name that seemed destined to be stuck alongside similar "old fogey" names like Reginald and Ernest, deep down in the pits of name nerdery (may I clarify I find Reginald simply romantic?). Abner has just graced the charts at #971 after being absent for eighty-two years! I have to ponder what has caused it to be brought back from a seemingly permanent death? Perhaps we'll find out, below.
In the Bible, Abner is not only the cousin of King Saul but the commander of his army, as well. After Saul's death, Abner supported Saul's son, Ish-bosheth, in his bid for the throne. Meanwhile, David was reigning in Hebron as King of Judah, and a bloody civil war was breaking out between Judah and the Northern tribes who recognized Ish-bosheth as the rightful heir. But Ish-bosheth's favor ran out when Abner desired one of his father's concubines, and he was cast out, leaving him to turn to none other than the man he had been working against, David. He promised to gather support among the Northern tribes for his new King, but was unfortunately slain by Joab, the commander of David's army. Despite their history, Abner was given an honorable funeral in Hebron, where his grave still stands to this day.
Abner comes from the Hebrew elements av, meaning "father", and ner, which means "lamp or light". It's been in use since the Protestant Reformation, and saw some popularity amongst the Puritans. My theory is that parents are seeing this name in a new light in thanks to former boxer Abner Mares, who is now a color commentator for Showtime. I have no doubt it will continue to rise, especially since the second Suicide Squad film is out, featuring the character, "Polka-Dot Man", aka Abner Krill. What are your thoughts on Abner?