Cool Name of the Week: Louisa 28210

There are characters you love to hate. And then there are characters you love to hate, that turn around and surprise you. And that's exactly what happened last night with Merle Dixon, one of a pair of badass brothers on The Walking Dead. While Merle's little brother Daryl has been a fan favorite, it's hard to imagine that Merle hasn't become one after last night.

The name Merle might seem a little too old-fashioned to resurrect—though it's actually a charming French name that means blackbird, and a name I wouldn't mind seeing make a comeback as an alternative to the popular Miles. But Dixon has promise as part of that surname-as-a-name trend. It has the cool "x" factor, and it's a relative of the classic name Richard. Its biggest claim to fame (at least, pre-zombie apocalypse TV shows) is Jeremiah Dixon, one of a pair of surveyors who settled a colonial era border dispute and determined the line between Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia—essentially, the line between North and South. Other than that, it's been used as a first name for characters in a few nighttime soaps, but is still relatively unheard of—which may make it intriguing for those looking for a slightly more offbeat name. (You might consider it for your son if you're a fan of the uberpopular Dylan.)

A name like Dixon needs a short, sharp middle name. I'm favoring James (as in Jesse James), West or Jude.

What do you think of the baby name Dixon? Would you add that to your boys' name list, or do you think it's a little too out there?

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Photo: Pregnant woman via Ronald Summers/