In my tenure as Baby Name Critic, I have seen many appellations that have given me pause. Wyatt Isabelle. Esmeralda Amada. Titan Jewell. (That was this morning.)

My job as critic, which I take very seriously, is to make sense of our celebrities' childrens' names and how they relate to our modern times. Why do they name their children after outlaws and gypsies and moons? Because they are insane people who cannot be reasoned with to make good decisions for their offspring.

No matter. Robert Downey Jr., an extremely profitable actor whose performance as an alcoholic journalist in Zodiac I very much enjoyed, has brought into this world a new girl human with his wife Susan, and she is named Avri Roel.

According to, Avri could stand for a number of things:

  • Alberta Veterinary Research Institute
  • Ambulatory Venous Retention Index
  • American Vintage Reissue
  • Australian Vital Records Index

As far as I know, Downey does not have any meaningful connections to these groups.

Here are some other theories behind the jumble of letters that is this baby's name:

  1. It is within the realm of possibility that Avri was conceived after a really good game of Scrabble, in which eight tiles remaining happened to spell out A-V-R-I-R-O-E-L, and she was named in honor of this.
  2. It is possible that Downey is secretly very close friends with Avril Lavigne and named his baby daughter after her.
  3. Avri could be short for Avraham. "Roel" is a Dutch name, pronounced ruhl, typically a diminutive for Roland. Did Robert Downey Jr. actually name his daughter Avraham Roland?

This one is a mystery deeper than the Zodiac.

This has been Baby Name Critic.

Leah Finnegan is Gawker's Baby Name Critic.

[Photo via AP]