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Boys’ Names: Names gone wild

Boys’ names have gone wild. You can hear a sudden growling on the popularity and starbaby lists, with sweet little babies being given such fierce animal appellations as Wolf and Puma, born-to-be-bad names like Bandit, Wilder, Maverick, Rogue and Rebel, Gunners with Colts, and others suggesting such heavy duty gear as Cannon and Diesel, as well as the names of powerful mythological gods like Thor and Ares and Mars.  There are lots of boys named Blaze, and even one starbaby called Fire.

What’s with the fashion for fierceness in boys’ names?  We see it as a wish to recapture traditional male strength and power along with an impulse to leave conventional civilization behind.  These names suggest old school bad boys in a brave new world, one in which boys still throw rocks and ride dirt bikes but also wear earrings and headbands.

Here are the fierce names we’re hearing today:

Buster

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Even though in the 1920’s and 30’s Buster became a belligerent tough guy name for movie mobsters and prizefighters, it still was used regularly for babies, and little boys were getting Buster Brown haircuts while their parents laughed at Buster (born Joseph) Keaton and admired athlete Buster (born Clarence) Crabbe who went on to play Tarzan and Buck Rogers. Buster reached a high of Number 240 in 1911 and stayed on the list through 1957. Recently Michelle Hicks & Johnny Lee Miller named their little boy Buster, so maybe it’s becoming legit again.

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