Category: boy names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
When you think of classic boys’ names, chances are that the first three that pop to mind are John, James and William. Of the three, William is, much like female counterparts Elizabeth, Mary and Margaret, probably the richest in its multiplicity of variations, nicknames, girl versions, etc. Here’s a rundown of the main man and his manifestations.
William—For four hundred years, William was second only to John as the most widely used name in the English-speaking world, and even now is the fifth most prevalent boys’ name in the US, given to almost 17,000 baby boys last year. With Germanic roots, William was introduced to England by William the Conqueror, and has long been a royal name in that country; it has belonged to no fewer than four US presidents and countless notables from Shakespeare to the present popular high-profile prince.
Not only is she suffering from serious morning sickness with Baby #2, everyone from late night talk show hosts to gossip columnists worldwide is busy speculating on her due date, whether #2 will be a princess or a prince, and, of course, what they’ll name the newest royal.
Naming any boy – whether he’s coming home to a castle or a condo – can become a battle between tradition and fresh starts.
There’s a new class of boys’ names trending today that has a short clipped sound, contains only one syllable, is undeniably masculine yet not traditionally so. Many of these boys’ names barely existed a generation or two ago: They’re definitely not your father’s or grandfather’s baby names.
But in some ways, they are the heirs to names like Glenn and Craig and Sean that took over in the 1960s and 70s from the traditional Bills and Toms. They seek to reinvent masculinity while preserving qualities like strength and energy.
But I’d like to focus today on those boys’ names that are newer and, some may say, fresher than Jack or Jude. In 1970, most of these boys’ names barely squeaked onto the Social Security extended list, given to only a handful of baby boys. Today, most are on the Top 1000, many of them moving up quickly.
The new boys’ names on the block include:
Last week was the girls’ turn; now, we’re going to invite you to list your Top 5 boys’ names.
These can be names you’ve already used or are planning to use for a son, or just may be your five favorite names for boys.
If you can’t limit yourself to five, you can add runners up. And tell us why you love these five names above all others, if you have the time and energy!
It’s been noted before that one of the most striking trends when analyzing American baby names is the rise in popularity of boys’ names ending with the letter ‘n’ over the past few decades. What I haven’t seen is a visualization that truly demonstrates the scale of this phenomenon. And for a good reason; it’s difficult to show trends over time in 26 variables. So I made this animated GIF of bar graphs; pay attention to the ‘n’ after the mid-70s.