Category: boy names
Let’s say you’re naming a son.
You’re a buttoned-up kind of family, and the classics seem like the right route.
The only problem?
Your nephew is James, your favorite cousin is expecting a Henry, and William is your BFF’s #1 choice. Charles was a frontrunner, except there’s already a little Charlie two doors down – and she’s a girl.
What’s a parent to do? Go further back, of course.
One of our favorite fantasies here on Nameberry is to name imaginary families. Today’s challenge: Tell us what names you’d choose for two brothers.
Two boys’ names with matching initials? Traditional family names, or maybe a modern androgynous pair?
And how do your feelings about raising boys and boy name trends today factor into your decision?
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: