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henry5

Why does Henry consistently rank as one of the top two Nameberry favorite boys’ names? (Finn is the other one.)

Because in many ways Henry is the most perfect of the classic boys’ names—as historic as James and John and William –yet with a quirkier edge that makes it seem modern, and even hip.

Henry has a lot going for it.  Let us count the ways:

HENRY IS POPULAR, WELL-LIKED, BUT NOT EPIDEMICALLY TRENDY.

At #67 on the Social Security list last year, Henry was given to a little over 6,000 boys across the country—as compared to almost 22,000 Jacobs.  Henry was much more commonly heard in the past, having been #10 in 1900, 12 in the 1910s, 18 in the twenties, 25 in the thirties, then dipping to a low of 146 in 1994, after which it started its edge back up.

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There are the eternal boys’ classics that never leave the higher echelons of popularity—names like John, James, William and Daniel.

But then there are those that move in and out of style, names that can appear timeless in one period and then seem tired and fusty in another. These names, once at the top of their class, are now nearer the bottom—in one case having slipped away completely.

Yesterday we looked at forgotten girls’ classics. Today we bring you a dozen classic boys’ names that have fallen off the radar but deserve a fresh look.

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Boys’ Names: What’s your style?

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Today’s Question of the Week:  What’s your style for naming a son?  When it comes to boys’ names, how would you categorize what type you like best?

Traditional classic—as in James?

Ancient classic—as in Augustus?

Old Testament—as in Josiah?

Trendy–as in Hudson?

Powerboy –as in Axel?

Global – as in Enzo?

Nature– as in River?

Nickname—as in Charlie?

Grandpa—as in Arthur?

Great-Grandpa—as in Oscar?

Nouveau –as in Jaxon?

Hipster—as in Ace?

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Cool Baby Names: The -Er Names

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See all our lists of cool baby names here.

Cool baby names often share a certain something: an initial (like O), an origin (like Irish), or a sound — like -er at the end.

Blame it on Jennifer and Christopher. What those two mega-popular names have in common is their unusual –er ending, which launched a name sound that holds a lot of appeal to the contemporary ear.

Dozens of the cool baby names for boys today share the –er ending, along with a handful of choices for girls. Some of these are traditional first names but more are surname-names and occupational names.

Of course, Jennifer and Christopher were not the only popular names or even the first to feature –er at their end. Long-used –er names include Peter and Alexander, other trendy 1980s choices are Amber and Heather, and widely-used popular names that end in –er include such divergent choices as Oliver and Winter, Skyler and Spencer, River and Ryker, Harper and Hunter.

And then, as happens with name trends, there are dozens of choices that are more unusual and more stylish. Among the most appealing are the traditional boys’ names that share the –er ending:

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Click here to see all boys’ names.

The other day we brought you the classic girls’ names: those that had been among the Top 1000 for all of the 130 years the U.S. government has been tracking baby names.

The boys’ group of classic boys’ names as defined the same way is nearly twice as large, encompassing 208 names to the girls’ 114. As with the girls’ names, we broke the classic boys’ names down into categories.

There are the Core Classics, about 20 percent of the group, which include those names everyone commonly thinks of as classics:  John, Henry, William.  Then there are the Biblical names that have endured in modern usage, from Moses to Matthew. Variations and short forms such as Anton and Andy make two more groups of names that have consistently been in the Top 1000.

And then there are those names that are quantitatively more enduring that you might guess: Harley? Riley?  Hard to believe, yet the numbers bear it out. And then there are the Outliers, names whose continued use defies explanation and in some cases, sanity.

All of this gives you a wider range of options in classic boys’ names than you might initially think.  Any of the following qualify.

Core Classics

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