Category: cool names for boys
Midway through compiling this weekâ€™s list, I realized just how many great boysâ€™ names are out there.
This is a subject of some debate.Â Creativity in naming a son was long frowned on, and parents tended to fall back on the most familiar choices.Â In 1900, more than 6% of all newborns were named John, while just 5.25% answered to Mary.Â #2 name, William, was given to almost 5.3% of boys, but the #2 girl name, Helen, represented just under 2% of new births.Â The names change, but the pattern holds.Â In 1965, 4.3% of boys were Michael, and 3.3% of girls answered to Lisa.Â Generally speaking, more boys receive the most popular names.
Reasons are plentiful, and even the most daring namer of daughters may very well veer towards the classics for a son, leading to sibsets like James, Henry, and Persephone.Â But could this be the generation to challenge that pattern?
The spirit of Francis Scott Fitzgerald Â is alive and well.Â In the baby name world, Gatsby is one of the new attention-grabbing names on the block.Â In the world of entertainment, there is the theater piece Gatz, and now thereâ€™s eager anticipation for the latest version of The Great Gatsby, directed by Baz Lurmann and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Isla Fisher,which is Â scheduled to open at the end of the year.Â A propitious time, then, to look at the authorâ€™s approach to literary Â names.
Fitzgeraldâ€™s novels and stories are populated with people with ordinary names like Nick and Dick, with typical Jazz Age period choices such as Bernice and Rosalind and Marjorie for girls, Chester and Percy for men, and a number of sophisticated Princetonesque surnames. Â He played with name changes reflecting shifting identities as wellâ€”Jay Gatsby having been born James Gatz.
Whatâ€™s with the fashion for fierceness in boys’ names?Â We see it as a wish to recapture traditional male strength and power along with an impulse to leave conventional civilization behind.Â 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 weâ€™re hearing today:
Once upon a time, a century ago or so, Al was almost as commonplace a nickname as Joe or Jim, Bill or Bob. Â Al itself stoodÂ independentlyÂ at Number 298,Â Â a casual short form ofÂ popular standards Albert (in the Top 20 for 40+ years) and Alfred, which reached as high as 32, and others less common..
Al dropped off the list in 1944, but just becauseÂ it may not be as appealing a nickname Â today as, say, Cal or Hal,Â that’sÂ no reason toÂ dismiss some of theÂ interesting Al-starters availablet: for though Alexander and some of hisÂ offshoots have been popular for decades, thereâ€™s a whole contingent of other, neglected Al- namesÂ worthy ofÂ a fresh look.
So even if you havenâ€™t the slightest interest in ever using the nickname Al (though even he is starting to sound plausible again in this era of revived good-guy short forms),Â here are a dozenÂ Â semi-vanished members of this family of names worth reevaluating–though we wonâ€™t push as far as Algernon or Aloysius, Alcestis or Aladdin, or even Alvin.
ALARIC â€“This ancient name that goes back to the Kings of the Ostrogoths has a certain quirky charm that helps modernize it.Â A literary name thatâ€™s been used by authors from P. G. Wodehouse to Stephen King, Alaric might be recognized by contemporaries as a history teacher character on The Vampire Diaries.
On a recent tour through Nameberry’s mysterious inner vault — think of it as a vast industrial basement jammed with gears and pipes, or maybe the endless stacks of a big city library, except instead of chemicals or books, it’s full of names — I came across a lot of baby names that were attracting some attention, but not enough to make our popularity lists.
Names that fit in with Nameberry style, but aren’t getting suggested on the forums or in our own blogs the way that favorites such as Beatrice and Charlotte, Jasper and Finn are. Â That are attractive, distinctive, fashionable, unusual, yet are simply a bit quieter than their brothers and sisters who are getting noticed.
A lot of these names would make excellent and original substitutes for more obvious choices. Â In a new spin on our trademark If you like X, you’ll love Y format, here are some more surprising options to fill in for current favorites: