Category: unusual boys’ names
I have a friend, a pretty quirky guy, who has one of those generic boys’ names: Bill. I was thinking recently what an advantage it is for Bill to be named Bill rather than something like Jasper or Jarvis, one of those boys’ names that’s his equal in quirkiness. Bill takes the edge off his eccentric attitudes and offbeat style. It’s almost like the name Bill runs interference for my friend, telling the world: Don‘t worry, he may seem odd, but at heart he’s just a regular guy.
Of course, today naming your child Bill wouldn’t have the same effect. Bill is too mid-century a name and so seems old-fashioned or stodgy, not a regular guy of 2018 or 2025 at all. It’s one of those names that count as Regular Guy Names for dads or grandpas, but not for babies. These include:
Last week we brought you our underground list of most popular girls’ names 2011; now it’s the boys’ turn.
But we’ve got a quieter, less obvious, but potentially more interesting list for you: those boys’ names that don’t make the Top 100 but that are attracting a dramatic rise in interest in 2011 compared with 2010.
While not all of these names are destined for future popularity, the baby namer in search of a name that will feel as fresh in ten years as it does today should take heed. Unlikely as it may seem, the ultracool Booker may be tomorrow’s Cooper or Parker; Alden might be as hot as Aiden by 2015.
Our list of secretly popular boys’ names 2011:
Many people—berries included –sometimes complain that it’s harder to find names for a boy than a girl, that we’re running low on male names that are usable but not overused (outside of or as far down the Top 1000 as possible), interesting, distinctive, appealing, and authentic—names that would fit into our old Fitting In/Standing Out category. But don’t give up the ship—there are still any number of names that belong in that golden triangle, and here we offer eight of the best underused boys’ names.
1. Auberon/Oberon—This pair of boys’ names is actually a twofer, because though they sound the same, they have somewhat different visual images: the Au-beginning lends a certain softness that the starker O-starter doesn’t have. Auberon might be a variant of Aubrey—the grandfather of writer Auberon Waugh’s (son of Evelyn), for example, was called Aubrey. Oberon is the Shakespearean spelling, used for the King of the Fairies in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, based on a thirteenth century French fairy character. Both versions have a strong but creative feel, and could go by the attractive nickname Bron.
2. Benno –Here’s one lively o-ending boy’s name that’s been overlooked, despite the familiarity of its ben beginning. A German name meaning ‘bear’ and also a novel variant of Benjamin, it came to attention in the U.S. via the father and son duo of Benno Schmidt Sr and Jr. Senior was the venture capitalist who invented the term venture capitalist and Junior was the President of Yale University. Benno is also a saint’s name, belonging to the twelfth century Saint Benno of Meissen, the patron of fishermen, weavers, and the city of Munich.
Scanning the popularity charts of some of the current most popular and stylish baby names (yeah, that’s how I spend my spare time), I noticed something fascinating the other day. Many of them – Ava, Ella, Peyton, Aiden, Emmett, even number one Isabella – were at the very bottom of the Top 1000 in 1990.
That means that they were rarely used when the parents of today – most popularly named Jennifer and Melissa, Christopher and Jason – were born, but were starting to rise up the charts by the time Jennifer was drawing hearts around Jason’s name in her Geometry notebook.
By that theory (who says baby name trends prediction isn’t a science?), we should be able to predict which names will be most popular 20 years from now by combing the bottom of today’s Top 1000.
Of course, not every name down in the 800s and 900s is destined for baby name greatness. But we see the following as likely popular choices for your grandchildren.
So you think you’ve found a secret baby name. One that nobody has ever discovered before. Or a sleeping gem neglected by other baby namers.
And maybe you have. But the distressing news is that a lot of the names that parents think are secret finds are really being scoped out at the same time by a lot of other parents.
How do we know? Because we’ve analyzed which names are spiking the highest in nameberry views at the start of 2011 compared with 2010, and among the biggest risers are obscure picks and long-neglected classics.
What makes these names suddenly so hot? For the most part, it’s hard to say. All we can tell you for sure is that they are hot — a lot hotter than you might guess.
Here, the 50 hottest obscure names and how high their traffic has jumped: