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cowboy baby names

We often hear that a name has a lean and lanky ‘cowboy feel’—we’ve said it ourselves—but why is that? Why Clay and not Ray, why Bo and not Moe, Zane and not Wayne? Well a lot of it goes back to the westerns of the thirties to the fifties and sixties, both on the big and small screens, and to a few real life western heroes as well. So beyond the Texes and Slims and Dallases and Bucks, here are some of the most usable and cowboyish of the cowboy baby names.

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cowboy baby names

There’s just something about a cowboy name. So lean and lanky, with a relaxed, ambling swagger that calls up the (perhaps romanticized) romance of the Old West. From real life frontier heroes to the characters and stars of early movie westerns and 1950s TV shows, these names project a nostalgic image that’s pretty dang irresistible.

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Hyperlocal is a word you hear a lot today. There’s hyperlocal news and hyperlocal food, hyperlocal weather and hyperlocal — yeah, baby names.

What are the name trends where you live? Which popular names ring through every playground and crowd every class list? What kinds of names are considered cool, and what names do you NEVER hear?

In my diverse liberal suburb of New York City, for instance, names that are ethnically distinctive and unconventional when it comes to gender identity are definitely cool. Names you hear a lot include Henry (there are three on my short block), Zoe, Izzy, and my younger son’s name, Owen.

Please tell us where you live to help put your hyperlocal baby names report in context. If you’re not comfortable revealing your exact locale, you can say “a gentrifying neighborhood of London” or “a prosperous town in Silicon Valley.” But something vaguer like “a conservative small town in New England” works too.

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Nameberry Picks: Best Cowboy Names

cowboy

Heroes and villains, famous and infamous, real life, big and small screen characters and the actors who played them—there’s a whole genre of cowboy names that have a certain swagger and western twang all their own.

Here are a dozen of the best: who they were and why we like their names.

Beau(regard) Maverick was one of the B-named Maverick brothers in the long-running TV series, along with Bret, Bart and BrentBeau was played by future James Bond, Roger Moore, and the name Beau has retained both a southern drawl and a western twang.

Cole Younger (born Thomas Coleman) was a real-life Confederate guerilla during the Civil War, who then became an outlaw with the James-Younger gang. Cole has been in the Top 100 since 1997 and makes a strong but sensitive choice

Cheyenne Bodie was the lead character in the 1950s western TV series, Cheyenne, set right after the Civil War. A place name in many old cowboy movies, it became a legitimate first name with this show, and became a cowgirl name beginning in the eighties, reaching a high of 72 in 1998 and now ranking at Number 184.

Emmett Dalton was another bad boy—an outlaw member of the Dalton gang. Nowadays the name is associated with a character in the popular Twilight serieswhich helped propel Emmett up more than 200 spots in the past year, but it still has something of a far west feel.

Flint McCullough was a co-starring character on the seminal TV oater, Wagon Train.  Flint is the kind of heavy-metal macho moniker being considered by some parents today, along with cousins Steel and Stone.

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NAMES OF THE NEW WEST

cowboy names

Names from television and movie Westerns sometimes got a lot more adventurous than Josh and Jesse.In fact, Westerns are responsible for reviving scores of antiquated classics that might otherwise have disappeared completely, along with introducing unconventional animal and word names as firsts.Some Western character names from the classic shows and movies of the 50s and 60s that sound fresh and new, if a bit quirky, today:

ABELIA
ABIHU
ALBEN
AMELITA
AMOS
ARTOLA
ASH
AXEL
BARKER
BARN
BEAR
BO
BODIE
BOONE
CICERO
CLAY
CLEM
LAMBERT
LINUS
MOSS
NEWLY
PERCY
QUINT
RUFUS
THAD
WADE
ZEBULON

The newest Western names draw heavily on the place itself, or on Western-themed words.Some choices that have been used in the post-Bonanza world:

Boys

AUSTIN
DALLAS
DENVER
HOUSTON
MAVERICK
RIO
ROPER
RYDER
WEST

Girls

ARIZONA
CHEYENNE
NEVADA
SCOUT
SHILOH
SIERRA

Either

CANYON
DAKOTA
LARAMIE
PHOENIX
RENO

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