Preppy boys’ names ending with S: Ames, Keats, and Yates

posted by: Abby View all posts by this author

By Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

There’s something about a name that ends with the letter s.

They’re preppy.  Sometimes they sound plural or possessive.  But they’re also fresh.  In our age of Aiden and Asher, we’re not expecting to meet a kiddo with an s ending name.

I’m not necessarily talking about Charles, Linus, Thomas, Marcus, Atticus, or Louis, though some of those names feel very current in 2013.

Choices like Williams, Roberts, and Evans are too close to common first names to exactly fit the style, either.

Instead, I’m thinking of names like the jazzy, literary Miles.  There are more of them than you might guess:

Ames – As in Iowa, but also derived from a given name that means friend.

Bates – Though the dignified Downton Abbey character might make this one feel too grand for a little boy.

BrooksOne of the most popular of this crop of surname names, boosted by country music’s hit-making duo Brooks and Dunn.

Davis – A surname spin on the evergreen David.

Eames – Husband and wife design team Charles and Ray Eames lend their surname a healthy dose of midcentury modern style.

Ellis – There’s something gentle and literary about Ellis, a surname ultimately related to the Biblical given name Elijah, as well as some similar sounding Welsh names.

Gates – Yes, there’s Bill, of Microsoft fame.  But Gates feels like an upbeat, approachable possibility.  Curtis Sittenfeld gave the name to a female student in her novel Prep.

Harris – There’s Henry and Harry and Harrison, all Top 1000 choices.  So why isn’t Harris heard more often?

Hayes – The nineteenth century US president Rutherford B. Hayes is one notable, but odds are that parents considering Hayes will be attracted to his sound.

Hollis – It’s related to the holly tree, and some might associate it with the girls’ name Holly.  But Hollis also has a Southern, gentlemanly appeal.

Jones – The first place I heard a kid called Jones was a Park Slope playground.  Jones has a jazzy, bold vibe – more like Miles than Keats.

Keats – A preppy, poetic option.

Niles – The most famous Niles was the younger Dr. Crane, Frasier’s brother on the long-running television series.

ParksParker is popular, and brings to mind green space.  Parks is a similar possibility, but much less common.

YatesFox News anchor Megyn Kelly has two Y-named children.  Her daughter is Yardley, and her son answers to Yates.  Like Keats, this name is rich with literary style.

Would you use an ends-with-s name for a son?  Which one?  Are there others that should be on this list?

Abby Sandel runs the popular website Appellation Mountain and contributes the weekly Nameberry 9, rounding up the names in the news, for us every Monday.

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About the author


Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at
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29 Responses to “Preppy boys’ names ending with S: Ames, Keats, and Yates”

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DeMers Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 12:05 am

I like Davis, Jones and Niles.

miriannco Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 1:34 am

I know brothers Miles & Ellis. I like Hayes the best.

frustratedauthor Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 1:56 am

I love Ellis, Hayes, and Hollis.

Bates makes me think of the Bates Motel. 🙁

roseate6 Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 6:57 am

I know a teenage Giles, who is indeed the embodiment of preppy sophistication. I also know a young lad Anders with a very Cape Cod sense of style, so he is further reinforcing this article’s take on the -s ender!

MaggieSmoller Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 7:42 am

So many good names. It makes me sad our last name starts with S!

Pam Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 7:48 am

I hear you, Maggie! I love s-ending names but they’re out for us because of our last name.

CynthiaJane Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 8:05 am

Some of these are great names! I like Harris, Davis and Ellis. I love Keats and Yates for their literary connections – the poets are two of my favorites. Brooks makes me think of Brooks Brothers clothing company or an English butler – I don’t know why. My favorite is Hayes – great sound , very New England, very preppy and very cool!

detailsgirl Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 9:01 am

Gates is also the name of actress Gates McFadden from Star Trek the Next Generation, so it is wearable on a girl.

capturedcastle Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 9:27 am

I love Hollis (for either sex) but I don’t think s-ending names sound good with our last names (starts with “wine” so the s trails into it and makes it sound like swine…the earthy yet elegant Hollis turns into Holla Swine******)

stripedsocks Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 10:29 am

I like Miles a lot.

Bates is all Psycho to me. I can see the shower scene as soon as I hear it.

My favourite -s ending boys names other than Miles aren’t preppy, they’re the “big names” – Lazarus, Zacharias, etc. and they’re mostly all (for reasonable reasons) consigned to the MN spot. Atticus’s even clunkier cousins.

Actually, I don’t hate Hollis. I do think it’s got a girly feel to it but I could consider that.

I just don’t have enough preppy in me I guess. Yupster is as far as I go.

KateMP91 Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 10:56 am

I know two little Joneses. One boy and one girl.

Brooks has been on and off my short list since I have had a short list, it’s currently off but I still like it.

I also really like the name Hayes, but I would prefer it on a girl.

I feel like Briggs could easily be on this list as well!

KateMP91 Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 10:56 am

I know two little Joneses. One boy and one girl.

Brooks has been on and off my short list since I have had a short list, it’s currently off but I still like it.

I also really like the name Hayes, but I would prefer it on a girl.

I feel like Briggs could easily be on this list as well!

mariah778 Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 1:59 pm

What about James? He’s my favorite name, and fits with all these jazzy names!

Madelyn Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I like Davis, Eames, Ellis, Hollis, and Keats.

Detailsgirl beat me to it, but the first person I thought of when I saw Gates was Gates McFadden.

tori101 Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 5:12 pm

My favourites are Miles, Brooks, Ellis, Harris (I dated a Malaysian Harris he was lush but a player), Jones, Keats, and Yates. Totally agree with Mariah778 I absolutely adore James!

Anotherkate Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I’m another person who is bummed that my future babies will have a last name starting with S, because these names are right up my alley. I love Hollis. Hayes and Ellis are two more that would definitely be on my list as well.

Mom2CessaNSy Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 8:47 pm

We chose the name Josias–the Greek variant of the Hebrew Josiah–for our infant son. We love it, though we’ve had some “how do you pronounce that?” moments and for whatever reason almost everyone tunes out before they hear the final “s” so they think his name is actually Josiah. A lot of Biblical names sound fresher in the Greek–Zacharias, Elias, Jeremias, etc. There is definitely something posh about that final sibilance.

jame1881 Says:

June 6th, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Surprisingly, I’m liking Keats. I like Keegan and I like surname names, so I guess that goes together! Plus I think the boy in the photo for this just looks like a Keats 🙂

ruolan Says:

June 7th, 2013 at 3:21 am

I like several of these, especially Harris, Davis, and Niles (this isn’t overwhelmingly Fraiser?! yay). My favorite though is Jonas.

emilybk Says:

June 7th, 2013 at 3:17 pm

My daughter’s name is Cates, very similar to the names on this list. It’s a family surname.

MerMaiden6 Says:

June 9th, 2013 at 7:50 am

I’ve been digging Eames as a nickname for Edward James for a while now, since another Berry suggested it as an alternative to EJ. Still hoping DH will come around so we can consider using it!

Our last name ends in -er so there are lots of first names that get eliminated quickly that I would otherwise really like (Sawyer, Archer, etc.) — I feel the pain of those who like some on this list, but have an S-name to contend with! However, this batch does work with our last name, and I LOVE Gates, Keats, Miles, and Yeats.

MaewynMannix Says:

June 9th, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I know a sexual deviant named Ellis!

MaewynMannix Says:

June 9th, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I know a sexual deviant named Ellis!

MaewynMannix Says:

June 9th, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I know a sexual deviant named Ellis!

Madelyn Says:

June 14th, 2013 at 12:10 am

Just thought of another one to add to the list- Townes!

KristenLeah Says:

June 20th, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Ooh, good call Madelyn! I know a baby girl named Townes! So cool, I love it.

LuMary Says:

July 11th, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Add Cates and Shields to the list.

mom3 Says:

August 18th, 2013 at 2:46 am

I know a surname Bates & he sometimes gets the dreaded taunt of ‘Master Bates’…. :-/ iukwim.
Hayes is my favourite from the list. Also love Miles, Hollis. Will always adore James. I know a 2yr old twin Ellis – very dashing.

ollielulu16 Says:

January 22nd, 2014 at 7:40 pm

I know a grown man named Powers. It’s a pretty cool name, and it suits him well.

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