Bold Boy Names: A Brother for Wolfie


She loves bold boy names no one else is using. He says not so fast! How can they compromise on a name for Alexander “Wolfie” Wolfgang‘s brother?

Karina writes:

We’re expecting our second IVF miracle in October, a little brother for Alexander Wolfgang.

We struggled to name our first son. I had my heart set on Wolfgang. Alexander was only suggested when I was in labor, and he was three days old before we finally settled on it.

Now I feel like I don’t have anything that I love – and barely anything that I like!

My husband’s top picks are Luca, Dante, Felix, and Vincent. He’s also floated Henry and Edward. His biggest fear with Wolfgang was name teasing.

I don’t mind Vincent, but the nicknames don’t appeal to me. Henry and Edward seem boring, and I don’t like Dante or Felix.

Other names I considered for our first son include Romeo, Orson, Laszlo, and Nikolai with the nickname Niko. (But my husband is Lebanese, and Niko doesn’t work because it sounds like a rude word.) This time, I’ve suggested Louis, Luciano, Nicolas, and Valentino, but I’m not sure I can commit to them.

I loved Wolfgang from the moment it popped into my head. The informal, cute Wolfie for a baby, Wolf for a teen, Wolfgang for an adult, the connection to Mozart, the unusual yet familiar nature of it.  My son is still called Wolfie to this day (almost 2 years later) because that’s just The Name for him.

Maybe I need to let go of that expectation for this pregnancy and adjust my criteria and it’ll make the job of picking a name easier?

The Name Sage replies:

I think it’s time to work backwards.

You found a great compromise name for your first son by coupling your all-time favorite boy name with a far more conventional first. You get to call him Wolfie, but your son gets to introduce himself as Alex if he ever finds his nickname too different.

This time, it sounds like you’re trying to find a first name that satisfies your husband’s more traditional tastes, and appeals to your love of dramatic, artistic, and bold baby names for boys.

This name might not exist!

A compromise choice like Luciano probably goes a little farther than your husband would like. But it’s not exciting or meaningful enough to thrill you. It’s not a bad way to choose a name, but it doesn’t seem to be working, right?

Let’s start with middle names like Wolfgang instead, and then find a compatible first.

We’re looking for a name with a wow factor, right? Something longer with a great nickname. The kind of name that transforms as your child transitions from nursery school to adult life.

Balthazar – Call him Bash. It’s one of the bold names that we all recognize, but, like Wolfgang, no one is using it.

Cassian Cassian can be pronounced with three syllables or two. It’s a little like Lucian, but even rarer. Cas/Caz and Cash seem like the obvious short forms.

Dashiell – If Bash and Cash have come up, how about Dash? Dashiell has literary roots, thanks to Dashiell Hammett. It’s a great mix of polished charm and high energy.

Finnian – There may be plenty of boys called Finn, but Wolfie and Finn are kind of great together. And most of those boys are just Finn, or maybe Finley or Finnegan. Finnian and Wolfgang were both given to similar numbers of boys last year – 125 for Wolfgang; 160 for Finnian.

Horatio – There’s something brave and adventurous about Horatio. It sounds like a brother for Wolfgang. It might shorten to the friendly Ray, which feels like another bonus.

Ignatius – The first name that came to mind was fiery Ignatius, with a rich list of bold nicknames. There’s adorable Iggy, approachable Nat or Nate, and one more rhymes-with-ash option, Nash.

Ludovic – It sounds like Lou sounds might appeal to both you and your husband. Ludovic is one of the rarest of the Lou– names. It’s actually a cousin to Louis. He could be Lou, Ludo, Luc, or Vic. Or maybe even Lucky?

Percival – A dramatic, romantic choice, Percival might be a lot of name in the first spot – just like Wolfgang. But it’s perfect as a daring middle, with nicknames Percy and Perry ready-made.

Thaddeus – Compared to most names on this list, Thaddeus seems pretty mainstream – after all, it makes the US Top 1000 most years. But it’s still offbeat and interesting, with nicknames from Teddy to Thad/Tad available for life-long wear.

Louis and Nicolas seem like the closet parallels to Alexander as given names. They’re both traditional choices with a long history of use. Would you consider something like Louis Ignatius, called Iggy? I like Nicolas Balthazar, called Bash, too.

But I do think they key is to begin in the middle, with a list of bold boy names as exciting as you might wish. Then find a solid first name to anchor it, one that you can like – after you’ve found a middle that you truly love.

Over to the readers: what are your best wildly daring and bold boy names, preferably with three syllables plus? Can you suggest some combinations for Karina and her husband?

Also check out: Bold Feminine Names

About the Author

Abby Sandel

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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