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Bold Boy Names: What Goes with Riggins?

July 17, 2018 Abby Sandel

Remember Riggins? His family is back for another boy name! Because if it’s difficult to decide whether or not to use an out-there name for a son, imagine what it’s like to name his brother!

Jocelyn writes:

I’m back for more advice! I previously questioned you on my family and friends’ reaction to naming our son Riggins Blaine, which we did.

Now I am pregnant again and it’s another boy. We struggled so much coming up with a name for Riggins, we are both clueless now.

Our daughters are named Kylee Jo and Adrian Reece. We have discussed using the name William Owen (William after my father).

But I don’t want Riggins to feel like his name sticks out like a sore thumb. I love his name and it suits him. The girls have family-inspired names, and Riggins’ middle is a family name, too.

My husband’s only suggestion for naming this boy has been Hardy and I’m not a fan.

I guess I’m trying to ask if we should stick to the traditional family names, or should I find something unique to go with Riggins?

Our last name is very common so unique isn’t such a bad idea to me.

The Name Sage replies:

I’m so glad you used the name you love for your son!

Here’s what I hear: you’re torn between a traditional family name, or another name so unique it’s almost one-of-one.

But there’s plenty of middle ground to consider. Remember when Michael Phelps and Nicole Johnson named their son Boomer? It seemed like they’d never be able to name a second child. But the couple welcomed second son Beckett earlier this year, and the names work together nicely. Boomer might be the more distinctive choice, but Beckett belongs in the same family.

Let’s find some names that hit that fall somewhere between the Boomers and Riggins of the world and the traditional, timeless William.

Hardy fits that description – steadily used in small numbers, familiar to all without being common. Kylee, Adrian, Riggins, and Hardy sounds exactly right to my ear, plus Riggins and Hardy both have a rugged, capable vibe that makes them sound like brothers.

If Hardy isn’t the name for you, would you consider:

Calder Calder is one of my favorites, for so many reasons. It sounds a little bit outdoorsy (think of a caldera), artistic (as in sculptor Alexander), and athletic (it’s a big name in ice hockey). It fits with surname favorites like Carter and Hunter, but has yet to crack the US Top 1000. Cool nickname Cal is a bonus. If Calder isn’t quite right, other formal names for Cal include Callahan, Caldwell, and Calvin.

Frasier – Pick your spelling – there’s Frazier and Fraser, too. The –sier version probably seems logical because of long-running television character Frasier Crane … though odds are that no child born in 2018 would get that reference, which makes it even more wearable.

Gibson Gibson means “son of Gilbert,” which feels gentle and vintage. But Gibson Guitars, favored by many a legendary musician, take this name in more rock ‘n’ roll direction. Riggins and Gibson share a strong ‘g’ sound, which makes them sound even more like brothers.

Jameson – Nothing says you have to choose a truly unusual name to match Riggins. Jameson shares the same general style, but at Number 100 is closer to Kylee in terms of popularity. Still, I think Riggins and Jameson sound like they come from the same family.

Maguire – Another distinctive surname possibility that shares Riggins’ ‘g’ sound, Maguire has Irish roots. It’s also spelled Mcguire, which brings to mind popular girls’ names like Mackenzie and Mckenna. But I think this one works better for boys.

Rafferty Jude Law gave this vibrant Irish surname name to a son way back in 1996. Even though Rafferty is now in the public eye himself, the name remains rare. It could wear well today, and I think the shared R initial helps link the brothers’ names even more.

Reeve Reeve originally meant sheriff, and it also brings to mind Christopher Reeve, the actor who soared to stardom as Superman in 1978. It’s much less common than Reese or Reid – though those names could work for Riggins’ brother, too.

Wilder Wilder is a rising favorite, a big name currently ranked Number 573 in the US. I read it as outdoorsy, or maybe just plain daring. You might even consider Wilder a way of honoring your dad.

Should you choose something in the HardyRaffertyGibson family, I’d suggest you tuck William in the middle spot. It mirrors your older children’s names, with a nod to family. Overall, Reeve William is my favorite as a brother for Riggins Blaine. It’s not nearly as unusual, but the two names feel compatible.

Let me add this: if you keep coming back to William, there’s no reason that William can’t be The Name. Others might guess (correctly) that it honors family. A few might comment on the change in style. But after a few weeks, your children’s names will sound like a group. They may not link together like a puzzle, but they are melded together by love. And that’s what matters!

Readers, would you choose William for Riggins’ brother? Or do you think another name works better? Let’s have a poll.

About the author

Abby

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 namesage@nameberry.com.

View all of Abby's articles

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