Boy Baby Names: A time for compromise
We’ve got a bit of a dilemma on our hands, and I’m hoping you can help.
We love old-fashioned yet less common first names (literary or Biblical) paired with family names for the middle name.
Please help! I’m so sick of searching endlessly through literary, old-fashioned, and Biblical name lists!
The Name Sage replies:
The good news about finding baby names in 2016 is that there’s no shortage of resources. The bad news? You can get lost in all of the possibilities!
I think that’s what you’re up against here: whittling down a list to just a few top choices is tough, especially when there’s not a lot of overlap between your favorites and your husband’s list.
Since there doesn’t seem to be any overlap between your top choices, let’s start fresh.
It seems like your husband tends to like more popular names – but could be convinced to choose something a little less common if it still feels like an established, familiar name. After all, Gideon currently ranks Number 328, much less popular than Aaron, Noah, or Silas.
Let’s look at a few Biblical picks, and then move on to names that are more ancient or literary.
Abel – Aaron and Asher make me think of another A name: Asher, currently Number 125. Besides the Biblical ties, Abel sounds like able, implying that your child is capable and can-do. I think that’s a subtle, but powerfully appealing, reason to love this name.
Asa – Another A option is Asa. It shares Noah’s ending ‘a’ sound, but is much less common. At Number 531, Asa is definitely different, but fits right in with so many similar boy names. The Old Testament king makes a worthy namesake.
Ezra – If you were born in the 1980s, chances are good that you never met an Ezra. The Old Testament prophet’s name has a long history of sparing use. It’s also nicely literally, thanks to children’s author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats and Ezra Pound. The only drawback? At Number 92 last year, this name is no longer a secret.
Simon – Simon just sounds smart. The New Testament name currently ranks Number 234, which is a good stands-out/fits-in mark. It feels slightly British, impeccably Biblical, and a little bit unexpected without being too out-there.
Adrian – Adrian mirrors Gideon’s rhythm and sound, which makes it a logical possibility. It splits the difference between traditional Charles and the less common Daphne. The problem is that Adrian ranks Number 58 – though maybe it’s not too popular since it’s around the same spot as Charles.
Duncan – You mentioned Shakespeare, which always brings to mind one of my favorite names. Sure, the late King Duncan only appears as a ghost in Macbeth, but it’s a great name. Simple, straightforward, and, at Number 793, nicely underused.
Marcus – I think I’ve saved the best for last. Marcus comes immediately to mind. First, your husband might be is channeling Mark Antony with his shortlist – but Mark Antony was born Marcus Antonius. Marcus ranks Number 168, far behind Noah or even Julian. There’s also philosopher Marcus Aurelius and plenty of other notables in the ancient world.
Overall, I do think Marcus has real potential, but if you’re not in love, I might suggest Simon. It’s the kind of name that everyone instantly recognizes, and can say and spell – but remains nicely underused.
Readers, what would you suggest to Anna if her next baby is a boy?