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Boy Names in the News: Hero Names and Daring Middles

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Poor Princess Kate.

Not only is she suffering from serious morning sickness with Baby #2, everyone from late night talk show hosts to gossip columnists worldwide is busy speculating on her due date, whether #2 will be a princess or a prince, and, of course, what they’ll name the newest royal.

Naming any boy – whether he’s coming home to a castle or a condo – can become a battle between tradition and fresh starts.

Boys are more likely to be juniors, or to share their first or middle name with dad or grandpa.  But family names are not a rule anymore, and plenty of parents decide to start fresh – with no hard feelings from grandpa Bob.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen parents go every which way when naming a son.  And names aren’t always what they seem.  One of the most modern names on this week’s list comes straight from the family tree.  Will and Kate might not be rock-the-boat types, but when naming prince #1, they carefully stuck to royal names without directly honoring any living relative.

The biggest shocker of the week?  Excellent baby naming advice from … Seth Meyers.  Then again, with late night talk show hosts choosing great names like Winnie and Jane, maybe it isn’t such a surprise.

We’ll get to that advice in a minute, but let’s start with the names:

Cash Van – My eyes bulged when I saw the birth announcement for Dave Haywood’s firstborn.  Dave is the guitarist for Lady Antebellum, and he and wife Kelli are now parents to baby cash Cash Van.  Doesn’t that sound an awful lot like Cash Cab, the television show that challenges unsuspecting passengers to a trivia showdown?  The resemblance is undeniable, but Dave and Kelli chose the name for great reasons.  Van is Dave’s dad, and Cash comes from Cashiola – Kelli’s maiden name.

Arthur – This was my top pick for the first royal baby.  But honestly?  George is better.  Because King Arthur is a lot to live up to.  But it might be a possibility for a second prince.  Other names much-mentioned: Frederick, Albert, and odds-on favorite James – though British Baby Names blogger Elea has pointed out that James has all sorts of drawbacks.  Of course, the next little Windsor could be a girl.

Mingus – From London to New York.  Jeff Goldblum might be 61, but he’s recently engaged – and he and fiancee Emilie Livingston are apparently thinking about starting a family.  He was on Late Night with Seth Meyers talking baby names.  One possible inspiration?  Jazz great Charles Mingus.  Magnus, Angus, Atticus, Mingus?  It didn’t get a great audience reaction, but it wouldn’t be the craziest name heard in Hollywood.

Coda – “It’s a musical term – it means go back to the best part,” Jeff explained, and then added that he didn’t want an oddball, celebrity-type name.  Hmmm … if that’s the case, then Jeff and Emilie might want to listen to Seth’s advice:  “Mingus and Coda are great middle names.  Have your fun in the middle name.  That’s where you get to express yourself …”

Bosley – If you’re a fan of Tori Spelling’s various reality television shows, you know Bill Horn and Scout Masterson as the “guncles.”  I loved the name the couple chose for their daughter, Simone.  Now the pair have added a son to their family – Bosley Jo.  Bosley screams Charlie’s Angels to me – despite actors from Bill Murray to Bernie Mac playing the role, the character has always been Bosley.  There’s also actor Tom Bosley, known for roles including the dad on Happy Days.  Then again, this Bosley will go to school with kids called Riley and Brady and Bentley, so maybe it isn’t such a stretch.

Pirlo – Now, let’s talk soccer names.  Beram Kayal plays for Glasgow’s Celtic Football Club, as well as the Israeli national team.  But he named his new son after an Italian – fellow footballer Andrea Pirlo.  It’s a daring name for a boy, sounding like a masculine form of Pearl.  But in our age of Leo, Marco, and Arlo, it feels wearable.

Messi –  Any Argentine berries out there?  Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi has plenty of fans, but no namesakes – a 1969 law forbids the use of surnames as given names in the country.  Until now.  Daniel Varela petitioned for the right to name his son Messi, and authorities agreed.  Why not just name him Lionel?  Mom Lorena says there are already “tons.”  It’s too close to the English word messy to be a name here, but I’d love to hear from any one in Argentina – could this one catch on?

Teddy James -Let’s head back to the UK. Emmerdale star Adam Thomas and girlfriend Caroline Daly are new parents.  The name they chose for their son is exactly on trend for British baby names – Teddy James.  Not Theodore, just Teddy.

Samuel Hawke – Let’s end with my favorite boy name in recent weeks.  Country singer Josh Turner and wife Jennifer Ford are now parents to four boys: Hampton Otis, Colby Lynch, Marion Crawford, and new arrival, Samuel Hawke.  It sounds like Josh and Jennifer took a page out of Seth Meyer’s book: classic first, daring middle.  Together it’s a great combination – though compared to his big brothers’ names, it’s pretty conventional!  I would love to know what the Turner family would name a daughter.

What’s your style for naming a son?  Do you agree with Seth Meyer’s advice about middle names?

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10 Responses to “Boy Names in the News: Hero Names and Daring Middles”

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rosierose Says:

September 15th, 2014 at 12:19 am

Hmm, I tend not to think Arthur will make it to the first name slot for Kate and William’s second child, if it’s a boy, as it’s just too loaded in general. It’s also a little foreboding in the context of a younger sibling. Think of it this way, if an Arthur is destined to someday come back to rule Britain, and you give that name to a second son, what could that mean?

I also really don’t think they’ll use James, because to honor Kate Middleton’s brother so directly would be odd in the context of the prominence of the royal side of the family. If anything they’d go for Harry (maybe as Henry).

Maybe there’s a big clue in how neutral George’s names are, and how they don’t honor anyone living?

That makes me think Frederick, Albert, and Alfred are the top contenders for a second boy. Unless– they go for something unexpected and Scottish in light of the political climate right now. Kenneth, Malcolm, and Duncan were all early Scottish kings, so they aren’t without precedent.

I also thought of David, but David Cameron probably entirely rules that one out.

miloowen Says:

September 15th, 2014 at 8:40 am

I would think that David wouldn’t be used because of the Duke of Windsor; James because the Earl of Wessex’s son is James; Frederick is the name of Lord Freddie Windsor who is young and a friend of William and Harry.

I too was thinking of the Scottish connection — Malcolm, Kenneth, Donald, Duncan, Andrew (unlikely), Robert. But I was also thinking Richard, because the Duke of Gloucester is in failing health and is one of the more popular royals in his own family.

As for middles, for my daughters I went with family names: Louisa and Helen. For my son, I went with his Hebrew name, Caleb.

GreenEyes375 Says:

September 15th, 2014 at 9:25 am

I really love the name Coda (Koda)! I heard it on a little boy a few years ago.
Samuel Hawke is a very nice combo. It follows a trend some of my friends have of a very classic first with a nature related middle. My cousin actually just had twins named Charles Thorne and James Crane, they are called Charlie and Jamie.
I also like Teddy James, though I myself would opt for a fuller first name (Theodore) instead of just using the nickname, but that’s just me. I also seem to prefer the name Teddy on a girl. That could be due to my younger sister’s obsession over a Disney show where the female leads name was Teddy.
Mingus is nice, though I prefer Magnus, Marcus, and Angus. It reminds me too much of a western I watched some years ago called Dirty Dingus McGee (or something like that).
Cash Van is okay, though it is a little too close to Cash Cab. I also like Arthur, but I don’t really see William and Catherine using it.

I do have a question though, why is there not links with the names anymore, like there used to be?

Dearest Says:

September 15th, 2014 at 11:24 am

Coda is fabulous! But definitely lands in the crazy celebrity baby name category if used by a celebrity….
Samuel Hawke is also all kinds of amazing. I love how serious is is ^^

shelly68 Says:

September 15th, 2014 at 2:17 pm

I just watched an old movie “walk on the wild side” where the main characters name was Dove. I really like this name for a boy.

Addie88 Says:

September 15th, 2014 at 2:25 pm

I like Samuel Hawke a lot. I can’t say I care for most of the others. When making boys names, I rely heavily on family names as middle names, and names that are in the style of those names, but not necessarily contemporary, as firsts.

Abby Says:

September 15th, 2014 at 3:12 pm

@GreenEyes375 – Hmmm … that’s a good question. Let me ask about the links for the names. I hadn’t noticed they were missing until you pointed it out, but now the lack of links is really frustrating!

@Dearest – Yes! If a celebrity were to use Coda, well … it might even bump Pilot off a few lists!

@Rosierose, miloowen – Do you think they’ll really go the Scottish route? That could be exciting. And yes, I suppose Arthur is almost MORE loaded for a second son …

Angelicaecb Says:

September 15th, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Norman Reedus named his son Mingus Lucian Reedus for his son. I thought it was a bit weird, but his name was inspired by the jazz musician Charles Mingus and the beat poet Lucien Carr. Mingus has actually grown on me, right there with Magnus.

JH Says:

September 16th, 2014 at 6:28 pm

I think they’ll do another classic royal name. Definitely not Arthur or John though. I’ll be a tad bummed, but also not if they choose Frederick. We chose Frederick for our son due in January. So, if they choose it, the name will become more popular.

I normally choose traditional names, but for our Frederick we’re doing Von as a middle name, which is a stretch for me, but my husband likes it because we have a very German last name and he thinks the name sounds incredibly powerful and strong, haha.

» Boy Names in the News: Hero Names and Daring Middles Baby Name Suggestion Says:

September 17th, 2014 at 11:41 am

[…] It’s boys’ names in the spotlight this week as Abby Sandel’s Nameberry 9 includes the noble Arthur, the musical Mingus, and cool combo Samuel Hawke. Nameberry – Baby Name Blog […]

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