Boy Names in the News: Hero Names and Daring Middles

September 14, 2014 Abby Sandel

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?

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

View all of Abby's articles


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