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Boy Names: Some Popular Name Cliques

Elias, Silas and Tobias

by Sophie Kihm

When a name gets popular, it’s rarely in isolation. Boy names and girl names tend to rise and fall in groups based on sound, image, or some combination thereof. Sometimes just a pair of names will attract attention, but often entire gangs of names will become fashionable at the same time.

This causes some choices to seem more popular than they actually are. Sure, you named your son Kaiser, which is very low on the popularity charts. But when he’s in Kindergarten with kids named Kai, Kyler, Kyrie, and Skyler, suddenly Kaiser feels like part of this boy name crowd.

This isn’t a bad thing—bold names are seen as more usable if they fit into a broader trendy name group. Kaiser may not have been a wearable option if other Ky– names and regal names hadn’t paved the way.

Boy Name Groups

Below are some of the name groups that have become trendy for boys in recent years. Some are centered around a theme (like musicians, animals, or Eastern spirituality) and others share a common sound. Are there any groups you would add to the list?

Asher, Cash, Dash, Dashiell, Nash

Auden, Alden, Arden

AureliusCyrus, Julius, Linus

Axel, Axton, Dax, Pax, Paxton

Bear, Fox, Wolf

Beckett, Bennett, Emmett, Everett, Rhett

Blaise, Blaze, Hayes, Haze

Bodhi, Tao, Zen

Booker, Bridger, Sayer, Thatcher

Bowie, Dylan, Elvis, Hendrix, Jagger

Cassius, Cassian, Casimir

Duke, Noble, Prince, Reign, Royal

Eleazar, Laszlo, Lazarus, Lazer

Elias, Silas, Tobias

Elio, Milo, Nico, Orlando

Finn, Finnegan, Finnian, Flynn

Finn, Hank, Huck, Sawyer

Jupiter, Mercury, Thor

Justice, Justus, Loyal, Noble

Leo, Leopold, Leonardo, Leonidas, Teo

Lincoln, Link, McKinley, Truman

Luca, Lucian, Lucius

McCoy, Macallister, Mack

Omar, Otis, Otto

Osiris, Oz, Ozias

Quenton, Quincy, Quinn, Quinton

Remy, Roman, Romeo, Romulus

Rocco, Rocky, Stone

Walt, Whit, Whitman

Wild, Wilder, Wylie

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4 Responses to “Boy Names: Some Popular Name Cliques”

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Kara Says:

March 26th, 2019 at 11:29 pm

Where I live, it seems to be the ‘Ace’ phenomenon, possibly following on the heels of the Mason sensation. Besides Mason, I hear a lot of Ace, Jace, and Casen. The last one irks me since it sounds like sausage casing to me, but I guess a lot of Midwesterners would disagree with me since it seems so popular!

stepx Says:

March 27th, 2019 at 5:56 am

would be very interesting to evaluate name choices by income… do the affluent trend a certain direction, and the poor another. Or by profession, or even political ideology. My guess is that ..at least in the US, certain trends appear within the affluent classes….one saw that with Biblical boys names: Isaac, Jonah, Joshua, Eli, Noah et al. Im guessing far fewer of the underclasses chose those names. I might be wrong, but thats what I m guessing.

I suspect also, in terms of education, that certain names appear in the less educated….names that are more traditional but sort of perceived as out of style by the urban yuppies. I could be totally wrong about all of this of course. I know personally that there are almost an unbelievable number of Joshua’s in most kindergartens you would find in big cities. Same with Noah. That trend has peaked though, i think, and one wonders what is next…?

jrave656 Says:

March 27th, 2019 at 7:55 am

stepx – there’s a lot of coverage and data out there to answer your questions. Here’s a start
https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2012/05/14/152487425/baby-names-the-latest-partisan-divide

GenEric Says:

March 27th, 2019 at 4:19 pm

Ashton with the first group, and Claudius with the -us. Claudius isn’t too common though whereas Ashton is on the rise for both genders.

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