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Brotherly Boy Names with Meaningful Connections

Brotherly Boy Names with Meaningful Connections

By Kara Blakley

We recently ran Kara‘s suggestions for subtly connecting girl siblings’ names.  Now it’s the boys’ turn.

Matthew/Levi. Matthew is an American staple, spending decades in the Top 20, reaching as high as Number 2 in the 90s.  But if, at Number 16, Matthew is still too popular for you, or if you want to honor a friend without directly repeating the name, consider Levi.  Levi was the biblical Matthew‘s given name before becoming an apostle, hence the connection.  Matthew McConaughey named his firstborn Levi for this reason in 2008.

Peter/Simon. Like Matthew and Levi, Peter and Simon share a biblical connection: the first pope was born Simon before Jesus nicknamed him Peter, meaning ‘rock’.  Simon, perennially popular in Europe, has never been as common as Peter here, which makes it prime for Americn usage.  Simone and Petra are attractive feminizations that also deserve wider use.

Andrew/Conal. The Christian Saint Peter‘s brother is the apostle Andrew–another well-worn classic name.  Andrew‘s persistent popularity may deter some namers, but its meaning, ‘strong’, offers a number of alternatives.  The Irish Conal is one prime candidate.  Though rare in the US, Conal fits in nicely with a new generation of popular Irish names like Liam and Declan.

Ezra/Zahir. Following on the heels of mega-popular Noah, Ezra is primed to be a go-to pick for the new generation.  Zahir, by way of shared meaning ‘help’, is an unexpected cognate for Ezra.  Names with Arabic roots are gaining popularity in the US (think Aaliyah and Noor), and Zahir, with its trending Z-initial, makes for a compelling fits in/stands out choice.  Feminization Zahira is an interesting alternative to Zara.

Asher/Felix. Nameberry favorite Asher, a once obscure Old Testament name, has risen from obscurity in the past decade to break into the Top 100.  Felix sjares Asher‘s ‘happy’ meaning and is similarly poised for a comeback.  Asher and Felix make a subtlety connected but well-matched sibset.

Silas/Forest. Nature names are in, and Silas and Forest are the perfect nature cognates: Silas, by way of Sylvanus, means ‘forest’.  If For(r)est is still too tied to Gump for you, consider Roscoe as another potential sibling for Silas.

Blake/Finn. Sharing the meaning ‘fair’, Blake and Finn are a monosyllabic pair that don’t sacrifice style in their simplicity.  While every elaboration in the Finn family is ascending, Finn itself sounds perfect with Blake.

Arthur/Bear. In 2015, Bear is almost as likely a choice as Arthur, its cognate meaning ‘bear’.  While Bear as a first name might be too daring for most namers, animal name in the middle is one of this generation’s biggest trends.  In the middle, Bear would be a perfect way to honor your favorite Uncle Arthur.

Russell/Fox. Russell, meaning “redhead, fix-colored”, isn’t quite ready to rebound from its midcentury popularity.  Fox, however, fits two trends, animal names and ends-with-X, making it a potential namesake for a beloved Russell.  Another similarly related pair is Wolf and Channing.

Alaric/Noble. Noble is a bold word name that was most popular a century ago.  There are many names that mean ‘noble’, but my personal favorite for boys is Alaric.  Underused in the US, Alaric is an ancient name that sounds fresh and modern.

Any other cognate pairs you like?  Would you consider this method to honor a loved one or to connect siblings?

About the Author

Kara Blakley

Kara Blakley is a PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Melbourne. Her interest in names began when she received her first Cabbage Patch doll. Today, Kara’s name obsession is enhanced by her love of nature, history, music, art, and traveling.