By Abby Sandel
Here’s something we hear again and again: naming a boy is hard!
Parents tend to play it safe – or at least safer – when it’s time to name a son. The reasons are many: a tendency to hand down family names, fewer possible variations of popular boys’ names, a narrower definition of what makes a choice appropriately masculine.
All of those trends are changing today, but the numbers still demonstrate that we’re more willing to take a risk if it’s a girl. Less than 70% of newborn baby girls have received a Top 1000 name over the last decade. But for boys, that figure is closer to 80%.
And yet this week’s highest profile birth announcements feature names that are both traditional and stylish. Celebrity baby names for boys range from vintage revivals to newer possibilities that wear well in 2015.
If you’re naming a boy now, it’s a great list to consider – and proof that you can find a name that’s both familiar and different at the same time.
The nine celebrity baby boy names in the news are:
Israel – Let’s start with a surprising name from the Duggar clan. The nineteen kids of 19 Kids & Counting all share their first initial, J, with dad, Jim Bob. Eldest son Josh has three kids with M names. But now Jill Duggar Dillard and husband Derick have named their firstborn Israel. It speaks to their faith, and fits in with a wide range of stylish and meaningful boy names in use today: Zion, Bodhi, Pax. Israel has a long history of use as a boy’s name, from the Old Testament to Colonial America, but has never been wildly popular in the US.
Theodore – Here’s a name that’s making a comeback! Actors Rachael Leigh Cook and Daniel Gillies welcomed their second child, Theodore, a little brother for Charlotte Easton. Theodore seems like a great replacement for long-time favorites like Alexander and Nicholas. Theo fits right in with Leo, and Ted shares the playground with Jack and Gus. It’s a distinguished, presidential pick that feels very wearable in 2015.
Vigo – Rachael and Daniel used a daring middle name for daughter Charlotte Easton, and they chose some interesting middles for son Theodore, too. His first middle name is Vigo, as in the Spanish and Italian surname. Spelled Viggo, it’s an Old Norse name that’s also very much in vogue.
Sullivan – Theodore has a bonus middle, too: Theodore Vigo Sullivan. The lively Irish surname has caught on in recent years. When it comes to choosing given names that feel traditional but still modern, surnames are a great source of inspiration.
Reid – Here’s another surname name that’s both stylish and storied. This time, the name belongs to a new dad. Reid Scott – you know him as Dan on HBO’s Veep – and Elspeth Keller recently welcomed a son. Reid is the actor’s given name, but it would’ve been unusual back in the 1970s. Now Reid ranks Number 259, and is likely to rise even higher. Alternate spelling Reed came in at Number 321.
Conrad – So what did Reid and Elspeth name their new son? Conrad! From Bye, Bye Birdie’s Elvis-esque rocker Conrad Birdie to television characters on Weeds and Revenge, there are plenty of Conrads that come to mind. Ranked Number 691 in 2013, the name was most popular back in the 1920s and 30s. That could mean that Conrad is right on time for a revival.
Kellen – Some new traditional names feel more novel than others. Kellen was nearly unknown in the US until the 1980s. It could be a form of the Irish Caolán, a surname with German roots, or a spin on Kelly. Actor Kellan Lutz wears another popular spelling. Kellen makes this week’s list thanks to the new son of actress Kelly Stables and husband Kurt Patino. Kellen joins big brother Kendrick.
Silas – Here’s an eagerly awaited birth announcement: Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake are new parents! The couple turned to their family tree for inspiration. Silas was the middle name of Justin’s late grandfather. It’s a New Testament name with ties to the forest, thanks to the Latin Silvanus. At Number 116 in 2013, it’s also a name quickly catching on in recent years.
Randall – Baby Silas shares his middle name, Randall, with dad, Justin Randall, and grandpa Randall Timberlake. If you know your Pixar pics, it’s the name of the villain in Monsters, Inc. Originally a surname from names like Randolph, Randall was most popular in the 1950s. In other words, it’s no surprise that baby Silas has a grandpa Randall – and in another twenty or thirty years, another generation might rediscover Randall.
What are your favorite names for boys?