Cool Baby Names: The -Er Names

See all our lists of cool baby names here.

Cool baby names often share a certain something: an initial (like O), an origin (like Irish), or a sound — like -er at the end.

Blame it on Jennifer and Christopher. What those two mega-popular names have in common is their unusual –er ending, which launched a name sound that holds a lot of appeal to the contemporary ear.

Dozens of the cool baby names for boys today share the –er ending, along with a handful of choices for girls. Some of these are traditional first names but more are surname-names and occupational names.

Of course, Jennifer and Christopher were not the only popular names or even the first to feature –er at their end. Long-used –er names include Peter and Alexander, other trendy 1980s choices are Amber and Heather, and widely-used popular names that end in –er include such divergent choices as Oliver and Winter, Skyler and Spencer, River and Ryker, Harper and Hunter.

And then, as happens with name trends, there are dozens of choices that are more unusual and more stylish. Among the most appealing are the traditional boys’ names that share the –er ending:

The hot occupational names, which are also usually familiar surnames, often have an –er ending, and the trendiness of such choices as Cooper, Chandler, Sawyer, Tucker, and Tyler have helped vault the whole genre into widespread use. Among the more unusual but no less fashionable –er ending occupational names are:

Then there are the Bad Boy names that are popular among parents who want a kind of neo-macho image for their sons: These sound like the names of kids who grow up to ride motorcycles, play in rock bands, and get lightning bolts tattooed onto their necks. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you.)

There are a handful of stylish girls’ names that end in –er, though we’re not sure that sound is what really makes for their appeal. Some of these are nature names, some Biblical, others day or occupational names, and the fact that they share the –er ending may just be coincidental to their fashion status.

These names don’t end in –er, but they might as well. The right sound is there and they also share a certain style appeal, though not necessarily to the same kinds of parents.

Is every name that ends in –er stylish? Not every single one. Though I’m sure the dissenting berries will step forward in defense of the names below, we don’t see any of them coming back in a big way anytime soon.

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44 Responses to “Cool Baby Names: The -Er Names”

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LyndsayJenness Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 1:51 am

Why do all of these have to sound SO attrocious with my last name? Dexter, Archer, Jasper amd Wilder are a few that I try to block from my mind because they make me so sad that I can’t use them.

Abby Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 6:20 am

I’m not into Ebenezer, but I do like Eben. I’ve been flipping through a 1927 yearbook from our local high school, and there’s an Eben.

But then, Eben has no -er. Back to the -ers.

Love Abner, Mercer, Clover, Esther, Hester, Thayer, Fielder, Archer … so many of these. The only list that leaves me cold is the “neo-macho” collection. Great phrase! And just totally nms.

Nikki Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 7:38 am

Not a fan of the -er trend. But my cousin named her 1st born Cooper and has Tucker or Piper standing by for the 2nd! I guess a subset ending in -er is a little easier to handle than alliteration names, all starting with the same letter!

Johanna Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 8:13 am

Heller? Wow, why don’t we just put a kick me sign on our child the second they come out of the womb. In fact they can get it tatooed on their forehead then they will fit their image.
I love Jasper, Dexter and Adhere but not really into most occupational names.
Abby, i adore Eben.

Leigh Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 9:00 am

I love Clover, Winter, and the soft -ember months, along with, surprisingly, Abner. Two other favourites of mine that I didn’t see on there are Sawyer and Lysander. I like Timber, too, but it seems more soft&feminine to me, actually!

Also, the -er misspelling of Gunner is awful, but GunnAR is an awesome, legit name.

Jenny Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 9:10 am

Heller is the last name of a branch of my family and this is the first time I’ve noticed it starts with “hell”. I associate it with babies and picnics. Isn’t it funny how that can happen?

The rest of these are lovely, even Ebenezer and Elmer, but one of them IS our last name so we can’t use any of them. So sad.

Names4Real Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 9:59 am

I love a lot of -er names. Sawyer, Casper, Oliver, Jasper, Archer, Casper, Miller for boys and Ever for a girl.

Another – er name I like that is not on here is Granger. I knew a girl named Granger, but I like it better for a boy.

I’m not a fan of the Bad boy names except for Wilder, but I think that comes from my love of Little House on the Prairie and reading/watching it way too much as a child. 🙂

Lola Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 10:57 am

I like a fair number of -er enders. I could use all of them too, my surname ends with the girliest :ie!
-er enders feel tough, but not so tough you wanna outfit them in leather & chains. (well, most of them!) 😀
I like: Casper (but prefer CaspAr), Chester, Grover, Homer, Leander, Luther & Xavier. Wilder’s a family surname for me. Arthur, Casimir, Guinevere & Sylvester. How cool is nn Sly!?
Oh, and I almost forgot Archer! So snappy, I love Archer! (doesn’t work with my kids, but I still love him!)
I know kids named: Baxter, Fisher, Miller & Thayer. All boys, thank goodness. Miller on a girl is hideous!

Nicole Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 11:45 am

Fave girls: Clover, Winter and Piper, Juniper I also love October.

Fave boys: Parker, Sawyer

Our last name ends in -er, so it pretty much negates using any of these wonderful names because it rhymes with our last name.

Lisa Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Surprised not to see Parker on here, as it is a popular unisex choice that doesn’t seem to be “going to the girls.” I think these make nice middle names, because they have a last-namey feel and then the child’s first + middle sounds like a full name (e.g., James Parker, Louisa Harper)…

mcintyr1 Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I love love the name Juniper, but hubby hates it.
we both like archer, but i think it will end up as a middle name.

Elisabeth@YCCII Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Love this roundup. I often suggest -er names to people stuck in a -en rut.

The only one I’m missing is Asher, a name very much on my mind this week!

katybug Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

My last name ends in -er so these are pretty much out for me. Which is too bad as I love a LOT of them. My husband’s name is listed above, and he does get the occaisonal comment about having a rhyming name.

My grandmother’s maiden name was Walker, another great addition to this list. And a family name that I cannot use, much to my chagrin.

Giuls Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 4:41 pm

My favorite is probably Ebenezer, I love it!

paristroika Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I’m pretty sure lightning bolts on the neck indicate that you’re a neo-nazi.

lili Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I love -er names, especially Archer, but I’m super nervous it’s going to sky-rocket up the charts. One missing: Thatcher, which I also really like.

SRT Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Just want to add that the child truly makes the name. My little girl is Ryder and hardly projects a bad to the bone persona. It’s a family name I’d planned to use long before Kate Hudson used it for her son. Makes me sad to see it categorized as neo-macho! Hopefully, she’ll love it when she gets older and be proud of her family surname name. I have to stop reading things that make me worry about others’ perception of her namer! It makes me sad.

Claire Says:

April 8th, 2011 at 6:26 pm

I have a bunch of neo-macho “er” names to add:

Danger
Master
Kaiser
Dodger
Trooper
Catcher
Carver
Wrangler
Strider
Stryker
Cougar
Gator
Thunder

I didn’t make any of these up; they’ve all appeared in SSA records in the past 3-5 years. I would probably never use any of them unless I was scripting an action flick, but I do get a kick out of hearing them.

Elle Says:

April 9th, 2011 at 12:43 am

I found a few more…

Brenner
Berenger
Broder
Collier
Coulter
Cypher
Draper
Dwyer
Grayer
Jenner
Jupiter
Kemper
Kepler
Ledger
Macallister
Mercer
Meyer
Prosper
Renner
Sumner
Thayer

Sarah Says:

April 9th, 2011 at 10:44 am

You forgot about Stalker.

Lucky*Clover Says:

April 9th, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Taylor is by far the most popular er name where I live for girls. Conner would probably be the er name I hear most often for boys. I actually like the “bad boy” name Bridger, would never really use it but I don’t see why it’s considered a “bad boy” name. I wouldn’t expect a boy named Ryker to grow up to be a tattoo filled bad boy anymore than I’d expect Arthur to grow up to head the knights of the Round Table.

Regi Says:

April 9th, 2011 at 8:02 pm

For boys I love:
Casper/Caspar
Dexter
Jasper
Keifer
Luther
Archer
Painter
Breaker
Gunner
Heller
Traveller
Wilder

My boyfriend and I are actually considering using Breaker for our (maybe) baby. My first reaction when I heard the name was that it sounded violent but the more I let it sit it started to remind me of ocean waves breaking against the shore. Sort of peaceful… although my boyfriend likes the “tough guy” appeal of it.

For girls I love:
Emer
Fifer
Sailor

Filipa Says:

April 10th, 2011 at 8:08 am

I’ve been watching “Pretty Little Liars” and there’s a Spencer… A girl named Spencer, to be precise. I like it on her, but I’m used to hear it in boys! You americans are funny with the gender thing 😀

Alanna Says:

April 10th, 2011 at 9:46 pm

My friend’s name is Jasper. I love the name Carter for a girl. It just has that ring. I also love James, Toby, Jason, and Sirius as guy names but they don’t end in “er”

Macy Says:

April 11th, 2011 at 12:11 am

Favs

BOYS: Kiefer, Skyler, Ryker, Tyler, Ryder, Harper, Karter, Ever, River, Asher, Kyler, Jupiter, October, Jesper + (Saylor, Baylor, Taylor).

GIRLS: Hunter, Esmer, Spencer, Amber, Winter, Parker, Porter, Esther, Juniper, Piper

evergreen Says:

April 11th, 2011 at 6:03 am

It is way out there but I love Whistler 🙂

DeeCohenSmith Says:

April 13th, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Many of the -er names sound like surnames, so we had to rule most of them out as we had a double-barelled surname and though that something like Miller Cohen Smith might be a bit OTT.

hh Says:

April 18th, 2011 at 9:58 pm

i love the name gunner! i know a 14 yr old young man with the name, good looking, star athlete and president of his class. hardly the neo nazi bad boy you suggest the name represents.

JuliaDrucilla Says:

June 1st, 2011 at 10:41 pm

I really like Juniper, Winter, Fifer, and the month names you listed. I think Asher is really awesome, but I would never use it. (It just doesn’t sound serious enough, and Magnus and Asher sorta clash. However, I might use it as a middle name.) The tryndeer ones on this list I don’t like so much.

JuliaDrucilla Says:

June 2nd, 2011 at 7:33 am

Oh, I also meant to say that Grover and Elmer are so adorable!

Livi Says:

July 1st, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I love Miller, Parker, Wilder, Grayer, Brenner, Ever, Palmer, Baker, Leander, Foster, Keifer, Walker, Oliver, and Jagger for boys. They’re all different (with the exception for the popular Oliver and Parker) and cool-sounding which makes me like them.
For girls, I love Ever, Parker, Sailor, Clover, and Harper. They’re not my favorite names, but I do think they kind of stand out against the Ava’s and Emma’s.

alison Says:

July 27th, 2011 at 6:48 am

Hi. I have Piper, Clover and Fraser McCallum. I did not know I was going to do an er thing until it happened.. It does work with the surname You had Frasier in all the lists but not Fraser which is very scottish. I do get lots of great reactions to their names !!!

mlbrooks Says:

July 2nd, 2012 at 9:38 am

I’m so surprised to find Roper on a list anywhere! It’s my husband’s name and I’ve never heard it anywhere else. His name is always noticed (although usually it’s “Is that your REAL name?”) and I think it’s phonetically pleasing and still unique.

dresdendoll Says:

November 22nd, 2012 at 12:46 pm

There’s also Springer, Teller, Sutter, Fencer, Fiddler, Glacier, Ember, Meriwether, Writer, Spinnaker, Cyber, Copter, Chamber, Chancellor, Kerr, Zephyr, McGregor, Remember, Jester, Laser, Canter, Cobbler, Checker, Cedar, Schroeder, Shafer, Shire, Squire, Kuiper, Spangler, Sander, Ander, Speller, Painter, Saber, Windsor, Whisper, Warner, Winchester, Isler, Harbor, Highlander, Hollister, Hollander, Chaucer, Adler, Tiber…

dresdendoll Says:

November 22nd, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Oh, and Dagger…

dresdendoll Says:

November 22nd, 2012 at 1:06 pm

And once knew a Decker also!

dresdendoll Says:

November 22nd, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Here’s a cool one…Vintner.

dresdendoll Says:

November 24th, 2012 at 12:28 am

Major, Dasher, Voyager, Stiller, Bender, Becker, Tiger, Pacer, Chaser, Weller, Eller, Keebler, Panther

dresdendoll Says:

November 24th, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Wonder, Jeter, Kramer, Kimber, Tanner, Banner, Keener, Acer, Tamber, Anchor, Berger, Ambler, Chessler, Brazier, Tolliver, Grinner, Brynner, Weaver, Trainor, Dozier, Wilmer, Dabner, Glazer, Beller, Valor

dresdendoll Says:

November 24th, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Ginger, Briar, Milliner, Rockefeller, Umber, Pillar, Braver, Sumpter, Laker, Tipper, Quiller, Beacher, Beecher, Boehner, Butler, Banter, Topper, Keller, Traylor, Stellar, Vader, Stempler, Solar, Tapper, Schuler, Montpelier, Schumer, Dreyer, Bryer, Brier, Ender, Fuller, Chapter, Dancer, Skinner, Grammer, Trazzler, Tracer, Trapper, Jimmer

dresdendoll Says:

November 24th, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Summer, Somer, Maler, Pager, Farmer, Wagner, Turner, Slater, Brimmer, Bremner, Costner, Glover, Keeler, Beamer, Charmer, Bloomer, Flower, Easter, Hesper, Clever, Denver, Feather, Sugar, Usher, Nader, Nether, Gryer, Javier, Kuijper, Oleander, Mer, Fender, Prosper, Pepper

dresdendoll Says:

November 24th, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Falconer

dresdendoll Says:

November 25th, 2012 at 1:58 am

OK…last one…Geyser!

Sibling names for Ava & Jasper Says:

February 9th, 2014 at 5:41 am

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