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Cool Boy Names Stand Out

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He says Ziggy. She says Cam. When it comes to casual cool boy names, how different is too different? And what’s the best compromise name for their son? The Name Sage weighs in!

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Emily writes:

We are expecting our first child and just found out we’re having a boy!

My two favorites are Casey and Cameron (nickname Cam). I like that both are casual and familiar, but not too common.

My husband’s favorites are Ziggy and Stacy. I love both and think they’re adorable for a baby, but worry about naming our son something too unusual. I don’t want him to grow up feeling like he has to live up to the name or possibly being picked on for it. I also think it would be hard to find names we both like that are in the same style for future children.

Others that we both like, but don’t love as much, are Jamie, Beau, and Silas.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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The Name Sage replies:

I love the casual-cool vibe you’ve both embraced for your son’s name.

It sounds like your husband is the far more daring namer. While Ziggy or Stacy would (probably) never share his name, there are downsides to choosing something so different – and it sounds like you’re sensitive to those considerations.

Let’s look at the numbers for a minute. We know you both love casual cool boy names, so the question isn’t about style. It’s where to set the needle on the familiar-to-rare dial.

In 2019, 108 boys and 33 girls were named Ziggy.

12 boys and 158 girls were named Stacy in 2019. Factor in 75 girls and 18 boys called Stacey-with-an-e, too. Plus, 6 boys were named Eustace. While it’s the very opposite of casual cool, maybe they’ll be Stacys, too.

As for Casey, 536 boys and 295 girls received the name. Another 250+ girls were also named Kaycee, Kacy, Kaycie, and so on.

But then compare all of those numbers to Cameron: 5,226 boys, plus 561 girls, born in 2019. It’s ranked in the Top 100 boy names since 1997, and currently stands at Number 67.

In other words, Cameron is a mainstream favorite. Ziggy? It’s pretty out-there.

This makes Cameron the far more versatile name. It’s easy to imagine an accountant or a pro surfer called Cam. (Or, say, a surfer who runs a successful business or an accountant who surfs on the weekends.)

I think Ziggy – and Stacy – are names that others notice in a way that can overshadow your child. Not every child of course. And many people with truly unusual names report that they grow to love them.

But if you’re feeling uncomfortable with taking that kind of naming risk, then it’s best to consider your options.

Happily, plenty of casual cool boy names fall somewhere between Cam and Ziggy.

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MORE NAMES TO CONSIDER

BOONE – Ranked Number 657, or 399 births in 2019. It combines a bold sound with an appealing meaning – good. Boone is Beau turned up to eleven.

CALLAHAN – If your husband likes Cameron, but finds it too popular, would Callahan – nickname Cal – substitute? Callahan ranks Number 892, with 244 births in 2019.

DASHZiggy and Dash could be brothers, but Dash feels just a little closer to the expected. Maybe that’s because it ranks Number 750, with 316 births.

HUXLEY – A surname name like Cameron, with a high-value Scrabble letter like Ziggy, Huxley sits right between the two extremes. Plus, nicknames Hux and Huck feel like peak casual cool boy names. Huxley ranks Number 588, with 469 births.

NICO – It could be short for the very traditional Nicholas, but when used on its own, Nico feels like a breezy, modern choice. Nico ranks Number 355, with 922 births.

RAFE – Strictly speaking, Rafe is pretty rare – it doesn’t make the current US Top 1000. But it’s short for Rafael (Number 261) or Raphael (Number 521), or Rafferty (also unranked). 71 boys were named just Rafe in 2019, but doubtless some of the nearly 2000 Rafaels/Raphaels are also Rafes. It’s a high-energy nickname that stands on its own.

REMY – Over the last decade, Remy has climbed in use for boys and girls alike in the US, though at Number 423 with 732 births, it’s slightly more popular for boys. (566 girls were named Remy in 2019.) That makes Remy feel a little bit like unisex picks Stacy and Casey. While it’s a traditional French name, odds are few Americans have met a baby Remy – yet.

WILDER –  Like Remy, Wilder is a relative newcomer to the American popularity charts. At Number 486, it’s still fairly uncommon, with just 590 boys receiving the name last year. But it’s a great combination of buttoned-down surname name and daring outdoorsy, adventurous meaning.

Of course, Casey actually fits nicely with Boone and Wilder, too. While it briefly reached the Top 100 in the late 1980s and 90s, it’s hovered in the 500s in recent years, meaning it’s not too common to meet a baby Casey. That said, many of us probably know teenage and grown-up men (and women) by the name, which makes it feel a little more mainstream than newer names, like Callahan and Dash.  

My favorite of the casual cool boy names for your family is probably Huxley. It feels right in the middle between approachable Cameron and daring Ziggy.

But I know the community will have some great suggestions, too. Please hop over to the forums to share your thoughts on casual cool boy names for Emily’s new son!

About the Author

Abby Sandel

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 namesage@nameberry.com.

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