Cool Boy Names: The Nameberry 9

Just in case you’ve been agonizing about the lack of good names for boys, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel presents the case for cool boy names in this week’s The Nameberry 9.

Convinced there are no great names for boys?

Spend a few minutes on message boards and you’ll hear the laments.  “There are so many girls’ names I love, but nothing feels right for our son.”  “Girls keep stealing all of the good names!”

This week’s baby name news proves that parents are discovering plenty of great names for boys.  There’s no need to choose anything as outlandish as Rebel or as obscure as Theodule to find a stand out name for your son.

You will have to do your homework.  In a New York Daily News article announcing that Isabella and Jayden remained the top names in the Big Apple, one mom said that they’d landed on Jayden for their 2011 baby because they “were trying to do something that was different.”


Plenty of parents echo the same sentiment, surprised that our choices have expanded beyond names like Michael and Robert.  Therein lies the challenge.  Names like Logan and Elijah seem novel at first, but are actually pretty popular.  How do you pick a boy’s name that manages to be masculine and modern, interesting and not too weird all at once?

The nine newsiest names from last week all manage that feat nicely:

Lorenzo Dominic – Is Jersey Shore alum Snooki a closet name nerd?  Her new son with Jionni LaValle will answer to the appropriately Italian Lorenzo Dominic.  It’s a great heritage pick.  The couple earned even more style points when they announced their plan to call him Enzo, a lively, underused choice.

Edward Duke – Another reality television couple paired an unassailable classic with a daring middle.  Edward sees less use than William or James, but he’s right at home with those evergreen appellations.  Duke brings to mind basketball and John Wayne.  It’s a tough guy middle that lends some spark to the solid Edward.

Finn Davey – The new McDermott baby might be my favorite from last week.  Finn qualifies as a staple name for boys these days, along with Kai and Cole.  The big news is the new baby’s middle name.  Tori Spelling’s full name is Victoria DaveyDavey honors her grandfather, David Spelling.  Tori and Dean have done a nice job of picking meaningful middles, and I love the grandfather-to-granddaughter, mother-to-son gender hopping.  Finn also fits right in with siblings’ names: Hattie, Stella, and Liam, and half-brother Jack.

Jack – Speaking of Jack, he’s huge in the UK, but still not quite epidemic in the US.  Jackson is actually more popular.  Anna Faris and Chris Pratt went with just Jack for their new son.

Miles Crosby – Great names aren’t reserved for celebrities.  Miles Crosby popped up in the birth announcements at Names for Real.  Like Finn Davey, there’s an unexpected surname in the middle spot, and I think ends-in-y middles work better than most of us realize.  Miles is another rising favorite.  He’s a little bit colonial, a little bit jazzy.

Beck MartinBeck’s parents wrote to Swistle for help naming baby #2.  No wonder they’re in a bind – their firstborn’s name is really quite perfect!  Beck is less expected than Jack or Ben, but fits right in circa 2012.  Martin is a family surname, and also feels like a great way to ground the bold Beck.

Arthur Gerard Wayne – Some of the most intriguing options are the names that we’re not using.  File Arthur with Edward – classics that are just starting their comebacks.  Arthur has been popping up more and more lately.  I found this combination in the July birth announcements at Waltzing More than Matilda.

RoryBritish Baby Names discussed the top names in Northern IrelandJack remains #1, but there are some kelly green possibilities farther down the list, like Rory, Calum, and Cian.  Are you ready for the next wave of imports?  They’re terribly dashing.

Pilot – Call me crazy, but I don’t think that Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf were completely out there when they named their son Pilot.  In a recent poll, I was surprised by how many people feel the same way.  It’s an occupation, and the idea of piloting a ship makes him feel a little bit like a modern virtue name, like Haven or Sage.  As for Inspektor?  I’m not going there …

Are boys’ names harder for you?  Are your favorite boys’ names more conservative than the ones you might consider for a daughter?  And what do you think of Pilot?


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17 Responses to “Cool Boy Names: The Nameberry 9”

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WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

September 4th, 2012 at 12:04 am

I actually think boys get the coolest names, and a wider variety of them too. This is after reading through birth announcements from over a dozen papers 3-4 times a week. I totally don’t buy the “no names left for boys” credo.

I think most of these are awesome names, and who knew Snooki was going to come up with something so tasteful? Italian heritage helps after all.

Callum and Cian are fairly common here, but would like to see more Rory, which I think is still seen as a bit old-fashioned.

I think my favourite of these names is Beck – that’s a keeper. Nice little nature name, popular ck ending like Jack, and sounds brisk without being bad-boy.

Poppy528 Says:

September 4th, 2012 at 1:09 am

Great list of very handsome names. I love Jack and Beck, I had never put their similarities together before. Adore Arthur, not so much Pilot.

susan.n Says:

September 4th, 2012 at 3:49 am

I find boys names harder, as there’s so few that I like, and the ones I actually like (such as Jack/Jackson) are a bit too popular now for my liking. I’d still use it nonetheless though.

I definitely am a bit more conservative with boys names. I tend to prefer classic names for both genders but I am more hesitant about using a more obscure name for a boy as opposed to a girl.Even for middle names as well.I’m not quite sure how to explain it, but I am.

I love the combo of Miles Crosby! I was also very pleasantly surprised with Snooki’s combo of Lorenzo Dominic. A part of me expected something outrageous but her son’s name is fantastic.

I love the name Rory (it reminds me of Doctor Who!) but I guess with the conservative thing although it’s familiar to me it’s a bit unusual in Washington, (most people I know associate the name with Rory on Gilmore Girls) and a part of me is worried that it might seem pretentious of me to use a very Irish name(as opposed to say, Liam, which is very Irish but familiar and getting very popular-it was #2 in my state last year) as I have absolutely no Irish heritage whatsoever. (100% Vietnamese)

As for Pilot, I would never use it personally, but I can see the appeal.

susan.n Says:

September 4th, 2012 at 3:56 am

*there are so few that I like

aunt_ning Says:

September 4th, 2012 at 6:45 am

for me boys names are not that hard. I would require a good strong biblical name as the first, like Benjamin or Timothy. Richard would be the first middle name as thats my fathers name, and Bob my other half loves the name Atreyu, so that would be regulated to the 2nd middle name spot. Firs the girls, its so much harder for me as there are so many amazing names and so many people to try and honor in one name.

LyndsayJenness Says:

September 4th, 2012 at 7:31 am

I Love Finn Davey and Miles Crosby! I think ends-in-y names are fabulous in the middle, I’ve considered this for girls before but it’s great for boys too. And how perfect is the McDermott sibset? Jack, Liam, Stella, Hattie and Finn? Boys are all four letters, girls are six with double letters, all have different initials and ending sounds. And they all have that vintage-but-not-quite, laid-back-yet-awesome vibe. Doesn’t hurt that Hattie and Finn are two of my favorite names, either!

I love Beck, too. I could never use it because of our last name, or Beckett which I also love, but it’s really cool for all the reasons you stated. Arthur and Edward don’t thrill me but they’re nice names. Lorenzo Dominic is beautiful, I’m sure it’s pure luck since they’re Italian though. I bet if they weren’t it would’ve been Jayden Diezel or something.

That quote about Jayden being something different is too funny. I know someone who just had twins Addison and Brooklyn. When she told my dad the names she said they were pretty unusual. Hmm. What’s with people thinking things are “different” when in reality they’re exactly the same?

Now that my reply is longer than the blog, I think boys names are just as good as girls, but there just aren’t as many, and even the unusual ones are more popular than you think. My husband doesn’t like names in the top 1000, which is nearly impossible for boys, almost all the cool names are already being used a lot! And for me, there are at least a dozen girls names that I LOVE and that I would happily name a daughter. I could pretty much make a list and randomly pick one and be happy with it. For boys there are plenty that I like a lot, but it’s very difficult to pick one that I love enough to use, especially with my husbands input. As it is I insisted he let up on his rule, Flynn is around 950.

littlemissmariss Says:

September 4th, 2012 at 7:33 am

I’ve been having a hard time with my boys name list lately… but even harder with the girls. I would say both my girls and boys names have some less traditional picks. Heck, my three favorite boys are Roman Grey, Hale Nicastro (Nicastro being a family LN), and Archer Cole; and my girls are Charlotte Aoife (EE-fa), Saoirse Willow (SARE-sha), and Amelia Tess. I have quite the fair mix.

As for Pilot.. I love it! A girl on another site brought up how she thought it was crazy.. and my exact thought was “Why?” Its an occupational name – which is all the rage lately. And its got such a fun vision to it. Its a guilty pleasure for me though. I can’t see myself using it in real life. But I’d love to see it on other peoples children!

ConsultantMeghan Says:

September 4th, 2012 at 8:40 am

I find boys’ names way easier than girls’. Edward Duke, Finn Davey, and Rory are all so handsome. And I’m actually pleasantly surprised with Snooki’s choice of Lorenzo Dominic.

elizabeth_a Says:

September 4th, 2012 at 9:15 am

I think there are some great boys names. I adore Rory.

Also, an FYI, Calum is not a variation of Callum, it’s the other way around.

dresdendoll Says:

September 4th, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Edward was the real first name of jazz legend Duke Ellington, who was born Edward Kennedy Ellington in 1899. A young friend began calling him Duke in childhood.

Abby Says:

September 4th, 2012 at 6:28 pm

@dresdendoll – Now that makes Edward Duke
downright jazzy! Thanks for sharing that.

@littlemissmariss – Swooning other Hale Nicastro. What a great family name, and great combination!

@LyndsayJenness – Oh, there’s a whole blog post in different kinds of different, isn’t there!?

@Poppy528 and @WaltzingMoreThanMatilda – Beck really works, doesn’t he?

@susan.n – I’m not Irish enough to pull off Rory, either. Too bad, because it is a great name.

southern.maple Says:

September 4th, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I actually have a lot easier time with boy’s names than girl’s names. My only problem with the boys is trying to narrow down my list, whereas I don’t have much of a list for the girls at all!

I was very pleasantly surprised by Snooki’s choice for her son. I’m hoping that those who watch the show will follow her example and give their children equally nice names.

There’s a special place in my heart for Edward. 🙂 I love Tori Spelling’s choice of Finn Davey.

robynkit Says:

September 4th, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Harold and Maude.

MaryB Says:

September 5th, 2012 at 12:30 am

Just mentioning that although Lorenzo Dominic is an awesome name, Snooki is not italian she is Chilean.
I am also confused by the people who chose a name such as Elijah or Cole because they are ‘different’ when in fact these names are quite popular. In fact, many male names that are seen as ‘ordinary’ such as Richard, John, Paul, Peter,Timothy, etc…are much less popular that some of these new school ‘different’ choices. It’s really kind of mind-bending.

moxielove Says:

September 5th, 2012 at 1:44 am

A brief defense of those who unwittingly choose a “common” name while trying for an uncommon one: if you are not around kids very often, which was my case when I had my first, it is very very easy to be unaware of the popularity of the latest crop of names.

For ex. I had never met a Finn before and 3 years ago when we were discussing names, Finn came up and we loved it, in part because it was (to us) so unusual. Now that I am surounded by newborns to 5 year olds on a more regular basis, I realize that it’s not uncommon in some circles/age groups. Likewise with Lucy or Alice — recognizable names to be sure but ones I believed to have become rare and uncommon. How was I suppose to know they were raring back into fashion?

I don’t actually know any Coles or Elijahs, although both are very familiar names to me. I think we name nerds need to get down off our high horses and perhaps instead sympathize with a parent who was trying for a rare name and unwittingly picked the latest “it” name. Not everyone’s instincts are to research the SSN list before choosing their child’s moniker.

moxielove Says:

September 5th, 2012 at 1:45 am

PS love both Lorenzo Dominic and Finn Davey. Well done ladies!

skizzo Says:

September 5th, 2012 at 9:36 pm

For me boy names need to outside the top100, not boring classics that everyone knows at least another person with the same name – you dont take into acount only the SSA list for 2011, but at the very least for the previous years (at least 10), because your kid will grow up in that generation. You’d be surprised at how common names like William, Joseph, Alexander, Daniel, John, Jack, Michael, Robert, etc, are still overused.

For me I like soft sounding boy names, most of them are short, and quite unique.

I love Kai, Luka, Emery, Trace, Jax, Kage, Oakley, Finley, Asa, Rio, Azure, Wylie, Koa.

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