Dad Names Give Us All The Nostalgia
Happy Fathers’ Day! To celebrate, we’re looking at today’s Dad Names.
Dad Names are names that peaked in popularity between 1980-2000. This means they’re mostly found on men aged 20-40, the main age group for new dads.
The key point here is when the names peaked. Some, like Richard and Robert, were well-used in the 1980s and 90s but were already past the height of popularity, and are now in Grandpa Name territory. Others, like Jacob, were becoming popular but peaked later, so most of their wearers aren’t dad age yet.
So are Dad Names usable today? Most still rank in the popularity charts, some even still in the Top 100. And there are certainly arguments in their favor. Many are very appealing — that’s why they were popular in the first place — and if being one of several in the class is a concern, they will probably stand among the Liams and Noahs at school.
But if you want a name that’s fresh, cool, and not likely to be shared with your kid’s teacher/sports coach/boss, you may want to avoid Dad Names. Let them rest (with slippers and a glass of something chilled), and they’ll be vintage and trendy again by the time your great-grandchildren are born.
10 Major Trends
1. C__y surnames
2. Cowboy names
Along the same lines, many names that peaked in the 80s and 90s had cowboy style. After all, their parents grew up in the golden age of Clint Eastwood. Cowboy Dad Names include Austin, Dallas, Cassidy and, yes, Clint. Cowboy names are still on trend today, but with a fresh set of names like Wyatt, Wilder and Colton.
3. Early-adopter occupational names
The 80s and 90s were a high point for traditional classics like Roberto, Felipe, Juan and Pedro. Since then, Spanish-speaking parents have moved on to a new generation of names. Some of the hottest now include Mateo, Angel and Santiago.
Every generation has its favorite bible names. Today’s dads have names that pull away from mid-century classics like David and Steven, but are more streamlined than the dramatic Old Testament prophet names favored today. Some examples: Aaron, Nathaniel, Jared and Joel.
If we had to pick just one letter to define Dad Names, it would be D. These decades were the golden age of names with a De- prefix — Deandre, DeVante — as well as popular D names like Daniel, Devon and Drew.
De- wasn’t the only popular prefix. Many Dad Names start with sounds like Ja-, Ra-, Tre– and Ty-. These are a mixture of established names, and creative ones that take the sound and run with it, so there’s Jamal and Jamarcus, Rashad and Rashawn. Today’s parents are equally creative, but with different sounds. The hot syllables of today include Jay, Kay, Car and Bry.
8. Names starting with Br-
9. Names ending in -ell
The most defining ending of Dad Names is -ell, in names such as Darnell, Jarrell, Montrell, Mitchell and Tyrell. Today, Maxwell is the only one in the Top 500: parents tend to prefer this sound on the start of names, like Elliot.
10. Pop culture
Some names that peaked in the 1980s and 90s can be firmly pinned to the stars of the time, including:
Darien (Time Trax)
Tristan (Legends of the Fall)
Here’s our pick of the most typical Dad Names. The full list is here.
Today’s Dad Names
For context, these were the most popular boy names of the 1980s and 1990s.
Top Boy Names of the 1980s
Top Boy Names of the 1990s
And these are some of the boy names that peaked in popularity during that time:
Names that Peaked in 1980
Names that Peaked in 1985
Names that Peaked in 1990
Names that Peaked in 1995
What are the names of dads you’re celebrating this Fathers’ Day?