Give Me a Name with Swagger and Sass
by Suzi Catchpole
There are so many pretty names; the wallflowers, the shy, prim and delicate ones. I love them and am delighted when people use them, but of late, my own lists aren’t populated by the pretty ones. I want them edgy, loaded with pomp, prestige, colourful associations… and even a little arrogance.
We recently had our third baby son and we named him Jarvis. A friend exclaimed that Jarvis is a name with ‘serious swagger’ and we admit, we wanted something completely leftfield and totally cool. Bets were had that we would name our new baby Hugo, Sebastian or Jasper – all lovely names, but we were searching further afield for a wildcard; that neglected gem which so many parents seek.
After haggling and disagreeing about Wolfgang (his choice) and Rupert (my choice), we knew we had struck pay dirt when Jarvis was resurrected from the very first list I wrote back in 2004. It had been there all along, nonchalantly waiting for us to acknowledge its cred.
We live in Sydney Australia, and were aware that in the US, Jarvis is sometimes seen as a redneck or country and western name. Here, it has more of a hipster, Jarvis Cocker, upper crust British image. It does seem to have two identities though, and we decided we were fine with that.
And what if we had had three girls? Their names wouldn’t have been shrinking violets, that’s for sure! The feminine counterparts of Felix, Theodore, and Jarvis, my three sons’ names, that I would have loved to use for three daughters might have been Beatrix, Dahlia, and Juno.
So here’s a list of names which I think embody sass and swagger; girls and boys who have an edge and sit on the fringes… with attitude.
Are there more names that you think fit this category? Did you use a sassy name for your daughter, or bestow upon your son a name with swagger?
Suzi Catchpole is an Australian mother of three boys who writes for the site Babyology, Australia’s premier design blog for babies and children’s products. It’s the place to find anything for children and parents that’s worth having, from the practical to the sublime and everything in between.
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on May 29th, 2013 at 12:31 am
I’m stuck on Mahalia Sue for a girl right now. I think it’s quite sassy! I like your list a lot.
on May 29th, 2013 at 2:32 am
I love these! I would add Roscoe, Mabel, and Juniper.
on May 29th, 2013 at 2:38 am
Don’t get me wrong, Beatrix is a great name! But a sassy one? I don’t think so. It’s got a more eccentric relative vibe to me.
on May 29th, 2013 at 3:05 am
These are great – I really like Juno, Electra, Clio, Ramona, Saffron, and Lola for girls and Ace, Arlo, Conrad, and Dash for boys. I’d add Arden.
on May 29th, 2013 at 3:25 am
I love Mahalia! Mostly because I love Mahalia Barnes and Mahalia Jackson. I also love pretty much every name on this list.
For girls I would add: Eliza, Ianthe, Cassia (because I think the nn Cass has serious sass!), Mayim, Henrietta (love both Henry and Etta on a girl), Tallulah, Ariadne, Indigo.
For boys I love the suggestion of Roscoe, and I also love Archer and heaps more but my mind is currently blocked by cold meds…
on May 29th, 2013 at 4:28 am
Your boys have fantastic names (Jarvis is swoon), and I Iove your name lists. Ursula is a name I’ve always admired, and glad you can see the spunk in it.
I also think Jemima, Saskia, Zelda, Griffin and Jago are pretty spunky.
on May 29th, 2013 at 4:29 am
Oh, and Cass for a boy!
on May 29th, 2013 at 4:41 am
Love this list! We have a Clio. My #2 name for a girl is Romy, followed closely by Thora.
Fox + Nico are my favorites from the boys’ list.
on May 29th, 2013 at 5:00 am
I like most of these, but my favorites are Saffron, Ramona, Wilhelmina, Ursula, Conrad, and Wolfgang, but I don’t think I could bring myself to use Wolfgang in real life, except as a middle name.
Had my daughter been a boy, I almost wanted to name her Magnus, but I think we would have chickened out on that.
I feel Roscoe has a certain swagger, which is similar to Rocco on your list. I also like Guy, which is like Gus on your list.
I met a couple who were considering Aloysius for their second son, as a brother to Wolfgang from your list. Aloysius is “loaded with pomp” but I’m not sure it has the swagger. The nickname Alo has some edge and swagger though.
on May 29th, 2013 at 7:56 am
I love Bruno and am surprised it’s not more popular. I don’t know that I see Beatrix as sassy but the nick name Trixie definitely has some sass.
on May 29th, 2013 at 11:25 am
I think that Amos would work quite nicely on this list. It is unexpected, has a strong feel and a funky vibe.
on May 29th, 2013 at 12:27 pm
Love this list! We just named our dog Maverick, and every time I say it I can’t help but think how swag it is! Almost too bad its our dog’s name hehe!
on May 29th, 2013 at 12:43 pm
Maybe its because my little guy is so very much into Superheroes right now, but Jarvis isn’t redneck… it’s Iron Man’s super AI Computer. Voiced by the delicious Paul Bettany. 🙂
From your list, I love Ivy, Lola, and Romy for girls, and Dash for a boy. Swagger boys names to me… Davis, Jude, Felix, Theo, and Leo. I’d add Sawyer and Haven, maybe Marlowe, for girls.
My son is Weston. Which at the time I thought had a lot of swagger, and it’s definitely has Sass, but now seems to get piled into the Western or cowboy names. If he’d been a girl, his name would have been Greyson… Grey for short. Now that seems Sassy. 🙂
on May 29th, 2013 at 12:56 pm
I never knew Jarvis could be considered “redneck” or “western”- very interesting! I always think of a butler or manservant.
From your list, I love Romy, Saffron, Bruno, Conrad, Gus, and Wolfgang.
on May 29th, 2013 at 1:58 pm
My favorite names are Sebastian, Hugo and Jasper (in that order). 🙂
And on my list already are Lilith, Delilah, Ivy, Juno and Niko.
on May 29th, 2013 at 3:55 pm
Love Clio and Ramona. To me, they definitely have sass and swagger. I’d add Adair, which I think exudes sass and flair, and agree with Abby to add Romy.
on May 29th, 2013 at 4:13 pm
I am not sure I know what swagger and sass are. I think Alix, Calliope, Magnolia, Eben, and Elihu fit this trend. It’s an interesting list to me, although most are not my style.
on May 29th, 2013 at 10:07 pm
Jarvis is all Iron Man to me! Love a lot of these names! Especially Saffron!
on May 30th, 2013 at 1:33 am
I am a Mum to a Juno and she is definitely sassy!
I also like Frankie, Lola & Ramona from the girls and Arlo, Axel, Iggy, Jethro and Ziggy.
Zeb is one that has been on our list that may fit here 🙂
on May 31st, 2013 at 8:14 am
I am a mum to a two year old Jarvis and a one month old Frankie (her full name is way too long). We had shortlisted Jethro, Bowie, Lennon, Zeppelin, Iggy, Sage and Ziggy for him. For her, we had Maggie, Magenta, Cassia, Anaïs, Saffron, Anise, Cascabel and Florentina. Hugely into our music (especially Pulp) and definitely into our herbs and spices!
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on June 23rd, 2013 at 2:50 am
[…] Romy last year. Suzi Catchpole from Australian website Babyology lists Romy as a name with “swagger and sass” – it’s certainly very hip at the moment, a cool twist on popular Ruby and Rose. The […]
on July 20th, 2013 at 11:03 am
I’ve never heard Jarvis be described as redneck or country and western. I’ve actually known quite a few Jarvis’s and none of them could be described as redneck. They all had serious swag. One of my brother’s best friends is a Jarvis and he is most certainly not a redneck.
None of these girl names conjure up sass or swag to me, except maybe Juno, and that’s cause of the obvious connection to the movie, where the title character had lots of sass and maybe Clio, but that’s only because of the hard C sound. Lola and Tabitha make me think of sweet little blond girls with pigtails in their hair.
I will admit that I think of swag when I hear some of the boy names. Axel, Nico, Rocco, Bruno, Dash and Jagger. But those are about it.
on November 27th, 2013 at 3:04 pm
My favourite on this list is Jethro. I think it has swagger because of Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS, but also has a soft, gentle and wise feel – it’s in my top 3 for boys if I ever have any! x
on January 9th, 2014 at 11:40 am
My son’s name is Travis… which, like Jarvis and Jethro, gets thrown into the Country/Western collective. But for us it is a SWAG, though not overly bizarre, choice. He totally pulls it off, too.
As of now we are planning to name our next son Angus- which also seems loaded with attitude to me!
Reading this article inspired me… what about Jethro… with Jett for a nickname? Double swagger, dontcha think? Gonna have to pass that one by DH!
on January 9th, 2014 at 11:48 am
To this list I would add:
Dustin (although I don’t personally like this one)
Frankie (I knew one.. nn for Frank. For real.)
on January 22nd, 2014 at 11:02 pm
I favor the boys list to the girls, but for most i agree. I love tabitha, lilith, and saffron for girls. For boys I love arlo, dash (dashiell) and fox! Hugo and felix are both awesome as well! The only ones I can think to add is indigo, I think its pretty for a girl but def has some sass and monty for a boy
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on August 1st, 2014 at 7:47 pm
[…] middle name and surname as well. Australian writer Suzi Catchpole has an article up at Nameberry on names with “swagger and sass”, and Jarvis is on that. I wonder if any other of her hip baby names appeal to […]
on July 8th, 2019 at 8:05 am
I realise this post was 6 years ago so it’s funny reading it now and seeing that so many of the names on this list became so popular! It’s hard to define swagger and sass though… the authors 3 boys Felix, Theodore and Jarvis sound like gentle sweet names to me, along with Beatrix and Dahlia as sweet vintage storybook vibe names.
I think swagger/sass names like Electra & Stevie, Ziggy, Jagger, Fox are stronger, and others like the newly popular Maverick.
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