High-Energy Names

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted a name with a lot of energy, for reasons that seem insane from the perspective of having raised three kids. But I didn’t anticipate that a high-energy toddler might run me ragged; I just knew I wanted my little boy or girl to be active, outgoing, not hobbled by the shyness and insecurities I felt had plagued my own childhood.

Well, I got my wish. Rory burst into the world, all 9 pounds, 5 ounces of her, with a shock of jet black hair and a voice that woke the whole maternity ward. At two weeks old, she was able to stand on my husband’s lap and sing along with him. As she grew, she starred in all the school plays and dominated on the lacrosse field.

The search for a high-energy name was part of the inspiration for our first name book. It was so difficult to sift through all the conventional name dictionaries on the market at the time and try to find names that sounded energetic (and Irish and that meant red, two of my other criteria). There should be a name book that put all the energetic-sounding names in one place, I thought, along with all the names that sounded smart and stylish, that were good for redheads or popular in the 1920s. That’s the thinking I brought to the first Beyond Jennifer & Jason (Linda, meanwhile, a friend and fellow writer, had conceived the same idea from a different direction), now grown up to Beyond Ava & Aiden.

I wonder, had we named our daughter Molly as my husband wanted, if she would have been bouncing off the walls and bounding out into the world in quite the same way. Or would she have been milder (that’s what the name Molly sounded like to me), sweeter, a more old-fashioned and easy-going girl?

The choice of a name often signals the kind of child we want to have: William might be traditional, Jasper artistic, Serena, feminine and — well, serene. But then, of course, kids pretty much are who they are. My husband and I, wanting an energetic child, may have encouraged Rory to be more outgoing and active, yet she was also, as Lady Gaga says, born that way.

It bears reflection, when you’re looking for a name, on what your favorites say about your hopes and dreams for your child. And if you and your spouse are at odds about names, that might be an indication that you have different visions of the ideal little boy or girl.

Back to those energetic-sounding names. Here’s a selection I think work, with the genders listed together as so many are really unisex. Of course, the image of a name is in the ear of the beholder. What names that aren’t here sound high energy to you?

* Barnaby
* Breaker
* Clancy
* Dart
* Dash
* Dasha
* Finian
* Harley
* Ivo
* Juniper
* Keagan
* Keenan
* Lulu
* March
* Mateo
* Mitzi
* Murphy
* Piper
* Pippa
* Poppy
* Racer
* Ranger
* Rogue
* Rory
* Rosie
* Springer
* Tatum
* Ving
* Viva

photograph by Pat David

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17 Responses to “High-Energy Names”

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linzybindi Says:

August 23rd, 2011 at 2:26 am

Great list of high energy names. Here are a few more…

petra.j Says:

August 23rd, 2011 at 4:47 am

Great post! I love Rory for an energetic, out-going girl. Certainly I do think that the names we choose are a way of us projecting the traits we want onto our children and I’m sure in a way that does influence who they turn out to be (in some ways).

Some other high-energy names (which I think are also sharp/short/snappy) are:



Nook of Names Says:

August 23rd, 2011 at 5:12 am

I don’t think it would be possible to get much more high energy than Dart, Dash, Piper, Racer, Ving and Springer! Maverick, maybe, and Rush (if you can get Limbaugh out of your mind, which I know is difficult in America!). Zinnia’s definitely got zing too :D.

Abby Says:

August 23rd, 2011 at 6:48 am

I’ve wondered the same thing about Clio! If she’d been Callie, as my husband suggested, would she be less of a handful? Somehow I don’t think so, but I do wonder …
I think most ends-in-o and many ends-in-x names fit, too – Dex, Bix, Dax, Rex, Carlo, Hugo, Arlo.

lindseylikes Says:

August 23rd, 2011 at 8:32 am

As for those x names, before I even got to Abby’s comment I was thinking of Max and Felix.
And Wilder! And Tallulah, though Lulu is already on the list.

Marginamia Says:

August 23rd, 2011 at 8:47 am

Fantastic list! Name or nurture; that *is* the question? I totally agree that we often pick names, even if somewhat unconsciously, based on what we want for our children, or on our own ideals for what makes a nice human being, so we likely nurture ideals that are present in the name selection, as you say, but there’s also something to be said for names having a definite sound to *most* ears: the child hears this name linked with her being for a lifetime, it may affect what others expect from her and thus how they approach her, subtle things which can be very shaping to a personality? So I think it makes total sense to name with the qualities you want for your child in mind!

I would add:
Fleet (No, I don’t think of enemas. This word has a long history, pre-enema)
Reve (Rev)
Azalea (Zazi, Zizi, Zela)
Zip (by way of Alexander or Xavier?)

corsue Says:

August 23rd, 2011 at 10:45 am

I can’t get past the picture you have with this blog! So funny!

katybug Says:

August 23rd, 2011 at 12:21 pm

What a great topic! Caliope and Pandora come to mind.

anniebee Says:

August 23rd, 2011 at 12:28 pm

The one that sprang to mind was the one Abby posted about the other day – Vivienne w/ nn Vivi. Vivi just sounds so full of life to me.

catmcroy Says:

August 26th, 2011 at 8:19 am

Great list! I’d add Jill to the list – it has always seemed really spunky and athletic to me.

catmcroy Says:

August 26th, 2011 at 8:21 am

@Anniebee – Vivi is one of the Divine Sisters of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood!

Sunday Summary: 8/28/11 | Appellation Mountain Says:

August 28th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

[…] liked this Nameberry post on high energy baby names.  It’s definitely a category of which I’m quite […]

bluejayway Says:

August 29th, 2011 at 12:18 am

My daughter’s name is Rosie, and I was laughing when I saw her name on this list. She is bananas, and has been since she came into the world. I’m pregnant with my second and we’re trying to pick a name, now. I’m hoping this one isn’t quuuuiiite as peppy as my little dear.

rollo Says:

February 9th, 2012 at 5:39 am

I think Eliza, Stella and Poppy fit the list too

mary97 Says:

February 12th, 2012 at 7:54 pm

I think Maggie is also a high energy name.

fieldspring Says:

June 28th, 2012 at 10:59 pm


tasia_janay23 Says:

April 25th, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Sadie, Cassia, Merida, Halle, Whitney, Rio

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