Jack, Jackson & Theodore: Who says it’s tough to name a boy?
I’ve often said that if our second child were a boy, he would have gone nameless.
Blame it on our preferences. My husband and I planned to source family names for our children, without thinking about the imbalance. We have tons of women in our family, with a rich list of interesting names. The pool of masculine names is much smaller, and repeats, again and again, over the generations. Naming a second – or third or fourth – son would have required a willingness to reinvent some antiques and reconsider a few imports.
Is Zbigniew wearable in the US?
But let’s say that we were open to finding a great name, not one with family ties necessarily. Just a name that would serve our child well from infancy into adulthood.
Happily, there’s no shortage of those.
The last few weeks have brought us birth announcements proving that naming a boy can seem effortless in 2013.
The nine most newsworthy baby boy names in the news are:
Theodore – If the parents are a 20-something actress and an indie pop singer-songwriter, you might expect an edgy name. Something headline worthy, like Pilot or Wolf. But Kaylee DeFer – most recently of Gossip Girl – and Michael Fitzpatrick of Fitz and the Tantrums – surprised us all with their impeccably classic pick. The couple recently welcomed son Theodore Ignatius.
Jameson West – James is evergreen. With his longer surname sound, Jameson is just a little more current. Thanks to his association with Irish whiskey, maybe he’s a bit daring, too. Kathryn Morris, formerly of Cold Case, and her partner Johnny Messner welcomed Jameson and his twin brother last month.
Rocco McQueen – Jameson’s twin is Rocco. Rocco McQueen is just as all-boy as Jameson West. The saintly Rocco has deep roots and a long history of use, but still feels like a tough guy. McQueen might be a rarity as a given name, but Steve McQueen – once known as “The King of Cool” – seems like the kind of pop culture icon ready to inspire an unexpected middle.
Kieran – Mitt Romney’s family is bigger by one this week. Ben Romney and his wife Andelynne adopted a baby boy, a little brother for Soleil. They’ve named him Kieran, which set off a huge flap on Twitter. The trouble? Their adorable little Kieran is African-American, and Kieran means little dark one. Let’s give the Romney family the benefit of the doubt and assume they lovingly chose the name because it makes a great choice for a boy in 2013.
Jack Leon – Speaking of great names, former tennis champ Kim Clijsters and her husband Brian Lynch have a knack for choosing names that are just the tiniest different. Jack is nearly as popular as John these days – and Jackson is more popular than both! Their new son’s name has a casual vibe that feels modern without being too trendy. The unexpected Leon – also a Jolie–Pitt kiddo middle name – anchors Jack nicely. Big sis is Jade Ellie.
Boston – Australian actress Brooke Harman and husband Jeffrey Walker are new parents! They’ve welcomed a son named Boston Scott. Along with Camden, this seems to be one of the place names gone mainstream in recent years.
William Hudson – You can see Nikki DeLoach as the mom of a teenager on MTV’s Awkward, but in real life she’s just expecting her first with husband Ryan Goodell. Nikki and Ryan have already announced their son’s name: William Hudson. I love this quote from a recent interview: “you don’t find a name, the name finds you.” She has a great story of falling in love with the name, then discovering a family connection.
Arlo – This name might have been obscure just a few years ago, but suddenly I’m hearing quite a lot of Arlo. He’s another great A name, a substitute for the very popular Leo. Elea’s list of sibling names for Arlo was filled with interesting combinations. My favorite? Arlo, Seth, and Nell.
Beckett – Let’s end with a great boy’s name that is in the news because of a girl. Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, has welcomed baby #3, a little sister for Harper and Emerson. Word is that little sister is called Beckett. It’s a solid surname pick for a boy, a choice that has soared in recent years. With built-in nickname Becky, it isn’t impossible to imagine a girl answering to this one, but somehow Beckett is still all-boy to me.
What are your favorite boy names? Do you think it is harder to name sons than daughters?
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on September 29th, 2013 at 11:47 pm
I do enjoy thinking up girl names more than boy names, when I was pregnant my girl name list was much longer. However, I do have a few boy favorites.
Leo (my son’s name, named after my grandpa)
Frederick (if we have another boy)
Patrick (but never Pat)
Philip (but not Phil)
My husband really likes Roman, which is my other grandpa’s name
-Undecided on Arthur
on September 30th, 2013 at 4:46 am
I find that I have set favourites for boys names – Simon, James and Luke. They haven’t changed much since being introduced to name.
My girls name choices are much more ‘daring’ and change much more regularly…
At the moment I like Ariadne, Eliza, Felicity, Sonnet and Angela.
Just compounds the fact that people are more adventurous with their girls’ names than their boys!
on September 30th, 2013 at 5:33 am
I just love Theodore Ignatius, one of the best celeb baby names I’ve heard in a while!
on September 30th, 2013 at 5:43 am
@JH – I agree with you about Patrick – great name, but NEVER Pat! 🙂
@Maerad – My favorite boys’ names have become more adventurous over the years … but harder to pin down, too. Ignatius was the only name we could sort of agree on if #2 was a boy, and I don’t know that we would have used it. Though I’ve met two since then …
And yes, I think most of us are more daring with girls’ names.
@goldielocks – Isn’t it a great name? I almost fell over when I read it!
on September 30th, 2013 at 6:47 am
@JH and @Abby: I actually have cousins who are brothers named Patrick and Phillip. We never call them Pat or Phil, but apparently their friends do. 😉
Most of these are pretty great. I agree that Theodore Ignatius is great, and I also love Jack Leon and William Hudson.
on September 30th, 2013 at 7:09 am
I’m actually kind of mixed on the Beckett issue, even though I’m usually not one for boys’ names on girls. I think it’s because I’ve been watching too much Castle lately – hearing Kate Beckett answer to her last name all the time has apparently started pushing the name a bit towards pink in my mind 😀
on September 30th, 2013 at 8:08 am
Beckett, to me, is a shade soft for an American boy, as is Elliot/Elliott. I’ve seen the latter a bit in evangelical Christian circles, and I wonder if martyred missionary Jim Elliot is the inspiration or semi-inspiration, or the fact that it means ‘light.’
on September 30th, 2013 at 10:00 am
I kind of love Theodore… which is way off my mark. But I keep seeing the nickname Thor. It’s strange and now stuck in my head.
I think Boys are hard to name. I’m having a hard time right now.
on September 30th, 2013 at 11:18 am
When I was single, and only naming imaginary children in my own head, boys names were the easiest and girls were so difficult. Now, I am trying to compromise with another person on future childrens names, and the boy names have become more difficult…partially because he can only seem to come up with girl names that he adores!
on September 30th, 2013 at 11:29 am
Bryce, my son, was very easy to name. I heard it one day and stuck with it. If I have another boy, his name will be Philip. Once again, very easy for me to figure out and commit to. Now, when it comes to a girl’s name I have changed it dozens of times. There are just so many! I think im sticking with Rosaline, though! Theodore is a great name! Teddy is so cute 🙂 Hudson is a great name, too.
on September 30th, 2013 at 11:40 am
Boy names are easy for me though I suspect that may be because my husband and I tend to agree more on boys’ names. With girls I tend to like more serious names while he prefers sweeter ones.
on September 30th, 2013 at 1:30 pm
For me I have more settled favourites for boys. My favourite boy name is Levi and I’ve loved it for ages. So if I was to have son it would be Levi and I literally would not budge haha. Whereas with girl’s my names always change at the moment my favourite is Rosalie but Cordelia is slowly over taking Rosalie it’s never defiant.
My favourites from the list above are…
Beckett for a girl is dodgy it’s all boy : )
on September 30th, 2013 at 1:36 pm
If this baby is a boy, he will be Theodore. Sebastian was our runner-up, followed by Julian and Elias.
on September 30th, 2013 at 3:04 pm
@GrecianErn – Thor for Theodore is quite clever. I’ve had Theodora, nn Thora, on my top two for girls for a while now, but I never realized that Thor/Theodore was an option, too.
@KateMP91 – Now that’s REALLY interesting! I think my husband is far more willing to consider daring names for girls.
@shieldsc – All great names!
@csd267 – Love Rosaline! And that’s a good point – I like so many girls’ names that it would be tough to narrow it down … I could never choose between my current top two.
on September 30th, 2013 at 3:27 pm
I find boys so much easier than girls! I guess with boys I love classic (Not modern anyway) sweet names-and there are quite a few of these around like: Otto, Angus, Micah, Jasper, Arlo, Gabriel, Otis, Arthur, Rafferty, Ralph, Rupert, Reed, Hugo, Zac, Dexter, Isaac to name a few. Girls I like spunky straight to the point names-I really don’t like frilly girly girl names. I have a Phoebe Alice and have no idea what else I would have with her if I had a girl next!
on September 30th, 2013 at 4:19 pm
Favorite boy names? Too numerous to mention, but for starters: James, Michael, Thomas, John (Jack), Joseph, Andrew, Patrick, Martin, Sean, Dominic. I don’t think it’s hard to name either sex.
on September 30th, 2013 at 5:42 pm
Theodore Ignatius is pretty cutting-edge in my opinion. I wouldn’t have picked either name separately, but that’s one stunning combination. And I’d never considered Thor as a nn option, but I’m in love.
I love so many boys’ names but it’s so difficult for me to find girl names. On the boys’ side, there are so many wonderful, forgotten gems — we’ll probably use Ragnar if this little one turns out to be a boy, but we have nothing for a girl.
on September 30th, 2013 at 6:51 pm
Thanks to Azalea for pointing out that Kim Clijsters’ daughter is Jada – not Jade!
on September 30th, 2013 at 9:07 pm
My mother-in-law hates it when people call my husband Pat but unless he specifically asks them not to most people immediately shorten Patrick to Pat. We’ve crossed some great boy’s names off our list because we don’t like the default nickname.
on October 3rd, 2013 at 12:04 am
LOVE Theodore Ignatius – how handsome! And what a cool idea to use Thor as a nickname for Theodore, btw.
I have actually seen Jameson on more girls than boys recently – I feel that this is another name which could slide over to pink territory in the future. Can anyone tell me why? Is there a famous woman named Jameson or Jamieson I’ve never heard of?
on December 16th, 2013 at 10:05 pm
Im not for certain, that I would that parents are going more daring with girls than boys, its just that the list of boys’ names has been thinned, stretched, and thinned again. It nothing new to us, but girls are taking on boy names more and more, and parents usually want their boys to be identified as, well, a boy. Yet, they don’t necessarily want to take on a classic staple like William, Andrew, Phillip and so on, which still gives no certainty that it says I AM A MAN in ten years down the road. Not to mention, how many Williams, Andrews or Phillips that he may run into through his life. So it becomes increasingly difficult, to pick something without going the surname approach such as McTavish or Fitswilliam or using old antiques from the attic like Leonides or Lancelot. With girls, the doors open, light shines in and its limitless. If you want a butch name for your little girl you can do it or even choose something princess like, all without harsh judgement for the most part. I haven’t ment a boy’s birth name of rebecca or daisy but if so it is followed with harsh judgement. With that said, I like Haytham, Beresford, Beacon, Casimir, Kester, and Granville. These are my top choices. I can always make there middle names george, phillip, william and so fourth.
on October 20th, 2014 at 2:36 pm
It is harder for me as well to name a boy. I find it extremely easy to name a girl since I love so many girl names. However it is becoming harder and harder for me to find boy names I like.
Boy Names I Do Like: Luke, Liam, Ashton, Michael, Noah, Cody, Connor, Colton, Elijah, Aaron, Ryan, James, William, Edward, Louis, Harry, Niall, Nathan, Thomas, Phillip, Andrew, Samuel, Joseph, Nicholas, David, Daniel, Henry, Caleb, Jackson, Greyson, Dylan, Derek, Jonathon, Tristian, & Justin.
Girl Names I Do Like: Hermione, Amelia, Madeline, Holly, Elise, Noelle, Emma, Ella, Jessica, Lauren, Lindsey, Britney, Samantha, Lily, Kayla, Kristen, Elsa, Grace, Chloe, Danielle, Hannah, Rachael, Kendall, Mallory, Sarah, Courtney, Marissa, Demi, Caroline, Cara, Hayley, Isabella, Piper, Jennette, Alyson, Taylor, Selena, Amanda, Elizabeth, Catherine, Alyssa, Abigail, Juliet, Laurel, Katelynn….and many more.
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