Labor Day Names: Occupational names for your little Pilot or Poet

By Linda Rosenkrantz

It’s become a Nameberry tradition, almost since the beginning to celebrate occupational names on Labor Day. This year we’re not only featuring those whose original occupations might no longer exist in the modern world, though they’re all good, wearable, sometimes trendy names, but also some of the more current occupational word-names which seem to be popping up with increasing frequency.

Right now, the usual, perhaps overworked, suspects populate the upper reaches of the popularity list, with Mason at #7.  Followed by the er-ending faves Carter, Hunter, Cooper, Ryder, Tucker, Archer, Sawyer, Gunner, and Tanner, all of which are in the Top 300.

But how about some of the more unusual ones that haven’t been heard quite so often?  Consider these:

BAIRD—Scottish version of bard—a poet, minstrel

BAXTER–communal baker, primarily female

BOOKER—scribe, used by Thandie Newton

BRENNER–charcoal burner and distiller of spirits

CARBRY–from the Gaelic for charioteer

CARDER—wool carder

CARRELL—maker of pillows

CASE—maker of boxes, now at #601

COLEMAN—charcoal burner, #873


CURRIER—preparer of leather

FLETCHER—someone who attached feathers to the shaft of an arrow, #631, used by Brendan Fraser and Samantha Bee

GAGE—moneylender, #328, used by Beach Boy Dennis Wilson

GARTH—person in charge of a garden

MARSHALL—one who cares for horses #356, used by Peyton Manning and Patrick Kennedy

MERCER—a trader

MILLER—owner or worker in a grain mill, #852, used by Scott Wolf, Melissa Etheridge and Stella McCartney

REEVE—sheriff, local official

SHEPHERD– #797, used by Jerry Seinfeld, Zac Hanson and Jared Padalecki

SLATER—coverer of roofs with slate, used for one of their twins by Angela Bassett and Courtney Vance


SPENCER–a person who dispensed provisions to those who worked at a manor, #292, used by Cuba Gooding, Jr and Tony Hawk

SUMNER—a summoner of witnesses to court

THATCHER—person who thatched roofs with straw, #847, used by Cat Cora and Meghan Kelly

TOLLIVER–metal worker

WARD—guard, guardian



Modern babynamers have given the category a bit of a twist—rather than choosing occupational names with an archaic meaning that might have much relevance, we’ve seen the emergence of more straightforward profession word-names, a group favored especially by celebs and which seems to be growing all the time. I won’t include the royal “professions”—Prince and Princess et al, though they may be fulltime occupations.


CHAPLIN—used by Ever Carradine (probably used more as a tribute to Charlie than for its profession).





PILOT, famously used by Jason Lee for Pilot Inspektor

PIPER–#789, used by Gillian Anderson, Cuba Gooding, Jr, Sarah Palin and Samantha Bee

POET—used by Soleil Moon Frye

RACER—used by Robert Rodriguez and Sam Worthington


SAILOR—used by Christie Brinkley

SCOUT–used by Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, Tom Berenger and Kerri Walsh


If you chose one of these names, would it have any relation to the actual occupation?


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8 Responses to “Labor Day Names: Occupational names for your little Pilot or Poet”

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Orchid_Lover Says:

August 31st, 2018 at 12:02 am

Reeve is my favorite boy’s name (too bad it’s vetoed). Simple yet uncommon.

stephaniebrooke Says:

August 31st, 2018 at 11:27 am

I’ve really liked Slater for a long time, and Deacon has been growing on me lately.

Bobcat108 Says:

August 31st, 2018 at 2:59 pm

While Clark is not a name used much these days, it’s an occupational name…clerk.

fromtheocean12 Says:

August 31st, 2018 at 3:58 pm

I absolutely love Reeve. I also really like Spencer.
Sailor and Scout are names I love but can’t ever imagine using.

mamanmia Says:

August 31st, 2018 at 4:51 pm

Poet and Scout are really cute!

E. Wittig Says:

September 1st, 2018 at 1:31 pm

Surname names are fun. One of my kids is named Poet! I love Thatcher and Piper. Tolliver is interesting, and I like Deacon as well.

lee_augusta Says:

September 1st, 2018 at 9:38 pm

Fantastic list! Of these, I like Baxter, Booker, and Reeve.

Kew Says:

September 4th, 2018 at 4:14 am

I only like occupational names as firsts when they have some figurative meaning or extra associations that make the choice more meaningful. Harper, for instance, has some very interesting connotations, from harp-playing angels to the harp as the national symbol of Wales. Baird (or Bard) is another one that would make a nod to Celtic history.

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