Modern Traditional Boy Names
If it’s a girl, they’re all set. If it’s a boy, this kiddo is currently nameless! Time to call in the Name Sage.
I am expecting baby number three in April and my husband and I cannot agree on a single boy name. We are not finding out the gender this go around and not knowing the name or the gender is driving me crazy!
We have a son named Kai Anthony and a daughter named Lilah Alexa. I loved the meaning of both names and they flowed well together, but haven’t found anything that fits for the third if it is a boy. I like the name Phoenix but my husband hates it.
Out last name ends in -er which eliminates a lot of names, too! We could use some suggestions.
The Name Sage replies:
Most things in parenting get easier with experience. Somehow naming isn’t one of them!
It sounds like you’ve used your favorites, and now you’re feeling stuck.
The obvious solution, of course, is to use Quinn for a boy. It’s a true unisex option, given to over 800 boys in 2018, along with nearly 3,400 girls. But that’s the challenge. Because it ranks in the girls’ Top 100, I’m guessing your husband sees it as feminine. Factor in a handful of high-profile female Quinns, and I suspect he’s not alone.
We’re looking for a modern name with a strong sound and a good meaning. Anything ending with –r is almost certainly off the list because of your surname. I’m guessing you prefer your names shorter and nickname-proof. And I’m going to avoid other unisex-trending choices, even though some, like Rowan and Finley, might otherwise fit.
But that’s not quite the full picture. While Kai and Lilah feel at home in 2020, both have plenty of history. I think that means we’re avoiding the truly new names, and leaning towards something grounded in the past, even if it’s novel as a given name today. Call them modern traditionals, names that aren’t quite either, but manage to be both.
Would you consider:
Boone – It shares roots with the Latin word bonus, meaning good. We still sometimes hear boon in English to mean a good friend – a boon companion – and bon is the French word for – yup, you guessed it! – good. Frontiersman Daniel Boone makes the name feel nicely rugged, too.
Crew – Like Boone, there’s something quite capable about Crew. It always strikes me as preppy, thanks to rowing, and, of course, clothier J. Crew. But there are also wrecking crews and motley crews, so it’s not too buttoned-down.
Hale – Boone and Crew both make the current US Top 1000. If you’re after something completely different, may I suggest Hale? It comes from an Old English word meaning healthy or whole. And while it’s rare as a given name, it’s familiar thanks to figures like Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale.
Hayes – Believe it or not, Hayes is cousin to Aidan, and shares the same meaning – fiery. Like Kai and Lilah, it’s a favorite for children born in recent years. And the ‘s’ ending has an appealing, scissor-y sound that makes the name stand out.
Jude – Strictly speaking, Jude belongs with the ancient names. It appears in the New Testament, and has been popular ever since the Protestant Reformation. But history aside, Jude sounds bright and modern. Better yet, if you’re a Beatles fan, it comes with a built-in lullaby.
Knox – Phoenix makes me wonder if another x-ending name would satisfy? Knox means hill, but it’s broadly associated with Fort Knox in the US – where the country’s gold repository is kept. That lends the name a different vibe. Drop the K and nox is the Latin word for night, so if you’re looking for a tie-in to the natural world, that’s there, too.
Lawson – I’ve suggested lots of one-syllable names, but I think there are some great longer options. Lawson means “son of Lawrence” and Lawrence ultimately comes from laurel, as in the plant used to represent victory in the ancient world. While choices like Jackson, Hudson, and Grayson are Top 100 staples, Lawson remains just a little bit different.
Torin – Many of the names I’ve suggested started out as surnames. I wonder if you’d prefer something like Torin? It’s an Irish name meaning chief, and it’s just the right mix of familiar and unexpected. I think Kai and Torin sound great together.
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on February 5th, 2020 at 5:56 am
Love Jude for this family!
on February 5th, 2020 at 1:29 pm
I can imagine Miles or Milo. Since the long i vowel sound is already prominent in the first two names, I would repeat the pattern. The meaning is soldier or compassionate. It’s a true modern classic.
K@i, Lil@h and Miles
K@i, Lil@h and Milo
Emma Waterhouse Said
on February 5th, 2020 at 2:58 pm
I love Abby’s suggestions, and just wanted to add Flynn, which I think would be great in the set and has a lot in common with Quinn in terms of its cool, simple, laid-back appeal.
on February 5th, 2020 at 3:33 pm
I like the suggestions of Jude and Knox best for this family, and I love the other commenters’ suggestions of Miles/milo and Flynn as well!
I would add:
on February 6th, 2020 at 1:03 pm
I quite like Jude or Hayes for them.
Erin Beth Said
on February 6th, 2020 at 5:50 pm
I am loving Hale. I never would have thought of it, but it seems perfect with the sibling names. Another idea for you is Forrest.
on February 7th, 2020 at 6:50 am
Picking up on the long “I” sound. What about Giles prounced with a soft g. It is similar to Miles but different.
on February 8th, 2020 at 9:33 pm
There’s something about Jude that’s just giving me heart eyes! 😀 Unique initial, unique ending sound, but it blends so well with the other two. Hayes hits the same note.
Knox feels similar to Kai, to me. It’s a bit funky in a good way, but everyone understands it easily. I really like this name.
I saw Reece as a suggestion, which is good because it’s the name I thought of. Modern but recognized, a bit spunky, only two possible spellings. (I like spelling it as Reese more, the candy won’t stop me!)
The best thing? All these names work with Phoenix as a middle!
on March 17th, 2020 at 11:59 pm
I don’t really love any of the suggestions, but Boone is my favorite.
Lilah, Kai & Quinn are all great names!
If Lilah & Kai have a brother here are some suggestions;
Lilah, Kai & Dax
Lilah, Kai & Pacey
Lilah, Kai & Grant
Lilah, Kai & Zev
Lilah, Kai & Dean
Lilah, Kai & Quinton
Lilah, Kai & Wesley
Lilah, Kai & Evan
Lilah, Kai & Rory
Lilah, Kai & Teo
Lilah, Kai & Yuki
Lilah, Kai & Uriah
Lilah, Kai & Ike
Lilah, Kai & Ivan
Lilah, Kai & Otis
Lilah, Kai & Otto
Lilah, Kai & Penn
Lilah, Kai & Ahkeem
Lilah, Kai & Solomon
Lilah, Kai & Shia
Lilah, Kai & Dillon
Lilah, Kai & Finn
Lilah, Kai & Gage
Lilah, Kai & Harry
Lilah, Kai & Jory
Lilah, Kai & Kingsley
Lilah, Kai & Langston
Lilah, Kai & Zion
Lilah, Kai & Xavi
Lilah, Kai & Calvin
Lilah, Kai & Caleb “Cal”
Lilah, Kai & Victor
Lilah, Kai & Van
Lilah, Kai & Bentley
Lilah, Kai & Bradley
Lilah, Kai & Bear
Lilah, Kai & Neil
Lilah, Kai & Nigil
Lilah, Kai & Max
Lilah, Kai & Moses
on March 18th, 2020 at 12:00 am
Lilah, Kai and Avi would also be sooo cute.
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