Nameberry Faves II: The Boys’ Names Nameberryites Love Most

A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the favorite girls’ names on a Nameberry Message Board thread–led by the lovely Beatrix, Penelope and Clementine–and now it’s time to look over at the boys’ side.

The most striking result is the strong showing for the good old traditional, timeless classics, with many votes for William, Henry, Charles, James, Edward, Joseph, George, and Thomas, and a resurgence of interest in Theodore (#2!–perhaps because of the popularity of nickname Theo), Frederick, and Peter.  Does this mean that parents are still (or once again) looking at safer, more conservative choices for their sons than their daughters?  Is it somehow a reflection of the cloudy economic climate?

Some smaller trends noted: a preponderance of names starting with the vowel EElliot (in its various spellings), Edward, Emmett, Everett, Ethan, Ezra, Elias; and the characteristic nameberry love of some quirkier choices, several not found in the Top 500 of the Social Security list–Gideon, Amos, Emmett, Dexter, Atticus, Asa, Harvey, Callum and Cullen–and some not even on the list at all–Dashiell, Archer, Malachy, Laszlo, Ambrose.  It takes time for the rest of the world to catch up!

So here, as of today, are your top choices:

WILLIAM and HENRY–tied

THEODORE

OLIVER

CHARLES

JAMES

GIDEON

AUGUST

MILO, NATHANIEL

NOAH, ELIOT/ELLIOT/ELLIOTT, EDWARD, EMMETT, JASPER

JUDE

LUKE, BENJAMIN, DASHIELL, EVERETT, OWEN

And then:

LEVI

ETHAN

GEORGE

GRAYSON

CALVIN

DESMOND

FELIX

HUGO

FREDERICK

SEBASTIAN

ADAM

DECLAN

Followed by:

AMOS

FINN

HUDSON

JACK

JACOB

JOSEPH

NATHAN

PETER

THOMAS

And the runners-up:

AIDAN/AIDEN, AMBROSE, ARCHER, ARLO, ARTHUR, ASA, ATTICUS, BARNABY, CALLUM, CULLEN, CHRISTOPHER, DANIEL, DEXTER, DOMINIC, DONOVAN, EDMUND, ELIAS, EZRA, FINLAY/FINLEY, HARVEY, JACKSON, JOSIAH, JULIAN, LASZLO, LIAM, LANDON, MALACHY, MILES, NICHOLAS, OSCAR, QUINN, RHYS, RONAN, SILAS, SIMON, TOBIAS, TRISTAN, TRUMAN, WALTER

As with the girls, we’ve also tallied up the names that have received the most 5-star ratings by visitors.  Here are the Top 25:

HENRY

JASPER

FINN

MILO

OLIVER

FELIX

OSCAR

ASHER

ATTICUS

JUDE

JAMES

LEO

LIAM

JACK

ELI

ELIJAH

OWEN

JACKSON

BENJAMIN

WILLIAM

EZRA

BECKETT

NOAH

SEBASTIAN

DASHIELL

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26 Responses to “Nameberry Faves II: The Boys’ Names Nameberryites Love Most”

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Erin Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 12:55 am

I’d love to track whether we are right, and the names we like now become more popular in the next couple of years!

linda Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 1:26 am

I’d put my money on it!

susan Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 1:26 am

Nameberryites have great taste!

persephone Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 4:49 am

As for the girl’s lists (where my top two were listed), both my sons’ names are up there!

When we named our Theodore two years ago, people still thought it rather musty, although undeniably handsome. I still haven’t met another one, and am hoping it stays at least a little underused in my area.

Our style is definitely classic, but underused. I’d like Inigo for a third boy 🙂

Elizabeth Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 7:01 am

Seeing these results makes me realize that I truly do not share the tastes of younger generations. Henry? Jasper? Oliver? With names favorites like these, I’m sure we’ll soon see Herbert making an appearance on the list.

Pam Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 7:06 am

Wait a minute…..Harvey? That must be the British vote!

GracePheiffer Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 7:34 am

A few of my faves made it. Harvey, Emmett and Adam. But I really can’t get behind some of the more common names like William, Benjamin, or James (though Jamie is my #1 choice). I’m just glad names like Michael, Steven, and Brian aren’t ready for their comeback yet.

phaedra Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 7:58 am

These are great. I love a huge percentage of them.

For me, I favor more conservative boys’ names simply because there are fewer boys’ names to choose from than girls’.

Pamela Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 8:42 am

People on the discussion boards here were helpful in encouraging me to go ahead with my first choice name when I was expecting my third child. Jasper is now 5 months old and 95% of the time I get an overwhelmingly positive reaction when I tell people what his name is! So glad we used it. Thanks, Nameberryites!

Abby Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 8:50 am

Theodore was always my #2 boy’s name – my MiL has Theodosia as one of her middle names. But we know two already. (One called Teddy, one called Theo.) And we have a Clio. So that’s out.

Still, it is always exciting to see that I’m in such good company! And Pamela, Jasper? Rocks!

namefan Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 9:14 am

I do think that parents are still branching out with their sons’ names, but it appears that the hottest choices are names that have a strong history but have not been popular here until recently (e.g. August, Sebastian). The long-standing classics (e.g. James, William) will probably always have a fairly strong usage, although the percentage of babies with such names will probably continue to decline as parents are diversifying their name choices. In surveys of favorite boys’ names on other forums that I’ve posted on (over the past several years), similar results have shown up.

In a blog that I posted a link to awhile back, I mentioned how today’s younger new parents (those in the generation born since the early ’80s or so) seem to be more comfortable with unconventional names for their sons than those in the previous generation and even more so than the Boomers. Although that blog focused on unisex names, I think that the logic can be applied here as well.

JustADad Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 9:45 am

Both of our sons’ names (ages 10 and 7) are on the list and we’ve never regretted our choices for a moment. (And they really like their names.) This is a great, solid list of names and shows the great taste of this community. 🙂

namefan Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 9:54 am

I went to check out the SSA popularity lists, and my theory of the “traditional classic” boy’s names being given to a smaller percentage of boys (even though the rankings may be similar) appears to be true. Using the examples I gave of James and William, here’s what I found comparing the names between 2008 and 30 years prior (in 1978):

James: In 1978 it ranked #5 and made up 2.3363% of all male births; in 2008 it ranked #17 and made up 0.6952% of all male births.

William: In 1978 it ranked #13 and made up 1.4153% of all male births; in 2008 it ranked #8 and made up 0.8438% of all male births.

On the other hand, the same can also be seen on the girl’s side too: Taking one of the few long-standing classics for girls, Elizabeth, in 1978 ranked #14 and made up 1.0228% of all female births but in 2008 ranked #9 and made up 0.5748% of all female births.

Sachiko Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Does everybody else see the big name boost all the Twilight-related names got? Edward, Cullen, Jaspar, Emmett? (Cullen?!?)

Charlotte Vera Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Haha, Sachiko, I was thinking the exact same thing — those names may not rank high yet, but they sure will soon!

Only two of my favourites showed up anywhere on the list. I guess that’s not surprising since one in my top ten usually ends up on the “don’t bring them back” list (Ernest — a great name with a wretched nickname) and another would probably be a contender for that list as well (Clarence).

LyndsayJenness Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Nameberry has great taste! I like 99% of the names up there. I’m excited that my baby’s name is up there twice!

Sachiko, I noticed that, too… I don’t think it’s so much that people are obsessed with Twilight as it is that old fashioned names are in, and Stephenie Meyer picked some great names that fit in with that trend. I think Twilight certainly has helped those names a lot, but I have a feeling many of them would be favorites even without Twilight. Except for Cullen, that’s definitely where that came from!

Oh, and Harvey was in my top 10! Love it!

dancer4life Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

I’m very excited some of my top names were shared by some others, namely Owen, Thomas, and Theodore.

Pam Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Namefan, you make a great point about the absolute rankings not telling the whole story. Excellent example of Elizabeth, which has a HIGHER ranking now than 30 years ago yet is given to half the percentage of girls! The hidden point is that you can choose one of the top names with less fear your child will be one of many in the classroom.

namefan Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Pam, you’re right about how a smaller percentage of babies are getting the highest-ranked names than in the past (this might be a good subject for a future blog post) and names like Elizabeth and William which have increased in numerical ranking but decreased in percentage of births from 30 years ago.

Here’s a couple of different ways of looking at the shift by comparing 2008 to 30 years earlier (in all comparisons I am going by the percentage and not the number of births, since the changing birthrate is generally beyond the scope of studying name trends):

2008’s #1 names for each gender, Jacob and Emma, each consisted respectively of 1.0355% and 0.9043% of births for each the names’ respective genders. The #1 names from 1978, Michael and Jennifer, took in 3.9308% and 3.4268% of births for each of the respective names and genders. That means that back in 1978 more than three (and nearly four) times as many babies got the #1 name as today.

When looking at the 1978 list for the ranking of the same percentage of babies as the #1 names on the 2008 list, it comes out to falling in between #18 and #19 for boys (Jeremy and Jeffrey respectively) and #16 and #17 on the girl’s side (the respective names here are Stephanie and Rebecca).

redriding Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Harvey the British vote? Do not know any children or babies called this! (and I work in a British toyshop and vet all the mums and babies names before I will serve them!)

We are also “over” Oliver here – that was very hot here in the 80s.

Love Theodore. Reminds me of Teddy Lawrence in Little Women. Very American!

xxxx

rachelmarie Says:

August 12th, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Yay! Some of my favorites (that I put on my Top 10 List) are up there:
Henry, Luke, Christopher, Dexter, and Callum.
A lot of those names are also some favorites, including:
Noah, Nathan, Miles, Rhys, Archer, and Jack (which I unfortunately forgot to put on my Top 10).

Does anyone else find it slightly upsetting or confusing that Edward, Emmett, and Jasper are tied? They’re Twilight names…

spotlightstarlit Says:

February 6th, 2010 at 3:55 am

Henry and Hugo are new to my lists, though Jasper, Benjamin, Callum and Elias have been there for a while, glad to hear these boys names are loved and respected! 🙂

shanno Says:

May 7th, 2010 at 1:59 pm

My husband (not a Twilight fan) picked out the name Cullen, and I LOVE it. I was shocked that he chose something so different…or so I thought!?

Sunshinetina Says:

May 20th, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Loves Theodore, Milo, Jude, Felix, Arlo and Dominic

Carrie Says:

May 27th, 2010 at 10:33 pm

To me, Rafe is a no-brainer to be on this list. Baffled why it isn’t even listed one tiny little time. Am I waaaaay off on this? Or as I like to think, maybe I’m ahead of my time. 😉

northshoremama Says:

August 12th, 2015 at 3:53 am

Love Henry, Harvey, Desmond and Theodore! Such strong, sophisticated names! But I feel Walter (Walt) is missing from this list, it needs to mAke a comeback! How cute would a little chubby Walter make?

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