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Neglected Baby Names: Special K Names for Boys

April 21, 2016 Kara

By Kara Blakley

I recently wrote about the letter K, and how and why it might not get the love it deserves. K names, Berries often protest, are often trendy or “kree8tiv” respellings of mainstays. But K also has a lot of untapped potential since it’s easily a language-crossing letter. K is also more popular on the US charts than on Nameberry, so choosing a K name might be a way to find the perfect fit-in stand-out name. We’ve looked at the girls, now here are my nominations for K names for boys that deserve a second look:

Kai. With use in Hawaiian, Japanese, Mandarin, Navajo, Maori, Swahili, and Persian (and more), names don’t get much more global than Kai. In the Top 100 in several English-speaking countries (plus Number 177 in the US and 48 on Nameberry), Kai feels both mainstream and slightly offbeat. Jennifer Connelly used it for her son.

Kamal. One problem attributed to K names is that they lack substance, or they’re too popular, or both. Kamal overcomes both of these pitfalls. It is virtually unused in the US, but it is connected to both the lotus flower and the Koran, giving this choice plenty of depth.

Kareem. Like Kamal, Kareem is seldom heard in the US, except with reference to the famous basketball player. Arabic names are gaining traction (one successful example is Leila / Layla) so Kareem could be the right choice if you’re looking for a name that works simultaneously in the US and abroad.

Kaspar. Cas– names (Caspian, Cassius, Cassian) are all very hot at the moment, but why let C have all the attention? Kaspar (or Kasper) is a variation of the ancient Gaspar, borne by one of the Three Magi. With Jasper experiencing a surge in popularity, Kaspar is a unique choice that doesn’t sound too far ‘out there.’ Kasimir, a German spelling variation of saintly Casimir, also fits into this category.

Keaton. Keaton has a lot going for it: it fits into the surname-as-first name trend and the ends-with-N trend, but it ranked at a respectably low #439 in the US in 2014. These factors make it a great fit-in / stand-out choice. Plus it has celeb cred via early screen comic Buster and current actress Diane.

Keir. Irish names have enjoyed enduring popularity in the US, but Keir is virtually unused. A striking one-syllable name, Keir works well as a first or as an unexpected middle. Similarly, Kieran would make a great alternative to overused Irish imports like Aidan, Connor, and Ryan.

Kellen. Kelly is beyond dated in 2016, but Kellen—for boys—is a stylish choice. Names ending with N are trendy, and anything with an “ell” sound is hot, too; Isabella may spring to mind first, but for boys we hear Elias, Elijah, Elliot, Abel, and Axel. Kellen sounds very current, but is ranked at a moderate Number 444.

Killian. The last Irish entrant on this list, Killian may seem divisive at first, but he actually moved up about 250 places in the US between 2010 and 2014! Killian is also in the Top 100 in Ireland and Germany. Actor Cillian Murphy shows how wearable this name can be, and the K spelling makes pronunciation more intuitive.

Klaus. The classic German Klaus—think cloud, not clause—is a diminutive of Nicholas worth considering, especially since fellow diminutive Cole has begun to wane. Klaus is a great choice for namers looking for something short with substance.

What are your favorite K names for boys?

About the author

Kara B

Kara Blakley is a PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Melbourne. Her interest in names began when she received her first Cabbage Patch doll. Today, Kara’s name obsession is enhanced by her love of nature, history, music, art, and traveling.

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