Seeking a Traditional but Modern Boy Name
We have a baby boy due late August–we’re thrilled that our son will have a brother, but boy names did not come easily to us last time, and we’re dreading the task on this go around.
Current short list is kind of all over the map and includes August/Gus, Arthur, Kit, Miles, Oscar, Finn, and Wells. Thinking of middle names to help balance the particularly “cutesy” first names we like (re: Finn, Kit) back toward something more classic/enduring has also been challenging (we’re not super fond of the longer form versions of those names, like Finley or Christopher). I’m also looking to avoid names that are becoming too trendy/common in my neck of the (urban) woods (Felix, Oliver, Henry, etc.).
Thanks for your help!
The Name Sage replies:
Gone are the days when every boy was named Joseph, Robert, or John. There’s a new category of names that bridge the modern and traditional. The options range from the truly classic Henry, to names like your favorites. They’re traditional-ish, but mostly weren’t too common until recently.
Elliott Wilder hits that classic/creative/high energy note beautifully. And lots of the boy names on your short list can work, too! It might be a question of finding the right combination, or even tweaking the choices you’re currently considering.
Instead of Finley for Finn, would you consider another longer name? There’s Finnegan, Phineas, and Fintan. But my pick for you would be Finnian – three syllables like Elliott, and while it’s rare, it fits right in with Adrian and Julian. Elliott Wilder and Finnian August, maybe?
Franklin – Benjamin Franklin makes a Founding Father surname; the animated turtle of children’s books and television takes it in a different direction. I think the overall vibe matches Elliott exactly. Franklin Miles or Franklin Crosby, maybe? I like Franklin Henry, too.
Grady – Brady has been big, but Grady? Not so much. But with Grayson in the Top 100, it could be Grady’s moment. It feels old school and fresh, all at once. Grady Miles works, but I might like Miles Grady even better.
Jasper – Jasper just sounds like Elliott’s brother to me. It’s slightly English and plenty traditional, but far more familiar in 2019 than ever before. Finn Jasper and Jasper Finnian are my favorites.
Hugo – I’m wondering if Theo is another one of those Henry–Felix–Oliver names you hear everywhere? I almost suggested it, but Hugo might be the better choice – less common, but every bit as storied. Hugo Wells or maybe Hugo Beckett seem like logical brother names for Elliott Wilder.
Simon – Impeccably international, always in the Top 1000, but never in the Top 100. It’s smart and traditional, but just the tiniest bit unexpected. Simon and Elliott make a great pair; I’d use the combination Simon Wells, Simon Alaric, or maybe Simon Thatcher.
Thatcher – Like Elliott, Thatcher is a surname choice. It’s less common than Hunter or Carter, but has an appealing, current sound. You’d probably never meet another Thatcher, and yet, it wouldn’t be difficult to spell or pronounce. For middle names, I’d consider Thatcher August.
I wonder if finding the right first-middle combination will help you narrow down your list? After all, Elliott and Wilder are great names – but it’s really the impact when they’re said together that makes for such a memorable combination.
I’ll list a few of my favorites for readers to vote – new combinations welcome, too!
Find our ultimate guide to traditional boy names here.
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on June 5th, 2019 at 12:39 am
I love love love (almost) all the names on your short list! (The exception is Wells, but that’s just not my style, not active dislike.) I really thought we’d use Finn last year for our son so I made pages (pages!) of Finn + middle name lists. The middles I thought worked best with were Douglas, Ellis, Griffith, Guthrie, Matthew, and Thomas. Douglas, Matthew, and Thomas are more traditional, but Ellis, Griffith, and Guthrie remind me of Wilder in the spunky surname category. I think these middles would work with most of the other names on your short list too. Kit Thomas! Arthur Griffith! Oscar Douglas! Miles Guthrie!
on June 5th, 2019 at 7:19 am
I love a lot of the options you have, my personal favourite suggestion is Finnian nn Finn , maybe Finnian Everett?
on June 5th, 2019 at 7:29 am
Donnovan Thatcher and Elliott Wilder go so great together!
on June 5th, 2019 at 8:29 am
From your lists, I like August, Finn (nn for Finnegan or Finnian if used as a first name) and Wells best. From Abby’s, I like Donovan and Grady. Van is a cute nn for Donovan. I also wanted to suggest Brooks, Hayes, Reid and Burke for you.
I think something like August Wells or Donovan Wells has that same feel as Elliott Wilder.
on June 5th, 2019 at 10:00 am
While I like the name August, there’s something slightly odd about naming a child the name of his birth month. If I really loved it, I would move it to the middle spot rather than the first.
From the short list, I would consider Arthur and Wells which both seem to match the style of Elliott Wilder but are distinct. I am not a fan of the idea that both first names are surnames. It could sound like a law firm more than a sib-set.
I know of a Griffin whose nickname is Finn.
on June 5th, 2019 at 11:22 am
I am loving all of your suggestions except for Grady. But that’s because it always makes me think Greedy or Gravy lol.
Maxwell nn Wells is pure genius. I have never heard that before and I LOVE it.
Jasper Finnian, Hugo Wells, Thatcher August and August Everett are some great choices IMO
on June 5th, 2019 at 12:13 pm
I would suggest Nathaniel. It’s literary, classic and you don’t hear it that often these days.
on June 5th, 2019 at 1:29 pm
You didn’t put Finnian August on the list to vote for!
I think Elliott and Finnian have a similar feel. They look and sound good together.
August is one of my faves. It’s very cute in the middle spot for an August baby.
on June 5th, 2019 at 2:56 pm
I like a lot of your options. I’d also suggest:
Augusten (or Augustus)
Sullivan (knew a little boy named this who went by Sullivan/Sully – it sounded great on him)
Peter (a refreshing classic)
Fritz (or as a nickname for Frederick?)
Harris (also knew a boy named Harris, loved it on him!)
or Chester, Oscar made me think of Chester.
on June 5th, 2019 at 4:15 pm
Hugo is just so dang handsome! I love all of the other suggestions too!
on June 6th, 2019 at 3:08 am
I like Oscar from Jenn’s shortlist. I think Elliott and Oscar sound great together and I like how they both start with a vowel.
My choice would be Oscar Finnian or Oscar Adrian.
on June 6th, 2019 at 10:44 am
Franklin is my favorite suggestion. Love it! I’d pair it with Moss and call him “Finn” or even “Flynn” for the perfect modern, traditional, nature feel…
Franklin Moss nn “Finn”
Christian Grove nn “Kit”
Calvin Moss nn “Cal”
Wesley Hawthorn nn “Wes”
Florian Shepherd nn “Finn”
Lawrence Canyon nn “Ren”
on June 6th, 2019 at 11:38 am
I love Arthur Wells paired with Elliot Wilder. I like that both first names start with a vowel and the middle names start with a W. Masculine, yet also pretty.
on June 6th, 2019 at 10:01 pm
I agree – I think Elliott and Simon sound like brothers. I really like Hugo and Thatcher as well.
But perfection for me:
Erin Beth Said
on June 7th, 2019 at 7:17 am
I voted August but my very favorite of Abby’s suggestions is Finnian August. It has a wonderful rhythm and works nicely with the brother name.
on June 7th, 2019 at 1:45 pm
My boy taste is very similar to yours! My favorites mentioned are Oscar, Calvin, Miles, Arthur, and August, although I prefer Auggie to Gus. I’ll also suggest Wesley, Trevor, Leo, Nathaniel nn Nat, Theo, and Barrett.
on June 7th, 2019 at 1:53 pm
Couple more — Graham, Abram, Malcolm.
on June 8th, 2019 at 12:35 pm
Not sure if its your style, but I’ve recently fallen in love with the name ‘Toussaint’ (too-sa (n is barely pronounced)). It fits the modern/ classic prompt with the ‘saint’ part but more gentle sound and long history.
I agree with the Fineas/ Phinaeus suggestion
I feel like a welsh name could possibly suit your taste? My Mum (Welsh) has always been partial to ‘Bryn’. I myself am fond of Idris, Elwyn and Owen (there a couple of others, but not very accessible to non-Welsh speakers e.g. ‘Llyr’-go figure.
or if not, the Irish Sullivan? or perhaps Cornish Gwithian-I know someone with this name.
on June 9th, 2019 at 3:57 am
I really like your naming style! Elliot Wilder is such a cool name and I like all of your other choices too.
I think out of your list Elliot & Wells is my favorite!!!
I agree Wells could be a nickname for maxwell/ samwell but to me it works best on its own! Maybe it’s just about finding the perfect middle name., I like….
Elliot Wilder & Wells Carter
Elliot Wilder & Wells Arthur
Elliot Wilder & Wells Tyler
Elliot Wilder & Wells Emery
Elliot Wilder & Wells Parker
Elliot Wilder & Wells Harrison
Elliot Wilder & Wells Alexander
Elliot Wilder & Wells Gabriel
Elliot Wilder & Quinton Wells
Elliot Wilder & Jasper Wells
Elliot Wilder & August Wells “Gus”
Elliot Wilder & Oscar Wells “Ozzie”
Elliot Wilder & Otto Wells
Elliot Wilder & Fred Wells “Freddie”
Elliot Wilder & Francis Wells “Frank”
Other suggestion if names you might like…
Elliot Wilder & Miles Jace
Elliot Wilder & Finn Gabriel
Elliot Wilder & Finnian Wells “Finn”
Elliot Wilder & Dominic Wells “Don”
Elliot Wilder & Gabriel Gage
Elliot Wilder & Matteo Wells “Teo”
Elliot Wilder & Wiley Jordan
Elliot Wilder & Wylie Drake
on June 9th, 2019 at 3:59 am
Oh also Grant Arthur or Grantley Miles
on June 9th, 2019 at 8:11 pm
It was stated above, but I think Arthur Wells is the perfect match to Elliott Wilder. I also think the suggestions of Orion Wells or Oscar Wells work too. In short, the middle name Wells paired with most of the names on the list and/or suggested work so well as Elliott Wilder’s brother.
on June 10th, 2019 at 7:16 pm
My son is named Otis Wilder and so I suggest Otis as a name! We also had Kit and Finn on our list. I love Archer and Arlo with Elliot. Something about the vowels seems to work.
on June 18th, 2019 at 10:06 am
I second Thatcher August!
on June 20th, 2019 at 4:59 pm
What about the name Eddison ? Classic but uncommon, goes with the last name theme like Elliot if you don’t mind having 2 E names!
Eddision Wells (too classic/formal?)
on July 13th, 2019 at 2:40 am
I suggest “Evan” as a brother to Elliott. Congratulations!
on August 6th, 2019 at 9:51 pm
Our son is Finnian (Finn) Ambrose! I really wanted his first formal name to be Finnick, a la The Hunger Games, but my husband wasn’t too keen. Good luck!
on September 28th, 2019 at 9:18 pm
I keep coming back to this post in hopes the OP will reply with what they settled on! 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻
on October 25th, 2019 at 12:03 pm
OP here!! Sorry for the lack of engagement—I actually found this post several weeks after it was published and thought it might be a bit late to reply, but I found all the suggestions lovely and helpful! We ended up falling in love with Hugo, and named him Hugo Avery James. Thanks again!
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