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Seeking a Traditional but Modern Boy Name

June 4, 2019 Abby Sandel

We have more choices for naming our sons than ever before. But that doesn’t mean its easy to find a traditional but modern brother name for Elliott Wilder.

Jenn writes:

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.

We finally settled on Elliott Wilder–to us, it had a classic/literary vibe with a side a spunk.  Nothing we can think of now quite matches up.

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?

On a similar note, I wonder if you’d consider Maxwell, shortened to Wells. The downside is that many might automatically shorten the name to Max.

Let’s find more boy names in the ElliottAugustWells category.

Crosby – It’s a surname associated with singers and athletes, and it’s a great, upbeat sound, too. Crosby Fintan, Crosby Miles, and Crosby Kit all sound great together.

Donovan – A longer surname-style name, Donovan feels anchored in the past, but ready for our modern age. Donovan Miles is my favorite combination.

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 HenryFelixOliver 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!

Abby Berry Juice default profile image

About the author

Abby

Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at namesage@nameberry.com.
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