The New Boys’ Names 3: Ethnic Choices

Parents in search of names emblematic of a new masculine image for their sons are also looking toward ethnic choices unknown in the U.S. just a few years ago.

The inspiration?  To some extent, it’s celebrities, from actors like Joaquin Phoenix to star dog trainer Cesar Millan to Heidi Klum’s son Johan, Jennifer Connelly’s Stellan, and Madonna’s Rocco.

And then there’s simply our widening global sensibility, taking in more and more images and cultural cues from around the world.  When it comes to boys’ names, these names may symbolize a more enlightened masculine image, or at least a fresh one.  Whether the name is Irish or Latino, African or French, we may see that exotic guy as being more stylish and more sophisticated and definitely more worldly than our regular old Bills and Jims.

Here, a selection of new ethnic choices for boys on the U.S. popularity list.  And don’t forget to take our poll on the new masculine names at the end of the column!



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20 Responses to “The New Boys’ Names 3: Ethnic Choices”

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Em Says:

May 20th, 2009 at 2:24 am

I think Liam is a great nn for William.

Rosamund Says:

May 20th, 2009 at 6:13 am

I really like Giacomo, Miguel, Pedro and Salvatore for a boy.

Corinne Says:

May 20th, 2009 at 7:39 am

Get Declan off that list! It’s already too popular and I want it all for myself!! And I really like Liam, both on its own and as a nn for William.

realpraise Says:

May 20th, 2009 at 8:21 am

Ooh, Soren! Love it. Like Em and Corinne, I think Liam is a great nickname for William, and is the one I’d use.

Lola Says:

May 20th, 2009 at 9:01 am

Hugo, Ivan, Milo, Rafael & Xavier are favorites of mine! Now if I could just get folks to say ee-VAHN instead of EYE-van (I much prefer the first pronunciation), I’d use it in a heartbeat. As is, Hugo, Xavier & Milo figure on my lists.

I dislike Malachi, with it’s heavy Gothic tones but do love the sprightly Malachy!

pam Says:

May 20th, 2009 at 10:08 am

Just want to note that these are all names on the Social Security popularity list….most of them moving up! So don’t blame me for popularizing Declan (although the hero of my novel “The Man I Should Have Married” was named Declan).

Boston Girl Says:

May 20th, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Liam’s getting pretty popular, I notice. My best friend is a mega-fan of Liam Neeson, and if she had had a boy she says she would’ve named him Liam. Soren is a great choice too; I’m into Scandinavian names, and there’s quite an untapped source there. I guess people generally have the idea that Scandinavian names are either too bland or too ugly. I readily admit there are Scandinavian ones I wouldn’t accept any amount of money to hang on my child; but I usually also wouldn’t touch their English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, Polish, etc. equivalents either. There are lots of great boys’ names being used in Norway, Sweden and Denmark; if you want something really exotic, try using the Icelandic or the Finnish equivalents!

Teri Says:

May 20th, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Atticus and Jasper sound like the parents are trying too hard.

Alicia Says:

May 20th, 2009 at 5:32 pm

I’m thinking Raphael for a MN.. I also love a lot of the irish names.. Fave is Killian but DH hates it. Sadness. :D. Love all the boys names this week .Boys names are hard!!

olivegreen Says:

May 20th, 2009 at 5:52 pm

So many of my favorites are on this list! Hugo, Ivan, Liam, Luca, Milo, Rafael…maybe “enlightened masculine” is my new preferred style?

pam Says:

May 20th, 2009 at 6:20 pm

I think Moms might be bigger fans of the “enlightened masculines” (love this! thanks!) than Dads are. Dads view some of these names kind of the way they do pink shirts and Cosmos: a little bit suspect.

k Says:

May 20th, 2009 at 7:05 pm

I keep trying to read, but Heidi Klum’s little boy is SO CUTE I’m utterly distracted.

namefan Says:

May 20th, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Pam: I’m a guy who doesn’t mind a lot of the “enlightened” boy’s names you’ve mentioned (then again although I don’t have any kids at this time I’m one who would not be afraid to enroll my son in ballet class if he wanted to, etc.).

namefan Says:

May 20th, 2009 at 9:32 pm

I might’ve misworded my comment: I meant to comment on the names in an affirmative way (the wording I used might construe the opposite).

tc Says:

May 21st, 2009 at 2:46 pm

I have to say that I think the distinction between “traditional” and “ethnic” is a little misleading. In my family, Ivan would be an extremely traditional name. Yes, if your family is exclusively Anglo, some of these names would seem exotic, but for a whole lot of Americans they’d be pretty run-of-the-mill. 🙂

Jo Says:

May 28th, 2009 at 9:37 pm

I wish Soren were not on the list. I want my son’s name to stay unique!

Sebastiane Says:

June 8th, 2009 at 6:45 pm

I voted in this poll and I just wanted to say that I dislike Caiden but really like Kai.

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July 14th, 2009 at 9:01 am

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Sophie Says:

August 16th, 2009 at 6:50 pm

I adore Finn and Liam! I hadn’t thought of Liam as a nn for William, but I think I like it by itself better. Finn is my favorite boys name, I plan on giving it to my son.

amvancura Says:

August 12th, 2010 at 10:19 pm

I love Cruz! Its more of a guilty pleasure name

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