Traditional Boy Names with a Wow Factor
by Abby Sandel
Their firstborn’s name mixes the old-fashioned and the familiar, with plenty of meaning, too. Let’s help them find a brother name that’s every bit as great!
We absolutely love our son’s name: Augusten Emery Axel. His first name has family ties on both sides. I lean towards German or Scandinavian names and Latin ones. I like that it is a little old-fashioned and uncommon but still recognizable. While we mostly use the full name, it has several nickname options, too, plus it’s a saint’s name.
We recently found out that we are expecting our second son. The idea of trying to name another boy is daunting, especially when you’ve already used what seems like the perfect name.
We have a couple of rules for baby number two. Because our (very French) last name starts with a B and ends with a long O sound, we don’t want names that start with either of those. We would prefer not to use another A name, and we’d like to use two middle names again.
My current list feels uninspiring. I would love to hear your suggestions!
The Name Sage replies:
Looking at your current list, the name that leaps out at me is Ignatius. It’s recognizable but rare. There’s clearly a saint connection. And besides Iggy, nicknames Nate and Nash work beautifully, too.
But let’s add a few more possibilities:
Corbinian – Maybe this name is just too different, but it checks a lot of boxes. It’s the Latinized form of an eighth century Frankish saint’s name. It would be spelled Korbinian in German, but I like it better with a C in English, probably because Corbin is more familiar as a given name.
Evander – While it looks like an Evan–Alexander mash-up, Evander is actually the Latin form of a Greek name meaning good man. Since he was a Trojan war hero, the name is broadly familiar, but seldom heard. Like Augusten, it offers a few nickname options, but works well in full, too.
Johannes – Giovanni is a big, dramatic name with classic roots, but it’s not quite your style, right? So maybe Johannes would appeal. Johannes is used in Scandinavia and Germany, but it’s the Latin form of John, which is originally Hebrew – and saintly. Pronouncing the J like a Y might trip up some people, but I think it has that same cool, old-fashioned vibe.
Leonidas – I noticed Lionel on your current list, and I think I’d put it right behind Igantius in terms of wow factor. But there are lots of longer lion-inspired choices for boys, including Leonidas. The downside: the original bearer was an ancient warrior king of Sparta, which doesn’t quite fit your preferred inspirations. But sound-wise, I think it has potential. For a longer Leo name with saintly bona fides, there’s the Germanic Leopold, worn by more than one saint.
Matthias – Classic Matthew is declining in use, but international forms are on the rise. Besides the romance language Mateo, Matias, and Mathias all gained last year. But it’s Matthias that seems like Augusten’s brother to me.
Raphael – Raphael might be a little more popular than Augusten, but I think it has the same style. It’s instantly familiar, but relatively rare on a child. Nickname Rafe is quite dashing. And it reminds me a little bit of Ansel, too.
Theophilus or Theodoric – Just as Augusten is a rarer version of so many August names, what would you think of a longer Theo possibility? Strictly speaking, Theodoric is unrelated to Theodore, despite the similarities; instead, it’s cousin to the German Dietrich. Theophilus is Latin, and appears in the New Testament. Either way, I think it sounds just right with Augusten.
But let’s open it up to the community, because I know they’ll have some great thoughts. What’s the best name for a brother for Augsten Emery Axel: Evander, Theophilus, Ignatius … or something else entirely?
Abby Sandel is the creator of name blog Appellation Mountain and writes Nameberry’s Name Sage column, offering wise advice on baby name questions submitted by Berries every other Wednesday. Abby lives outside of Washington DC with her husband and two children, Alex and Clio. You can reach her on Facebook , Instagram and Pinterest. For a chance to have your questions answered on Nameberry, contact Abby at email@example.com.
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on December 4th, 2019 at 10:59 am
I agree that Ignatius is a good choice, and Marcus, from your original list, seems pretty spectacular too. Raphael is another striking and memorable name that matches the majesty of Augusten. You have some really wonderful choices! I’m guessing none of them will seem as great as your first son’s name until well after your new son is born. Then, the magic of whatever you choose will emerge. Are you at all interested in names like Clarence or Harold? Tiago or Cassius? Dante or Earnest?
on December 4th, 2019 at 4:32 pm
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on December 4th, 2019 at 6:55 pm
I quite like Ignatius for you. Otherwise, I might suggest Dominic or Julius. If you weren’t avoiding A names I would suggest Ambrose and Aloysius.
on December 4th, 2019 at 9:56 pm
I have similar heritage and interests; names on our shortlist for our second, a boy, were Frederik, Erasmus (or the Scandi form Rasmus), Soren (possibly out given your surname?), Sebastian and Joachim. Hope that broadens the field!
on December 5th, 2019 at 3:33 am
Wow! What a great name ! I quite like Ignatius and Leopold. Other options: Ulysses, Peregrine, Maximus, Valentine, Phineus, Rhodes, Wolfram, or Wulfric.
Ignatius Freeman Henri or Ignatius Ansel Henri
Leopold Freeman Henri or Leopold Ansel Henri
Ulysses Freeman Henri or Ulysses Ansel Henri
Maximus Freeman Henri or Maximus Ansel Henri
Valentine Freeman Henri or Valentine Ansel Henri
Wolfram Freeman Henri or Wolfram Ansel Henri
on December 5th, 2019 at 11:59 am
I like Ignatius. Some other options:
Constantine (always thought it was a bit clunky til i met a kid who really pulled it off)
on December 5th, 2019 at 12:02 pm
Matthias seems like the perfect name! I am not a fan of Ignatius personally, but I do think it goes well with your tastes.
on December 5th, 2019 at 1:51 pm
Clarence, Isadore, Josias, Jerome, Horatio, Thaddeus, Leander, Castiel, Gregor, Clement, Eleazar, and Eben would be my suggestions.
on December 6th, 2019 at 1:49 am
Ignatius Henri Freeman is just perfect with Augusten Emery Axel!
on December 6th, 2019 at 1:53 am
Oh, and also Magnus. Magnus Henri Freeman is gorgeous. Caspian, Saxon, Felix, Montgomery or Lucien would be great too.
on December 6th, 2019 at 1:55 am
Sorry for the successive posts but Roman also just came to mind. Roman and Augusten sound fantastic together.
on December 6th, 2019 at 11:14 am
I love your sons name!
Evander is my favorite too! They sound great together & Evander is super cool but also traditional.
Another comment suggested Soren and Rasmus and I love those! I’ve never heard of Rasmus before but it doesn’t sound odd or unfamiliar, I really like it! Raz would be a great nickname. It does sound like a rowdy little one tho lol
I also wanted to suggest Andreas but it is anothe A name so that’s out.
on December 7th, 2019 at 3:10 am
I like Ignatius for you and love Abby’s suggestion of Evander Fabian Henri!! I also like the suggestion of Roman!
My suggestions are:
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