Unusual Boy Names Starting with C and K: Seeking fresh ideas
They’d like to stick with another C or K name for their baby on the way. The only problem? None of their favorites feel like The One.
My husband and I are expecting our second, and much wished for rainbow baby, in September. It’s a boy! We have a 5-year old daughter named Corina Rose. My name is Calla Rose and my husband’s name is Kaelin.
We would really like to find a name that begins with the letter C or K, but find ourselves only liking names that do not.
The Name Sage replies:
This one hits close to home. My husband and I are both As. So is our son. Then along came our daughter … and she’s a C! We had good reasons for choosing both our kids’ names, so I didn’t fret too much about the mismatch. But about a year ago, our Clio – she’s 8 now – asked why she was the odd one out.
For every parent who hesitates over family name themes, a great many children seem to appreciate fitting into a pattern.
That said, if no C or K choice feels like your son’s name, I’m here to tell you that yes, he might ask why. But you’re absolutely not the first family to break a tradition. And as long as you can explain how much you loved the name you did choose, there’s really no problem opting for a different first initial.
While I’ve heard of Calla, Kaelin, and Corina as names, none of them rank in the current US Top 1000. They’re familiar, but pretty rare. While your boys’ list mostly avoids the Top 100, it seems like the names you’ve considered are more mainstream. It’s not unusual for parents to prefer different names for daughters than sons, and often our boys receive slightly more mainstream names.
And yet I wonder – could that be the disconnect, rather than the C/K challenge?
Let’s put it to the test. I’ll suggest some C/K names outside of the current Top 1000.
Calder – I’ve suggested this one a few times recently, but it remains rare. If you like Campbell, but it’s not quite the name, maybe surname Calder would suit? It has a subtle nature name vibe, and also brings to mind ice hockey and modern art.
Callahan – If you like Calvin, I wonder if Callahan might appeal? On the downside, it repeats the letters of your name exactly. And yet that could make it an honor name for you. Like Calvin (and Calder), nickname Cal is an option.
Cassian, Cassius – Both ancient names come from an old Roman family name and boast centuries of use. The first syllable is pronounced like Cash, which could make for a cool nickname – though just Cash is far more popular than either of these longer forms.
Cian, Kian – I’m breaking the rules here, because Kian ranks in the US Top 500 currently. But it’s an unexpected choice that reminds me of dad’s name. Plus, it comes from Irish myth and legend, which might be a bonus.
Keane – Surname name Keane is cousin to Cian. It’s short and complete, and the similarity to the word “keen” might appeal, too. Keen can mean sharp, as in intelligent. It can also mean enthusiastic. Positive associations, both.
Kenelm – Ken names can feel dated – who doesn’t have an Uncle Ken? – or they can be fresh, like rapper Kendrick Lamar. Kenelm is just plain different, but it’s not made up. It comes from an Old English name that fell into disuse after the Middle Ages, but remains a possibility.
Kipling – For something completely unexpected, and yet widely familiar, Kipling might appeal. It’s associated with Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling, but he’s far from the only one. It has a distinctive sound that fits with Calla, Kaelin, and Corina while still standing out.
My favorites for you are Carsten, Kipling, and Cassian/Cassius. That’s because while they share the C/K initial and sound, they also feel different from your names. Since your daughter shares her first initial with you, I might be inclined to favor a K name, so father and son have that in common, which puts Kipling – or maybe Karsten, Kassian, or Kassius – at the top of the list.
Readers, I know I’ve overlooked dozens of possible C and K names for boys. What would you suggest?
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on June 13th, 2017 at 11:27 pm
My family went with the “C” and “K” theme for all the cousins on my dad’s side. It’s a fun story to share. What about Keaton or Cyrus?
on June 13th, 2017 at 11:30 pm
Arlo, August, and Jamison all feel very current, soon to be ‘cool guy’ names. I think they need something with that vibe.
Alternatively, Charlie shares the sounds of Arlo and doesn’t have the hard C or K sound that might not appeal right now.
Clive, Chandler, Carlisle, Charleston, and Chevy also come to mind.
on June 14th, 2017 at 12:30 am
May not be the best of help, but all of the c & k names for boys on my list are as follows: Caleb, Calvin, Cameron, Carson, Carsten, Caspar, Cecil, Cedric, Cecil, Chandler, Charles, Chester, Clarence, Claude, Clayton, Clive, Cole, Conan, Connor, Conor, Conrad, Corin, Cormac, Keane, Keith, Kennan, Kenneth, Kermit, Kian, Kieran, Kurt, and Kyle. Of course on many the C&K are interchangeable.
on June 14th, 2017 at 2:22 am
I’d like to suggest Kenzo, Kasper/Casper, and Knox, and of course, for something more mainstream there is Charlie, Christian, Christopher, Cory, Coby, etc.
on June 14th, 2017 at 2:23 am
Ps. But I agree that you don’t have to stick with the tradition if you don’t find a name that feels right.
on June 14th, 2017 at 3:13 am
It’s not really a tradition if there is only one child. It’s not a naming pattern yet. This is however the moment in which to decide if they want to go down that path. Whatever you choose, choose a name you love and that fits the child. What letter it starts with is not really that important.
on June 14th, 2017 at 3:45 am
I actually feel that Calvin or Caleb would be lovely with your daughter’s name. Caspian and Casper or Kasper also work, and are favourites of mine.
on June 14th, 2017 at 5:13 am
Crispin would work well.
on June 14th, 2017 at 5:27 am
My brother and his wife had the same issue recently; they are both Js and so is their first child. They didn’t want to break the pattern, but couldn’t find a name they loved, so they left the final decision to their eight-year-old son, and their newborn daughter ended up with an off-the-wall made up name. She’s only a month old, but I wonder if when she’s older she’ll wish they’d just used a different letter. The moral is that picking a name you love is more important than fitting a pattern.
Cassius, Kian, Keane, and Kipling are lovely. I also love Calvin, and thought of Calloway as another way to get nickname Cal.
on June 14th, 2017 at 5:52 am
Love Kipling I think it suits perfectly. I’d also suggest Keziah
Beau Jean Said
on June 14th, 2017 at 7:24 am
Beau Jean Said
on June 14th, 2017 at 7:25 am
Can someone tell me what a rainbow baby is?
on June 14th, 2017 at 7:26 am
Given that you are all not the same letter (2 Cs, 1 K), I am not sure it is that important to choose a C or K name over a name you really love. That said, below are some of my favorite (not too popular C&K names).
on June 14th, 2017 at 7:29 am
What about Carlo? It’s “Arlo + C” but also a stylish name on its own.
on June 14th, 2017 at 8:55 am
I’d suggest Caius, or simply Kai.
on June 14th, 2017 at 9:01 am
I would pick Koa, Kai, Clive, or Callum
Or Abby’s suggestions of Kian or Kipling
But it’s most important to pick a name you love that will serve your child well!
on June 14th, 2017 at 9:14 am
Collin is more mainstream, cool guy.
Crawford is another surname with a unique feel and cool nicknames.
on June 14th, 2017 at 9:28 am
I’m going to suggest Keen as a more straightforward form of Kian or Keane, or Keenan if you want to start with a longer form. If you give your son a C name, then your husband will be the odd one out, even if his first initial sounds the same! I also thought of Kieran though that may be too close to Corina. And if you like Arlo, maybe you’ll also like Kylo? Awfully trendy but definitely “in the family,” so to speak.
on June 14th, 2017 at 9:28 am
@Beau Jean – a rainbow baby usually refers to a baby born after a miscarriage
on June 14th, 2017 at 9:59 am
on June 14th, 2017 at 10:00 am
A favorite of mine that hasn’t been listed yet: Kent.
on June 14th, 2017 at 10:37 am
on June 14th, 2017 at 10:42 am
on June 14th, 2017 at 11:05 am
I like the suggestions of Cyrus and Knox… they follow the pattern but offer a distinct sound.
Calla, Kaelin, Corina and… Keanu.
Erin Beth Said
on June 14th, 2017 at 11:23 am
Maybe Keegan, Caldwell, Casey, Clark or Cameron? I see Kipling has been suggested. I am a humanities teacher, so my frame of reference may not be typical, but when I hear Kipling my mind goes to the poem “The White Man’s Burden.” I would hesitate to use Kipling for that reason.
on June 14th, 2017 at 11:38 am
Cole or Coleman
(These two are japanese and maybe fall under the category or cultural appropriation if there is no heritage, but Kazuo means first born son so it fits in a way.)
What about names with a “k” sound starting with Q?
on June 14th, 2017 at 11:48 am
I really like that Q idea as a way to both break the pattern and stay with it! Especially given that you already have both C and K.
on June 14th, 2017 at 1:01 pm
If a C or K name isn’t doing it for you, just choose a name you love. He’ll get over it.
As for the C/K sound, I suggest Cormac or Killian.
on June 14th, 2017 at 1:12 pm
Love Arlo and August but also love the symmetry of using another C or K name. I especially like the idea of a K name (Cs for the girls and Ks for the boys). The problem, for me, is that I don’t like many K names for boys or girls.
My faves for you all would be Keane or Kipling. I think you could even pair with Callahan in the middle as an honor name for mom (KC could be a cute sometimes nickname, even though I love Kip for a boy). I know your daughter already shares your middle but both will likely share your husband’s surname so I think it’s fair. 🙂
on June 14th, 2017 at 1:21 pm
I’d say if you are planning on having more children, then don’t worry about breaking the C/K tradition and give him whatever name you like best. If not, then it would make sense to keep the tradition. But if you’re still stuck, go with what you love best!
on June 14th, 2017 at 2:40 pm
@Beau Jean and @JustBrowsing
I would expand that definition of “rainbow baby” to include a pregnancy after any infant or pregnancy loss: not miscarriage only, but also stillbirth and SIDS.
on June 14th, 2017 at 3:01 pm
Forgot these earlier…
I also like Clark, Kenneth, Keith, and Kent
on June 14th, 2017 at 3:17 pm
I love the idea of using a Q name– Corina and Quentin sound great together.
For C/K names, I like
I don’t know that it is much of an issue, but anything with the nickname Cal (Calvin, Caleb, etc) might seem too close to Calla.
on June 14th, 2017 at 4:00 pm
I want to second Abby’s suggestion of Karsten.
The traditional Dutch spelling is actually with a K, which I think works better with your family, as well. Two C’s, two K’s.
on June 14th, 2017 at 5:02 pm
My choice for you would be Camson or Camden, as I think they sound lovely with Corina.
I would avoid using a K, because of mail mix-ups in the home. Girls and women may have Miss and Mrs to differentiate between their names (if only the initial is used) but males are usually written as Mr whether boy or man (or at least that is how it is in England). It may not be a problem now, but when your children are teens and want to open their own mail and have some privacy it might become a matter of arguments.
Other choices could be Cody, Carl, Carlos, Caillou, Cuthbert, Carey, Kevin, Carter, Christian, Clarke, Clarence, Clement or Cole. It all depends on how modern/traditional you are, as Corina and Calla can be perceived as more traditional, yet fit into the modern world too, but Kaelin is definitely modern.
I really feel the suggestion of Casper would work brilliantly too.
I hope this helps and best wishes for the safe birth of your son!x
on June 14th, 2017 at 5:08 pm
How about Clay?
on June 14th, 2017 at 5:58 pm
I’m surprised that Kael hasn’t been suggested with dad’s name!
on June 14th, 2017 at 7:14 pm
My family did this (some unusual, some not). My mom and uncle were/are:
And my mom and uncle had/have cousins named:
And my grandmother has said that, if she had another son, he would have been Cale.
on June 14th, 2017 at 7:17 pm
Canaan (pr. CAY-nen)
or… (if you’re open to the possibility of him having another initial)
I also love the names you chose- especially August and Arlo! Good luck! I’m sure you will find the right name for your sweet boy x
on June 14th, 2017 at 7:34 pm
Kaplin – A personal favorite
Colson or Colton – nickname Cole
Anyway that all I can think of that I haven’t seen yet. Good luck and congrats!
on June 14th, 2017 at 11:34 pm
I really love Cas names on boys. So I pronounce Cassius as Cas – ee – us. Everyone is familiar with the nickname Cas, but on a boy it feels fresh and new. Cas is the frequently used nickname of the angel Castiel on Supernatural, a tv show that is popular across demographics, whether they be gender, geographic, or political. So basically, everyone likes Supernatural, lol. But really, I bring it up just to say that many people, regardless of region and other factors, are familiar with Cas as a nickname for a boy. And there are just so many great Cas- names.
Cassian (Cas -ee- un)
I also love the name Kieran and recently discovered the biblical name Kemuel, which I think is really neat. Anyway, best of luck!
on June 15th, 2017 at 8:52 am
I also love Cameron and Caspian.
on June 15th, 2017 at 11:05 am
some of my favourite C & K names:
Camille ( w/ nn Millie or Cami)
Kian & Callahan (as mentioned)
on June 15th, 2017 at 11:28 am
I have never understood why people worry about someone feeling left out if their name doesn’t start with a certain letter, or adhere to a certain pattern… to me it is a ridiculous notion indeed. You aren’t leaving the child behind while everyone else goes for ice cream – it’s a name.
In fact, I am the only “B” in my family, while both my brothers names start with “C,” AND I NEVER EVEN NOTICED until my late 30s when it occurred to me while reading numerous posts discussing this supposed issue.
People feel left out when other people treat them differently; and assuming all your children are treated the same, I just do not see how it can be an issue.
Pick a name you love and do not focus on what letter begins it. 🙂
on June 15th, 2017 at 11:39 am
I agree it isn’t a pattern yet since you and your husband don’t share the same first initial. My mother and I share the same first initial S, and they could have paid homage I suppose to my dad by giving my sister an M name but they didn’t – and she has never asked why. Though there was a time I appreciated sharing that S with my mom; it did make me feel special.
I notice that your daughters middle name is the same as yours plus you both share the C initial. I feel like going with a K would be best, to follow the pattern but keep it even between both mother and father. Also you have to think if you are planning on more children and how that will affect the pattern if you are already having difficulties.
I was really surprised Sage recommended Calder. It’s on my list and I love it, but isn’t much talked about. I prefer it spelt like Kalder/ Kaldur. From her list this is obviously my favorite.
Kenyon, is the name of a good friend of mine and I was also going to recommend that – once more I’m surprised someone beat me to it 🙂 My friend only goes by Kenyon as his preference, but it has a bunch of nickname options. Ken, Kenny, Yoyo…. etc
Caden, is another I really like but I’m only now realizing its alternative spellings are more popular than I thought, but Caiden/ Kayden are also good mainstream options.
Kanan is my last recommendation. Pronounced Kay-nen. Has good flow, sounds celtic but it is from Asia meaning forest grove in Sanskrit and merchant in Arabic.
Good luck in the hunt.
on June 15th, 2017 at 12:06 pm
August is such a lovely name in my opinion and fits very well with the other names in your family.
But here are some C&K suggestions:
Clement (love nn Clem)
Carson or Carlton
Best of luck!
on June 15th, 2017 at 2:19 pm
on June 15th, 2017 at 6:11 pm
Keith, Christian, Colin, Kade, Kellan, Cash
on June 15th, 2017 at 8:22 pm
Favorite name in the list: Kipling
Names from the top of my head:
on June 16th, 2017 at 8:27 pm
on June 19th, 2017 at 8:45 am
I did not read through all of these so I may be repeating.
Over 500 on the popularity scale
Carlo (This goes well with your liking of Arlo)
on June 19th, 2017 at 11:55 am
Check out the thousand of boy names and their meanings.
To cut short your dilemma visit the baby names website below.
on June 19th, 2017 at 10:01 pm
We named our son Kassel – as in the city in Germany. I then found out about another little boy in the next town named Castle. I like both spellings, but my husband had really wanted a K name, so we went with it. It’s also a surname more often spelled Kasell but I think that’s confusing to read and would say it “kuh-SELL.” So my vote is for Kassel/Castle!
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