Help us name our son
April 1, 2005 6:43 AM   Subscribe

Help us name our son!

We have a baby boy due May 5. My wife and I are struggling to agree on a name and we are running out of time and ideas. She likes Julian. I'm not so sure. (Julia was a girl name we both agreed on). We like the idea of an honorific name. We like the idea of an unusual or uncommon name. I like the idea of our son not being made fun of during his formative years. Any cool boy names you've heard lately? All ideas will be considered. Thanks!
posted by Otis to Human Relations (72 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Go with a classic name. There are lots of great names that are relatively uncommon now, but aren't going to make your kid look like his parents are low-brow (or, worse, incompetently aping the high-brow).

I'm talking about names like Henry, Walter, Theodore, Albert, etc.
posted by MattD at 6:50 AM on April 1, 2005

Caddis is a fine name for a new baby, although perhaps best kept to the middle name. What about Otis, Jr.? With your last name you might go with something along the lines of Ewan, Ian, Colin etc.
posted by caddis at 6:52 AM on April 1, 2005

Campbell is the last name? If so, Leo Campbell sounds good to me, real good. Julian is a good imperial sounding name, but the nickname possibilities are scary. Maximus is what my brothers were tryin to get me to name my son (Gregory) last year. I can imagine Frederick Campbell sitting behind an expensive desk.
posted by planetkyoto at 6:54 AM on April 1, 2005

I don't want to give away any of mine, but this cool baby name chart might be helpful. It lists the frequency of baby names in the top 500(?) during the previous century.
posted by callicles at 6:55 AM on April 1, 2005

Very few babies are being named Wilburforce these days. Or Cornelius. But I think there's a pretty good reason for that.

I like the name Phillip. His friends can call him Phil. When you want to annoy or embarrass him later, you can call him Pip.
posted by contessa at 6:57 AM on April 1, 2005

posted by scratch at 7:05 AM on April 1, 2005

I just realized you are in Columbus. Griffin Hayes Campbell not only sounds aristocratic, it virtually guarantees him free beer for life at OSU tailgate parties.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:07 AM on April 1, 2005

posted by SPrintF at 7:07 AM on April 1, 2005

Think of someone you like or admire from a ways back and pick a name from them. Such as:

Jefferson Something Campbell
John Marshall Harlan Campbell
John Calvin Campbell
John Brown Campbell
John Nicholas Campbell, for two of the names of the Marquis de Condorcet, the only man to ever even arguably die for social choice theory
Whitney Jonas Campbell, for Eli Whitney and Jonas Salk
Robert Louis Stevenson Campbell
Whatever historical figure, or inventor of thing you hold dear, or author of a book important to you, or similar personage, that floats your boat.

Or more recently,
Henry David Campbell, for Thoreau
Martin Something Campbell, for ML King
Julius Leonard Milton Campbell, for some of the Marx Brothers (not Harpo. Harpo's name was Adolph.)

Or, if you decide you don't like him, Richard Bong Campbell for the top US fighter ace in WW2.

Then the kid will have a normal name, that's a bit unusual for being old-fashioned and not Skyler or Cody or Scout, and his whole name will be more unusual and he'll be able to say who he was named for and why.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:09 AM on April 1, 2005

Cletus. You can call him Clete, like that one famous guy. It's deep, too.
posted by goofyfoot at 7:14 AM on April 1, 2005

Trembly Lemon Garfield
Errant Junebug Fester
Spasmodic Rhubarb Bowles
Git Johnson Howe
MC Yip
posted by petebest at 7:16 AM on April 1, 2005

How about Eli? Like Eli Whitney inventor of the cotton gin. My Sister #3 just had a baby on Saturday, I lobbied long and hard for Eli, but she went with Liam.
posted by jodic at 7:23 AM on April 1, 2005

Does your significant other have a first-name-sounding maiden name? Perhaps you could use that name along with Campbell. For example, if her last name was Harrison, the new baby could be Harrison Campbell.
posted by cass at 7:25 AM on April 1, 2005


previous boy baby name thread
posted by whatnot at 7:27 AM on April 1, 2005

I am going to name my first born son Appomatox. I think that's really f'in cool. You could call him Mattie or Appie or Tox. Hopefull I will find a wife who will share my enthusiasm, but I'm not optimistic.
posted by spicynuts at 7:28 AM on April 1, 2005

another boy name thread
posted by whatnot at 7:29 AM on April 1, 2005

Something classic that isn't going through a trendy phase (you don't want junior to be one of twenty Aidans or Jacobs in his class).

Any cool names among grandfathers or great-grandpas in the family? Sean would be my choice, but Douglas or Colin or James are great strong names too.
posted by dublinemma at 7:30 AM on April 1, 2005

petebest - How about "Cripple Kiwi Filmore"?

Otis - Seriously, the only input I can provide is to refer you to this site:

It is funny as hell (especially chapters 1, 5 ["Fishsticks"! That slayed me!], and 10), and a great warning to new-parents-to-be.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 7:39 AM on April 1, 2005

A friend recently named her son "August." She calls him "Gus," though I lobby for "Auggie." Also, I'm irrationally taken with the use of "Fischer" (or "Fisher") as a given name. I am obviously wary of burdening a child with such a moniker, but can't help liking it for some reason.
posted by Verdant at 7:39 AM on April 1, 2005

Angus. Can shorten to Gus, and it goes really well with Campbell. Plus: AC/DC ref.
posted by gaspode at 7:42 AM on April 1, 2005

Otis, your nick name inspired: Redding.
Redding N. Campbell. Plus Red is a cool nickname.
You did not ask for a middle name, so the above is how it would appear on in legal form.

Another idea that is a honorific name and a city is your residence's city in your profile page, Columbus.
posted by thomcatspike at 7:43 AM on April 1, 2005

James and Henry are both good. Classic - people will know how to spell and pronounce them, and they won't sound stupid ever.

Harry's also a good one.
posted by beth at 7:46 AM on April 1, 2005

I like Julian. Julian Campbell is an awesome name. (And regardless of the name you choose, somebody's gonna be named Julian Campbell because I'm taking off with it for one of my novel's characters, whee!)

See, there you go- Julian. It's a name good enough to steal.
posted by headspace at 7:48 AM on April 1, 2005

We just went through this struggle (boy due April 29) and we considered a lot of the names already mentioned. I really liked Angus, but my wife wouldn't go for it. Eli was considered for a while, but we've stayed warm to Theodore for a while now.

Boys names are like boys clothes, not nearly as much variety or color as girls names. And you get beat up if you try to put on something out of the ordinary. If you look at the name trends over the last century, girls names keep changing, but boys names we really static until the boomer era when the Kevin-Scott-Keith-Gregory names came in, and they still don't shift as quickly. Flower names for girls have cycled back in from their last peak a hundred years ago, but we're just seeing the Jason-Justin j-trend for boys slacken after 35 years.
posted by bendybendy at 7:56 AM on April 1, 2005

Vincent or Kenneth please mail me if you choose either.
posted by kenaman at 7:59 AM on April 1, 2005

posted by mischief at 7:59 AM on April 1, 2005

Name him after one of the streets in Toronto: Islington or Dundas are two of my favourites.
posted by chunking express at 8:07 AM on April 1, 2005

I love Oscar, but Julian is beautiful. Although he will be made fun of and called Julie on the schoolyard.

A word of warning though, don't avoid naming your son something b/c you think it's dorky. You don't want him spending his life saying "My parents really wanted to name me ____, but they thought I wouldn't like it/it was too out there/too dorky/whatever excuse. Isn't that such a cool name?" My boyfriend's parents wanted to give him the middle name of Buckminster but balked and gave him the stupid replacement of Buchannan. He uses Buckminster and has been meaning to get it changed for years.
posted by scazza at 8:09 AM on April 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

In Western society, you can't go wrong with biblical names. Simple, straight-forward, no-nonsense. How about Saul?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:16 AM on April 1, 2005

Smedly, Jeeves... (butler names are hot right now)
posted by cadastral at 8:18 AM on April 1, 2005

Two things: Lots of little boys are being named Henry right now. However, I wouldn't be worried about him being named something other kids are named. As a Sarah from the height of the Sarah-era, I kind of liked being Sarah X. Not everyone got to have a last initial, and that was neat. So it may not be a big deal. And once you're an adult, it lessens somewhat as you aren't in a room with thirty people your age.
posted by dame at 8:20 AM on April 1, 2005

I love Oscar, but Julian is beautiful. Although he will be made fun of and called Julie on the schoolyard.

We have a Julien, and "Juli" is a term of endearment at our house. He really doesn't mind. Then again he is 7. Other cool nicknames for Julian/Julien are "Jules" and "Jude".
posted by whatnot at 8:29 AM on April 1, 2005

How about Aristotle, Agamemnon, or Achilles? Failing that, it would be pretty hard to beat naming your kid George Wasington Campbell.
posted by mokujin at 8:47 AM on April 1, 2005

Julius Leonard Milton Campbell, for some of the Marx Brothers (not Harpo. Harpo's name was Adolph.)

Though you could use the name Julius Leonard Arthur Campbell, as Harpo changed (probably not legally, this was before people really cared about this stuff) on account of the anti-German sentiment in, I believe, the first world war.

I personally think there should be more people named Virgil, also.
posted by dagnyscott at 8:49 AM on April 1, 2005

posted by mokujin at 8:52 AM on April 1, 2005

If I ever had another boy, I would name him Thaddeus and call him Thad. Since the chances of my having another kid are so remote as to be nearly impossible, I hereby gift you with the name. My son's name is Miles & I call him Milo, but when he was 3 he wanted to be called Hopper, and that was a pretty cool name. My mother asked "As in Edward or Dennis?"
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:54 AM on April 1, 2005

In all seriousness, one of the best things about being named "Jeff" is that it doesn't rhyme with anything. This helps avoid the "mocking during formative years" problem faced by, say, chubby boys named Matt, for example.
posted by jeffmshaw at 9:04 AM on April 1, 2005

Oliver (I'm slightly prejudiced for this one).

I like bendy's Theodore. Nicknames could be Theo, Ted, Teddy. Theodore Campbell sounds nice. It's an underused name yet not overly exotic.

I really like mygothlaundry's choices of names and all would go well with Campbell.

dagnyscott - I have an uncle named Virgil. He was orphaned as a kid and never adopted. He chose it himself.
posted by deborah at 9:05 AM on April 1, 2005

Jackson Campbell
posted by govtdrone at 9:33 AM on April 1, 2005

Check out your family surnames. You could shorten one, if necessary, for a first name, or use it as a middle name. Watch out for rhymes--that's what kids will use to tease. Funniest real names I've encountered: Rocky Frizzle, Candy Rabbit, Rob Banks.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:40 AM on April 1, 2005

I like Caleb
posted by matteo at 10:06 AM on April 1, 2005

posted by ori at 10:28 AM on April 1, 2005

posted by goofyfoot at 10:30 AM on April 1, 2005

The only thing I can suggest (apart from adding that Julian is a lovely, lovely name) is to avoid 'Otis Jr.'
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:48 AM on April 1, 2005

posted by brheavy at 11:01 AM on April 1, 2005

How about an old classic like Predbjørn!!!
posted by FidelDonson at 11:05 AM on April 1, 2005

I was born on the vernal equinox, and my parents wanted to name me Vernal...cooler heads prevailed though and my name is Schyler...

Julian is good...

I also like:

Sue (with a middle name starting with P, puntastic)

Whatever you do, don't name him Winifred, Winnie is not a flattering nickname.
posted by schyler523 at 11:09 AM on April 1, 2005

My boys are (2 years old and 3 months old) are named Hamish and Willem.

Finn (as mentioned above) was on our list but has been reserved by a sister-in-law for years.

Angus was also a favourite.
posted by smcniven at 11:37 AM on April 1, 2005

I had an Uncle named Julian. I will, therefore, give it a biased thumbs up.
posted by Dick Paris at 11:50 AM on April 1, 2005

In all seriousness, one of the best things about being named "Jeff" is that it doesn't rhyme with anything.

Jeff: Uhhh...deaf? You might bethinking of 'orange,' that doesn't rhyme with anything.
posted by fixedgear at 11:58 AM on April 1, 2005

posted by robbie01 at 12:13 PM on April 1, 2005

For some reason, even though I always suggest Max (first elementary school boyfriend) when a question like this comes up, "Davis" is really working for me. For the record, I also think "Redding Campbell" is an unbeliveably cool option. Redding Julian Campbell. Julian Redding Campbell. I mean, wow - that's some good stuff.

I hope the birth goes smoothly - please let us know what his name is afterward!
posted by deliriouscool at 12:47 PM on April 1, 2005

Julian's OK -- have a friend with a baby named that and it seems like an old man name.

Aaron Campbell
Aidan Campbell
Matthew Campbell
Ryan Campbell
Ace Campbell
Kyle Campbell
Luke Campbell
Ian Campbell
Jake Campbell
Christopher Campbell
Brady Campbell
posted by suchatreat at 12:48 PM on April 1, 2005

Jack is my favorite boys name.

my kid will have the middle name "Danger" so that when he's like, 17 he can tell girls that "Danger's my middle name."
posted by playtragic at 12:58 PM on April 1, 2005

You're asking on MetaFilter? How about mathowie?
posted by raster at 1:26 PM on April 1, 2005

Kevin Phillips Bong (slightly silly)...

but otherwise, i'm not giving anything else away... as of today, our kid's one full day past-due. but if we have a girl (maybe this weekend?), i'll give you our boy's name gratis.
posted by RockyChrysler at 2:22 PM on April 1, 2005

I've always liked "Oscar".
posted by sjvilla79 at 3:14 PM on April 1, 2005

A friend and I joked that it would be funny to name a kid Billiam, Bobbert, or Dickard.

But right now about half my male friends are named Alex, and I have to say that I really like the name Alex.
posted by mai at 4:21 PM on April 1, 2005

Just please don't give him a name that is special to you, just because it is special to you. Don't name him after your favorite bassist, or the character in a book you like, or your best friend. Remember, he's an individual human being, not a tattoo, and he's a part of his own future, not your past. Congratumalations!
posted by Hildago at 4:49 PM on April 1, 2005

goofyfoot nominates Sue. Would make for a tough boy!

In keeping with the Scottish heritage of Campbell, I agree with Bendybendy, Gaspode and Smcniven that Angus is a good choice ... or some other Scottish forename.
posted by ericb at 5:58 PM on April 1, 2005

Strangely enough, I wanted to name my first son Otis. Had a girl instead, though.
posted by ColdChef at 6:08 PM on April 1, 2005

Oh, I almost forgot. Take The Baby Name Wizard's NameVoyager for a spin and see what you come up with. You'll need Java to view the link properly, too.
posted by sjvilla79 at 8:23 PM on April 1, 2005

I think I would name a son Ulysses, should I ever find myself with one. Or even better, Odysseus. Everyone should be named for an unholy badass with an unshortenable name.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:16 PM on April 1, 2005

Speaking as someone with a really fucked-up name, I'm glad my parents did it. For starters, there's *no* confusion about "which Jeff?" or "which Sarah?" Childhood wasn't too bad either -- just don't pick anything that rhymes with "pooh." Mostly other kids were just like, wha? Didn't matter.

Go get a good map with Gaelic place names and a map with Czech cities and knock yourself out with something pretty or unusual. Grab an atlas. Read some Yugoslavian fiction. No offense, but does the world really need any more boys named John?
posted by RJ Reynolds at 9:32 PM on April 1, 2005

My husband and I have pinkie-sworn that we will name our son (should we ever be blessed with one) Turbo Dog. Probably we will go with Jack as a first name but definitely Turbo Dog for a middle name. What kid wouldn't like to be named Turbo Dog? That is a kick-ass playground name.

My brother's middle name is Sterling, which family legend has it, was going to be my Dad's Stage Name.

I have also toyed with the name Willoughby. Will, for short of course. It is that old Anglophile that lurks inside me.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:33 PM on April 1, 2005

This contest is over. Your boy's name will be Terrence.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:55 PM on April 1, 2005

If you choose something unusual, please try for something that abbreviates well. A good nickname makes a weird name much easier to cope with.
posted by cali at 11:52 PM on April 1, 2005

posted by autojack at 5:05 AM on April 2, 2005

Response by poster: Trembly Lemon Garfield it is! (well, no, not really). Before this question drops off the page into obscurity, let me say thanks for all the great responses. Hildago and scazza, thank you for the words of wisdom.
posted by Otis at 5:39 AM on April 2, 2005

Next stop -- Willoughby!
posted by fairmettle at 6:05 AM on April 2, 2005

I'm probably far too late, but I married in to a Swedish-American clan and absolutely love many of the names:


These are names of friends of my husband's...all in their 30's and American born.

Then again, I really enjoy many of the names from the UK that my family have:


Best of everything to you.
posted by jeanmari at 12:22 PM on April 3, 2005

I'm also probably too late, but I love the name Felix.
posted by mayfly wake at 11:11 PM on April 3, 2005

« Older NoodleFilter: Recipie Request   |   Indie Theater Investments Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.