Name this baby!
April 2, 2018 5:49 AM   Subscribe

We're pregnant and thrilled! Names are hard; please suggest good, strong, nontraditional, evocative names for a baby boy. Details and preferences within.

If it's a girl, she'll be named after a beloved family member, so that's settled.
But for a boy... we're stuck!

Relevant thoughts:

We'd prefer a non-traditional name (so, not a traditional European / British / French or Hebrew name).

We like names that reference nature, especially "strong" symbolic natural elements like rocks, trees, rivers, elements, etc.

We also like names that signify admirable traits, such as:
strength, fairness, resilience, independence, power, fire, kindness, self-confidence, courage, flexibility, wisdom, intelligence, leadership, etc.

The baby will be VERY mixed race: Black, Scottish, Chinese, Indigenous Canadian (Métis), French-Canadian, Indo-Caribbean. If Mendelian genetics work as we expect, he will likely grow up to be tall, slim, and athletic, with tan skin, dark curly hair, and dark eyes (maybe resembling this family).

We're open to something that hints at the baby's heritage, in particular the Black, Métis, or Caribbean origins, but that's not necessary.
The name should be easy to spell and pronounce in English.

The baby's surname will be Ricks.
Other family names that could somehow be referenced are Noel and Dennis.

As examples, here are some names we like, but likely won't use for various reasons:

Indy (Independence)
Rock or Jasper (We like the strength, steadiness, and simplicity of geology names)
Riel (after Métis leader Louis Riel)
Nation (the idea that he could be a leader)
Kairo (this name is a variant of an Indigenous Caribbean word)
Max, Rex (We love both these names, but "Rex Ricks" sounds like a game show host)
Phoenix (Love the rebirth angle, fire imagery, and nod to Chinese culture, but again, that final X gets messy: "Phoenix Ricks" is too rhymey)
Hart (Heart / Stag imagery is a nice balance of soft and strong)
Barack (I mean, the man's a legend... but prefer not to use quite so recognizable a name)
Tiger (Tiger Woods ruined this one forever so we'd never use it, but we like the idea of it)
Justice or Hero (Love the symbolism but they're a little too on-the-nose)
Win (We like that it implies "winner")
River (We like the implied resilience and persistence, but it's a bit too hippie)

Any ideas for us?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (96 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Sassyfras at 5:59 AM on April 2, 2018 [10 favorites]

Roch (alternate to Rock)
Kohl (maybe ruined by the department store?)
posted by kimdog at 6:11 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you like the connotations of River, maybe Nile, or another specific river?
posted by corey flood at 6:13 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by Sassyfras at 6:14 AM on April 2, 2018

Kili (for Kilimanjaro)
posted by slide at 6:17 AM on April 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:19 AM on April 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

posted by Shebear at 6:23 AM on April 2, 2018 [17 favorites]

Will (not as short for William, but as in determination or dedication)
posted by Mouse Army at 6:24 AM on April 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

posted by gaspode at 6:24 AM on April 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

posted by French Fry at 6:25 AM on April 2, 2018 [10 favorites]

What the beloved family member's name? You/we could explore the meaning of that and find another related name that you'd feel comfortable giving to someone born a boy.
posted by Mizu at 6:26 AM on April 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

posted by xo at 6:27 AM on April 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

It may be too close to traditional, but if you like geology names, maybe Emery? Geologically speaking, it's strong stuff, although the connotations of abrasiveness are maybe not good. Counteracting that connotation, though, Fred Emery did really interesting work in participatory design and argued for replacing hierarchical/autocratic workplace structures with democratic/collaborative ones.

Or maybe Kauri, after the beautifully tall, strong, long-lived, and regenerative tree.
posted by halation at 6:28 AM on April 2, 2018 [7 favorites]

Rowan. Linden. (also good for girls.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:31 AM on April 2, 2018 [6 favorites]

posted by fingersandtoes at 6:33 AM on April 2, 2018

Land. Wood. Karst.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:34 AM on April 2, 2018

We recently learned of a baby name Peregrine. I think I love it.
posted by advicepig at 6:34 AM on April 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

I love love love the idea of little Nation Ricks. Later young Nation Ricks. And one day Senator (then President) Nation Ricks.

No pressure. :)
posted by pammeke at 6:37 AM on April 2, 2018 [11 favorites]

posted by parmanparman at 6:41 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

oooh seconding Kauri.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:42 AM on April 2, 2018

I know a family who named their son Eisen (“iron” in German), I think because they both work with metal. I think it’s cool and strong!
posted by sucre at 6:48 AM on April 2, 2018 [10 favorites]

Lion, Rowan, Oak, Falcon, Wolf, Ocean (A pop cultural note on Ocean that first time parents might not be aware of: there's a popular kid's show with a kid named Ocean in it.)

With that variety of cultural backgrounds, I'd look to see what the words you like sound like in other languages that are part of your heritage that you feel a strong connection to. River might feel a little funny in a mostly-English-speaking environment, but River in Chinese or Metis might sound like a name, while connecting with strength and steadiness and his background. I have friends who have done this with good results.
posted by tchemgrrl at 6:54 AM on April 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

Satuye -- 18th Century hero and resistance leader of African-Carib people against the British.
posted by velveeta underground at 6:56 AM on April 2, 2018

posted by gregglind at 6:57 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Bravery Noel Riel Ricks sounds like a grounded and kind soul who would step up if situations needed sorting.
posted by moneyjane at 7:03 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

A friend's son is named Valor and I always thought it striking and inspiring.
posted by meinvt at 7:03 AM on April 2, 2018 [4 favorites]


It's powerful. It can degenerate into Mandy if he so prefers as an adult. It can be quirkily mistaken for or offerred as a title if he were to so choose. Cmdr. Ricks in charge!
posted by Meatbomb at 7:11 AM on April 2, 2018

I have a friend who named her son Eagle. It always pops out first you hear it, but in a good way.
posted by mumimor at 7:12 AM on April 2, 2018

posted by DarlingBri at 7:15 AM on April 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

(the daughter that I always wanted was going to get this name, but my wife has set our family size at two, they are both boys and already here and named)
posted by Meatbomb at 7:16 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Unity. Unity Ricks.

(Some ridic and ancient geeky type could end up creating the portmanteau Unicks but I kinda like that for him.)
posted by taff at 7:21 AM on April 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

posted by airmail at 7:25 AM on April 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Leo -- lion
Jordan -- the river
posted by jgirl at 7:28 AM on April 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

Polaris or Lodestar
posted by drlith at 7:35 AM on April 2, 2018

Victor (as in, someone who is victorious).

And honestly, "Victor Ricks" sounds a hell of a lot like "Victorious".
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:48 AM on April 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

I know a Quill here and the name's always struck me as having nice connotations -- including at least flexibility, intelligence, and leadership off your list.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:57 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Other names that evoke ideas of strength/power/intelligence/etc for me:

- Daneel (I'm a big Asimov fan, so obviously I'm thinking Daneel Olivaw.)
- Cove (I know a kid named Cove. It's a great name.)
- Samson
- Hugo
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 8:03 AM on April 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

How about Quest? It underscores the notion of his life as an adventure/journey, and has a sort of noble connotation.
posted by AgentRocket at 8:04 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

There are mountains in Canada named Robson and Logan, perhaps there is another mountain whose name you might like.
Canadian Civil Rights Activists
human rights activists, notably Mandela
Peace activists.
There are other, certainly better, such lists that may inspire you. Congratulations.
posted by theora55 at 8:06 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by Capt. Renault at 8:06 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding Orion, its strong and unique, but it's easily pronounceable and everyone knows how to spell it.
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:08 AM on April 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

Maybe Folsom, after the Native American stone points, strong and beautiful (with Canadian connections). A friend used it as a middle name for similar reasons.
posted by gudrun at 8:15 AM on April 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Noble. Leo. Apollo. Sol. Atlas.
posted by amro at 8:26 AM on April 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Was going to suggest Leo but I see several people have beaten me to it!
I would advise that "Valor Ricks" sounds very close to "Valorex" the herpes medication.
posted by dotparker at 8:35 AM on April 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Usain (means beautiful)
Sten (means stone in some admittedly European languages)
Talin (supposedly a variation of talon)
Nagano (supposedly unisex Ojibwa name that means s/he is singing)
Asin or Asiniig (supposedly male Ojibwa names that mean stone)
Mikom or Mitig or Makwa (ditto above, ice, tree, and bear, respectively)
Atlin, Fraser, Hudson, Sable, Teslin (Canadian lake and other place names)
Ahanu, Chogan, Hassun, Keme, Mingan, (Cree boy names supposedly meaning he laughs, Blackbird, stone, thunder, and gray wolf, respectively)

A note about names: My child has an indigenous middle name as a tribute to my child's birth family. It comes from a language that is on the verge of extinction. Naturally, the birth family knew how to say it, that family suggested it; however, it never occurred to me to ask how to say it correctly. So it was embarrassing when I told the family my kid's full name and I found out I was mispronouncing the family name (not last name). TL;DR: if you choose an indigenous name, might want to find out from the appropriate community how to pronounce it correctly. Also, there may be political ramifications in drawing a name from one of several communities your kid has roots in. I don't know that there will be, but I am just throwing that out there as a consideration.

Congratulations on your pregnancy, am so excited for you!

(Hudson Bay is of major historical importance to the Métis people as well as other Canadians, as you probably know. I think Hudson Ricks is a fabulous name, don't you? Sure I could be working but looking for baby names is so much more fun! :-)
posted by Bella Donna at 8:36 AM on April 2, 2018 [8 favorites]

posted by Grumpy old geek at 8:38 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Names of kids that I personally know -

Ever (not a typo, but please consider not using a name where everyone will assume it is a typo and will constantly be mis-calling his name - "Evan" instead of Ever, for instance. That just gets annoying for the person in question).

Orion and other stellar inspired names are great suggestions too. Maybe you could pull stellar names from the indigenous languages/heritage that you want to evoke.

I also liked the name Win from your list. Rolls off the tongue easily, and there's automatically a positive connotation. If I met your child I would assume it was short for something, so I suppose you'd get asked that question a thousand times, but otherwise it's great.
posted by vignettist at 8:41 AM on April 2, 2018

Gabriel (after Dumont, the other major Métis leader)
posted by Lawn Beaver at 8:46 AM on April 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Plus one for Forrest and you can also borrow Keith.
posted by firstdrop at 8:48 AM on April 2, 2018

posted by argonauta at 8:49 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Plus one for Gabriel.
posted by Bella Donna at 8:49 AM on April 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Orion has always been a personal favorite of mine.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:50 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by turkeybrain at 8:57 AM on April 2, 2018

Theobold or Theobald means ‘bold for the people’
posted by bq at 9:01 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Amaroq - “An amarok, or amaroq, is a gigantic wolf in Inuit mythology, said to stalk and devour any person foolish enough to hunt alone at night. Unlike real wolves who hunt in packs, amaroks hunt alone.

Writing in the 19th century, Danish geologist and Greenlandic scholar Hinrich Johannes Rink reported that the Greenlandic Inuit reserve the word amarok exclusively for this legendary wolf, whereas other Arctic peoples use it to refer to any wolf.” Wikipedia

Could be shortened to Roq or Am
posted by Sassyfras at 9:02 AM on April 2, 2018

posted by cnidaria at 9:07 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Flint, Madrone, Shale, Mica(h), Cedar
posted by salvia at 9:24 AM on April 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

posted by clseace at 9:32 AM on April 2, 2018

posted by the return of the thin white sock at 9:34 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Noel Ricks sounds amazing , I don’t know if you’ve already ruled it out!

Maybe Bayard? I kind of regret not using that for my kid... I guess Bayard was a 16th century knight known for valor, but more recently Bayard Rustin, who is a strong/brave/intelligent civil rights hero. Sounds good with Ricks too.
posted by sometamegazelle at 9:50 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Barry comes from Irish, but there are many famous people of multiple races with that name. It was sometimes used as an irreverent nickname for the president as well. Barry Stone?
posted by Night_owl at 10:04 AM on April 2, 2018

posted by lakeroon at 10:05 AM on April 2, 2018

posted by Iris Gambol at 10:07 AM on April 2, 2018

With a one-syllable last name like Ricks, you may want to consider a two-syllable first name to avoid the 'game show' feel. I love nature names, but I'd suggest being careful naming him something with very definite connotations, such as Stone - what if he's more of a fluid kind of guy?

Logan is a great name - strong yet beautifully balanced! And Logan Ricks rolls off the tongue very nicely.

I really like Bella Donna's suggestion of Hudson - Hudson Ricks sounds like he could be anything he damn well wants!

I'm also partial to Quill, because it's unusual yet easy to pronounce, and with both natural and intellectual connotations. It's only one syllable, though, and Quill Ricks would be hard for people to hear correctly, I think. Maybe Quillan?
posted by widdershins at 10:44 AM on April 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

A traditional and strong-sounding option is to search the family tree for last names as a first name.
posted by TrishaU at 10:48 AM on April 2, 2018

posted by delight at 10:57 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by whuppy at 11:09 AM on April 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

posted by mdonley at 11:14 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by Lescha at 11:23 AM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by _Mona_ at 11:36 AM on April 2, 2018

They might be too hippie for you, but Sage or Clay could be nice. (Wisdom and nature, or flexible and strong.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 12:05 PM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Riding the Leo train with Leonidas

Also, Zaire. One of my all-time favorite boy names.
posted by orangesky4 at 12:17 PM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding Kai, Orion and Cedar; some other nature-related possibilities might be Shale, Glacier, Raven, Heron, Falcon, Ember, Harbor, Hawthorn, Cirrus, Gale, or Shore.
posted by karayel at 12:46 PM on April 2, 2018

posted by Dillionaire at 1:59 PM on April 2, 2018

Marcus Ricks
Aurelius Ricks
Marcus Aurelius Ricks

posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:39 PM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Arlo Ricks

Jak Ricks (Jak in Serbian means strong)

Kai has always been a fave of mine, too.
posted by singinginmychains at 3:20 PM on April 2, 2018

Beo (bee)
Benno (bear)
posted by erythemepark at 3:22 PM on April 2, 2018

posted by sciencegeek at 4:04 PM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I once knew a decent guy named "Flourish".
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 6:43 PM on April 2, 2018

Congrats! Nothing like that moment when you find the right name and *agree*... especially after a long and well-considered search.
  • Vincent
  • Cyprus
  • Flynn
  • Hector
  • Malcolm

posted by this-apoptosis at 7:23 PM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Elon (the association with Musk might be hard to shake though)
posted by airmail at 8:20 PM on April 2, 2018

Manitoba (Manny as a nickname, Metis place reference)
Etienne and Honoré might break your rules but those are great French names
Also consider a French hyphenated first name, using Louis.
Maybe find another historical figure or a family member with a first name to pair with Louis. Or René-Louis or André-Louis just sound good.

I’m also obsessed with the name Maceo - Maceo Parker was in James Browns band.
posted by littlewater at 10:10 PM on April 2, 2018

posted by hishtafel at 10:47 PM on April 2, 2018

posted by ramix at 11:11 PM on April 2, 2018

posted by stormyteal at 11:27 PM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


Canoe/Kenu/kinew (might imply you support Wab Kinew - which you may or may not like, Kenu might be skating too close to Keanu)


Bear (very popular where I am now, not sure if it goes with Ricks though)

Cedar (sacred plant)
posted by saucysault at 12:33 AM on April 3, 2018

posted by WeekendJen at 7:33 AM on April 3, 2018

I’m also obsessed with the name Maceo — Maceo Parker was in James Browns band.

And, at least anecdotally, was named after one of the generals in the Cuban fight for independence, netting you a Caribbean connection. Maceo Ricks would be a phenomenal name.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:50 AM on April 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

If we had another kid we would go with Riel (for a boy or a girl). Dumont perhaps after Gabriel Dumont. Perhaps Powley after Steve Powley.

My wife, who teaches prenatal classes, says that names based on trees or plant terms (Acorn, Willow, Cotton, Linen, etc.) are really common right now which may or may not dissuade you from those. I once met a guy named Leon Noel, which he wore remarkably well.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:19 AM on April 3, 2018

Max, Rex (We love both these names, but "Rex Ricks" sounds like a game show host)

What about adding a syllable - i.e. Maxon, Maxson, or Mason?
I also like Falcon with the surname Ricks.
posted by capricorn at 10:33 AM on April 3, 2018

You could always spell it Wynn. I also like Magnus and Asher for you.
posted by Threeve at 10:07 PM on April 3, 2018

I just thought to suggest Rolle.
posted by taff at 12:51 AM on April 4, 2018

How about Hawk? So badass!
posted by leslievictoria at 6:18 PM on April 4, 2018

posted by freezer cake at 1:47 PM on April 5, 2018

Cadmus Ricks
Thorne Ricks
posted by Pizzarina Sbarro at 11:57 AM on April 6, 2018

Let us know what name you decide on!
posted by amro at 6:48 AM on April 8, 2018

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