How is babby boy named?
March 19, 2021 5:11 PM   Subscribe

We’re expecting a son, which is tremendously exciting...except that we’re having a really hard time coming up with boy names. Do you have any great suggestions?

The ideal name is:

* Straightforward to spell (in the US midwest)
* Straightforward to pronounce (in the US midwest)
* Not a common name (meaning not one of the hugely popular baby names now, nor a name that’s been popular in the past like John, William, or Joseph)
* Definitely an established first name for a male human being (we aren’t personally into “creative” names, nouns, surnames, etc.)

I love the name Theo, and amazingly my husband (who apparently hates all names) is kind of OK with it...but I think it’s way too popular. Theodore is really high on the recent name charts, shows up on all kinds of baby name lists, and I have a bad feeling that if we go with it, our kid will be one of five Theos in his kindergarten class.

Names I like but can’t use for a variety of reasons:

Noah (too popular)
Logan (ditto)
Leo (ditto)
Caleb (ditto)
Tycho (might be a little too uncommon, and my husband has vetoed anyway)
Tobias/Toby (husband veto)
Micah (husband veto)
Jude/Judah (husband veto)
Carlo (husband veto)

I have spent days on the baby names sites and feel like I have considered every name possible, but I am very hopeful that the perfect name is still out there. What have you got, Metafilter! Please help us find the perfect name.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (101 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Congratulations! Your husband has veto power (as he should) but is he also doing any research/bringing any names to the table?

I have never met an Alec who wasn't awesome.
posted by cyndigo at 5:17 PM on March 19, 2021 [4 favorites]


Nicolas (Nick)
Eli
Zachary/Zach
Cameron
Skyler
River
Philip
Felix (my favorite)
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:17 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


If you liked Theo and Leo, why not name him Geoffrey and call him Geo for short.
posted by mannequito at 5:19 PM on March 19, 2021 [6 favorites]


Dmitri
Sasha (Alexander)
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:19 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


Nico
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:20 PM on March 19, 2021 [3 favorites]


Alden.
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 5:21 PM on March 19, 2021 [2 favorites]


Rex
posted by the primroses were over at 5:24 PM on March 19, 2021 [2 favorites]


Think of people you admire. A poet, leader, activist. Many names adapt to new usages. Sanders -> Sandy -> Alexander
posted by theora55 at 5:29 PM on March 19, 2021 [2 favorites]


Theo is a nice name, and it's got flexibility. Ted? Teddy? Theo? Theodore?

That's a name that fits for a long time.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:32 PM on March 19, 2021 [6 favorites]


Agree with theora55, also are there any names of your favourite characters from books/movies/shows that might work?

But also:
Felix
Max (with whatever longer version you wanted)
Farron
posted by DTMFA at 5:34 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


Alex (Alexander)
Nick (Nicholas)
Gabriel (Gabe)
Adrian or Hadrian
Aidan or Anton
Jonas
Conrad
Victor

Congrats!
posted by gemmy at 5:34 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


Alfred

Chuck

Edgar

Joseph (full name)

Olaf

Piedro

Ricardo
posted by aniola at 5:37 PM on March 19, 2021


As a parent of a Theo that was named juuust before the boom and knows a few, I’ll say that having a moderately popular name by today’s standards is way different than it used to be. The curve is a lot flatter, and even a top-10 name will only be given to a kid or two in a hundred. My kid likes meeting other people with his name.

That being said, here are some other names that were on our short list, since we seem to have similar tastes: Elliott, Sebastian, Julian, Martin, Vincent. I haven’t checked the stats lately, but I suspect these have also swung up in the past 10 years; I’ve met at least one younger kid with each of those names. The thing you’re looking for is the thing almost everyone is looking for.
posted by tchemgrrl at 5:39 PM on March 19, 2021 [14 favorites]


Luke
Mark
James

Pretty much any one syllable Bible name will work. Everyone ought to be familiar with pronunciation and they are common enough to not carry any particular religious significance if you are out to avoid that kind of thing.
posted by Fukiyama at 5:43 PM on March 19, 2021 [2 favorites]


I was with you right along for a while there ... my oldest is Theo. In his huge high school, we've run into maybe two others? Not too popular here at least though I'm not up on current baby names since he is 18 and I see the name is rising in popularity. Has been a great name, easy to understand and spell and remember, yet not common.

Due to our last name, it is pretty important to not have to spell and prompt for a first name as well yet my name is so common that I'm often known as my first name followed by the first letter of my last name and I don't love that. Also, people can know almost my exact age based on my name.

Funny enough to the first comment, our only other choice was Alec. If I were picking a name today, I would like names that start with A.

Henry and George have similar feels to me as well. A little old-fashioned and recognizable but not commonly heard.

Do you have any family last names that could be used as a first name? Those names are often unusual for a first name but recognizable. Anderson, Carson, Benson, Martin, Duncan, Finley (Phin).
posted by RoadScholar at 5:43 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


Arden
posted by a humble nudibranch at 5:45 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


When my wife and I were batting around names for our kids, we found that the sweet spot for names for us were names that peaked in popularity about 80-90 years prior. We were looking for names that were relatively uncommon but not obscure, without variant spellings (a pet peeve of mine), and not overly popular. The "baby name wizard" website helped with that.

I'll also second tchemgrrl that "popular" names today are still rarer than popular names of decades past. My girls' elementary school had a few Sophias and a couple of Isabelles, but nothing like the giant packs of Jennifers and Michaels that ran around my childhood.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 5:48 PM on March 19, 2021 [5 favorites]


Ari
posted by pinochiette at 5:50 PM on March 19, 2021


I love the name Quentin for a boy.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 5:51 PM on March 19, 2021 [4 favorites]


How exciting! Congratulations! I love the advice to pick a name of someone you admire because it really does help narrow choices. But if that isn’t working for you, here’s my basic name advice:
You’re right Theo is a bit popular, but it’s also a great name! I love a name that allows for different nicknames and Theodore does. My experience with naming is that it’s difficult to pick a perfect name that’s not at all in use. But there is a wider variety of names in use so even if a name is slightly popular, it’s not like when I was a kid (in US Midwest) the and the top names meant there were a dozen girls or boys with the same name in each grade. There might be three Theos in a school, but it’s not like Mike in the 80s, you know? If you can find a list of popular baby names in your city or state, that can be helpful to pinpoint how popular the name is in your area. Sometimes hospitals will publish lists of popular baby names. I’d say best case scenario, try to select a name that’s not in the top 100, but otherwise you cant necessarily avoid all popular names. I think part of what you’re liking about Theo is the last letter “o” is endearing and boy names ending in o are popular. (Also “n” is a popular end sound in boy names - example Logan, Nolan, Ethan. For girls, it’s the “a” sound at the end). Other ideas in the Theo stratosphere, but maybe less prevalent (although I did not look up on the Social security site to check!) are Milo or Hugo. In the stylish ends with “n” vein, my choice is Ewan.
There’s some fun reading about baby names in the Duana names column on laineygossip.com. You could even write her a letter and ask for advice! Again, congratulations!
posted by areaperson at 5:53 PM on March 19, 2021 [2 favorites]


A few of the names you like are 2-syllable names ending with an o sound, so digging into that:

Reno
Milo
Argo
Nico
Benno
Gino
Hugo
Enzo
Arlo
Marlowe
Otto
posted by miles per flower at 5:59 PM on March 19, 2021 [8 favorites]


Parker (which is my user name spelled backwards).
posted by rekrap at 6:16 PM on March 19, 2021


Oliver
Lucas
Eric
Ryan
Maxwell
Levi
Evan
Simon
posted by keep it under cover at 6:17 PM on March 19, 2021 [2 favorites]


Dakota
Robin
Stephan
Sergio
Leon
Rain
Ellery
Max or Maxim
Oliver
Skylar
posted by shadygrove at 6:20 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


I, for some reason, am a fan of the old Puritan names like Cotton, Increase, and Temperance. Maybe Industry or Fortitude. Praisegod is a bit much.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:26 PM on March 19, 2021 [4 favorites]


My favorite male name is Sebastian.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 6:28 PM on March 19, 2021 [4 favorites]


Another person who has always liked Felix. Also Ray.

But in terms of your "too common" name concern: I have a very common name for my generation, and it truly never bothered me much. It does mean your child will likely get a nickname or go by their last name, but...if you really love Theo, I say go for it!
posted by coffeecat at 6:31 PM on March 19, 2021


Names from our local nursery:

Casper
Conrad
Felix
Max
Leo
Lukas
Alexander
Mitja
Oscar
Wolfgang
Philip
Sebastian

Not in the US, as you can probably tell. But all pretty cute quirky names.
posted by tinkletown at 6:33 PM on March 19, 2021


If Theo is out, would you consider Vincent? Could be Vinnie, Vin, Vince.

Our son’s name was already mentioned, but Ezra and Reuben were the others on our short list.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:34 PM on March 19, 2021 [3 favorites]


I looked at #300-500 for boy names on the Social Security list (current version is popularity in 2019), on the theory that these names are not currently popular, but some of them may meet your qualifications. I would double-check alternative spellings of course to make sure that another spelling is not rocketing up to the top 10.

Here are a few that caught my eye as potentially meeting your requirements:

Sean (or Shawn or Shaun)
Derek (or Derrick or maybe Frederick)
Mario
Travis
Malcolm
Raymond
Wade
Garrett
Warren
Jeffrey (Geoffrey)
Troy
Gregory
Trevor
Cyrus
Shane
Philip (Phillip)
Hank
posted by Caz721 at 6:35 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


As a 1980s Jennifer, Theo will be fine. There have certainly been times in my life when it's been annoying or a joke, but truly in this zero privacy digital world of ours, I cherish my extremely common name. It has given me the gift of google apathy.
posted by phunniemee at 6:40 PM on March 19, 2021 [15 favorites]


Calvin
Jasper
Brooks
Galen
Hale
Ky
Nico
Archer
posted by Sassyfras at 6:57 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


Dwayne.

I'm a Dwayne. We rock.

Plus - people will call him "Dwaaaaaaaaaayne!"
posted by spinifex23 at 6:59 PM on March 19, 2021


Miles
Elliot
posted by Dolley at 7:01 PM on March 19, 2021


Theo is one of my favourite names and I wouldn't hesitate, but here are a few others, some of which have similar sounds in them, some of which I just like:

Callum
Gavin
Topher
Timothy
Joachim
Alasdair
Thaddeus
Leonard
Edward
Tor
Thorsten

You could also dodge the popularity of Theodor by assigning something else that abbreviates to Theo, like Theobald or Theoden or Theon...
posted by bibliotropic at 7:02 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


Kyle
Marcus
Bruno (my grandfather's name)
Charles/Charlie

Whatever name you choose, the syllables and sounds should should flow with the last name. Alliteration can be fun. Also, consider the initials - do they result in a word or sound that's pleasing (or embarrassing)?
posted by kbar1 at 7:05 PM on March 19, 2021 [2 favorites]


I like names that make me think of typos or malaprops, but they aren't:

Jaen
Frances
Myles
Chrystian

A lot of personality can come out of a unique name.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 7:19 PM on March 19, 2021


Lewis
Cameron
Remy
posted by BeBetter at 7:25 PM on March 19, 2021


I have one suggestion and that is Arthur. Easy to spell and pronounce. Art is also a fine nickname. It peaked in the 1880s, made a partial comeback 100 years ago, and is for some reason still almost unheard of in anything younger than seniors. Please help bring this name back!
posted by oxisos at 7:26 PM on March 19, 2021 [12 favorites]


If you have a one-syllable surname, go with something that has at least two syllables!

I've always liked Felix because it's a family name from a few generations back -- had no idea it was so popular now. Oskar/Oscar is a good one too.
posted by theory at 7:40 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


If I had had a son, he would have been named Leonard James. Not because I am a Star Trek fan, but that would have been a bonus.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:45 PM on March 19, 2021


Harvey
Neil
Allen
posted by sciencegeek at 7:51 PM on March 19, 2021


Seconding Zachary. It's always been my favorite boy's name. It was supposedly the 147th most popular in 2020, and even at its zenith in 1993, it was only the 15th most popular. It is well-established, easily shortened, and I think most people know how to pronounce and spell it.
posted by Flock of Cynthiabirds at 8:01 PM on March 19, 2021


Walter
posted by momus_window at 8:04 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


We loved Wyatt for one of ours, but it lost narrowly to a traditional naming scheme in my partner's culture (naming after relatives as a sign of respect).

I have a name which is both rare (but not "unusual", just old-fashioned) and hard to shorten, both of which I've found useful at times. My partner has a short first name which is often the shortened form of another name, which is amusing when they have to insist that it's really their name.
posted by Anonymous Function at 8:05 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


I adore Elliott, would have picked Elliott for my own son if I’d had one, but it has enough spelling permutations to dizzy a statistician. (If you can teach him to say “double L, double T” from an early age, then maybe.)

I live in Utah where literally any name can be “creatively” misspelled, but George does seem generally accident-proof. My husband suggests “Michael.” (Ok, so his kindergarten classmates will have a hard time with either of these, but in adulthood most people will get it? You’ve got to have faith, faith, faith!)
posted by armeowda at 8:12 PM on March 19, 2021


Ezekiel/Zeke never fails to appeal (appelle) to me.
posted by jamjam at 8:12 PM on March 19, 2021


Marco
posted by Wet Spot at 8:17 PM on March 19, 2021


My wife vetoed "Boaz" for our son but I have a lot of affection for the name: it is rare and strong-sounding; the canonical (biblical) Boaz is a righteous man who looked after the afflicted in his community.
posted by gauche at 8:19 PM on March 19, 2021


Eli
Elijah
Adam
posted by NotLost at 8:19 PM on March 19, 2021


Elias
posted by Redstart at 8:30 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


Matthias
Davis
posted by gudrun at 8:30 PM on March 19, 2021


I see it recommended above, but we have a 3-year old Malcolm, and I love the name more all the time. Our second pick was Nolan/Nolen. The traditional spelling is pretty popular, though, and the Irish variant (i.e., my grandfather's name) might be too often misspelled. The boys' names in my son's daycare class include Remy, Oliver, and Levi.
posted by girlbowler at 8:34 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


May I recommend Jane Austen? This is a classic source for British names. Both first and last names can work as a child's first and middle names.
If the Anglophile vibe is limiting, try checking for other versions of the same name.
John
Charles
William
Do be advised that several of her male characters with last names beginning with W went bad in a spectacular way.
John Willoughby (Sense and Sensibility)
George Wickham (Pride and Prejudice)
Frank Churchill, previously Frank Weston (Emma)
Frederick Wentworth (Persuasion) is an exception to the antagonist with a W__ name in Austen.

Nameberry is showing a vintage boys names list that may also be up your alley.

As always, check with a couple of friends for odd associations and the possibility of teasing from other children.
Watch out for initials that have alternative meanings, shortened versions that sound bad with the last name, and names that can rhyme. The problem with using the name of a folk hero is that if the person has a fall from grace, the child can be embarrassed by it.

On a personal note, my oldest child uses her first name with friends and her middle name (a version of her father's name) professionally. My youngest child is on her fourth version of Elizabeth and does not use her middle name. Kids are gonna kid.
posted by TrishaU at 8:46 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


Eli
Evan
Ethan
posted by MadMadam at 8:55 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


Patrick! Can abbreviate to Trick if you want a unique nickname. It's been popular enough in the past that folks in the US usually spell & pronounce correctly on the first try, but I've only actually met two kids named Patrick in the past 10 years - and one of them is mine!
posted by Ann Telope at 8:58 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


Daniel is a good solid name that sounds like it would be way more common than it is ( it hasn't been suggested yet!)
posted by gaspode at 9:02 PM on March 19, 2021 [6 favorites]


I love rodeo names: Zane, Tyler, Cody, Wade, Lyle, Boyd, Anson, Cash, Wade, Royce.

If you google you can find lists of past rodeo winners (like this one) which might give you some other ideas if these are appealing!
posted by stellaluna at 9:06 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


My name was as common as phunniemee’s in my age group. Like, I honestly can’t remember ever being in a class where there weren’t two or three of us. One of my first cousins even has the same name. And there are few nicknames for it that anyone, including myself, ever cared for well enough to use.

And while it may have been annoying a handful of times, it didn’t do me any real harm. The older I get, the nicer it is to find myself instantly identifiable as a member of my generation.

My two cents - adjusted for inflation - is that if “Theo” really speaks to you both, and seems to suit the little stranger when you see him, there’s no real harm in going for it.

Theo van Gogh was a lovely man and a key figure in art history. Theodore Roosevelt gave us five national parks. Lots of interesting people and characters have been named Theophilus.

One hedge-betting technique is to give the kid a middle name that they wouldn’t mind going by, just in case the Too Many Theos issue does come to fruition. Or a middle name with an initial that goes well with “T.” Theodore James or Theodore Randall could go by TJ or TR, respectively.

(I read a series of Victorian novels in which a character named Theodore went by the nickname “Dory.” But that would probably conjure up images of cartoon fish for most young people today.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:32 PM on March 19, 2021 [3 favorites]


Atticus
posted by DB Cooper at 9:49 PM on March 19, 2021


Adding to the Theo/Theodore bandwagon: I’ve never met a Ted who wasn’t completely weird and awesome. A kid named Theodore has so many options of what to call himself, as others have pointed out already, and I think that’s a wonderful gift you can give a child.

Also, speaking from personal experience, it’s entirely possible to miss the mark when trying to avoid giving your kid a common name—my parents had similar goals to you, and we ended up in a situation where my older brother has one of the most common names for his age group (because everyone was going for the same not-yet-popular name) and I, though my name is not all that popular in the broader population, have ended up going by Firstname Lastinitial at multiple schools because it turned it to be fairly popular in my ethnic group and age bracket. I think a name you like and that suits your child is way more important than trying to game-theory it out.
posted by some_kind_of_toaster at 10:09 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


What about Nathan?
posted by Arctostaphylos at 10:25 PM on March 19, 2021


Ansel
Russell
Walter
Gordon
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:32 PM on March 19, 2021


Gabriel
Preston
Eli
Harry
Kingston
Edward
Hugo
posted by Jubey at 10:37 PM on March 19, 2021 [1 favorite]


Maybe the nature names will work? Traditional and familiar, but not in common use.

River
Orion
Rigel
Cyrus
August
Marc (Marcus)

Or mythological, like Thaddeus? Tad?
posted by meemzi at 10:47 PM on March 19, 2021


First, try the Baby Name Wizard. We wore that book out.
Second, what about Ezra or Abraham (“Abe”) or Nico? Also a fan of Theo. I knew a “Timo” in high school.
posted by kerf at 11:20 PM on March 19, 2021


In a similar situation with similar criteria, a few things I liked to look at:

* Go to Social Security Administration list of baby names and look at the top 500 names for the most recent year (looks like 2019 for now)

- Completely exclude the top 25 or 50 names. If you name the poor guy Liam or Noah or Oliver there will be 2 or 3 of them in every single school year, class, etc etc etc all the time they're growing up.

- But look with great interest at each one of say #50 through #200. These are your "normal sounding" and somewhat common names, yet not so popular as to be annoying

* Another fun thing to do is look at the popular baby names for each year going back in history. If you look at the popular names of say 50-80 years ago you are likely to find these are sort of "grandpa-grandma" style names and they seem a bit fuddy-duddy. But go back a bit further, say 100-120 years ago, sometimes the names cycle beyond fuddy-duddy to come back into use as "classic but cool again". Look at the top 20 or 30 names for years in that 100-120 year old range and you might get some ideas.

* The only really strong way we found to have a positive emotional connection to particular names was to find some in our own family ancestry and genealogy. For all of our children we actually managed to find a name that was an interesting or prominent person in both my and my wife's ancestry. For my wife maybe it was great-great grandfather Jeffrey Smith and for me, great-great-great uncle Jeffrey Jones. That way we both had positive associations with it--and the child gets a little concrete connection to their own family history on both sides. The first names we chose were ancestors of the grandparent or great-grandparent generation or older--thus people who weren't still around and using their names (confusion) and by and large people we didn't know so much personally.

We liked to use our parent's names or those kind of close relations, more as a middle name. So the child will have that nice connection to a grandparent or similar close relative by being "named after" that person, but won't have to use that person's very same name every single day (and thus have the confusion of two Freds--or whatever--in the house whenever they're visiting . . . ).

* It is amazingly helpful to have a somewhat unique name. It is really no fun to be named John Brown or Mary Smith. If you have a super-common last name I would be thinking a lot more along the lines of a more unique or at least somewhat unusual first name. But even if you arrive at, say, something like John Brown for whatever reason then that is where you MUST have a pretty unique middle name to go with it. John Zebulon Brown or what-have-you (I would be scouring our genealogy lists for the most unusual/interesting names I could find, if looking for that kind of middle name.)

* In that vein, once you've settled on a name candidate, go and search for it at whitepages.com or similar phone book search tools. Search for both first/last and first/middle/last. You can look both nationally and in your own state. More than just a few with that exact same name--and ANY with that same first/middle/last combination, I personally would re-think it.
posted by flug at 1:00 AM on March 20, 2021 [4 favorites]


This article has some ideas and resources for identifying which names will be most popular this year (as opposed to those most popular a year or two ago).
posted by flug at 1:04 AM on March 20, 2021


Falco. It's the Latin name for the kestrel Falco tinnunculus. It will also provide a cool handle when he's old enough for Metafilter - Windfucker: the 16thC falconers' term for this most beautiful of birds.
posted by BobTheScientist at 3:01 AM on March 20, 2021 [1 favorite]


While I do not have suggestions for names, I do have ideas for places to look for inspiration:
---family genealogies
---maps (names of towns, parks, rivers, lakes, and buildings can be inspiring)
---political leaders (Vice Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, Governor's, etc...)
---award winners (Pulitzer prize, nobel prize, etc...)
---books (author's, characters, place names)

Another fun way to brainstorm ideas is to play a baby shower game involving names the guests come up with!

Good luck finding your kid's name!

(Mods: please feel free to delete if this doesn't answer the question.)
posted by ASlackerPestersMums at 3:35 AM on March 20, 2021 [1 favorite]


Monty (short for Montgomery) maybe fits your criteria? Toby was never particularly popular, and Rory is down below the top 350. Peter also fits your criteria.

But I would encourage you to reconsider the popularity criteria. Sam is a nice name for a boy, and both Sam and Samuel have been hanging out in the top 20 for decades but I don't feel like the world is overrun with Sams?
posted by DarlingBri at 3:39 AM on March 20, 2021


Also, we like Theo a lot, and have not yet encountered a baby with that name. But we have met a lot of little ones named Thea! Name popularity can vary a lot by region and state so it might be useful to look at more local data---especially if you are planning to stay in a particular location for a while.
posted by ASlackerPestersMums at 3:39 AM on March 20, 2021 [1 favorite]


Babby boy is Bob. Bob the angry flower. Bob Bobertson. Bob Ross. Bob the Builder. Bobs are beaut.
posted by flabdablet at 5:41 AM on March 20, 2021


Anthony
George
Henry (Hank)
Roy
Calvin (Cal)
posted by loveandhappiness at 6:46 AM on March 20, 2021


A name that was popular for boys in my youth that seems to have fallen out of fashion is Lee. Bring back Lee!
posted by little mouth at 6:51 AM on March 20, 2021 [3 favorites]


August
posted by AugustWest at 7:02 AM on March 20, 2021


Mungo.
posted by james33 at 8:26 AM on March 20, 2021


This thread is long and I didn't read all the suggestions. That said, I vote for:

* Irving
* Caleb
* Isaiah
* Thomas
* Arthur
* Anthony
* If appropriate, a maiden name as first name, or a name from an older family member.

And finally, one that is very unusual but not made up and is fun to say: Zebulon. Zeb for short.
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 8:41 AM on March 20, 2021


Isaac
Julian
Theo
Eli
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:51 AM on March 20, 2021


The Social Security Administration publishes lists of all names above a certain number of US births (100? 10?) ranked from most to least popular and separated by gender, going back to something like 1895. When we were looking at names, I downloaded and printed out lists of these names from some different eras and we reviewed them together, noting anything that caught either of our fancy. It was a nice way to rediscover some names used in other generations that are fully recognizable as standard male names, though not in the most popular of their time, but not much used for babies born today. Then I did trend analysis to try to eliminate anything I felt had already been rediscovered. One tip: names popular in your generation are much less popular in your child’s. So if you think you know a million Matts, Erics, Chrises and Brents, these probably won’t be part of your child’s cohort at all.
posted by vunder at 8:54 AM on March 20, 2021 [2 favorites]


Amos all day, baby.
posted by saladin at 10:29 AM on March 20, 2021


Owen
Jason
Lee
Luca
Oliver
Emmett
posted by speakeasy at 10:44 AM on March 20, 2021


Robin?
posted by speakeasy at 10:46 AM on March 20, 2021


Jude/Judah (husband veto)
Carlo (husband veto)


It's probably not a big deal and obviously I can't possibly have the remotest idea what an anonymous couple's ethnic backgrounds are, but if you're both Generically White People from protestant backgrounds, I recommend sticking with names that have been associated with that background for a very long time. Or, less ideally, names whose appropriation was either long enough ago or so widespread that the connection to the "original" ethnicity is largely severed like is in the process for Liam.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:06 AM on March 20, 2021


Neil
Simon
Paul
Lucas
Harry
Phillip
Carl
Edward
posted by NotLost at 12:10 PM on March 20, 2021


I was very close to picking Ian for my kid and I still like it.
posted by emjaybee at 12:48 PM on March 20, 2021 [1 favorite]


Adam
Francis (Frank)
Daniel
Clive
Craig
Greg
Clark
Mark
Isaac (Ike)
Edward/Edmund
Douglas
Gabriel
Jacob
Paul
Dennis
Harold
Anthony
Solomon
Sidney
Fergus
Abraham
Lars
Kenneth
Benjamin
posted by vunder at 1:09 PM on March 20, 2021


Christopher, but may be too popular. My brother's middle name is Thaddeus, as is my cousin's son, which sort of scratches that Theo itch.

In my infant room at work, we currently have a Dension, a Kenneth and an Anyis. I personally like Denison.

In the toddler room, there's a Bronxx, a Jack (whose actual name is John), an Isaiah, an Ezra, a Jayden.
posted by kathrynm at 2:41 PM on March 20, 2021


Metafilter: their name is my name too.
posted by parmanparman at 3:16 PM on March 20, 2021 [5 favorites]


Enzo
Matteo
posted by carmicha at 3:16 PM on March 20, 2021




Macbeth.

I think I got 60% down this thread and I didn't see it name so there you go .
I can't have babies but if I did I'd name my kid Macbeth, boy or girl
posted by markbrendanawitzmissesus at 8:06 PM on March 20, 2021 [1 favorite]


Another vote for Wyatt. I have a Wyatt, he’s only had one other in his class in 13 years. It’s a solid, kind of old fashioned name and it happens to fit my Wyatt’s personality exactly. As a plus, he loved to hear stories of Wyatt Earp when he was younger.
posted by pearlybob at 7:39 AM on March 21, 2021


Linus
posted by oceano at 10:08 AM on March 21, 2021


Dave.
posted by freakazoid at 1:00 PM on March 21, 2021


Horace.
posted by Capt. Renault at 3:09 PM on March 21, 2021


my top 2 boys names for my non-existent child: Wesley, Calvin. (wes, cal)

Rio? It's not an established boy's name in the US I suppose. But it's a pretty well known word.

Nico, short for Nicolas? (use the spelling most popular in your region though I guess, it DOES have variant spellings)

Amos?

Neo? (between the matrix and ne-yo I feel like it's established!)

Elmo? (short for Erasmus!)
posted by euphoria066 at 4:30 PM on March 21, 2021


Before we found out we were having a girl, Cole and Mason were at the top of our lists. I liked Mondo, but my wife said it was too weird.
posted by karlos at 6:19 PM on March 21, 2021


Milo
Arlo
Julian
Ronan
Reid
Sidney
Ivan
Ansel
Angus
Kai
Jarlath

Depending on which part of the Midwest you're in, Wyatt might be too common for you. In 2019, it was #3 for baby boys in South Dakota and #9 for baby boys in North Dakota.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 6:05 AM on March 22, 2021


I'm kind of partial to the name Donovan. It is easy to spell and pronounce, not that popular (the highest on the SSA list it has been was 185 in 2005), and trust me I can tell you that everyone thinks the name Donovan belongs to a guy (and not a girl).
posted by donovangirl at 4:14 PM on March 22, 2021 [3 favorites]


Kent
Daniel
posted by maggieb at 12:46 PM on March 30, 2021


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