The 100 Club: Baby Names on the Verge for Boys

Jun 5th 2013

Last time, I introduced the girls' names of the "100 Club": names that reached the threshold of 100 new American babies for the first time last year. (Read that post for more background information.) Now, it's time to meet the boys.

The Boys' 100 Club:

Abdulrahman
Adiel (Obscure biblical name, rising with the huge popularity of -iel names among Spanish-speaking parents)
Aries
Axl (The spelling Axel is a traditional Scandinavian name. Axl is the lead singer of Guns N' Roses, and a character from the video game Guilty Gear.)
Boone (Country singer Eric Church's young son, Boone McCoy [note McCoy, below]; the name Boone had already risen somewhat due to a character on tv's Lost)
Brayton (As a perfect cross between Brayden and Payton, this name feels inevitable.)
Cairo
Carver
Castiel (An angel on the tv series Supernatural; the name is based on rabbinic stories of an archangel Cassiel.)
Creed
Dakari (An alternate spelling of the African name Dakarai. The clearer pronunciation of this version appeals to American parents.)
Damani (Rising in multiple spellings. This spelling often includes an apostrophe: D'Amani.)
Eason (Fashionable surname, would make a deadly set of triplets with Ethan and Easton.)
Isa
Jad
Jayceon (Given name of the rapper known as Game)
Kiyan (Son of basketball star Carmelo Anthony)
Koa
McCoy
Nikola (Common form of Nicholas in languages of Southeastern Eurpoe, has climbed very gradually in the U.S. over the past 40 years)
Noam
Reyansh (Character name from the Indian soap opera Dil Dosti Dance)
Ruger (Firearms manufacturer; see previous note on the rise of gun-inspired names)
Ryu (Lead character of the Street Fighter game series)
Yeshua
Zayn (One Direction singer Zayn Malik)

Comments

1
June 5, 2013 6:47 PM

What is it with "bray" names (Brayleigh on the girls list, Brayton for the boys)? Are donkeys that far out of the popular consciousness nowadays? It's the first and only thing I can think of!

2
June 5, 2013 10:12 PM

I'm with you, HungarianNameGeek.  I think Brayleigh is especially bad because written it looks like a mash-up of bray and neigh, so I think donkey + horse.

3
June 6, 2013 12:03 AM

I hate mash-up names!  

4
June 6, 2013 8:24 AM

Does anyone have any background on the inspirations for Koa, Isa and Jad?  The first two read as girl's names to me, and the third sounds like it has a non-English background, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out I'm wrong on all counts!

5
June 6, 2013 10:26 AM

Isa is the Arabic form of Jesus.  I assume its position on the list reflects increased Muslim population.  Yeshua, also on the list, is a form of Yehoshua (Joshua) which was used around two thousand years ago.  Some religious groups use this form instead of the much more common English form Jesus.  In some European languages Isa is a nickname for Isabella, so in that context it is feminine.  I think Jad may be Arabic, but I can't say for sure since my knowledge of Arabic comes only from what I know of Hebrew.  Koa looks Hawaiian/Polynesian to me.  The koa tree is a common Hawaiian species, so the name may be a botanical.

BTW it cannot be assumed that a name ending in -a is feminine.  Even in Latin where the nominative ending of many feminine nouns is -a, there are also masculine nouns like agricola (farmer), the first noun I leanred to decline, and masculine names like Agrippa.  Names from other languages can certainly end in -a, for example, Asa and Elisha from Hebrew and Offa and Penda, names of Anglo-Saxon kings (probably these names are hypocoristic forms).

6
June 6, 2013 10:55 AM

Just last night a friend told me about a rabble raiser in her daughter's second-grade class named Isa.

8
June 6, 2013 12:55 PM

I'm with you, hungariannamegeek.  ALMOST named my kid "Heee-Haww", but really glad I changed his name at the last second.  I'm sure he'll be the only "Baaaa" in his class, tho!!

9
By Joni
June 6, 2013 1:16 PM

Thanks to Miriam I have reached my learning limit for the day as I had to look up "hypocoristic".

 

:)

11
June 6, 2013 2:53 PM

I feel absolutely certain that the rise in Nikola is associated with the Internet geek culture embrace of Nikola Tesla as an unsung hero (as seen here: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla )

12
June 6, 2013 3:18 PM

I assumed "Isa" was an alternate spelling of Issa, another male name (and a child character on Homeland). 

Jad Abumrad is the host of Radiolab.  May be another internet geek culture name on the rise? He's of Lebanese descent. 

13
June 6, 2013 3:50 PM

Koa could be from Hawaiian.

14
June 6, 2013 5:43 PM

Koa is Hawaiian. A blogger I follow named her son Koa (and her daughters have Hawaiian names also-one of which is Maile). 

15
June 6, 2013 10:37 PM

I know of two Koas. I know in one case it was chosen for for its Hawaiian origins. I think the other they just liked the sound as the sibs have similar short, punchy names.

I quite like Boone. Feels a bit like a dog's name, otherwise I'd totally put it on my guilty pleasure list!

I'm really not a fan of Carver-just sounds very aggressive to me. I'm also not really getting the appeal of Eason, but I'm very stodgy in my tastes!

16
June 6, 2013 11:05 PM

With Carver, I picture the server who carves hunks of meat at buffets and table-side at fancy weddings. Boone doesn't feel canine to me because I think of Daniel Boone. (My dad is really into 1950s/1960s westerns...)

17
June 7, 2013 2:17 AM

Speaking of Daniel Boone, the Boones were a very prolific family and have countless living descendants. It would not surprise me if members of that family on the maternal side used Boone as a given name out of pride in the connection. Daniel Boone's father was named Squire Boone, and Daniel had a brother Squire Boone, jr. Interestingly the Boones were (and are) direct descendants of the Plantagenet kings of England. I have always had an interest in Daniel Boone because he was born in my home county in a house four miles away from the house of Abraham Lincoln's great-great-grandfather Mordecai Lincoln. The Boones and the Lincolns were connected by marriage. As schoolchildren, we were excited to learn that two great American families had their roots in our hometown.

18
June 7, 2013 9:46 AM

Unless these represent the rise of specific national or ethnic populations, I have to go lie down with the smelling salts.

19
June 7, 2013 10:27 AM

I agree that Nikola is almost certainly to do with Tesla. It has the advantage of being a slightly unfamiliar twist on a familiar name, complete with a 'worthy' (and safely dead) historical namesake - I wouldn't be surprised to see it rise further. 

I did meet a two year old Tesla a couple of years ago, but I can see why Nikola is more popular. 

 

I would think Creed's rise as a name would be connected to the character on the Office...one of those cases where you're not exactly naming your child after him, but when you hear a word as a name long enough it grows on you. 

20
June 7, 2013 10:58 AM

Clarification: Koa is usually a nickname in Hawaiian. In this case, it is short for Kainoa (her daughters are Maile and Laina).

So nickname becoming the full name phenomenom? 

21
June 7, 2013 2:51 PM

I wonder if the rise in Koa comes from some pop culture reference beyond being a Hawaian name.  Our neighbors just named their dog this.  It seems like there are too many coincidental Koa's around....

22
June 7, 2013 4:26 PM

My cousin named her son Koa.  I believe it means something like "brave warrior" in Hawaiian.  To me, it's the fresher "Kai."

23
June 7, 2013 6:16 PM

Some possible sources -- found this on the Name Station:

No Doubt’s Tom Dumont and wife Mieke welcomed a son named Koa Thomas on February 19th (2011) – younger brother to Ace Joseph and Rio Atticus. Then just before Christmas, Irish pop star Kian Egan and his actress wife Jodi Albert also welcomed a son named Koa, saying they found the name in a baby book and “liked it.” Hawaiian-born competitive surfer Koa Smith celebrated his 17th birthday this past Monday!

24
June 7, 2013 10:08 PM

To go along with Nikola (Tesla), Carver could also honor George Washington Carver, the former slave turned well-known agricultural scientist.

I'm surprised to see Noam only now making the 100 list - I assumed it would have passed that long ago.  I clearly live in a pocket, because I must know 5 or so little Noams and parents are now hesistating to use it due to its popularity.   It does rather hit the sweet spot - fresh-sounding but classic alternative to a common name,  "m" ending is a near-match for the ubiquitous "n", pleasant meaning (literally), works in Hebrew but not too difficult for non-speakers to say and spell.

25
June 9, 2013 1:14 AM

When my friend named her son Noam a couple of years ago, I was surprised because to me, it feels like a middle-aged man's name. When I was in elementary school, there was a teacher named Noam who felt ancient to my child's mind and who was painfully unappealing. I guess that today's parents chosing the name don't have such associations. But to me, it feels like naming a child Larry or Donald.

26
By hyz
June 10, 2013 10:45 AM

@Emerald Bee: "I think Brayleigh is especially bad because written it looks like a mash-up of bray and neigh, so I think donkey + horse."

I guess you could say it's a mulish name, then. ;)

27
June 11, 2013 1:13 PM

Just spotted a baby boy Creed in my hometown hospital's birth announcements this morning.

28
June 11, 2013 6:29 PM

I can only hope the names Creed and Tesla are inspired by the men and not the bands!

29
June 12, 2013 10:21 PM

Eric Church's choice of the name Boone most likely falls into the Place Name category. Boone is the name of the town where he went to college. Boone is only one county and less than 40 miles away from Church's small hometown in western North Carolina, so would have been a name and town he would most likely have been familiar with his whole life. Church has an EP named "Caldwell County" for his home county and a popular song and album both titled "Carolina". Church and his wife were married in Blowing Rock, NC less than 10 miles from Boone, NC. I think it's safe to guess that the name was chosen out of hometown pride and/or nostalgia. 

The town of Boone definitely is full of references to Daniel Boone & probably would have factored into Church's name choice as well. I know that my favorite baby names certainly have multiple inspirations and meaning to me. Maybe he really loves the show Lost as well! : D

30
By JayF
June 14, 2013 11:46 AM

Nikola at least has the advantage of a cool nickname like Niko... Unfortunately, he will have a lifetime of teachers looking for a girl in the class. I know a boy names Nikola, and I can say that happens.

Nikola Tesla is big in steampunk, so I think it is a good choice for fans of the genre.

Creed could be a religious thing, I guess. Maybe twins named Apostle and Creed or Nicene and Creed would be trendy. I suspect the band and character from Office have more to do with the rise, however.

I can't say any of these names give me a warm fuzzy feeling about the boy my daughter could end up with someday... I mean, how about coming home and saying, "Mom, guess what! Today I met the real McCoy!"

 

 

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I would think Creed's rise as a name would be connected to the character on the Office...one of those cases where you're not exactly naming your child after him, but when you hear a word as a name long enough it grows on you

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January 18, 2014 6:33 AM

 I think Jad may be Arabic, but I can't say for sure since my knowledge of Arabic comes only from what I know of Hebrew.  Koa looks Hawaiian/Polynesian to me.  The koa tree is a common Hawaiian species, so the name may be a botanical.

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I think Jad may be Arabic, but I can't say for sure since my knowledge of Arabic comes only from what I know of Hebrew.  Koa looks Hawaiian/Polynesian to me.  The koa tree is a common Hawaiian species, so the name may be a botanical.

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January 21, 2014 10:56 AM

I assume its position on the list reflects increased Muslim population.  Yeshua, also on the list, is a form of Yehoshua (Joshua) which was used around two thousand years ago. 

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I think Jad may be Arabic, but I can't say for sure since my knowledge of Arabic comes only from what I know of Hebrew.  Koa looks Hawaiian/Polynesian to me.  The koa tree is a common Hawaiian species, so the name may be a botanical.

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