Cool and Confident Names for Boys

Jul 29th 2016

Names like Maverick, Cannon, and Hunter have begun dominating the top 1000, revealing a trend towards the energetic. These masculine monikers have aural similarities - hard R’s, B’s, K’s, and G’s sound more aggressive - as well as related meanings. If just hearing a word makes you think of adventurous activity, the word probably has become a given name for a couple of bouncing baby boys! Here are some names outside the popular rankings that sound positively strapping.

Image via AlohaHawaii/Shutterstock

Beck. Musician Beck Hansen helped bring this name to national attention over the past twenty years; the five-time Grammy-winning artist has a name that seems at once boyish and creative. Beck is also a rare word name that means “brook” or “stream”, if you’re looking for a nature connection. The name fits in with popular names like Luke, Jack, and Blake - single-syllable names that pack a lot of punch! If you’re still not convinced, try the long form Beckett with Beck as a nickname. But Beck has enough personality to stand on its own, too.

Brando. With Lennon, Hendrix, and now Bowie on the rise, perhaps it’s time to shift the focus from musicians to actors. Brando honors twentieth-century star Marlon Brando, famous for his manly roles in On the Waterfront, The Wild One, and The Godfather, of course. He was also an activist for various social causes, and had his share of controversial opinions. Still, if you want a name with gravitas and grit, Brando might fit the bill. The o-ending and similarities to Brandon and Brantley help it fit in on the playground, too.

Breaker. Athlete Michael Phelps is no stranger to making waves, and naming his son Boomer kept those waves rolling. Active verb names like Gunner, Tucker, and Ryder are also on the rise - why not Breaker? It’s playful, peppy, and pleasant; rowdy without being unruly. This word name is associated with all sorts of scientific ideas: circuitry, radio technology, ocean waves, to begin with. It will definitely raise some eyebrows, but any little Breaker is bound to confound expectations, anyway!

Cormac. With a friendly Irish sound and uncommon usage in the United States, Cormac might be just right for your "wee lad". The name has never ranked in the top 1000, but it’s fairly popular in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Cormac has a few literary connections, too: award-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy is known for writing The Road and No Country for Old Men, and even the Harry Potter books include a character called Cormac McLaggen. Cormac also works well as an alternative to Connor or Corey, and offers the adorable nickname Mac.

Keir. Short and sweet, Keir is another Irish name that can work for all backgrounds and personalities. It’s pronounced “keer”, and means “black” in Gaelic. Many know this name via its popular diminutives, Kieran or Keira, but the original form is strong and will age well with its wearer. Keir ranked briefly in the UK and Ireland, but it was given to only twenty-one boys in the United States in 2015. Dear little Keir could be right up your alley if you want a name that’s classic, substantial, and accessible.

Ranger. Along with verb names, occupational names have been trending upwards for a while: Tyler, Mason, and Parker are absolutely iconic. Now that unusual names are also on the rise, why not combine the two? Intrepid boys’ name Ranger fits the bill and then some. It’s familiar and cowboyish; this name calls to mind the Lone Ranger (and admittedly Walker, Texas Ranger). It’s got credibility with kids via Power Rangers and Ranger Rick; really, Ranger is just about everywhere but the top 1000. But don’t let the pop culture connections deter you - your baby Ranger will have his very own kind of courage.

Rogue. Love braggadocio names like Messiah, King, or Rebel? Then Rogue is perfect for you! Known by many as a (female) X-Men superhero, the name is about to get a lot more science fiction publicity with the release of the upcoming Star Wars installment, Rogue One. Plenty of celebrities have used the name for both daughters and sons - thirty-three girls and twenty-five boys were named Rogue in 2015. This name is roguishly handsome and fun, a perfect choice for a rambunctious little one.

Roscoe. This name probably has more historical precedent than any other name on this list: Roscoe ranked on the top 1000 for about 100 years, from 1880-1978. It’s highest point was at #117 in 1888. A few fictional hayseed characters with the name aided its decline in popularity, but today, Roscoe is beginning to rise again. It’s got a vintage vibe combined with a certain machismo, and it’s close enough to classics Oscar and Ross to feel recognizable. With all its positive traits, Roscoe’s dated reputation will soon be a thing of the past.

Slade. What could be more devilish than the name of a DC comics assassin? Slade hits every action-hero name note: monosyllabic and slightly dangerous, but still somehow familiar. Indeed, it did appear in the top 1000 briefly (between 2007 and 2010), but Slade has not yet made its mark. Meaning “from the valley”, the name really isn’t quite so theatrical in origin. Next to names like Blade or Rage (both used last year), it isn’t even that violent. But Slade shows off a level of mischief that neither Cade or Zade can muster.

Ziggy. It wouldn’t be a true boys’ name list without at least two David Bowie mentions! As Bowie begins to rocket up the name charts, alter-ego monikers like Ziggy are sure to follow. The name has even more musical integrity via rocker Ziggy Marley (son of Bob, and born David Nesta), whose nickname is now his stage name. Ziggy was originally a nickname for German classics like Sigmund and Siegfried, from the Old German word sigu, meaning “victory”. But the nickname has become an established given name - forty-four Ziggy’s were born in the United States last year.


Are "Pokemon Go" Baby Names Coming Next?

Jul 25th 2016

Tens of millions of Americans are out tracking wild Pokemon every day. It's time to ask: could today's virtual beasties become tomorrow's trendy baby names?

It's not such a far-fetched notion. We've entered a golden age of geek names. The top-1000 baby names list is already studded with fantastical creations like Anakin from Star Wars, Khaleesi from Game of Thrones, Castiel from Supernatural, and Kal-El from Superman. Can little Pikachus, Jigglypuffs and Wigglytuffs be far behind?

OK, so maybe it is a far-fetched notion. But believe it or not, one Pokemon name is already climbing in the baby name stats...which you'll learn as we count down to #1 in our list of the top potential Pokemon baby names:

#13: Ekans. The name Nevaeh (heaven backwards) brought wordplay to the baby name mainstream. Ekans adds a little extra "bite" to the backwards name style.

#12: Vaporeon.
This is a Pokemon power name, a rare, elegant and powerful creature with a name to match. Yet to be determined: whether your baby would inherit the ability to control water. And why a water master has a name that sounds like air.

#11: Charmander.
Everyone's always happy to find a Charmander. That adds a special glow to a name that already sounds like Chandler with extra charm — and -er is one of the hottest name endings around.

#10: Rhydon.
Hundreds of American babies last year received names like Rhyder and Rhylee. Watch for parents to choose this name and never let on to their families that it's a Pokemon dinosaur.

#9: Spearow.
Names ending in an -o sound like Willow and Shiloh are hot, and Spearow could fit right in. It's a handy cross between a nature name and a weapon name.

#8: Chansey.
It's Chance + Kelsey! That's a lot of neo-preppy appeal wrapped up in one rosy, rotund, egg-laying Pokemon.

#7: Scyther.
Has the hit name Gunner gotten too popular for your liking? This Pokemon, named for the blazingly fast scythes on its arms, could be an equally deadly alternative.

#6: Victreebel.
What's one step bolder than a Liberty Bell? A Victory Bell! Think of Victreebel as a cross between Victoria and Isabel—and Audrey II, the voracious man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors.

#5: Abra.
Short and sweet, Abra is the rare Pokemon with some history as a baby name. There's even a Saint Abra. That could make it the easiest choice to get past the grandparents, even as you quietly slip in the name of its evolution, Kadabra, as a middle name.

#4: Kingler.
This crab has set its colossal claw at the intersection of two big trends, royalty names and -er names.

#3: Nidoran.
So you say you like unisex names? Nidoran is the only Pokemon with both male and female versions. While they evolve into single-sex Nidoking and Nidoqueen, at their basic level they both go by the androgynous name Nidoran.

#2: Onix.
Onyx is already a fast-rising name for boys. Tweak the vowel and you have a magnetic rock snake. It's that easy.

#1: Eevee.
Last year two dozen American girls were named Eevee, like the popular genetically flexible Pokemon. Eevee sounds like like the familiar nickname Evie, but make no mistake, this is no mere respelling. The number of Eevees (compared to Eedees, Eevas, etc.) makes it clear that the Pokemon Generation is coming of age.

[Images via Pokemon/Nintendo]


Read More: The 21 Most Utterly Geektastic Baby Names of the Year


The 12 Top Baby Name Contenders at the Rio Olympics

Jul 21st 2016

Gymnast Nadia Comăneci. Ski racer Bode Miller. Figure skater Katarina Witt. Those three athletes from three different sports and three different countries have one big thing in common: they all parleyed Olympic gold medals into baby name immortality. The names Nadia, Bode and Katarina enjoyed bursts of U.S. popularity after their Olympic showcases.

What names from the Rio games will join this unique Olympic pantheon? The recipe calls for athletic prowess, an appealing character, and above all a fresh, stylish name. Here's our short list of prospects. (The athletes are Team USA unless otherwise noted.)

Image via Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

#1: Simone. Simone Biles is already being called the greatest woman gymnast in history, and this is her Olympic debut. Her classic French name is very familiar but has never been particularly common in the United States. Swimmer Simone Manuel should also help keep this name in the news.

#2: Steele. Young diver Steele Johnson is ready for the big time with his own YouTube channel and a name fit for a superhero.

#3: Vashti. High jumper Vashti Cunningham has fame in her veins as the daughter of NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham. The biblical Vashti, a queen who sacrificed her crown for her dignity, adds an extra layer to this intriguing name.

#4: Lydia. 19-year-old New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko is already at the top of her sport, and the name Lydia is a hit with room left to climb.

#5: Eaton. Decathlon record holder Ashton Eaton adds two potential names to the mix. Ashton is already a rising hit, while Eaton is rare but fit current trends perfectly.

#6: English. Sprinter English Gardner says that her mom believed she was destined for greatness and chose an unforgettable name to match.

#7: Rossella.Italian fencer Rossella Fiamingo boasts a fearsome epee and a romantic name.

#8: Caeleb. Swimmer Caeleb Dressel offers up a Gaelic-styled twist on the biblical favorite Caleb.

#9: Adeline. Wrestler Adeline Gray lends some muscle to her "sweet old-fashioned name."

#10: Aurelie. French distance swimmer Aurélie Muller has an appropriately fluid name that could catch on in the U.S.

#11: Gevvie/Genevra. Rower Genevra "Gevvie" Stone is on an impressive run. She graduated from medical school in 2014 and qualified for the Olympics in 2016.

#12: Aries. Hurdler Aries Merritt has an inspiring medical story of a different kind. A gold medalist at the London games, Merritt received a kidney transplant last year and, incredibly, has come back to qualify for the Olympics again. That toughness lives up the the ram of his zodiacal name.


Read More: The Name of the Olympic Hockey Team