"Why Not," Extreme Edition: 30 Names That Walk on the Wild Side

Sep 26th 2013

The "Why Not?" section of the Baby Name Wizard book lists seldom-heard names with a fashionable sound and style. The names cover a lot of style ground, from sweet antiques to sleek modern names. Few, though, stray too far from the fashion mainstream. If I had listed a name like, say, Dragon under "Why Not?," plenty of you would have said, "Um, we know 'why not.' Because it's a flippin' dragon."

But for some parents, a flippin' dragon may be just the thing. What if you're looking for a name with a bold style that reaches out and grabs you, preferably with talons? What if your neighbors' kids all have popular names like Ryker, Maximus and Cash, and you're looking for something a little more unusual? Where do you look -- and how far can you go without crossing the line?

For adventurous parents, for video game creators, and for anyone looking for an uncommon name that stays just on the right side of the cool/crazy divide, here are 30 names that say "Why Not?" with a punch.




September 26, 2013 12:46 PM

Amusingly, I know a:

Hawk, Hendrix, Falcon, Thor, Wolfgang, and a Summit (although Summit is a girl). All under the age of 5 off the boys' list.

And an:

Ever, Honor, Lark, and Winter (all under age 10).

September 26, 2013 1:08 PM

In contrast, I don't know a single child with any of these names.  I wonder if living in a pretty conservative area has something to do with it?


September 26, 2013 4:43 PM

I know a Lucan (adult), two Thors (one around age 10, the other about 40), and a Wolf (dunno if he's Wolfgang or just Wolf, teenager). I haven't personally encountered any of the girl's names (yet), but I've heard of Briar, Ever, Juno, and Lark under serious consideration for either first or middle. (I don't offhand remember whether any of them actually got used.) I do know a Juniper, though (elder sister of the above-mentioned teenager).

By Aiea
September 26, 2013 6:12 PM

I just met a guy named Topaz earlier this week.

September 27, 2013 4:10 AM

Topaz sounds like "spy" to me. There is not only the Hitchcock film, but also a real top spy who has had this cover name, see


By Mara (not verified)
September 27, 2013 11:58 AM

Storybehindthename, I don't know any either but I believe conservative areas are where these names are far more likely to exist anyway. If you're talking politically conservative areas, i.e. the south, Utah, etc.

September 28, 2013 4:01 AM

Dragon? Seriously?

September 28, 2013 12:59 PM

Very few of the boys' names do anything for me, but I rather like some of the girls'... I think maybe you've blogged about that before, how people are more willing to be daring with girls' names. Some of these are names I especially would have -- or did! -- like as a teenager, and there's another quantifiable trend, that teen mothers gravitate toward weird names!

September 28, 2013 9:15 PM

I'm in the PNW, so we have some wacky names. :-)

September 29, 2013 12:03 AM

I've seriously considered Lark and Honor for girl names. The latter based on the Honor Harrington series by David Weber. :)

September 29, 2013 6:05 AM

I also like lots of the girls names but am not that keen on most of the boys names, although a few I'd consider if they went with our surname!

October 1, 2013 1:39 PM

Most of these sound like fantasy or sci-fi characters!


My 13-year-old had a classmate named Slade when he was in preschool. He's the only one I've ever met. And I knew a girl called Lark, we went to high school together in the 90s. Otherwise, I don't know anyone with these names!


I did consider Briar as a middle name for our daughter but it wasn't harmonious with her first two names. I do think it's lovely! Naturally, most women will use it with Sleeping Beauty in mind, though I had chosen it to honor a friend. ;)

October 1, 2013 2:19 PM

I've met a Larkin (5yo girl) and a Thor (13 yo boy). Briar was a male character in Tamora Pierce Circle of Magic books.

October 1, 2013 2:47 PM

My husband taught a Thor. It's been easily 5 years, so the kid is now almost in middle school, but the only reason I know he had a student named Thor is because he has a funny story about him. He also had two Icelandic immigrants - a Thorkatla and a Dyrleif. He also had a Luscious, but that name should never, ever, ever make this list of "Why Not?" because I can think of several reasons off the top of my head as to why not.

If I were Greek, I'd be all over Artemis and Io like ....I don't know, brine on an olive. But since I'm not and now have a Nordic last name, it would look and sound more than a little ridiculous.

October 1, 2013 10:08 PM

My nephew (just turned 6 years old) was going to have the first name Dragon, but the family, i.e. grandma, talked his parents out of it. His middle name is Dragon, and that's what his parents call him. We tried to soften it for the rest of the family and say it could be pronounced DRAY-gon instead of DRAH-gon, but it didn't take. The older people in the family all call him by his first name and the younger people and his parents call him Dragon. Needless to say his parents are big sci-fi fans!

By knwd
October 2, 2013 12:57 PM

Dragon really didn't seem that odd to me, probably because I've already met one.  (I assume it's the direct English translation of his Chinese name.)  Which just goes to show that lots of words that seem like non-names can easily become just-another-name with regular use.

I also know a guy named Thor, so that doesn't seem so unusual to me either.  But I think his parents really were adventurous in the baby-naming department, because their last name is thunder and lightning related.  His name would actually be over-the-top for a comic book superhero or evil villan, but he's just this regular guy...

October 8, 2013 10:30 AM

Another twist on Juno, I met a mom on the playground the other day with a daughter Alaska.  

October 8, 2013 2:26 PM

Haha. That reminds me of a little riddle I read on the back of the _Weekly Reader_ when I was in second grade:

Q~ "If Miss Issippi gave Miss Ouri her New Jersey to wear to the fair,
then what, oh what would Dela-ware?

A~ Idaho, but Alaska.

October 9, 2013 5:09 PM

Lark is high on our list for a girl's middle name. I think it's sweet, in the same family as Wren, but with the extra meaning of happiness. I think Cypress would make a nice boy's name.

Along the lines of Hawk and Falcon, I know a baby boy named Kestrel. I think it's actually quite a nice name, and a little more subdued that Hawk or Falcon.

By mk
October 9, 2013 9:52 PM

I have never met anyone with any of those names. Not anyone human, anyway (I've met several dogs and cats with names on the list.)

November 3, 2013 5:24 PM

Wolfgang is a common German first name. I know mostly older men with that name, it's considered outdated. If I met a Wolfgang in the US, I'd assume him to have German roots.

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February 24, 2016 8:31 PM

My 17 year old sons name is Slade!
We've never met another, both our boys have surnames as first names.

May 19, 2016 2:32 AM

ragon may be just the thing. What if you're looking for a name with a bold style that reaches out and grabs you, preferably with talons? What if your neighbors' kids all have popular names like Ryker, Maximus and Cash


July 3, 2016 12:01 PM
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