The Troublemaker Trend: Boy Names With a Hint of Mischief

Sep 10th 2014

Baby Name Wizard is delighted to introduce a new blog feature sharing fun, inspiring name lists centered around a theme. We hope you enjoy our new column, "On the List."

 baby name roundups by theme


No, we're not talking true "bad boys." But the trend of giving kids bold, spunky names is fresh and hip, even outside of Hollywood.

It's no secret that many parents today are crossing traditional favorites off their lists, and opting for names that more directly reflect their lifestyle and personal taste. And sometimes it just feels more fun to choose a name with some get-up-and-go, instead of borrowing a go-to from a great-great-grandfather. Not only does this baby naming path express your family's personality, it will leave an immediate impression.

Whatever your motivation, if you're in search of a baby name that is the opposite of bland, preppy, or stuffy, look no further. These names run the gamut from unusual to mainstream, and they've all got at least a bit of mischief. But don't worry, they are given in affection and won't actually turn your little boy into a troublemaker. He'll do that all on his own.

Brazen: A brash, unusual "word" name that's not too distant from Bryson and Braden.

Cannon: This traditional English name may mean clergyman, but it has a much more explosive side to it. Alternate spellings include Kannon and Canon. 

Diesel: A surname that came to be associated with fuel, Diesel sounds edgy and energetic. It's also got some juice thanks to Fast & Furious actor Vin Diesel.

Gunner: Gunner is the most popular name on this list, and it's showing no signs of slowing down. It has a military association and is right on target.

Raiden: Raiden sits right in the middle of the top 1,000 names. A Mortal Kombat character and the word "raid" give this name some major punch.

Rambo: Inspired by Sylvester Stallone's character John Rambo, the term Rambo has become synonymous with a rebellious, reckless attitude. It's also a rare choice … given to just five American boys last year.

Rebel: There's no double meaning behind this name—Rebel is a nickname-turned-given name that makes a defiant statement. Rebel is also getting lots more exposure thanks to actress Rebel Wilson.

Rekker: Made for a tiny troublemaker, Rekker was chosen by easy-on-the-eyes leading man Cam Gigandet—fittingly starring in the sitcom "Reckless"—and his fiancée Dominique Geisendorff. Can also be spelled Wrecker.

Riot: A more intense cousin to the Western name Wyatt, Riot has a catchy sound and a chaotic personality. We've also seen it spelled Riott, Ryatt, Ryett, Ryot, or Ryott.

Rogue: Rogue may bring to mind the Marvel Comics X-Men character or even the political memoir, Going Rogue, by Sarah Palin. However, as a name, this word seems to have distanced itself a bit from its real-life definition—dishonest, scoundrel, and rascal are all synonyms.

Rowdy: This name got lots of exposure as Clint Eastwood's character on Rawhide. It gets the point across quickly, bringing to mind a rambunctious little guy with a sly grin.

Storm: A nature name with turbulent associations, Storm becomes a little bit cheesy only if it belongs to a meteorologist.

Stryker: A Stryker is an armored fighting vehicle in use today by the US Army. It's a strong name that some military families are looking to in recent years, though it's never broken the top 1,000 boys' names. A similar, less aggressive choice is Stryder.

Maverick: A nonconformist name that appeared after the 2008 presidential election, Maverick is on its way up in popularity.

Wilder: Wilder is an untamed choice that is a little familiar to us as a surname (à la Gene Wilder). Oliver Hudson, actor and son of Goldie Hawn, chose this name for his son.

Wolf: A wild nature name with a rebellious side, or short for the more domesticated German name Wolfgang. Actor Nat Wolff, seen recently in The Fault in Our Stars, could bring this name to the attention of expecting parents.

If you love strong names like Rebel and Gunner, check out our Firearms Baby Name Report and Retro Macho Baby Names.


September 10, 2014 8:28 PM

After my last slightly obsessive look through the "beyond the top 1000" lists from the SSA site, I've been telling all my friends that if I have triplets, I'm naming them Rebel, Riot and Rogue, so I'm thrilled to see them popping up on this list!

September 10, 2014 9:01 PM

Rowdy brings to mind Rowdy Gaines, the Olympic swimming champion.  His real name is Ambrose, and he is the fourth of that name in his family.  Personally I would prefer Ambrose to Rowdy any day.

My grandfather's name was Wolf (not Wolfgang).  Wolf is a traditional Ashkenazic Jewish name, referring to the emblem of the tribe of Benjamin.  The nickname for Wolf is Velvel, and the Hebrew equivalent is Zev.  Wolf doesn't say "troublemaker" to my ears, any more than the lion (emblem of the tribe of Judah) names (Leo, Leonard, Leon) do.  Velvel the Troublemaker?  LOL

Now if you want a troublemaker name, I give you Uzi....

September 11, 2014 12:01 PM

I'd add Jagger to the list.

September 11, 2014 8:15 PM

Named our son born on July 4th Maverick Abel.  Our last name begins with a C, so his nicknames are Mac and Mav.  We've gotten several compliments on his name; it's just been the "Ethel and Herb" set that think it's odd.  

September 11, 2014 9:35 PM

I predict that this trend will pretty quickly make its way to the girls' camp, and take at least a few of these names with it. Rogue and Storm are both awesome female members of the X-Men, Rebel as a name is gaining familiarity based on an actress, and I liked Maverick for a little girl even before Sarah Palin came onto the national scene.

October 20, 2014 5:40 PM

My (almost 5yr old) Son's name is people love it, or they hate it....Hes the sweetest little boy ever troublemaker here!

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