Cool and Confident Names for Boys
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.
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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.