What do you think about bishop? I have a 2 year old named Logan and number 2 will be here in early April. I cant make a decision HELP


January 12, 2016 8:31 PM

A teenager I know just changed his name legally from Stephen to Bishop.  I don't know why he chose Bishop, but "Bishop Smith" certainly sounds like he is a senior member of the clergy rather than a high school student.  IMO that's just a tad weird and potentially confusing.

January 12, 2016 9:59 PM

It's very firmly an ecclesiastic title, not a name.

January 12, 2016 10:23 PM

I agree with the previous poster about it strictly being an ecclesiastic title... Wouldn't use it, just as I wouldn't use Cohen or Rabbi or Pastor.

Maybe you'll like:

Benjamin, Benji, Benedict, Basil, Sebastian (Bash or Bas could be a great nickname), Baxter, Bruno, Blaise/Blaze, Brahm/Bram, Beckett, Bentley, Barnaby (adorable!), Bernard, Baron, Bellamy, Bingham, Beckham and Bennett.

Others that don't begin with B:

Winston, Adrian, Cole, Martin, Astor, Aston, Theo, Leon, Sander, Elijah, Hugo, August (nn Gus or Augie), Toby, Timothy, Wyatt (love this one for you) and Jude.

January 12, 2016 10:30 PM

I kind of like the sound of it, but I do think given that it's a title it's bound to cause some confusion.

Could I interest you in Shepherd?

It has a similar vibe for me, some religious meaning (if you're after that), and I think Logan and Shep sound like a handsome pair of cowboy brothers.

I also don't mind Deacon, though I know some posters will have the same objections to it as Bishop.

Logan, fwiw, works with just about anything traditional to modern, in my mind. I probably wouldn't go true vintage, but just about anything else will work, I think.

Is there anything else on your short list?


January 12, 2016 10:34 PM

Deacon to me seems more usable and so does Priestly, as it's mostly a last name. Shepherd is a great alternative, although Shep to me is more like a dog name.

January 13, 2016 6:49 PM

I likely wouldn't use Deacon because of the religious connotation/title aspects to the name, but I do have a funny story about the possible confusion. My mom and her siblings are really into genealogy, and along the way, my mom started using a family tree software to keep track of all their research. Well, there was apparently a file conversion at some point that had smushed titles and first names together in the first names field -- which my mom hadn't even registered since she knew the family backwards and forwards. Not me! I was looking at the data one day thinking "wow, Deacon is a really common name in the family." No, actually -- Deacon was a very common title in my heavily Protestant New England family tree!

January 16, 2016 4:18 PM

We almost used Shepherd for our son. Love it! Deacon is good too. Although...

We have two boys with names both 2 syllables, ending in -n, and they get mixed up often. I wouldn't recommend it unless you don't like any other names without -n.

What about Bennett?

January 12, 2016 10:33 PM

I agree with everyone else who says it is a title and not a name. As a Catholic, I would point out I am not offended by it, but it simply isn't a name. If someone is named "Bishop [Last Name]" I will assume we are talking about a bishop. And if he turns out not to be, I would just think he has ignorant parents. Again, I wouldn't be angry or upset by it, just confused and a little annoyed by it.

There are many common names that were names of saintly bishops, including some on the lists in this thread, that I would think make more sense as names than "Bishop."

January 13, 2016 1:46 AM

I somewhat recently had a really hard time with recognizing as namey-feeling the name Sheriff - even after repeated exposures, the profession remained too up-front and center, given that in my area our police officers actually are sheriffs.

I think I would have less of a hard time with Bishop, I think, because I grew up with a family surnamed Bishop, and I also am not religiously affiliated so I don't interact regularly with any Bishop Surnames for whom it is a title. I would probably assume it was a family surname being revived in the given name slot. If you're choosing it just for sound, I think considering alternate suggestions are a good idea -- this will be a slightly confusing choice, as others have described above, and regardless of your own religious affiliation, it might be potentially bothersome for your son to have as a name (what if he's a staunch atheist? what if he becomes active in a religion that does NOT have Bishops?). It doesn't offer particular refuge with any nicknames, either, which is something that would make me feel more confident in giving a green-light to a more daring choice.

January 13, 2016 2:11 AM

Or if he becomes active in a religion that does have bishops.

Sheriff [Last Name] is just as confusing, if not more so: while most counties have one official sheriff, with multiple deputies, the deputies might all be called "Sheriff [Last Name]" at least informally. Bishop is a little better because bishops are rarer, I suspect, than sheriffs and deputies. 

January 13, 2016 2:43 AM

That's a good point, Optatus! It's a name that has the potential to be awkward for different reasons for a wide variety of religious and nonreligious inclinations. I'd guess there might be a Goldilocks-style sweet spot where it isn't problematic, such as the one currently occupied by the poster, but that moves in either direction towards more or less religious points on the spectrum might make it more difficult to wear.

I think it would be a much less fraught choice in the middle name slot. Middle names collapse into an initial most of the time, unless we particularly wish to showcase them, so if it's a choice that the original poster feels strongly about, I think that might be an excellent way to use it.

(The deputies in my community are informally referred to as Sheriff Surname, which is why I had the issue with Sheriff as a name!)

January 13, 2016 7:13 AM

I don't mind it if it's a family surname. Otherwise it seems a bit ... pretentious. I would also point out that the only nicknames I can think of are Bish, Shop and BS, none of which strike me as really fair to a kid.

January 13, 2016 12:18 PM

Bishop has at least three strikes against it, that I see:

1. It's pretty clearly religious, except that most folks who subscribe to a religion that has bishops would not use this as a name, so it's got some vague cultural-appropriation vibes.

2. It's a fairly high title, so it's an "aspirational" name, which often rub people the wrong way (like King or Lexus or Doctor), without a strong history of use or alternate etymology to dilute it (like Earl or Mercedes).

3. It's a title, so folks will forever be thinking he's an actual bishop of something, rather than hearing Bishop as his name, especially in any setting where bishops might be expected. Again, there's not a substantial history of use of the name to soften this effect, a la Dean*.

If you have a really compelling reason to use it, like a bishop saved your life or it's your maiden name, you could subtract one strike, making the name usable-but-difficult; if your uncle-named-Baptist saves your baby's life, then I would say definitely go for it. Absent any really compelling motivation beyond style, though, I would look for something else.

One possibility: Baptist/Baptiste. Religious-y surname, starts with B, history of use as a given name, not a title so far as I know (except following "John the").


*Even Dean can cause problems in the right setting, though. I remember years ago having a discussion at my undergrad institution about diversity in administration; someone said, "well, there's that Asian Dean--Dean Lee" (last name is approximated, b/c I can't remember it). But Lee was a lowly residence hall director, not an academic dean, who happened to be named Dean. And then just yesterday, a colleague was telling us a story about how when she started college at UNC, her mom asked if she had seen Dean Smith on campus yet. She replied "no, what's he dean of?" Her mom made some sort of sound of disapproval, and my friend said "I'm sorry, what's SHE dean of?" Dean Smith was apparently a legendary basketball coach...but not hard to see how in context this would be profoundly unclear.

January 13, 2016 1:36 PM

Your story about Dean Smith caused this Tar Heel to guffaw! Just wowzers. He was so popular that many folks wanted him to run for governor, despite his utter lack of political talent or interest in the position.

January 13, 2016 6:57 PM

Yes, my husband says if you only know the names of five college basketball coaches, Dean Smith should be one of them, so everyone else at the table got the joke; I could only name two, though, so likely would have reacted just like my friend.

January 13, 2016 8:15 PM

I cannot think of Bishop as a child's name. It only enters my head as a title.

January 15, 2016 10:43 AM

I have a friend that we see maybe once a year they have a son named Bishop and at first I had the knee jerk reaction of WHAT?  its been about six years now and it seems perfectly normal to get facebook updates about what Bishop and his more mainstreamed named brothers are up to. However if the inital WHAT reaction everytime you introduce your family is something you want to avoid for him or you then I'd stay away from it. If that doesn't bother you then go with it once people put the child with the name it will just be his name.

January 15, 2016 12:31 PM

I agree with the others. It does make me think of the character named Shepherd Book from the (great, shortlived) show Firefly. Which, now that I google it, turns out was a religious title, not his first name. But it feels more name-like to me than Bishop. Just an idea.