Need help with boy names...



My husband and I could really use some help with boy names. Both of us are pretty picky with them and while are tastes aren't totally dissimilar, our favorites aren't tending to overlap. I thought the friendly forum crew here might be able to offer some better suggestions. We both like names that aren't "popular" or "traditional" (No Chris/David/Nicholas/Matthew), but sound somewhat familiar/nonfabricated.

Some names that I like that he doesn't:

  • Felix
  • Micah
  • Ignatius
  • Gavin
  • Sebastian

Some names he likes that I'm not sure about:

  • Malachi
  • Tiberius
  • Cormac

 Some names both of us kind of like but aren't quite sold on:

  • Orion
  • Ezekiel
  • Xander


We'd appreciate any suggestions! Thanks!


July 25, 2012 11:09 PM

Corwin is the first name to pop into my head from this list. I'll have more tomorrow, after some sleep.

July 26, 2012 4:52 PM

This is a great list to work from. It has Celtic, Latin, Hebrew, and Greek names; no cultural marker necessary. Also, there's a theme of greatness--his names suggest more power, your names suggest a softer side. But the two styles aren't incompatible. Do any of the names on this list interest you?

  • Corwin
  • Ivan
  • Hadrian
  • Julius
  • Solomon
  • Leif
  • Mordecai
  • Gideon
  • Baxter
  • Bartholomew
  • Atticus
  • Theodoric (and, incidentally, not Theodore)
  • Manfred


July 26, 2012 7:49 PM

Hmm... I actually really like Corwin! My husband says it's "not bad" - haha. Still, that makes it a contender at this point. Some of your other suggestions aren't bad either, but they're not quite catching our fancy. Thanks a lot for taking the time to respond.

July 27, 2012 5:20 PM

Glad to help!

Another Corwin-like name is Corbin.

July 27, 2012 8:25 PM

Corin is another one I thought of in this vain. I'v known a Corin and his name really suited him. I also have a friend with a baby Torin, does that interest you?

By EVie
July 28, 2012 2:01 AM

The Corwin -> Corbin -> Corin -> Torin chain made me also think of Tarquin, which might suit you if you like some of the grand Roman names (Tarquin was a name used by the kings of Rome before the Republic). 

July 28, 2012 11:21 PM

Also, Cobin/Coben  (I know two little boys named this that were born in 2011).

By Guest (not verified)
July 26, 2012 12:17 AM

Do you like any of these?

Hugo, Declan, Lachlan, Percival, Percy, Julian, Simon, Milo, Orrin, Lucius, Lucian, Titus, Cornelius, Jude, Silas, Ezra, Gregor, Hugo, Callum, Tobias, Nigel   

July 26, 2012 7:57 PM

Titus is pretty good to both of us, but unfortunately some friends named their son Titus... They live in another town so we do not see them often, but the name is unusual enough that I'd feel a bit awkward - especially since they have several mutual acquaintances with us through my husband's work. I like Ezra but my husband thinks it sounds like a girl's name :P I'd consider Orrin, Lucius, or Lucian too... but... nope.

July 28, 2012 11:23 PM

If you like Titus, what about Silas? 

July 26, 2012 10:25 PM

Lots of lovely names on your list! Shame that you haven't yet found the 'one' that you both love. I'll throw out a few options, how about (sorry for any repeats):


















Interestingly, I have a friend who has a Malachi and a Xander, so those two seem to go together for me.


July 28, 2012 10:56 PM

I like Xavier and could see Caspian... but no winners with the hubby. Thanks for the suggestions anyhow!

By Guest (not verified)
July 27, 2012 4:49 PM

Eamon, Alaric, Tobias, Elias, Cyrus, Silas, Jude, Judah, Deacon, Declan, Julian, Malcolm, Thayer, Thane, Phineas (sp?), Ronan, Roman, Archer, Jasper, Sterling, Zane

Sorry for any repeats!

I also want to heartily second Conrad and Dashiell.


July 28, 2012 10:59 PM

I like "Zane" and the husband says it's "okay". I could see Ronan too, but his response was "Only if we spelled it Ronin!" (We are not Japanese :P) 

I don't think Conrad or Dashiell are doing it for us, but we appreciate the suggestions.


/sigh We had so many girl names that we liked! I don't know if we'll find a boy name we can agree on. =(

July 29, 2012 10:34 AM

I don't know of any Japanese who would name their child Ronin. 

Anyway, if you and your husband are still having trouble agreeing on a name, here's an exercise I recommend:

Imagine your son grown up. Where is he? What is he doing? It's perfectly acceptable if your son is doing something that's completely impossible--for example, him being a great wizard--because we're just looking for the right feeling of the man. Do this, have your husband do this, and compare notes. Find out who your son ends up seeming like. When you've got an idea that you both like, then ask yourself: what is his name?

By Guest (not verified)
July 31, 2012 1:26 AM

Don't get too comfortable with what you find out though, as children make their own destinies and often laugh in the face of parents' naive pictures of them (even if only respectfully and in their own heads). 



July 31, 2012 9:34 AM

Haha, absolutely true!

It's just an exercise to figure out why Mom and Dad might have so much trouble agreeing on a name. We can't always say that we're looking for a Bell Tone outside of the top 500 for the last decade with a Celtic history, but we can say we're looking for a name for a friendly, approachable father and church volunteer, well respected in a small town. Or a helmet-horned warlord riding a Bengal tiger wielding a pair of katanas. Or the President of the United States. It's all about the imagination and the details.

After all, you'll change the name of the warlord if he rides a Kodiak bear instead of a Bengal tiger, right?

July 30, 2012 12:13 PM

What interesting lists you have! Though they're all Old World and classics (with Xander being a more modern twist), they have such a variety of derivations. Some have a bit of a heroic flavor. While some of my suggestions below are no doubt further off the beaten path than you'll want to wander, since you both seem adventurous I thought I'd take the opportunity to suggest them. Perhaps they'll spur further brainstorming, or maybe one of the more unusual options (mine or others') would work for you as a middle name if you're feeling hesitant to give it as a first name. Since you've tossed out both more obscure Hebrew biblical names and one of the church fathers (Ignatius reads very very Catholic to me), I've done the same; depending on your religious affiliation or lack thereof some of these names may be a bit "too much," or at least you may want to solicit some impressions. I've thrown in a couple more normal names too. I'm sure there'll be some repeats, in which case take it as an endorsement of the previous suggestion, and apologies in advance for anything you've already rejected.

Hope a few of these may interest you:


Alaric, Alasdair/Alistair, Alexei, Aloysius, Anachie, Ambrose, Ansel, Antony, Asher, August/Augustus/Augustine, Axel,

Balthazar, Barnaby/Barnabas, Bartholomew, Baruch, Basil, Boaz, Bruno, Byron,

Cadfael, Callum, Calder, Calvin, Caspar, Caspian, Cassius, Cathal, Cecil, Cedric, Chiron, Ciaran, Clive, Conrad, Corvin, Crispus, Cyprian, Cyril, Cyrus,

Damian, Darien, Darius, Desmond, Dexter, Dominic, Donovan, Dorian, Draco, Dragan, Duncan, Dunstan,

Eliezer, Elgin, Emmanuel/Immanuel/Manuel, Emil, Enoch, Elon, Ephraim, Erasmus, Evander, Ezra,

Fabian, Falco/Falcon, Fergus, Finbar, Fingal, Fionn, Florian, Francis, Frederick,

Gabriel, Galen, Gareth, Gideon, Griffin/Gryphon, Hadrian, Haggai, Hector, Horace, Hugo,

Isaiah, Ishmael, Isidore, Ivan, Ivor, Jacoby, Jasper, Joachim, Judah, Julius, Justus, Kirk, Kyle,

Lachlan, Leander, Leo, Leon, Leopold, Leif, Lionel, Llewellyn, Lorcan, Lorenzo/Enzo, Lucius,

Maddox, Magellan, Magnus, Malcolm, Marcel, Marco/Marcus, Maxim, Milan, Miles,

Nevin, Nestor, Nolan, Novak, Obadiah, Oberon, Octavian/Octavius, Olaf, Orson, Otto,

Pascal/Pasquale, Percival, Peregrine, Perseus, Philemon, Phinneas, Phoenix, Prosper,

Quentin/Quinton, Rafferty, Reginald, Rex, Rigel, Roman, Roark,

Salvatore, Samson, Severin, Shadrach, Silas, Solomon, Soren, Stefan, Sullivan, Sylvan, Sylvester,

Taliesin, Titus, Thor/Tor/Torin, Trajan, Trevor, Tobin, Tobias, Tristan/Tristram, Tycho, Tyson,

Ulysses, Urban, Valente, Vasco, Victor, Viggo, Virgil, Wolf/Wolfgang/Wolfram,

Xavier, Xerxes, Yannick, Zachariah, Zebulon, Zeno, Zephaniah, Zephyr, Zev, Zion



By Guest (not verified)
July 31, 2012 1:25 AM

Dragan, middle name Fire and sister Unicorn. 



July 31, 2012 1:22 PM

Dragan is a legitimate name; it's Slavic and based on a root word meaning "dear" or "precious." True, it's not for everyone. For example, it's not for me: my eventual kids are going to have a real mix of heritage, so I'm taking names that aren't part of either my or my husband's background off the table (that's one way to help narrow things down ...). But I don't think it's a ridiculous name. It might be perfect for the original poster, or for someone else who reads this, based on their own situation and heritage. I acknowledged in posting my list that many of these names are out of the mainstream and may work more easily for most people as a middle name rather than what they go by every day, but that doesn't have to make them unusable.

It's valid, and even potentially helpful, to point out that the similarity to the English word dragon will give the name a bit of a sci fi/fantasy vibe to some folks. This doesn't have to be done in a mocking way though to get your point across. In fact, it's as counterproductive as it is rude: it's an approach that puts people on the defensive and makes them likely to dismiss you (and your concern along with you) as petty and judgmental. Hiding behind an anonymous log-in makes it even easier to write you off. Own your opinions, both positive and negative (I've expressed my share of both), and folks here will be glad to weigh them in context with the range of tastes and experiences here.

A lot of us love this site because it's generally respectful and free of snark even when people disagree. A sense of humor is welcome, but this community likes to keep mockery to a mininum.

By Guest (not verified)
July 31, 2012 9:46 PM

I meant Fyre. 

July 31, 2012 10:17 PM

Amazingly well said, Kalmia. Brava!

August 3, 2012 4:55 PM

Wow, what an extensive list! I see several on there that we hadn't been considering that have some appeal. I look forward to going through it with my husband when he gets home.

It's definitely true that our original list is pretty eclectic - we wanted to find a name we both liked and it became clear quite quickly that that was going to take some flexibility on both our parts.