Opinions on top ten names, also Jack and Luke

We are down to two names for our son, Jack and Luke. Although Jack is not top ten in the U.S., it is in the part of the world where we live. It was number 1 for about 4 years and is now about number 2. We have an unusual surname so do want a fairly common first name. I'm not looking for alternatives as we are definitely going to use one of these two names. I'm interested in comments from people who have names that were top ten when they were born. Do you mind having such a popular name? Did it bother you to be called your first name and first surname initial when you were at school? Is Jack with a surname beginning with S a bad combo given he may be known as Jack S at some point? Also, does Luke strike you as overly biblical? To me Noah is very biblical while Luke is just a name that happens to appear in the bible.


October 17, 2014 10:29 PM

We have a Jack. His name was in the 60s when we initially chose it, and it had risen quite a bit by the time we finally conceived. He runs into others-there are a couple in his Boy Scout pack-but he has yet to have a duplicate in his grade. As Laura has often explained, popular names just aren't what they used to be.

I work with teenagers, and I used to hear girls complain about the popularity of their names from time to time, but I never heard a boy mention it. Sweeping stereotype alert-I just don't think it's the kind of thing guys care about.

Luke is Biblical to me, but unless I heard it in a sib set of other Biblical names, I wouldn't think anything of it. It's been a fairly popular name for years. I would probably call it, "Sporty," or, "Cowboy," before Biblical. 

Jack S does sound like, "J@ck@ss," if said quickly, but I don't think that would happen often. 

I personally prefer Jack for obvious reasons, but both are fine names, objectively. 


October 17, 2014 10:31 PM

There were five girls named Elizabeth in my eighth-grade class. The kicker was that we all had the same middle name. I never minded and never felt that people mixed us up. This semester I have two Justins, two Matthews (their last names are nearly identical), two Courtneys, an Elena and a Helena. I just look at them when I call on them or say their last name along with their first and have not had much confusion. One semester I did teach four Jennifers, but one went by her middle name and two used nicknames, so it worked out.

Luke does not scream "Biblical name" to me in the way that Isaiah does. Perhaps being introduced to Mr. Skywalker at a young age has something to do with that.

October 18, 2014 11:31 AM

I can't help you with the popular name issues, as my name was barely in the top 1000 when I was born.

My son's name is top 11 for the year he was born, and it was top 5 for our state that year. We really haven't encountered too many others-maybe about 3 or 4 I think.  None of them were in his classes at school either, so the first name + last inital issue has never been an issue.  I think it's important to remember that a top 10 name isn't what it used to be. Overall, there is more variation in names being used, so the top names make up a smaller percentage of babies being born.

Jack is short, so I could using both first and middle as a viable option if he wants to avoid being Jack S.  But yes, Jack S. does sound like jack@ss.  Though, I would imagine (hope) most teachers would recognize this and try to avoid Jack S in favor of Jack Full-last-name, especially if your last name isn't particularly complicated or difficult to pronounce.

I agree with your perception of Luke as a name that happens to be in the Bible, but isn't paritcularly Biblical in the same way as Noah.  I don't think Luke would strike me as particularly religious unless it was paired with other Biblical names.

October 18, 2014 12:45 PM

I love both! And I agree that neither are too biblical 

October 18, 2014 1:05 PM

I love the name Jack, Luke not so much, I guess it's just not my style. Luke does sound too biblical in my opinion. Have you considered Luca or Lucas?

October 18, 2014 6:17 PM

Thanks for the feedback everyone! As our surname begins with S we don't want to use Lucas or Luca. The hard consonant at the end just works better for us. We prefer Jack, I'm just disappointed it's so popular so we need to decide if that is enough of an issue that we choose Luke instead, or if we (and he) can live with having a top 5 name. Luke isn't exactly unpopular, just a little less popular.

October 18, 2014 8:42 PM

I would avoid Jack for two reasons. Jack is much more popular than it seems on paper because of all the Johns, Jacksons, Jaxons that all go by Jack as a nickname. I had a top ten name when I was born (indeed, a top #1 name). It was not my favorite thing, but isn't fatal either... but it increases chances of being Jack S. That brings me to the second reason, which is that Jack S. is very unfortunate. Very, very unfortunate. I really, really wouldn't go there.

I think Luke is an excellent choice that does not strike me as very Biblical, more of a name that is in the Bible. I think Mr Skywalker helps a lot!


October 18, 2014 9:41 PM

Jack S. is very unfortunate.

I know the OP didn't want suggestions, but if she can get passed the popularity, Jackson or John could be a way to avoid the Jack S problem.  She could still use Jack as a nickname.  If he happens to have another Jack in class one year, simply instruct the teacher to use the full name instead of Jack S.  Odds are, he won't have another Jack in class every year.

October 19, 2014 6:51 AM

The thing is, I wasn't just "Firstname L." to my teachers - also to classmates and friends and so on. If those people know you as Jack, then they add another to their roster of acquaintances, it may become logical to add initials to distinguish. And my initial definitely got tacked on to my nickname rather than my full name, so if John is known as Jack universally, my guess from experience is that his friends would end up sometimes clarifying that they mean Jack S. and not the other Jack.

I would say, given that the original  poster has another name that they are trying to decide between that does NOT have these issues, that Luke might be a better choice. I really wouldn't assume anything about the parents of a Luke, but I'd guess Star Wars fans before strongly religious... unless combined with other clues.

October 19, 2014 5:18 AM

Well I got pretty concerned about the Jack@ss thing so my husband suggested Jake as an alternative. I then realised Jack S said with an American accent sounds closer to Jack@ss than it does in our part of the world (New Zealand).  So while it's still a consideration it's not a deal breaker for us.  Jackass would be pronounced JackArse here, like in the UK. So we have decided against Jake and are back to deciding between Jack and Luke. Thanks for the comments, it is really helpful to get the input!

October 20, 2014 11:31 AM

Just a thought on living with a popular name--I was talking with a friend of mine who has a five year old named Aidan.  He mentioned that when Aidan was born, he and his wife had no idea how popular the name was (not to mention all the rhyming names), and they regreted choosing something so popular.  In this case both mom and dad have Irish surnames, and the two older brothers have relatively popular (but not runaway popular) Irish given names.  So Aidan fits very well both with his surname and with the sibset, but dad said that if he had to do it over again, he would choose something less popular.