Unusual Boy Name Opinions

We’re expecting a boy and need honest opinions on one of our name possibilities. It’s a name from a book that holds special meaning for my husband and me - we both love the sound of it and the sentimentality behind it - BUT we really have no idea how it would be received by others, and as much as we like it we don’t want to saddle him with a name that would be a hassle for him/get him made fun of.

The name is Aitrus 

So two questions - 

1. How does it look like it would be pronounced to you?

2. General opinion - like or hate, potential issues you think it would cause him, etc. Feel free to be brutally honest ;) 


Thanks for your help! 


August 4, 2017 4:50 PM

I like it. 

I would guess the pronunciation something like A-truss or Eight-russ, but wouldn't be totally surprised if it was more like Eye-truss. It reminds me of Atreus, the Greek mythological father who founded the Atreides (Menelaus and Agamemnon and their descendents--and eventually Paul Atreides in Dune) and Atrus, the character from the Myst series. It also reminds me a bit of Atreyu from the Neverending Story. So it feels somewhat mythological/fantastical all around, which is a plus for me.

The fact that it has personal significance for you is also a huge bonus--I would generally advocate using even a name that I don't personally like if there's a really compelling personal story attached.

I think it will elicit questions about pronunciation, spelling, and origin, but that's true of many names nowadays. It doesn't have any obvious negative associations that I can see.

Full disclosure, this name is really right up my alley. I have a son with a similar-sounding middle name, and am generally a fan of the -us ending (Julius, Cassius, etc.). I also like unusual names, and don't have a problem with more recent coinages. Folks who really only consider a name "real" if it has been in steady use for at least a century might have a different reaction.

August 4, 2017 5:21 PM

Nedibes, I was definitely not expecting anyone to know the reference, it actually is from Myst! There’s a book associated with the series that’s about his grandfather, and the spelling Aitrus is used in it to differentiate him. Husband and I lived across the country from one another and happened to first meet on a Myst forum as teenagers 14 years ago, so that’s where the significance lies for us.

Thanks for the response! :)

August 4, 2017 7:35 PM

When I saw it, I instantly thought "like Atrus's grandfather?"  I probably was active on the same forum fourteen or fifteen years ago, actually. I have all three of the books, signed by Rand Miller, on my bookshelf right now.

I actually posted recently that my love of the name "Catherine" started with Myst. I don't care much for "Katran," however, and almost wish they hadn't introduced that element.

I think the name is easy to pronounce and wouldn't be made fun of. It sounds like a name, and fits the trends well enough to fit in. I would probably use "Atrus" rather than "Aitrus," unless you are specifically trying to use the grandfather's name.

August 4, 2017 7:57 PM

Ha! Wow! :) I really figured no one would have any idea what I was talking about. No one we know personally has ever heard of Myst when we explain how we met (lots of blank, confused looks), so I’ve always felt like it’s an obscure reference. I also have a signed set by Rand and the Cyan team! What an awesome coincidence.

August 6, 2017 11:24 AM

That's a great story--I definitely think you should use the name, whether as a first or middle.

I haven't read the books, but have spent many happy hours playing the games. Most I've re-played with my younger brothers and some a third time with my kids. Obviously you've come to the right corner of the internet :).

August 4, 2017 5:09 PM

Honestly, I would pause before reading it aloud because I'm not sure how it should be pronounced... My hesitant first guess would be AY-trus. (AY rhyming with day) I wouldn't be surprised if it was more like AT-trus (AT like cat) or EYE-trus, though, and could easily adjust to the correct pronunciation.

I think it would need frequent explanation and/or correction of the pronunciation, but there are plenty of names that are popular and still need that. I don't see any obvious opportunities for playground taunts either.

Roman names and other boys' names ending in -us have been rising a bit in recent years with names like Augustus, Magnus, Titus, and Cassius spattering the top 1,000 list, so even though Aitrus may be extremely rare, the general sound and look of it aren't unusual or totally unfamiliar. It almost seems like it could be an ancient name, even though it's not, which I think works to your advantage here.

Personally, I'm just neutral towards it. I don't dislike it, but I don't really like it either. If I was familiar with the character that could easily sway me in either direction. If you both love it and it's meaningful for you, then I don't see any reason to not use it.

August 4, 2017 6:20 PM

I second all of this. AY-truss would be my first guess at pronouncing and I can't see that it would cause him any problems beyond having to spell it for people and correct pronunciation (which applies to many names). As you really love it and it has special meaning for you I say go for it.

August 4, 2017 5:50 PM

My brain keeps trying to make it into Atreus. Interestingly, I think I'd have less trouble with Atrus. Added bonus, Atrus really only has two possible pronunciations (/ay-trus/ vs. /at-rus/), while the Ai- spelling adds the third possibility of /eye-trus/. 

However it's spelled, it certainly seems name-like, just without actually being a name in common use. (At least in English.)

August 4, 2017 6:02 PM

That's helpful! We like both spellings but figured that the Aitrus spelling would be more easily recognizable because of how common names like Aiden and Caiden are these days, so it's interesting to hear another perspective! Thanks! 

August 4, 2017 5:57 PM

I would tend to EYE-trus (but I live in Spain, where Aitor, pronounced that way, is relatively common) or AY-trus.

I have no negative feelings towards it, and am generally neutral, but pushed into a positive stance by your having a great story behind it.

I have a daughter with a name that is fairly unpronounceable in English -- I would cultivate a zen attitude, an easy reminder (AY rhymes with day) and would be prepared to explain the name (either the real story or an easy substitute) often. That said, I grew up with a Menolly, named for a character in an Anne McCaffrey book, and "my parents named me for a book they liked" proved an easy explanation for her.

August 4, 2017 8:11 PM

I love her parents without ever having met them. :)

August 4, 2017 6:04 PM

I like it! And your reason for choosing it is terrific. The only slight hesitation I have is that I could see some kids thinking it sounds like anus. I would use it, but I'd want to think about that first.

August 4, 2017 6:31 PM

ay - trus,  not keen on it

August 4, 2017 7:04 PM

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate all the thoughtful replies! We'll do a lot of considering; may use it as a middle name if that ultimately seems like it would be best. :) 

August 8, 2017 7:11 PM

I think Aitrus (or Atrus) is a fantastic choice generally, but the significance of the choice in the case of your specific family really clinches it. (I too enjoyed Myst in my formative years, though I was recently discussing it with the significant other of my younger sibling and it seems like people under 25 may completely be unaware of this cultural landmark.)

I'd go for Aitrus as the first name and use it as the call name, but pair it with a more blending-in sort of choice to give your son more choices if you're concerned that it may be a difficult name to wear. Like, if he's Aitrus James he could be AJ or James or Jamie... but I'd be really wanting not to hide such a great name and a great naming story in the middle name spot. The sounds of A(i)trus fit right in to my local naming environment and I don't think it would raise any eyebrows whatsoever, in a context of children named Atticus and Antigone and Persephone, as well as kids with all kinds of other geeky gaming-inspired names. 

August 6, 2017 11:03 AM

I haven't read anyone else's answers here, so this is just my two cents: I would probably pronounce this as Ay-triss. Just looking at the name, it really looks like a typo for "citrus" IMO. That's just what initially came to my mind.



August 8, 2017 6:35 PM

I would say it like Waitress without the W. Which is neither a bad thing or a good thing but something I'd use to help me remember it. I think it is fine and would fit in with kids called Atticus.

I prefer that spelling to Atrus which I'd say like Actress without the C. 

August 8, 2017 8:37 PM

I think you have a fine name that means a lot to both of you.  This is not a popularity contest, but you are wise to check out any red flags here!  And I don't see any, so long as you don't mind correcting spelling and pronounciation sometimes.  I have to do that with my girl, but it's really not a big deal.  That said, I did pair her unusual first name with a really common middle name which I also love and has family significance - so just in case she hates having a "weird" first name, there's an entirely "normal" backup in there.  Ha!