More Than Cool Names for Baby Boys – by guest writer Catherine Uler

More Than Cool Names for Baby Boys – by guest writer Catherine Uler

The only names that are more popular come from the Bible and account for 40% of the boys’ top 100. Here are some of the most-used from each category:
n-ending Biblical
Landon (#39) Jacob (#3)
Brayden (#48) Michael (#7)
Cameron (#59) Daniel (#10)
Colton (#64) Elijah (#11)
Brandon (#70) James (#13)
Grayson (#78) Benjamin (#14)
Hudson (#87) Matthew (#15)
Easton (#88) David (#18)
Carson (#90) Joseph (#20)
Camden (#99) Joshua (#21)
There is some overlap between these two groups, a place where style and substance join forces. We like that spirit, which imbues the modern sound with meaning and tradition:
  • Aaron (#51)
  • Christian (#35)
  • Ethan (#6)
  • Evan (#55)
  • Ian (#80)
  • Jordan (#53)
  • Nathan (#31)
  • Simon (#229)
Stylish Irish Names for Baby Boys
A quarter of Americans have some Irish ancestry, and choosing a name from the old country is a way for many parents to celebrate that aspect of their family history. These Irish names are quintessentially cool:
  • Aiden (#12)
  • Kevin (#72)
  • Declan (#121)
  • Colin (#124)
  • Bryan (#132)
  • Rowan (#295)
  • Brendan (#326)
  • Ronan (#434)
  • Kieran (#557)
  • Kian (#583)
Venerable Old Names That Feel Fresh
Over the past few years, many old-fashioned names have come back into favor—the most popular have a respectable pedigree but still sound perfectly of-the-moment:
  • Dylan (#28)—recalls the 20th century Welsh poet Dylan Thomas
  • Byron (#516)—the most famous of the romantic English poets
  • Owen (#38)—from Owain, one of King Arthur’s knights
  • Gavin (#49)—from Gawain, another of the knights of Camelot
  • Tristan (#97)—also one of Arthur’s knights, famous for his doomed love affair with the princess Isolde
  • Jason (#79)—leader of the Argonauts in the ancient Greek story
  • Justin (#85)—short form of Justinian, an emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire
  • Roman (#134)—a citizen of the famous empire
  • Lincoln (#95)—our much-loved 16th president
  • Franklin (#495)—founding-father, inventor, and Renaissance man
  • Waylon (#292)—the smith of the gods in Norse mythology
  • Odin (#573)—father of the Norse gods
Updated Family Names 
We also admire the thoughtfulness of parents who incorporate the n-ending trend into family names to honor a father or grandfather, like Jackson (#16), Jameson (#181), and Samson (#356). If you like this style, see our full post on Fresh Forms of Family Names for Boys.

Magical Baby Names for Girls by Catherine Uler—author of The Complete Book of Christian Baby Names (a Kindle e-book)

Magical Baby Names for Girls by Catherine Uler—author of The Complete Book of Christian Baby Names (a Kindle e-book)

Witches and Magical Spells
  • Sybil (rare) is a general word for one of many prophetic women of classical antiquity.
  • Circe (rare) is a figure from Homer’s Odyssey. She was a sorceress and a goddess of magic, who famously turned all of Odysseus’s men into swine.
  • Morgan (top 100) le Faye, a powerful sorceress, was half-sister to King Arthur. In later stories, she was his great nemesis. The name was spelled Morgene before Geoffrey of Monmouth’s 12th century book titled Morgen blended the name with Morgan.
  • Samantha (top 50) was coined in the South as a feminine form of Sam but was little-used until it was given to the pretty and charming main character in the TV series Bewitched. The name was chosen at the time because it had an off-beat, old-fashioned sound, like other witch-names in the show: Endora, Tabitha, Esmerelda, Hagatha. From the time the show first aired in 1964, Samantha became increasingly popular, finally becoming the country’s 5th most popular girl baby name in 1990. 
  • Charm (rare) has more than a dozen meanings, all of them fascinating attributes for a girl to possess. As regards magic, a charm is an action or object that has magical effect. 
Elf and Fairly Names for Girls
  • Avery (top 25) comes from an old French pronunciation of Alfred, a Germanic name meaning “elf council”: it implies someone who is advised by the elven folk. The name is a combination of the elements ælf, “elf” and ræd, “council.” An older Germanic form of ælf is alb, which morphed variously into our words elf and elves and into elements of the names Avery and Aubrey.
  • Aubrey (top 25) is a Germanic name meaning “elf king”; it’s combined from the elements alb, “elf” and ric, “power, ruler.” Popular variations include Aubrianna, Aubriella, and Aubrielle (all top 1000).
  • Arwen (rare) is a high elf in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. As with many of the names in Middle-earth, Tolkien drew on the sounds of Welsh when he coined Arwen.
  • Pixie (rare) is a Celtic word for a race of mischievous, elf-like creatures. Some believe the tales of elves and pixies originated with “the small brown people” who lived in the British Isles before the coming of the Celts. They were driven to the north, west, and south of the region, where they lived underground, only coming out in the safety of dark night.
  • Faye (rare) in English is an old word for “faith.” In parallel, it comes to us from French fae, meaning “fairy”—a possessor of magic.
  • Pari (rare) is Persian meaning “fairy.” The word was borrowed into Turkish as Peri (rare), and is an element in the popular Turkish name Perihan, meaning “fairy queen.”
Magical Beings of Fire and Water
  • Phoenix (top 500), from Persian mythology, refers to a richly-colored bird that lived for many centuries before dying and being re-born from its own ashes. The increasing popularity of this name for both girls and boys is probably influenced by Phoenix, Arizona—at the moment, city names are widely used for both genders: Brooklyn, Savannah, and London were all top-100 girl-names in 2013.
  • Ondine (rare) is a variant spelling of undine, one of four elementals that ruled the basic elements of water, air, earth, and fire—the others being sylphs, gnomes, and salamanders. In Germanic mythology, if an undine married a human man and bore his child, she would be given a soul. As a girls’ name, Undine was popularized by an 1811 romantic novella of the same name, and later by the ballet Ondine, which was based on the novella.
  • Lorelei (top 500), in Germanic folk lore, was a mermaid (or siren) who sat upon her rock in the Rhine River. She was unaware that her bewitching beauty and magical voice drew the boats of mortal men to her—they were wrecked upon the rocks and engulfed by the river. The Lorelei is the subject of a haunting and much-loved 1824 poem by Heinrich Heine. [Julie – please link to]
  • Nixie (rare) refers to a water spirit of Germanic folk lore, often a kind of siren who lures men to their doom. In the US, the name has been given to baby girls since at least the 1870s and is sometimes taken as a nickname for Bernice. As a last name, Nixie is related to Nicholas.
© Catherine Uler 2014 – author of The Complete Book of Christian Baby Names

Fresh Forms of Family Names for Naming Baby Boys — by Catherine Uler—author of The Complete Book of Christian Baby Names (a Kindle e-book)

Fresh Forms of Family Names for Naming Baby Boys — by Catherine Uler—author of The Complete Book of Christian Baby Names (a Kindle e-book)

Whatever the reason, if you’re looking for an updated version of a name from your parents’ generation, there are plenty of choices beyond the popular short forms—Liam, Jack, Drew—and the familiar diminutives—Charlie, Johnny, Danny. Several contemporary options, such as the wildly popular Jackson, come from last-name-first trend. Parents also find inspiration in the European languages, which lend us cool variations, like traditionally crisp Garrett and fresh-sounding Enzo. Read on for an eclectic mix of unexpected alternatives to traditional boys’ names.

Patronymics from the last-name first trend:


·         Anderson (Anders is the Scandinavian form of Andrew)

·         Davis, a shortened and contracted form of Davidson

·         Dawson, from Daw, a Medieval nickname for David

·         Edison, a smart-sounding name that inevitably recalls the great inventor

·         Harrison and the short form Harris

·         Jackson and alternate spellings Jaxon and Jaxson are all top-100 names

·         Jameson and Jamison

·         Jefferson, which sounds more refined than many of the other names in this category, possibly because of its connection to one of our founding fathers

·         Ryker, the Dutch equivalent of Richardson

·         Wilson and the short form Willis


Non-English forms of traditional names are cool and very of-the-moment. Our list starts with the ever-popular variations of John, then moves on to European versions of other familiar English names:


·         Evan (Welsh)

·         Ian (Scottish) and variant spelling Ean (Manx)

·         Sean (Irish) and its Anglicized form Shane

·         Giovanni (Italian) and the contracted form Gianni

·         Juan (Spanish) and Jean (French)

·         Johan (German)

·         Ivan (Slavic) and its short form Van

·         Keoni (Hawaiian) 


and moving on….


·         Antonio and Antoine – for Anthony

·         Andres and Andre – for Andrew

·         Garrett – for Gerald

·         Pierce and Pierre – for Peter

·         Ricardo – for Richard

·         Marco, Markus, and Marcello – for Mark

·         Vincenzo and its short form Enzo – for Vincent


The most unexpected options often have their origins in the Bible:


·         Jeremiah and Jeremy – for Jerry

·         Mathias and Mateo – for Matthew

·         Micah and Mitchell – for Michael