Slayter, Striker, Shooter and the Rise of the Extreme Baby Boy Name
January 10, 2020 10:25 AM   Subscribe

It’s not just Carter and Cooper anymore. Article based on a namerology.com post explores the explosion in "doer" names for boys.
posted by emjaybee (168 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
“For most of recent history, Western boys have been given drab, biblically informed names like Brian, John or Nicholas,” says Matthew Hahn, a professor of biology and informatics at the University of Indiana who co-authored a 2003 study comparing baby name trends to evolutionary models.
What a remarkably white, middle-class assertion.
posted by hanov3r at 10:31 AM on January 10 [40 favorites]


Wattenberg agrees that this might be intentional. “When parents choose names that sound like an automatic weapon, a condom or a skateboard, they’re saying something about who they hope their child becomes,” says Wattenberg.

Indeed.

I will say that if you want your child to have a career in earth sciences, giving them a tree-based first name does seem to help. Or even having a tree-based last name. For various reasons, I see many lists of earth science researchers and I used to see similar lists of medical researchers. Nature names were rare among medical researchers but are...not common but more frequent than you'd expect among earth scientists.
posted by Frowner at 10:33 AM on January 10 [6 favorites]


I blame Sarah Palin.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:35 AM on January 10 [8 favorites]


The only acceptable reason for naming your kid Slayer or Trooper is if you're into metal
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:39 AM on January 10 [19 favorites]


This reminds me of my private theory, never to be proven, that men who were named "John Wayne" in midcentury were more likely to grow up to be violent. It was a marker of having a young father (or mother) with no available figure of a good man or sense of what one truly was. Examples of this include Gacy, Conner, and Bobbitt (who was an abuser before and after the famous incident). See also the Wayne theory.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:42 AM on January 10 [19 favorites]


The only acceptable reason for naming your kid Slayer or Trooper is if you're a metalhead

"And what's your son's name?"

"SAM."

"Oh, he's a Samuel?"

"No, his full name is Slayer Anthrax Megadeth."

"No Metallica?"

"Please, sir, this family has some taste."
posted by the legendary esquilax at 10:46 AM on January 10 [57 favorites]


“Imagine being named Racer. You could never get away with being slow!”

I've known a lot of Joys who did not necessarily live up to their names. And it was thoroughly commented upon. Which really didn't help their situation.
posted by Emmy Rae at 10:48 AM on January 10 [25 favorites]


I like the practice of taking last names to make first names. In honor of some of my ancestors, meet my children Johnson and Weiner.
posted by Emmy Rae at 10:49 AM on January 10 [17 favorites]


Only half-joking, this is white people trying to come up with new and fresh names without taking cues from African American naming culture, which they have been mocking for decades. Painted into a corner and not wanting to take the other obvious influence, Mormons, they just go straight to the dictionary and pick out complete words.
posted by rhizome at 10:54 AM on January 10 [52 favorites]


"No, his full name is Slayer Anthrax Megadeth."
"No Metallica?"
"Please, sir, this family has some taste."


"I'm aware of their work..."
posted by The Tensor at 10:58 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


What happened to the Braeden Hayden trend? Oh hm.... rhizome's link has "-den"syllable endings as a Mormon thing. I am also hopeful that "Kai" and other Hawaiian words and Hawaiian-ish sounding names are now on the downswing of popularity.
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:03 AM on January 10 [6 favorites]


One of my hobbies, with a few other friends, is collecting Chinese and Chinese American boy names. I know four or five Chinese Americans named Clement and at least two Winstons! Perhaps via Hong Kong naming? Which seems to be due to a lingering British colonial influence.

Korean American boys on the other hand, as a counterpoint to hanov3r's comment, have relentlessly biblical names. So many Davids Johns and Michaels. SO MANY.
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:05 AM on January 10 [8 favorites]


I'm going to rename my kid Nominative de Terminator just to see what happens.
posted by pracowity at 11:08 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


The contemporary baby names I'm wigging out about fall into a category I call Phuckin' with Phonics. My daughter has a friend who works for the county in the department that handles the birth records. She regularly updates my daughter on the latest trends.
Last week's included:
Savvanah Cynclair
Aa’livia
Wynsten (girl)
Lega’cei
Le’gend Premier
Phoenix Reign
D’Vani
Ru’Ben
Keidren
Laron
Maxin
Gererd
Marcheay
Chynna
Chauncee
posted by Thorzdad at 11:09 AM on January 10 [9 favorites]


This past December I was in Target pre-x-mas and overheard a mom yelling at her kid to stop literally climbing the shelves: “Champion! Champion! Get down from there you’re going to break stu-” *crashing noises, a Christmas toy starts tinnily playing music from the floor* “Champion what did I tell you?! Are you hurt?” “NO MOM, SHUT UP MOM”

I'm sure that kid won't have any issues about winning and losing.
posted by Mizu at 11:11 AM on January 10 [20 favorites]


“Who’s going to make fun of Striker?”

Striker... Striker... STRIKER!
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:13 AM on January 10 [4 favorites]


A couple of years ago I got a chance to tour the Rotary International headquarters. On the display honoring notable service members I came across a man, a Chinese national on the far side of middle age, named Computer.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:16 AM on January 10 [4 favorites]


I track this stuff regularly (in great part through baby name trivia games on Sporcle). It amuses me no end that "Maverick" has been trending for the last few years. The irony.
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:23 AM on January 10 [4 favorites]


All this and no mention of Hunter Biden? First, a rare example of JoeB being decades ahead of a trend, second, an example of one "action name" that will have no further upward trend.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:26 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Huh. This is...rather more relevant to me than I'm comfortable with.

For our youngest, we wanted something "unusual but not weird," and ran through a long list of names. Many were rejected for associations we had with the name, or because it felt like a reference to something and we didn't want that. We certainly weren't looking for an action hero name, but we did end up picking one of these doer names and we were happy with our choice for a couple of years, and then this new TV show came out...

You see, we named him Archer.
posted by Four Ds at 11:27 AM on January 10 [61 favorites]


You can name your next kid Loner. Or if you have twins, call them both Twofer.
posted by pracowity at 11:31 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


All this and no mention of Hunter Biden? First, a rare example of JoeB being decades ahead of a trend

My dad's middle name was Hunter, from the 30s, so I think that one precedes the trend.

Or if you have twins, call them both Twofer

First and Second!
posted by rhizome at 11:33 AM on January 10 [5 favorites]


What I thought was interesting was the idea that this way, your kid wouldn't get teased at school! And it took me like, 3 seconds to come up with ways of turning a lot of these names into taunts. If someone is determined to make fun of your name, they can.
posted by emjaybee at 11:34 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Dealer
Butcher
Smasher
Stabber
Basher
Bomber
Blaster
Lecher
Catcaller
Stinger
Poker
Slicer
Smoker
Sniper
posted by swift at 11:34 AM on January 10 [18 favorites]


Sniper, no sniping!

(Sorry, I'm getting over the flu.)
posted by wellred at 11:37 AM on January 10 [14 favorites]


So not to be that guy, but to be that guy (and in light of this thread), we should try to remember that there is a _lot_ of class, race, and cultural baggage around naming conventions. Just listing names to make fun of without context is usually problematic and it's starting to happen in this thread.
posted by Think_Long at 11:42 AM on January 10 [80 favorites]


Wincer, Grimacer, Scruncher and Squincher.
posted by bz at 11:43 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


> Or if you have twins, call them both Twofer

> First and Second!


Thing1 and Thing2, to go Seussian.


oneswellfoop: All this and no mention of Hunter Biden?

rhizome: My dad's middle name was Hunter, from the 30s, so I think that one precedes the trend.

Prosper is a family name on my wife's side, going back to when family lived in Luxembourg some generations back. We used it as a middle name, because Prosper as a first name sounded a bit much.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:44 AM on January 10 [7 favorites]


Want to bet that all these lil' Snipers and Shooters and so on are from far-right white families? With luck, sheer rebellion against their parents will keep them from actually being Snipers and Shooters, but maybe the next generation's Charlottesville will be full of them.

Also, I would not like to be a kid whose parents named them Killer or whatever and who ended up gay, trans or gender-non-conforming in some way. I mean, way to name your kid something that will warn them that they'd better not be anything but a big masculine stereotype if they want to be loved.
posted by Frowner at 11:45 AM on January 10 [11 favorites]


TFA: "the usage of “doer” names like Racer, Trooper and Charger have risen more than 1,000 percent between 1980 and 2000, and have increased exponentially ever since." immediately followed by a graph that shows these names have not increased exponentially since 2000, but in fact, are less frequent today than they were that year
posted by seiryuu at 11:45 AM on January 10 [14 favorites]


This reminds me of my private theory, never to be proven, that men who were named "John Wayne" in midcentury were more likely to grow up to be violent.

And of course that wasn't even Wayne's real name which was Marion.
posted by octothorpe at 11:46 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Striker... Striker... STRIKER! yt

Striker is going to have a drinking problem.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:49 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


If I had a son, I'd go for one of those old Puritan-ish names. Crush-Your-Enemies-See-Them-Driven-Before-You has a certain ring to it, I think.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:51 AM on January 10 [19 favorites]


My mom used to live next to twins named Chase and Hunter. I think Chase was a girl, though.

Their dad was.... some kind of former criminal/bounty hunter/martial arts expert/god only knows whatall else guy, who, much like the Prime Minister in Love Actually, knew of ruthlessly trained killers who were just a phone call away. He eventually moved away after his dog bit another neighbor and his baby mama of 6 kids finally realized he was bad news and moved out. I considered us fortunate that he liked my mom, under the circumstances.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:54 AM on January 10 [4 favorites]


Or if you have twins, call them both Twofer

First and Second!


Primo e Secondo!
posted by hydrophonic at 12:01 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


The only acceptable reason for naming your kid Slayer or Trooper is if you're a metalhead

"And what's your son's name?"

"SAM."

"Oh, he's a Samuel?"

"No, his full name is Slayer Anthrax Megadeth."

"No Metallica?"

"Please, sir, this family has some taste."


True story: I once took care of a young boy, circa 2002, whose parents actually named him Metallica. Given the time, I speculated that he probably had a sister named Napster with whom he constantly fought.
posted by TedW at 12:04 PM on January 10 [14 favorites]


I will say that if you want your child to have a career in earth sciences, giving them a tree-based first name does seem to help. Or even having a tree-based last name. For various reasons, I see many lists of earth science researchers and I used to see similar lists of medical researchers. Nature names were rare among medical researchers but are...not common but more frequent than you'd expect among earth scientists.
Yes, I noticed that this was a bit of thing in grad school too. For example, I used to know a plant biologist named Holly Summers.
posted by peacheater at 12:04 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


The only one I have a problem with is Shooter. I just think of school shootings, etc.

Other than that, I think making fun of names can lean towards classism and racism. Who cares if someone's name is Cayden or has a random apostrophe in it? It's nice that we have more than 20 "acceptable" names to choose from. And to the pearl-clutching "but they'll get teased about it!" I want to ask everyone with a "normal" name if that gave them immunity to teasing or bullying on the playground.
posted by jschu at 12:06 PM on January 10 [13 favorites]


This reminds me of my private theory, never to be proven, that men who were named "John Wayne" in midcentury were more likely to grow up to be violent.

The conventional wisdom is that it is the middle name that's responsible.
posted by TedW at 12:08 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


A Twitter contacted noted recently that her nephew has a classmate named Stryver.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:09 PM on January 10


My daughter has a friend who works for the county in the department that handles the birth records. She regularly updates my daughter on the latest trends.
Last week's included:
Savvanah Cynclair


ugh. now I have to make sure all my D&D characters aren't using actual white people names.

THE PLAYERS HANDBOOK ISN'T A BABY NAMING GUIDE PEOPLE
posted by GuyZero at 12:10 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


The only acceptable reason for naming your kid Slayer or Trooper is if you're into metal

I had a cat named Trooper when I was growing up... he must have been bestowed with the name sometime around 1982? AFAIK my parents were blissfully unaware of hair metal at the time. That cat was 18 pounds of the fiercest orange tabby you've ever seen in your life--we used to get angry calls from the neighbors when it would rain, and the cat would forcibly evict dogs from their doghouses. One time he treed a raccoon. Another time, he once brought home a 4-foot-long black snake, probably just to prove that he could. When he wasn't busy terrorizing the neighborhood fauna, he would trail my sister and I around in the back yard, possibly to ward off predators--one time we had to physically restrain him to stop him from going after the enormous snapping turtle sashaying across the yard.

In conclusion, verb-names are a land of contrasts.
posted by Mayor West at 12:10 PM on January 10 [10 favorites]


At least it's not brothers named "John" and "Walujohn"
posted by GuyZero at 12:11 PM on January 10 [18 favorites]


It occurs to me that this style of name also works for dogs.
posted by swift at 12:12 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


I want to ask everyone with a "normal" name if that gave them immunity to teasing or bullying on the playground.

It doesn't of course, but I have a relatively "normal", conventional first name but my whole life I've had to spell it for people, and explain how to pronounce it. I always envied guys named Paul or Mike or David. Conventional and biblical, sure, but it must save so much hassle.
posted by good in a vacuum at 12:12 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


I other words, I don't know why parents don't seem to consider the life of annoyance they're creating for their children when they get creative with their names.
posted by good in a vacuum at 12:13 PM on January 10 [11 favorites]


It occurs to me that this style of name also works for dogs.

Think how many damn dogs are named Cooper.
posted by pracowity at 12:15 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


I other words, I don't know why parents don't seem to consider the life of annoyance they're creating for their children when they get creative with their names.

yeah, there's nothing really wrong with unique names and most of the comments (mine included) amount to hammering down the nails that stick out. It's not particularly nice nor is it particularly deep.

that said, one of the criteria we used for picking baby names was "will they have to spell it over the telephone" and I thought we did ok, but no, one kid's name gets spelled wrong pretty regularly. oh well.
posted by GuyZero at 12:17 PM on January 10 [8 favorites]


pracowity: "I'm going to rename my kid Nominative de Terminator just to see what happens."

They'll be ready when SkyNet becomes self-aware.
posted by chavenet at 12:18 PM on January 10


It occurs to me that this style of name also works for dogs.

OK, Boomer.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 12:20 PM on January 10 [11 favorites]


If I had a son, I'd go for one of those old Puritan-ish names. Crush-Your-Enemies-See-Them-Driven-Before-You has a certain ring to it, I think.

That's more of an old Hyborian name, I think.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:21 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


thus far none of my baby-having friends or trans-name-changing friends have taken my glorious suggestion of Spartacus as their name and i am here today to tell you all that they are cowards
posted by poffin boffin at 12:28 PM on January 10 [24 favorites]


COWARDS
posted by poffin boffin at 12:28 PM on January 10 [10 favorites]


I'm looking forward to Key & Peele's take on this phenomenon. For reference, here, here, and here.

I have a relatively "normal", conventional first name but my whole life I've had to spell it for people, and explain how to pronounce it.

Yep. My legal first name is slight alteration of a known Biblical name but one with several fairly common variations. The nonsense about it started for me in first grade when a teacher marked my spelling test wrong because they decided I had misspelled my own name. Every time I see kids with "alternatively" spelled names I get a feeling of dread for what they're going to have to deal with for the rest of their lives. But hey, I guess it still beats having a series of numbers for a name.
posted by fuse theorem at 12:32 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Spartacus is a terrible choice

You give the maître d' your name and when they call out that your table is ready everyone is all like "I AM SPARTACUS"
posted by GuyZero at 12:33 PM on January 10 [37 favorites]


that's what the sword is for
posted by poffin boffin at 12:35 PM on January 10 [20 favorites]


But hey, I guess it still beats having a series of numbers for a name.

yes, but that humanoid is escaping and that android is on the run, so I guess they've got that going for them.
posted by GuyZero at 12:35 PM on January 10


OK, Boomer.

I wonder when Greek Battlestar Galactica-style names are going to make a comeback.
posted by GuyZero at 12:36 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


GCU Sweet and Full of Grace, you're right. I've been looking through old 17th century Puritan names, and there are some doozies like Mehitable (not to mention Increase).
posted by umbú at 12:39 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


On the John Wayne/Marion Morrison front:

Roy Rogers was Leonard Slye
Cary Grant was Archibald Leach
Jerry Lewis was Joseph Levitch
Tony Curtis was Bernard Schwartz

If you look at longer lists of old actors, it seems to be about 50% about getting cooler stage names and 50% about WASPifying away the Jewish or other ethnic-sounding names. Hopefully we've gotten better about that sort of thing. I'd love to read a good article about the ways and reasons people pick names: fitting in with the dominant local culture, character-set/language issues (e.g. Asians working with Americans adopting white Western names), aspirations/career hopes for the kids, etc. Names also have a complex relationship with power structures.
posted by freecellwizard at 12:40 PM on January 10 [9 favorites]


Who cares if someone's name...has a random apostrophe in it?
Software developers. Less so nowadays, but apostrophes have traditionally broken bad database software.

Related: Falsehoods programmers believe about names.
posted by Hatashran at 12:48 PM on January 10 [15 favorites]


I don't know why parents don't seem to consider the life of annoyance they're creating for their children when they get creative with their names.

I saw a suggestion to parents considering "creative" spellings for their kids' names to spend a few weeks using that name to make restaurant reservations and coffee orders, and see how they felt at the end. That sounds reasonable to me.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:56 PM on January 10 [20 favorites]


None of the kids or teachers in elementary or junior high used my very common first name, they all called me my last name, 'Morgan'.

Three of my friend's mothers apologized to me for not calling me by my first name because they thought it was Morgan until they happened to see it on paper, in one case after several years.
posted by jamjam at 1:00 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Who cares if someone's name is Cayden or has a random apostrophe in it?

Because apostrophes are placeholders, and who would want someone inserting whatever they want in there. Apostrophes invite nothing but trouble.
posted by waving at 1:00 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


The "Falsehoods programmers believe about names" articles is good and anyone working on software dealing with names should read it.

I once worked with a fellow whose last name was Spotted Horse. He strenuously objected to hyphenation, but systems that would accommodate that were few and far between. And many wouldn't even accept the hyphen.

Sadly, there are few practical solutions for "people’s names are all mapped in Unicode code points" other to accept a signature as a bitmap and call it a day.
posted by sjswitzer at 1:03 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Software developers.

In English-dominant companies, a *very* common scenario is trying to map users from system A to system B by guessing. For example in acquisitions or system integrations, there may not be a record tying

bob.smith@foo.com
to
robert.smith@bar.com
to
DOMAIN1\smithr
to
DOMAIN2\robsmith

Horrible but true. In those cases, data people often try to handle 80-90% of cases with a basic rule to guess one email or or username from another. Like "split email on the . to get first and last name" for example. It does NOT work with lots of non-Western-white-standard-biblical names. I saw 300 Indian users in a migration whose new email addresses were just a mess because Indian naming patterns are complicated. Lots of those people had names reversed or lost their given/nickname during the change. Really annoying to them I'm sure but no one bothered to have them check their own names, so now they have to suck it up or put in a request form someplace.

We are a global, diverse society and the old assumptions ain't working any more.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:03 PM on January 10 [12 favorites]


Ancient joke.

Man goes to court to change his name. Judge: what’s your name now? Man: Franklin Delano Shit. Judge: what do you want to change it to? Man: John Shit.
posted by njohnson23 at 1:09 PM on January 10 [9 favorites]


We were so determined to give our first son a non-biblical name that we inadvertently named him the same as a chapter in the book of Mormon. *headdesk*
posted by arcticwoman at 1:13 PM on January 10 [17 favorites]


pracowity: Think how many damn dogs are named Cooper.

What? WHAT? He's a good boy!
posted by wenestvedt at 1:15 PM on January 10 [6 favorites]


Nature names were rare among medical researchers but are...not common but more frequent than you'd expect among earth scientists.

This actually makes some sense. Parents that give their kids nature names are probably more likely to take them out in nature, which would make them more likely to become earth scientists.
posted by madcaptenor at 1:15 PM on January 10 [7 favorites]


This actually makes some sense. Parents that give their kids nature names are probably more likely to take them out in nature, which would make them more likely to become earth scientists.

Also, if you are in the earth sciences and do not have an earth-related last name, you may well attract and marry someone with an earth last name - I've seen this happen twice.
posted by Frowner at 1:18 PM on January 10 [5 favorites]


Think how many damn dogs are named Cooper

Cooper is a great dog name. Animal names should be two syllables with the stress on the first. This gives them the greatest chance of recognizing their own names.
posted by sjswitzer at 1:20 PM on January 10 [6 favorites]


Reminds me of my boyfriend's coworker (he's a union electrician) who named his kid Rocco because "I ain't raising no sissy queer kid" etc etc. Meanwhile my boyfriend thinks "Rocco" is so over the top masculine, it sounds like the kind of name a gay man would have.
posted by subdee at 1:26 PM on January 10 [11 favorites]


Rocky (Balboa) vs. Rocky (Horror)
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:31 PM on January 10 [10 favorites]


I have an acquaintance who named his kid Strummer, after Joe Strummer. A lot of my circle seemed to think it was super cool.
posted by holborne at 1:32 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


If I may, I found some wonderful and oh so masculine suggestions here.
(And I put my faith in Blast Hardcheese.)
posted by prepmonkey at 1:35 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


I remember an article years ago about a pair of brothers named Winner and Loser. Winner ended up being a drug addict and a petty criminal. Loser was chief of police and people called him Lou.
posted by dobbs at 1:36 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Also, if you are in the earth sciences and do not have an earth-related last name, you may well attract and marry someone with an earth last name - I've seen this happen twice.

I'm a mathematician and I married someone who has a math-related last name, although I never really noticed that until just now. (But neither one of us changed our names.)
posted by madcaptenor at 1:39 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Tailor/Taylor feels like it's been popular for a while.

And there are some "action" names that are common in nominal form, like Lance or Chase (where Lancer is a bomber, and Chaser still sounds like it should be reserved for a Labrador).
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:43 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


I remember an article years ago about a pair of brothers named Winner and Loser. Winner ended up being a drug addict and a petty criminal. Loser was chief of police and people called him Lou.

In name game, Loser wins and brother Winner loses. (Chicago Tribune, 2002) Their last name is Lane.
posted by madcaptenor at 1:43 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


about 50% about getting cooler stage names and 50% about WASPifying away the Jewish or other ethnic-sounding names

Possibly my favorite case in point: Michael Landon = Eugene Orowitz

Man goes to court to change his name. Judge: what’s your name now? Man: Franklin Delano Shit. Judge: what do you want to change it to? Man: John Shit.

The way I knew this joke was that the guy's name was Joe Shit and he wanted to change it to John Shit because he was sick of everybody saying "What do you know, Joe?"

See also: Dear Asswipe and Emily
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:43 PM on January 10 [5 favorites]


Ralph Lauren (Ralph Lipschitz)

Middle school must have been rough.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:44 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


As so often happens, H L Mencken was way ahead.
posted by Ideefixe at 2:04 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Yes, I've always found it a bit mean to disparage baby names. They had no choice. Their parents made the choice but the child would be the one going through life with their name. And names change and become popular or not popular really quite quickly! I'm sure there's a load of names which seem 'average' now that appeared to be very surprising at the time they appeared.
posted by peepofgold at 2:09 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


“Who’s going to make fun of Striker?” he says. By the same token, names like “Shooter,” “Gunner” or “Slayer” seem particularly resistant to playground taunting.

I dunno, maybe things are different nowadays, but when I was a kid, a name like "Striker" would totally not have prevented schoolyard name-taunting. There's always the classic "Find something that rhymes with the name, then insist that the rhyme accurately describes the person", like "Shooter, shooter, needs a tutor" (for a weak example). Plus, "shooter" sounds pretty close to "shoot her", "striker" sounds close to "strike her", etc, so that opens up a TON of childish (and awful) teasing possibilities by just leaning into the homophones, like "Sally made fun of you at lunch. What are you going to do, Striker [strike her]?" Also, almost all of these "doer" names could be subbed in for a reindeer name in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I'm pretty sure these names aren't as playground taunting resistant as some people want to believe they are.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:24 PM on January 10 [6 favorites]


Ha! The reindeer thing was my first thought too, must be the season!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 2:27 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


OK, Boomer.
I wonder when Greek Battlestar Galactica-style names are going to make a comeback.


Watch your back, funnyguy.
posted by rhizome at 2:36 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Ha! The reindeer thing was my first thought too, must be the season!
Reindeer are amazingly cruel about physical deformities, but cool with crazy names for some reason.
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:36 PM on January 10 [16 favorites]


If I had a son, I'd go for one of those old Puritan-ish names.

If I had ever had kids, they would have been Increase and Cotton for sure. Maybe The-Sword-of-the-Lord-and-of-Gideon.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:43 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


I’ve always said that if I have kids, they’ll be named Tsar Bomba and Cobalt 60 Device.
posted by rodlymight at 2:49 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


> You see, we named him Archer.

Recently a dad was signing his son up for classes at the archery range I go to, and the son's name was Archer, and I found the whole thing very satisfying to overhear. I haven't seen the kid since but I hope he loves archery. I wanted to ask the father about his name, but I figured they should be allowed to have a moment's peace from that question.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:51 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


Yes, I've always found it a bit mean to disparage baby names. They had no choice. Their parents made the choice but the child would be the one going through life with their name.
8. We read that David Bowie's son, Zowie, now prefers to be called Joe. How do your children – Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva – like their names?

They don't have any problems with their names. Remember, they're going to school in the Valley. They've got some other weird names down there. When Moon was young, she came in and announced that she wanted to change her name. I said, "Fine, what do you want to change it to?" She said, "Beautyheart." So that blew over after a while. And before Diva was born, Ahmet came in and said, "I have the perfect name for my new little sister," 'cause he was convinced it was going to be a girl. I said, "Yeah, really? What do you think we should call her?" He said, "Bone Sauce." That one didn't work. I liked Diva better, because she was screaming louder than the other babies in the hall at the hospital where she was born.
In further Zappa reference, here's Ahmet:
"My parents gave us names that meant something to them, although at one stage I didn't think Ahmet was original enough. And the kids at school called me Ahmet/Vomit, so I wanted to change my name. I liked Starbuck (after Battlestar Galactica), or the other option was Rick, which I thought was a tough name. So I decided to go with Rick, and just before school started I got a new folder and asked Dweezil to write, 'My name is Rick Zappa' on the cover."

At school he announced his new moniker, "and I mean nothing rhymes with Rick, except, oh, say, dick," he cracks up. "So I went back to Ahmet - and this is an example of my parents' sense of humour, when I asked for a new folder they said, 'No, you picked it, you own it.' And to drive it home they would say, 'Soooo, how's Rick today?'"
posted by rhizome at 2:51 PM on January 10 [8 favorites]


There is no playground taunt-resistant name.

Also - rhizome! I'm "dad from the '30s with middle name Hunter" twins with you.
posted by queensissy at 2:57 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


One of the reasons I'm not having kids is that I am exactly the sort of person to name a child Aloysius and then be all surprised pikachu when they spend their life in and out of rehab. She didn't name me after a character, she named me after his toy bear.
posted by betweenthebars at 2:57 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Recently a dad was signing his son up for classes at the archery range I go to, and the son's name was Archer, and I found the whole thing very satisfying to overhear. I haven't seen the kid since but I hope he loves archery. I wanted to ask the father about his name, but I figured they should be allowed to have a moment's peace from that question.

Not us; my son has idly mentioned that it might be neat to learn archery, but that's as far as it's gotten--I'm not aware of any location like that around us. The main connection he's got is that he's very fond of any archer units in board games we play.
posted by Four Ds at 3:04 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


You see, we named him Archer.

Big Enterprise fan, huh?
posted by hanov3r at 3:07 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


In the vein of Ass-wee-pay: "It's pronounced 'are share'."
posted by rhizome at 3:07 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


I mean, Archer is a nice name because the weapon it refers to is archaic and so it conjures up mostly pleasant or artistic associations - depictions of archers in sculpture or painting, etc. Even though technically you can do some serious harm with a competition bow, the association with violence isn't really there. And archery isn't really strongly gendered - there are lots of film and literary scenes of women archers.

I don't like and I won't like Shooter or Trooper or names that are obviously intended to be macho, pro-police, pro-military, pro-gun names. I think they're ugly and unchancy and to be honest, I'd assume that someone with such a name came from a far-right home and would be wary of them in a social or work context until they'd proved themselves.
posted by Frowner at 3:16 PM on January 10 [17 favorites]


I wonder when Greek Battlestar Galactica-style names are going to make a comeback.

One branch of a friend's in laws or step family does this currently. Not in honor of the show--they definitely predate the recent revival--but just because they are good names. I'm a little jealous I'm just "Mark" when I'm around them, which is a wimpified name of the least intelligent of Roman gods.
posted by mark k at 3:48 PM on January 10


Perry Farrell (born Peretz Bernstein; March 29, 1959) is an American singer-songwriter and musician, best known as the frontman for the alternative rock band Jane's Addiction. wiki

He said he picked Perry Farrell because it sounds like peripheral . Cool. I still like Peretz Bernstein more.
posted by waving at 3:50 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


and have increased exponentially ever since

Ugh. Exponential increase refers to a specific rate of increase, not just increasing quickly, or even worse, simply increasing. Or even even worse, staying relatively constant modulo random noise, like the graph shows from about 2000 onward which the article claims is the period of so-called exponential increase.
posted by eviemath at 3:55 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


See, I’ve kind of always wanted to name my hypothetical children with some of the less exotic or extravagant Greek names. No Hephaestion, but Hippolyta? Maybe. Every partner I’ve ever had has given me a lot of pushback on this, and had a laugh at my expense. Meanwhile, white folks are naming their kids random fucking English nouns and adjectives. There’s a weird irony to the derision I receive. What I always appreciated about pagan Greek names was that they sport obvious literal meanings (e.g. ‘Xanthippus’; ‘Yellow Horse’), and have a certain familiar ring that I grew to love from taking so many classics courses. It’s also a nice way to connect with the wider historical context in which we live; to acknowledge that people came before us, and long before our current Christian paradigm. In the former case, that is not so different from modern trends. Why can’t I name my kid after something that is important to me? I think it’s also healthy in that the literal meaning being somewhat obscured makes it less likely to seem like an intended path for your child. No one would think my son Hippocrates is into fast cars, or horse-mounted combat.

I’ve also always liked “Mehrdad”, which is a lovely Iranian pagan name with a simple meaning(“Mithra’s gift”), that managed to survive Islamization. Only reason that one’s not on the table is because I’m afraid of being taken for an appropriator.
posted by constantinescharity at 3:59 PM on January 10 [8 favorites]


I wonder if “exponentially” has been skunked. I feel like I usually see it meaning “by a whole lot.”
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:59 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


I mean, Archer is a nice name because the weapon it refers to is archaic and so it conjures up mostly pleasant or artistic associations - depictions of archers in sculpture or painting, etc.

I suppose Morningstar could be a lovely name one would share with an archaic weapon that evokes the brutality of ancient war.
posted by el gran combo at 4:01 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Morningstar is a poetic appellation for Lucifer.

Whether that's a pro or con is up to you.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:08 PM on January 10 [20 favorites]


the problem with ancient greek names is all the prophecies about thusly named offspring coming back to accidentally murder you and then marry their surviving parent or be devoured by you or be torn to pieces in the woods by wildly dancing women
posted by poffin boffin at 4:16 PM on January 10 [9 favorites]


Morningstar is a poetic appellation for Lucifer.

Good catch! Not as categorically lovely as I'd imagined it, then.
posted by el gran combo at 4:16 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


These are dog names, not people names
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:24 PM on January 10 [5 favorites]


I used to work for a school photography company and saw many many interesting names over my years there. Tiny tots called Lord Aesir, Blayde, Brucewayne and so forth. About thirty different variations of Maddison. Some oddball choices like Rocket (a girl), Indica, Pringle and Tequila. A lot were what I called cultural changes (Kwang Bum became Kevin. Shi Ting became Priscilla, if I recall correctly.

But one sticks in my head as just a very poor choice that is going to cause so much trouble. Starting highschool this year is a girl called Tess. Her family name is Dickle. I cannot imagine the teasing this poor kid is going to endure.
posted by ninazer0 at 4:29 PM on January 10 [5 favorites]


Morningstar is also a last name that is from the anglicization of Morgenstern, a German Jewish name that comes from Yiddish. I've always thought both Morgenstern and Morningstar very pretty names purely on a silly personal-aesthetic-preferences level.

I mean, there's no reason you can't name a kid Morningstar, although there's not nearly the artistic tradition of depicting morningstar-wielding that there is of depicting archery. Archery really does have a variety of classical and literary associations (Newland Archer in the Wharton novel is named Archer in part because of these.) It's not the archaicism per se that makes it an attractive name, it's the fact that when you hear "archery" you don't think "killing people violently" even though it's a weapon. If you named someone Spadroon, it would be archaic and probably wouldn't conjure up images of violence for most people, but it doesn't have the artistic associations and wouldn't have as much charm.
posted by Frowner at 4:29 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


@poffin boffin: I had originally been strongly attracted to the names of the Erinyes, but I realized that many of their meanings were too edgy. The only one that doesn’t sound like something a neckbearded individual lurking beneath a fedora would like is Alecto, and even there, “endless” is a pretty wildly dramatic name for anyone. Still better than Tisiphone (“Vengeful destruction”), though.
posted by constantinescharity at 4:40 PM on January 10


All these action word boy's names remind me of White Goodman's dodgeball team.
posted by subocoyne at 4:47 PM on January 10


I teach kids in high school so I don't know what it was like for them in earlier grades, but I have been impressed with the near complete lack of name-based meanness I have seen.
posted by Salamandrous at 4:50 PM on January 10 [5 favorites]


I have been impressed with the near complete lack of name-based meanness I have seen.

Yeah I think in areas where there's no huge numeric majority this kind of name-based teasing is passé. A name you've never heard before may in fact be a traditional family name going back a couple thousand years from the opposite side of the globe. Kids figure that kind of stuff out quickly. Also kids seem less randomly cruel than they used to.
posted by GuyZero at 4:54 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


Who cares if someone's name...has a random apostrophe in it?

My maiden name had a punctuation mark in it and I changed to my husband's last name so fast when I got married. It was a pain in the ass, especially when I had a job that involved leaving a lot of phone messages in the days before answering machines were widespread.
posted by LindsayIrene at 4:55 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Yeah, back when I managed databases I remember spending an inordinate amount of time having to write rules that would make the software not change the formatting of the name as I entered it. And another big chunk of time researching and correcting names that had been entered before my time.

When I see an apostrophe in the middle of a name, it makes my brain think there must be a glottal stop. I have to stop and think about it.

I guess things weren't exactly better back in my school days, when there were basically six girls' names and five boys' names to split up amongst the entire student body, and teachers spent half the class having to say, "No, I meant the other Michelle. No, the other other Michelle. Michelle S. Oh, the other Michelle S." (There was a little more variety at the Baptist primary school, where some of the less-widely-used Bible names got taken out for a spin. I wonder whatever happened to my friend Peninnah.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:16 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


I always envied guys named Paul or Mike or David. Conventional and biblical, sure, but it must save so much hassle.

Well, the hassle comes when like every third person has the same name as you so the name everybody uses is FirstnameLastname just to differentiate between all the folks with the same first name.

Or you're just known as LastName, which confuses folks when someone actually refers to you by your common first name. "Who?"

Or in my case where my last name could be a first name (using a different spelling) so I've had more than one conversation that went like, "so, LastName, what's your last name?" "Uh, that is my last name. . . "
posted by soundguy99 at 5:24 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


Is Tiger an action-y name or not? I know one who happens to be the older brother of a Ryder.
posted by vespabelle at 5:31 PM on January 10


My god “the kid might have to spell their name for people,” “people won’t know how to pronounce it,” “kids might make fun of them.” Who fucking cares? Like I get people who genuinely want to spare their kid trauma from reactions by racists. But why do any of you care what a random person’s kid might be named? If the hardest part of this kid’s life is having to spell “Ashlee” or whatever that’s great. I have a name that is unfamiliar to most people in the US, and pronounced differently from how other people with the same spelling use it. It doesn’t matter at fucking all. It takes 5 seconds to spell it for someone when it matters and I use a fake name that people know when it doesn’t.

Obviously I’m not saying people who worry about their child being discriminated against for their name or subject to racism for their name are in the wrong. But this concern trolling about “Striker” or whatever is just annoying. I love my name and have no desire to have a more mainstream one although I’m sure if you have one you like that too.
posted by arabidopsis at 6:04 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


I have one of the most mainstream names you can have -- internationally mainstream, even -- and people spell it wrong all the time (Sara vs Sarah). So, yeah, there's no avoiding misspellings, even if you go as conventional as possible.

But I love my name, and I don't care when people spell it the other way.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:09 PM on January 10


The secret is to not care, if you end up with the unusual name, if people get it wrong in casual contexts. I have a name which is not common but familiar, and half the time it's misspelled. It's OK.
posted by maxwelton at 6:44 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


I have a kid with a do-er name: Cooper. He’s named after an ancestor who made barrels. It’s easy to spell and pronounce but it does rhyme with “pooper” so it’s not perfect. He’s 19 now and I don’t think he’s ever met another.
posted by Biblio at 7:09 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


I think this is the kind of thing that is hard to talk about as a trend without getting personal. It reminds me of trying to have a conversation about why women do or don't change their last names when they marry men. Each individual has their perfectly acceptable reasons for their choice, but in aggregate the choices concern me.

On an individual level, naming a child Soldier is never gonna be ok with me but most of these are less explicit than that. They may not be aesthetically pleasing to me, which is fine. As a trend it seems like a further incident of giving boys a very narrow range in which they are allowed to move. There isn't a trend of naming boys after flowers or birds that are not predators. They are not typically named for objects of beauty or serenity. The theme is action and aggression.

I also wonder if it has anything to do with girls more commonly being named James, Ryan, Charlie, etc. When girls & women start to join traditionally boy territory, boys & men move on.
posted by Emmy Rae at 7:27 PM on January 10 [8 favorites]


Software developers. Less so nowadays, but apostrophes have traditionally broken bad database software.

Related: Falsehoods programmers believe about names.


My Wordpress site won't accept apostrophes in user names. It tells me I have invalid characters in the name. So D'Antonio has to be rendered DAntonio.
posted by etaoin at 7:29 PM on January 10


He probably should have been a mathematician, but will have to settle for best name in baseball:

Arquimedes Euclides Caminero
posted by jindc at 8:09 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Three of my friend's mothers apologized to me for not calling me by my first name because they thought it was Morgan until they happened to see it on paper, in one case after several years.

I also have a not uncommon last name that is a slightly less common first name, and I get that all the time. It's a pet peeve when people keep doing it after I correct them.
posted by Foosnark at 8:16 PM on January 10


I always thought it strange that we name babies like we do pets, whether it's something meaningful and heartfelt to the parents or something they deliberately chose to be edgy or weird. The person that child becomes might not like it, even if it's a more common name, and they're stuck with it.

Why not just give everybody a free legal name change when they become adults? Those who enjoy the name they have can keep it, while those unfortunates named Sniper and Khaleesi don't have to carry that into their new lives if they don't want the burden.
posted by Feyala at 8:18 PM on January 10 [5 favorites]


From somewhere on Tumblr:

"If I have a daughter I'm going to name her Casserole and she'll go by the nickname Cass. But every time someone asks her if it's short for Cassandra she's gonna have to say no, it's Casserole."
posted by bendy at 8:39 PM on January 10 [12 favorites]


"that said, one of the criteria we used for picking baby names was "will they have to spell it over the telephone" and I thought we did ok, but no, one kid's name gets spelled wrong pretty regularly. oh well."

My last name is (in)famous across the Western world. If you haven't heard it umpteen squillion times in the US, you may be defective. It is composed of two common words. There is even a famous mnemonic to spell the second one correctly.

Hatfield.

Hat. Field.

Hat.

Field.

People are so bad at spelling these two words that I gave up years ago trying to give my last name on its own and always automatically give it and spell it slowly.

They still fail.
posted by Evilspork at 8:48 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Xenophon, Xenophon, Xenophon!
posted by clavdivs at 8:50 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


Oh, also? This one time? At boot camp? One of the drill sergeants saw my last name and asked if my dad's name was James Hetfield.

Yes, my dad's name is James Hatfield.

No, I did not care enough about Metallica to know of their James Hetfield.

The drill sergeant was not pleased that I ruined his joke in front of the rest of the platoon and smoked me.
posted by Evilspork at 8:50 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


oh my friend just met an alpaca named scott but it turned out that it was short for biscotti and now for the rest of my life every time i meet a scott i will assume it too is short for biscotti
posted by poffin boffin at 8:58 PM on January 10 [27 favorites]


I read the list of names in TFA out loud with the same pauses - it was kinda poetic and I think some if it rhymed.

My dad's name was Peter, I'm Wendy and my parents joked that my kid sister would be named Tinkerbell. In retrospect, Peter's parenting Wendy would have been really weird.

Twins should be Pete and Repeat.

When I was about three we got a puppy and my parents decided that we'd each get to choose part of his name which is why I grew up with "Beau Jeremy Dog-you".

My grandparents decided that if their next child was a girl they'd name her Molly. But he wasn't so they named their new puppy Molly.
posted by bendy at 8:59 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Angler, Camper, Tracker, Trapper, Catcher, Driver, Fielder, Racer, Sailor, Striker, Wheeler — deep breath — Breaker, Roper, Trotter, Wrangler — still going — Lancer, Shooter, Slayer, Soldier, Tracer, Trooper — wait, “Slayer”? — Blazer, Brewer, Charger, Dodger, Laker, Pacer, Packer, Raider, Ranger, Steeler, Warrior — kill me — Dreamer, Jester and — wait for it — Rocker.

I swear, someone could make a Buzzfeed quiz "Trendy Boys Name for 2020 or Dating App" and I'd probably only get half of them right.

"You guessed that Pounder was a dating app. Sorry, but that's a Trendy Boys Name for 2020."
"You guessed that Wrangler was a Trendy Boys Name. Sorry, but it's a dating app (for fans of Lil Nas X)"
posted by 23skidoo at 9:04 PM on January 10 [9 favorites]




Unfortunately, Kegger still hasn't taken off.
posted by ckape at 9:14 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


I've always assumed "Hunter" became popular because people thought naming boys Artemis was weird. (I'm not saying it has to be only a girl's name, but it should at least be an option!) Also, every Hunter I've ever met is an absolute psychopath. For this (probably unfair) reason, I don't hold a lot of hope for the Troopers and Trappers of the world.
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:46 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


I knew a girl in middle school named Tish Rittenhouse. Nobody would touch her name, it was just too obvious and easy. She was the least-bullied kid I knew.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:03 PM on January 10


oh my friend just met an alpaca named scott but it turned out that it was short for biscotti and now for the rest of my life every time i meet a scott i will assume it too is short for biscotti

so close to a limerick
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:05 PM on January 10 [14 favorites]


Racer, Sailor, Striker, Wheeler — deep breath — Breaker, Roper, Trotter, Wrangler —


Tinker and Tailor, call him biffer, and him bopper theirs stopper, dropper stocker, oh, knocker.
Call them
Corker, dorker and broker
posted by clavdivs at 10:32 PM on January 10 [5 favorites]


Let's get back to this, from the top of the thread:

“For most of recent history, Western boys have been given drab, biblically informed names like Brian, John or Nicholas,” says Matthew Hahn, a professor of biology and informatics at the University of Indiana who co-authored a 2003 study comparing baby name trends to evolutionary models.

In what universe is Brian (however spelled and Monty Python to one side) a biblically informed name? And drab? It's evergreen.
posted by bryon at 10:56 PM on January 10 [6 favorites]


Dasher, maybe. Then we get Dancer and Prancer and it’s all downhill from there for the macho parents. Vixen
posted by fast ein Maedchen at 11:05 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


We named our daughter Sunny. We liked it because it felt unique, optimistic obviously, and easy to pronounce and spell in Korean (one side of her family is Korean). And although unusual, I thought it was pretty straightforward as a name.

Well since she’s been born, we’ve belatedly realised the very obvious confusion that everyone thinks she’s a boy named “Sonny” like Sonny and Cher. Duh. Not a big deal but sorry, Sunny, you’re probably gonna get that a lot in life. (Or maybe not? Not sure if her generation will be as familiar with “Sonny” which I find old fashioned.)

We have also been asked if Sunny is short for anything. Which has led to some amusing brainstorms between the two of us as to what we should respond with the next time someone asks us that.

Sunderella is my favourite.
posted by like_neon at 12:00 AM on January 11 [17 favorites]


Dicknballz
Dryhumper
Roblivion
posted by Burhanistan at 12:55 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


See also the Wayne theory.

Back in the 90s I had a job where I would type summaries of current newspaper articles into a library computer database. It struck me immediately how many violent criminals featured in the articles had the middle name Wayne. Like, it seemed, most of them. On the other hand, my father in law's middle name is Wayne, and he's a prince of a man.
posted by jabah at 6:09 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Exponential increase refers to a specific rate of increase

Fine then, I will name my kid Exponential. Or do you think we should go with Polynomial instead?
posted by nat at 8:10 AM on January 11


Seems like shouting out "Shooter" across a schoolyard to get someone's attention would be ... dangerous. Gunnar (not Gunner) is a perfectly fine Scandinavian name, though it also has militaristic origins.
posted by zenzenobia at 9:04 AM on January 11 [6 favorites]


> I will name my kid Exponential. Or do you think we should go with Polynomial instead?

The first 100 digits of Pi is classier.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:08 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


twins named Hunter and Gatherer
posted by daisystomper at 10:36 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


I once suggested Gatherer to someone whose first son was named Hunter. It was not well received.
posted by Flannery Culp at 11:14 AM on January 11 [8 favorites]


My organic chemistry professor wanted to name his daughter Polly Esther but his wife vetoed that idea.
posted by TedW at 12:18 PM on January 11 [6 favorites]


Bryan/Brian proto- Celtic, off by what, 400 years before christ?


On the other hand, my father in law's middle name is Wayne, and he's a prince of a man.
posted by jabah at 9:09 AM on January 11

It's my middle name, after my grandfather, also, a good man, most of his siblings had traditional Pryor surname like Thomas, William, Samuel, Nathanael. His middle name was

K.
posted by clavdivs at 2:11 PM on January 11


As a member of the TV Generation, I'm disappointed that there aren't more children whose middle name is "Danger."
posted by rhizome at 3:47 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


My son has an -er name but while it definitely was an occupation long ago (think "Hatter" but without the "mad as a" connotation), you wouldn't know it unless you looked it up. We wanted to give him an unusual first name because our last name is one of the ten most common names on the planet. He is named for a very well-known intellectual who presumably had a person with this occupation a few generations back in the family tree.

I don't want to say what the name is because he's the only person with his firstname-lastname pair in the world as far as I can tell. But it's, uh, definitely not Slayer.
posted by potrzebie at 9:51 PM on January 11


I've heard of two kids with the middle name of Danger.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:05 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


My cat's middle name is "Danger."

And yes, both my first and last names are as common as dirt, and are still regularly misspelled. And often in ways that reverse the vowels and consonants so that there's no way they could be pronounced the way they are. It's weird.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:06 AM on January 12


A childhood friend of mine named the family cat Creekdrinker Buster which I still think is an excellent -er name (for a cat).
posted by little cow make small moo at 10:30 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]




Reading Big Little Lies and there was just a throwaway reference to the character Jane having an older brother named Dane and I thought "hold up, parents, we need to have a talk".
posted by Flannery Culp at 1:34 PM on January 12


In some European countries, a man names the first born son with his father's name. For example, the patriarch named "Nicholas" has three sons. Each of the sons would name their first born son "Nicholas." If this sounds like a joke from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," you are correct. Three boys, first cousins, would all be named Nicholas, and would have diminuative nicknames to differentiate them. Like in a Russian novel where characters are affectionately called Pascha instead of Paul or Moscha instead of Michael.

The most charming treatment of diminuatives is Curiosities of Puritan nomenclature which breaks down all the pet and nick names.
When we come to realize that nearly one-third of Englishmen were known either by the name of William or John about the year 1300, it will be seen that the pet name and nick form were no freak, but a necessity....

Will was quite a distinct youth from Willot, Willot from Wilmot, Wilmot from Wilkin, and Wilkin from Wilcock. There might be half a dozen Johns about the farmstead, but it mattered little so long as one was called Jack, another Jenning, a third Jenkin, a fourth Jack-cock (now Jacox as a surname), a fifth Brown-john, and a sixth Micklejohn, or Littlejohn, or Properjohn (j.e, well built or handsome)....

any number of boys in a small community might be entered in a register as Bartholomew, and yet preserve their individuality in work-a-day life by bearing such names as Bat, Bate, Batty, Bartle, Bartelot, Batcock, Batkin, and Tolly, or Tholy.

"Kin was child, or " young one." We still speak in a diminutive sense of a manikin, kilderkin, pipkin, lambkin, jerkin, minikin (little minion), or doitkin.

The term "cock" implied pertness : especially the pertness of lusty and swaggering youth. Adeeock is Adam, and Mocock or Mokoek is Matthew. In the same way Sander-cock is a diminutive of Sander, Lay-cock of Lawrence, Luccock of Luke, Pidcock and Peacock of Peter.

Terminations in on or in, and ot or et, were the introduction of fashion, and being under patronage of the highest families in the land, naturally obtained a much wider popularity.... Four wives named Cecilia in a community of some twenty-five families will be evidence enough of the popularity of that name. All, however, were known in every-day converse as Sissot. Of other girl-names we may mention Mabel, which from Mab became Mabbott; Douce became Dowcett and Dowsett ; Gillian or Julian, from Gill or Jill (whence Jack and Jill), became Gillot, Juliet, and Jowett ; Margaret became Margett and Margott, and in the north Magot.... But the girl-name that made most mark was originally a boy's name, Theobald. Tibbe was the nick form, and Tibbot the pet name.

Gib, from Gilbert, and Tib became the common name for a male and female cat. Scarcely any other terms were employed from 1350 to 1550. Hence both Tibet and Gibbet were also used for the same ; as in the old phrase " flitter- gibbett," for one of wanton character.
You can see that I am a descriptivist rather than a prescriptivist in terms of grammar, and that I delight in neo-logisms and playful language.
posted by ohshenandoah at 11:35 PM on January 12 [13 favorites]


My Great-Grandpa took it a step further; the oldest son from each of his three marriages was given the same name as his father and himself.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:17 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]


Reading Big Little Lies and there was just a throwaway reference to the character Jane having an older brother named Dane and I thought "hold up, parents, we need to have a talk".

I was once behind a minivan with one of those stick figure families on the back window. If they are to be believed, that family had two sons - Sean and Shaun.
posted by hanov3r at 8:50 AM on January 13


If I have triplets, their names will be Butcher, Baker, and Candlestickmaker.
If I have quadruplets, their names will be Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, and Spy.
If I have twin boys they must be Frank and Earnest.
And if I have a daughter she will be named Portia Patty. She will be taught kung fu from an early age, and become the hero the world needs.
posted by ambulocetus at 1:45 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


Roman Emperor names are an interesting option. Hadrian is the best I've seen in use. Nero is a bold choice, but I know a guy who pulls it off.

In all seriousness though, Gilgamesh if it's a boy, Enheduanna if it's a girl. Gill and Hedy. First literary character and first known author respectively.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:02 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Jupiter Jesus [your last name]
posted by rhizome at 11:11 AM on January 17


If I have twin boys they must be Frank and Earnest.

Best twin names are Castor and Remus, etc.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:34 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


I'd go along with best fraternal twin names, anyway.
posted by jamjam at 12:35 PM on January 17


Just stopped by to mention that I love some of the names in The Expanse for the way they combine different cultural traditions:

Sadavir Errinwright
Chrisjen Avasarala
Jules-Pierre Mao
Esteban Sorrento-Gillis
Claire Melpomene Mao
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:16 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


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