I started thinking about “cool” names while visiting a website I’d never seen before—to find out if I wanted to “follow” their blog posts on Twitter. (I did.) But when I clicked on their lists of “Cool Boys’ Names” and “Cool Girls’ Names,” I realized the names they listed were more often blah, dated or clunky than cool. I went to another website that seemed to have hundreds or thousands of cool names. If I showed all those names to a representative sample of parents, and gave them a choice of: Forgettable, Pedestrian, OK, Pretty Good, Very Good, and Cool, I wonder if more than 5% to 10% of their list would be rated “Cool.”
This made me wonder what makes a name “cool.” So I started listing qualities that might describe cool men and women:
Strong, sharp, clever, charming, stylish, athletic, courageous, resourceful, resilient, confident, attractive, effective, likeable, humorous, sassy, spunky, and original men and women who have the ability to keep their cool when everyone else is losing theirs. Of course, whether male or female–cool people are “good guys.” (Bullies and “mean girls” aren’t remotely cool.)
When I started looking for names I thought were cool on the lists I found, I realized many of the names that seemed cool to me were fairly informal. For some reason, formal names didn’t come across to me as cool. And it helped if the names were “fresh.” Ace might have been a cool name during WWI and WWII (signifying “ace” fighter pilots like Manfred von Richtofen, the Red Baron), but now it’s often used sarcastically as a term of derision (meaning not an Ace).
When you think about “cool” movie heroes over the years (like Humphrey Bogart’s “Rick” in “Casablanca” and “Sam Spade” in “Maltese Falcon,” Sean Connery’s “James Bond,” Harrison Ford’s “Indiana Jones,” Sandra Bullock’s “Gracie Hart” in “Miss Congeniality,” and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”) they all knew how to get what they want with wit, style charm, confidence, resilience, toughness (when needed) and a sense of humor. Spade, Bond and Indiana Jones were famous for their self-confidence as expressed in the wisecracks they used to charm women and throw their enemies off balance. Gracie Hart was more vulnerable, and (for that reason) more endearing, but she could solve “problems” with her fists, if needed. Mr. and Mrs. Smith were equally resourceful, tough and resilient.
Having “defined” cool men and women, here’s another way to think about it: If Sam Spade, James Bond, Indiana Jones, Sandra Bullock, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith had kids, what cool names would they pick for their cool kids?
What follows is a very short list of boys’ and girls’ names that (initially) strike me as cool.:
Cool Boys Names: Beckham, Boone, Channing, Chase, Cruz, Dash, Finn, Frisco, Hudson, Hunter, Forrest, Kobe, Lennox, Matteo, Reno, Rio, Ryder, Taj, Trey, Wyatt
Cool Girls’ Names: Amelia, Annika, Catalina, Cleo, Darcy, Delaney, Dixie, Elena, Everly, Gianna, Harley, Lola, Maya, Paz, Sasha, Saki, Shay, Siena, Skyler, Starr
I’m planning to list these names on our Ranker website to find out which names you think are cool. Here are the links to Cool Names on Ranker.com:
Cool Names for Girls: http://www.ranker.com/list/cool-names-for-girls/baby-name-news
Cool Names for Boys: http://www.ranker.com/list/cool-names-for-boys/baby-name-news
I hope you’ll visit Ranker so you can add names you think are cool to the lists; and re-rank the lists (by putting the names you like first and the names you don’t like last).
P.S. I uploaded about 30 boys’ names and 30 girls’ names I thought might be cool on Ranker.com. (Some of the names I had found on several lists of “cool names” online; some of the names I found while scanning the SSA top-1,000 list looking for likely options. Very early returns confirm my initial skepticism. It’s very hard to find names people think are cool. Very few of the names have more positive “votes” than negative “votes.” Take a look and register your opinions. If you’re looking for “cool names,” I think I’ve found some.