There Are 14 New Names on the “Cool Names for Boys” List: Which Are the Coolest?

There are now 14 new names on the “Cool Names for Boys” List on Ranker.com. They came from a variety of sources including Nameberry, The Art of Naming and Bruce Lansky (me). Here they are: Chance, Steele Flynn, Flint, Cliff, Cash, Crash, Blaze, Trig, Nico, Raj, Dante, and Django.

Altogether, there are now 49 names on the list. So, if you’re looking for a cool name to give your son, this is probably the best place to find one. It has the best names from three different sources, so the coolest names will  rise to the top as the clunkiest names will be”sunk” by  negative votes. While you’re “shopping” for a cool name, I hope you’ll add your vote to give the best new names a push in the right direction. It only takes a second to click on the blue thumb up (if you like a name) or the red thumb down (if you don’t like a name). I should also mention that there are already several new names in the top-10–including one of the new names. (It’s hot.)  I’ll recap all the changes in a week or two.

P.S. I’ve also added some brand new names to the list of “Cool Names for Girls.” Take a look (and vote).

I Thought I Knew Just About Everything About North West; I Was Wrong.

I thought I knew just about everthing there was to know about North West. But Maureen O’Connor knows a few things I didn’t know. If you missed her article in New York Magazine, it’s worth reading. I’m going to give you a short quote in which O’Connor conveys the essence of all things Kardashian. She claims North West is quintessentially “Kardashian”; here’s why:

North West “is interesting enough to enable 45 seconds of small talk at the buffet table of a summer wedding. This low-level piquing of interest is what makes North West a thoroughly Kardashian name, even if Kanye (and his sometimes cheesy sensibility) chose it. For the Kardashians’ greatest feat is their ability to draw attention without doing anything that is actually interesting. They are masters of the banal spectacle, turning household monotony and Kim’s swollen feet into news events. In that sense, North West achieves Kardashian, and is thus a great name for Kanye and Kim’s daughter.”

Of course, if you don’t think that household monotony and Kim’s swollen feet are all that great, perhaps, like me, you don’t appreciate “all things Kardashian.” To be candid, I think North West is a bad joke that gets worse every time you tell it. Yet I marveled at the way Maureen O’Connor’s cleverly written piece disguised this obvious “issue.”

So, do not pass go, and do not collect $200 until you read Maureen O’Connor’s charming post.

Nameberry’s List of “Neglected Namesake Names” Are Neglected for Good Reasons

I was very impressed by Linda Rosenkrantz’ introduction to her “Nameberry’s Neglected Namesake Names” article, which accurately describes her premise:

“If you scan the annals of distinguished women in American history, culture and science, you’ll find that a surprising number of them had distinctive names as well, names that could provide unique-ish choices with interesting back-stories. Several of them have a funky, fusty period flavor that may or may not appeal. What do you think?“

Here’s what I think: Even though Rosenkrantz has picked 40+ namesakes who are “distinguished women in American history, culture and science,” almost all of the names “have a funky, fusty period flavor” that could make them very uncomfortable and burdensome to contemporary American girls.

In fact, I only found a few names that might not prove embarrassing or provoke teasing for girls born in 2013-14. And before I list them I want to be clear that inspiring names don’t have to be “cool.” They just have to avoid being so uncomfortable, awkward and clunky for contemporary girls that any possible inspirational value will be lost when your daughter abandons her high-minded name and tells you she won’t answer to it any more.

I raise this issue, because so many (if not most) of the names on this Nameberry list seem likely to be burdensome to contemporary girls. Here are some of the names that come across to me as the least uncomfortable for daughters in 2013-14.

-Alta (The fact that Alta is also the name of a ski resort in Utah may help the name. However Alta means “high.” Which might inspire your daughter when she reaches high school, in a bad way.)

-Asta  (This was the name of William Powell’s clever dog in “The Thin Man” movies. Don’t be surprised if your daughter barks when Mommy calls her to dinner.)

-Cathay (This is what Brits used to call China. I prefer China to Cathay, I suspect Cathay will prefer Cathy—or China to Cathay.)

-Marita (It’s not so bad if you shorten it too Marta.)

-Marvel (It would help a great deal if you call her Marvy; I’m afraid Marvel is too difficult for anyone to live up to—like Messiah, but less so.)

-Romaine (Wikipedia lists three historical personages, one woman and two men, who have used this name; I’ve never heard of any of them. But this is my favorite name on Rosenkrantz’ list. Probably because I’m partial to Romaine lettuce.)

Remember, these are the names I like best on the “quadruple N” list. (I wouldn’t recommend any of these names.)

That done, here’s a very short list of some of the most potentially burdensome names on Rosenkrantz’ list. I ask you to read these and then click on the link and read the complete list of “Nameberry’s Neglected Namesake Names.”

-Effa: (This name will be a huge source of embarrassment as soon as Effa hits high school when the “F-word,” “F-bombs” and “Effing” are in common parlance.

-Gerty (Unfortunately, she’ll be called “Turdy Gerty.”)

-Mertilla (And Mertilla will be called “Myrtle the Turtle.”

-Penina (It you love this name, call your daughter Penny and never mention the name you put on her birth certificate. She won’t move out of the house until she applies for a learner’s driving permit and finally sees her “given name” on an official document. She and her friends will think the name refers to the male sex organ.)

I could go on and on and on, but I’d rather end by addressing Linda Rosenkrantz’ premise. What’s the point of promoting names (however noble) which contemporary American daughters (including your daughter) are likely to dislike. If you already have a daughter, please, please, please read Nameberry’s list of “Neglected Namesake Names” to her. I’m not sure if she’ll break out laughing or suddenly start hugging and kissing you to thank you for giving her a “normal name,” instead of a neglected namesake name.

Like Rosenkrantz, I’m a big advocate of picking names that will inspire your child. (See my article on that subject.) I just re-checked my list of 17 “inspiring” names and estimate that about 14 out of 17 would be more comfortable for contemporary boys and girls than most, if not all, the names on the NNNN list.

High-minded parents may like the idea of picking names which will inspire their children; but if, instead of inspiring your daughter, the neglected namesake name you pick makes your daughter feel bad about herself, giving your daughter a name that’s been “neglected” for good reason will have turned out to be a huge mistake.

The names on the 4N list prove that kids with clunky names can succeed. So does Barack (Obama), Lyndon (Johnson) and the Johnny Cash song, “A Boy Named Sue.” But that’s not a good reason to give your daughter a neglected namesake name or to call your son Barack, Lyndon, or Sue.

The Latest Voting Results for “Cool Names for Girls” and “Cool Names for Boys” on Ranker.com

To be honest, the best way to motivate people to “vote” on our interactive Ranker.com lists of “Cool Names for Girls” and “Cool Names for Boys” is to publish the latest results. With more than 180 people viewing both lists and 18 people voting for their favorite cool names on both lists, here are the major findings:

1. Of the top-ten “Cool Names for Girls,” only one name (Lola) came from either The Art of Naming or Nameberry. All the other top-ten names came from my brainstorming sessions. Cool names moving up the list are marked with an asterisk: Annika, Sloane, Danica, Tori and Elena.

2. Of the top-ten “Cool Names for Boys,” ten of the names came from The Art of Naming’s list of cool boys names and three of the names were also on Nameberry’s list of cool boys names. One of the names came from my brainstorming sessions. (Note that Hudson and Wyatt are tied for tenth position on the list, so there are actually eleven boys’names on the list). Names moving up on the list are marked with an asterisk: Jett, Taj, Cruz, Matteo, Dash and Rio.

Here are the top-ten cool names for girls and boys from Ranker.com. (Notice that the source for each name is indicated in parentheses, after the name.)

Top Ten Cool Girls’ Names

1. Annika* (Bruce Lansky)

2. Amelia (Bruce Lansky)

3. Lola (The Art of Naming, Nameberry)

4. Cleo (Bruce Lansky)

5. Catalina (Bruce Lansky)

6. Sloane* (Bruce Lansky)

7. Danica* (Bruce Lansky)

8. Tori* (Bruce Lansky)

9. Maya (Bruce Lansky)

10. Elena* (Bruce Lansky)

Top-Ten Cool Boys’ Names

1. Chase (The Art of Naming)

2. Hunter (The Art of Naming)

3. Finn (The Art of Naming, Nameberry)

4. Jett* (The Art of Naming)

5. Taj* (The Art of Naming)

6. Cruz* (The Art of Naming, Nameberry)

7. Matteo* (The Art of Naming, Nameberry)

8. Dash* (The Art of Naming)

9. Rio* (Bruce Lansky)

10. Wyatt (The Art of Naming)

10. Hudson (The Art of Naming)

You may recall that I was motivated to research “cool names” because many of the names listed by The Art of Naming and Nameberry as “cool,” didn’t seem cool to me. I figured that time might affect the rankings. Names thought to be cool only one year ago might not be cool now.

Apparently, I have a better “feel” for cool girls names than cool boys names. But the purpose of this research is not to prove my infallibility; it’s to find out what the coolest names for girls and boys are right now.

I’m planning to keep my list of cool names up on Ranker so I can update you as voting significantly changes the top-ten rankings. If everyone who reads this article uses the links I’ve provided to vote on Ranker, we’ll all know a lot more than we do now. And, don’t forget, Ranker enables all voters to add names as well as vote. So, if you can think of a cool name that’s not on the list, please add it when you’re voting.

P.S. I almost forgot: there are 10 new boys names to check out on the “Cool Names for Boys” list (from a variety of sources). Be the first to vote for (or against) them.

Was Fergie’s Dream About Her Son Axl’s Name Designed to Stop Pundits’ Tongues From Wagging?

Apparently, the name for Fergie and Josh Duhamel’s son, Axl Jack, came to her after a dream. She revealed this charming dream story to Ellen DeGeneres on TV a few days ago. Here’s what she said. (According to Kat Stoeffel of New York Magazine.) Is Fergie’s story truth? Or fiction? What do you think?

“I was in the audience at this festival…On stage singing was Jim Morrison and then came Bob Marley and then Axl Rose. I was in heaven in this dream, and I’m dancing and just getting into the music.”

Here’s what happened next, according to The Daily News: “It was then that Fergie awoke, roused from her dream by the kick of her unborn son.” She was convinced that the name of her son should be Axl Jack (Jack being the name of Fergie’s late, great uncle.) “It just had this ring to it,” she said.

This comment prompted New York Magazine writer Kat Stoeffel to make a joke which contained an element of truth: “Indeed, not all dream baby names are so assonant and iconic. I recently dreamed I had a baby named Raisin Applesauce, which is a mouthful and a transparent Gwyneth Paltrow ripoff.”

Has it occurred to you that the reason Axl Jack has what Fergie describes as “this ring to it” is because it sounds like an alcoholic beverage made from fermented apple cider—known as “Applejack”? And Stoeffel’s clever little joke suggests that if Fergie gave her deceased uncle Jack’s name a little alcoholic flair by naming the baby Apple Jack, pundits (like Kat Stoeffel) might have accused Fergie of “a transparent Gwyneth Paltrow ripoff.”

Hence the story about Fergie’s “dream.” Of course we’ll never know if Fergie started with Apple Jack and morphed the name to Axl Jack to prevent tongues from wagging. I mean, if you’re dead set on giving your child an outlandish name, why take a bum rap for plagiarism?

The moral of this tale seems to be: it isn’t easy for a celebrity to give his or her child a ridiculous name. That’s why talk show “leaks” are so important to the process of giving the  name a celebrity came up with, while listening to her favorite tunes, a charming raison d’etre. You may recall that Kanye West used Jay Leno for the same purpose, when he leaked the name North West as “joke.”

Hmm, maybe it would have been more convincing if Fergie had leaked the name Axl Jack to Ellen as a “joke.” On the other hand, maybe she realized that giving her son a name that was launched as a “joke” might be less appealing than a name that was launched as a “heavenly dream.”

Simon Cowell Claims He’ll Name His (Unborn) Son After a Famous TV Personality

The verdict that anyone who has ever watched Simon Cowell on TV could easily guess has been reached. He has decided to name the baby boy he and partner Lauren Silverman are expecting (drum roll, please) after one of the most successful television producers and personalities on the planet. The most interesting aspect of this story is the spin.

Here’s a quick summary of the reasons he listed (using his own words, in quotes) from an article I found on entertainment.msn.co.nz.

-“I like the name.” (By coincidence, it’s also his own name.)
-“I like the idea of talking to someone else named Simon.” (Apparently he finds talking to himself a little boring.)
-It’s a “lucky” name. (His brains, talent and hard work made the name, Simon, a very “lucky” name, for him.)
-“I want to teach him how to do my job as quickly as possible.” (This is a subtle way to suggest that he doesn’t really “need” to work any more.)

I think I know why you weren’t even slightly surprised by Cowell’s decision. Let me guess: Does it have anything to do with a three-letter word starting with “e” and ending with “o”?

Teen Mom 2 Star Kailyn Lowry Names Son after Abraham Lincoln and Eminem

The Stir’s Jeanne Sager has the story about Kailyn Lowry, star of Teen Mom 2, who named her son Lincoln Marshall to honor one of America’s greatest presidents and “bad boy” rapper, Eminem (whose given name was Marshall Mather).

To her credit, Lowry put Lincoln in front of Marshall (a French name that refers to a high ranking military officer or a caretaker for horses). And to Jeanne Sager’s credit she understands the risk involved in naming a child after a celebrity.

“But Eminem? Isn’t that the guy who drops gay slurs on the regular in his music? Not exactly a role model! Imagine your kid says, ‘Hey, I’m named for that guy, I should look up to him?’ Yikes!

This is the problem with looking to celebrities for baby names. There are plenty of good names out there, but the people behind them aren’t always folks you want your kid looking up to! Even someone who seems to be pretty decent at the time you give birth can turn into a real jackass in the end. (Anyone want to talk about the people who named their kids Miley 10 years ago?)

Then again, this little guy does share a name with one pretty amazing president …”

For a while, Kailyn Lowery considered giving her second child a Spanish name to honor  her husband, Javi Marroquin. The couple were married in September.