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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Baby Boy T____t

C. writes:
We are desperately seeking guidance in our first baby naming venture and were really hoping for some input.  We are due in about 10 weeks with our first baby (a little boy!) and are at a complete loss for names.  Although there are a few names we like and can agree on, we can't use them for various reasons (names of a pet, names of a family member or friend's baby, etc):  Nathan, Landon, Ben.

A little background on us:
Our last name is 2 syllables and begins and ends with a "T" - we wanted to stay away from names that start and end in a "T" because we think it sounds to sing-songy and matchy. For some reason we think names that end in "N" seem to sound good with our last name but are open to anything. We don't really have a strong cultural heritage but we have many family names and surnames that are unique and we will probably use one of them as our son's middle name - Foster, Fabian, Conyers, Truman, Gill. We found that choosing girls names was a breeze and there were many that we loved - Piper, Hadley, Adalynn, Morgan, Sawyer.  Choosing a boy name just seems so much more difficult!

We want to pick something that sounds masculine yet maybe a little preppy at the same time and is older/classic but not commonly used (if that makes sense).  At the same time, we don't want something that is so uncommon that it sounds strange or is something that people have never heard of.  We want a name that is less commonly used then something like the traditional Adam, James, Thomas, John, Michael, etc.  We do have two names we are considering but are hesitant to use at this point:

Harrison (worried that people will call him Harry; we do like Harris as a nickname and maybe if we implement that we can avoid the Harry altogether?; we like Harrison Foster.)
Leighton (feel like that is becoming really popular as a girls name and with that spelling seems feminine; maybe Leyton Foster? but don't want a strange or made-up spelling either).

Please help!  Maybe there is a fabulous name out there that we are simply overlooking?  Maybe we just need reassurance that our little boy won't be teased with a name like Harry?  Looking forward to hearing your input.  Thanks in advance!

I suggest Sawyer. I see it on your girl-name list, and it seems to me it suits your boy-name preferences too. In the United States the name Sawyer is currently used more often for boys (the Social Security Administration reports 348 girls in 2010, versus 2,198 boys); because the rest of your girl-name list are all names used much more often for girls, I think Sawyer would fit better in your family as a boy name.

Harrison seems like a very good choice, too. I think you can probably avoid Harry by using Harris as a nickname; but if not, I think Harry Potter has made the name Harry significantly more usable than it used to be. Along the same lines as Harrison, but with no Harry:


You're right about Leighton: the Social Security Administration reports 449 new baby girls named Leighton in 2010, versus 216 boys. The spelling Leyton was given to 25 girls and 144 boys, so it looks like that spelling is indeed considered more masculine---but the larger number of girls with the spelling Leighton gives me pause about using the name for boys at all: some names survive such a tip (Cameron, for example, which is still used for both boys and girls), but many don't (some famous examples are Ashley, Evelyn, and Lesley). The similar name Payton/Peyton, which came before Leyton/Leighton, has gone even further and is now given mostly to girls by a wide margin. Perhaps Leighton could go on your list for possible future daughters, and for boys I'd suggest instead:


Name update! C. writes:
So we are happy to report that our son was born (a week late) on July 13th.  We waited until we saw him to decide on his name but ended up deciding on Harrison Foster.  Thanks to all for reassuring us that Harrison was as great of a name as we thought it was.  I was worried that people would call him Harry - a nickname that I was desperate to avoid.  So far, everyone has been very receptive to his name and nobody has even attempted to call him Harry.  At this point I can't imagine him with any other name.  Thanks for all your help!


Anonymous said...

My friend's son is a sophomore in high school and I've known him since he was a baby. His name is Harrison and I've never heard anyone call him anything but Harrison. I think it is easier to avoid nicknames than it used to be!

Anonymous said...

How about Lennon is simular to landon and also ends with a "n"
We named my son this and get very positive comments on it.

Anonymous said...

We have a friend named Harrison and my husband does call him Harry (although I don't think many people do)- but it's not in a teasing way, just a nickname way. I actually really like it, and don't associate it with "Hairy" at all. You could use "Harris," too, if you want. :)

Anonymous said...

I have a cousin and friend names Harrison and another friend named Harris, and they have NEVER been called Harry. If you introduce him as just Harrison or Harris, chances are most people will just call him that. I wonder if you would like;

Hayden, Hayes is a cute nickname
Hadden (HAD-EN)
Maximilian, Maxwell, Max

I would not use Leighton, I think of Leighton Meester when I hear it

ryan said...

what about griffen, rowan, simon

Anonymous said...

I would go back to the original names you like but can't use. Two syllable names ending in 'n.' I'm partial to Dylan, Ethan and Logan.

Logan Foster sounds nice.

Anonymous said...

I immediately thought of Penn for you. It's similar to Ben but much more uncommon. I know a Penn in his late 20's and I've always thought it was such a cool, unexpected name.

Landon makes me think of Dalton, which might work.

Sawyer from your girls list makes me think of Sutton and Sullivan.

Nathan makes me think of Nolan.

I also really like Harrison and think you could avoid the nickname Harry if you wanted.

StephLove said...

I don't think Harry is inevitable with Harrison and if that's your favorite, I'd go with it.

My favorite ends-in-n name for a boy is Ian and I think it meets a lot of your requirements. Slightly preppy, well known but not super common. Some one else's suggestion of Ethan is similar. I like Aaron, Dane, Declan & Griffin for you as well. Trevor popped into my mind as going well with names you like for siblings down the line, but it starts with a T.

Anonymous said...

Ian Gil, Liam Fabian, Ivan Conyers. Great middle name choices you have. Sounds like you like Harrison and just need reassurance though.

Amy said...

How about Wesley?

Miranda said...

I suggest Walker

Anonymous said...

Harrison is a great name! I know a little guy named that and he is always called either his full name or Harris. I think that if you don't call him Harry, it's unlikely most adults will. Kids at school might be another thing, though Harris sounds more likely as a cool guy friend name these days (e.g. "Hey, Harris! How's it going, buddy?") Harrison Foster is a stellar name.

I agree with Swistle that Sawyer is also a great option for a boy's name, more so than Leighton which, like another commenter, I currently associate with Leighton Meester, so firmly in the girl camp.

I also like someone's suggestion of Nolan.

Perhaps decide on your favourite girl name for a hypothetical future child and then go from there?

Anonymous said...

If I saw that siblings were named Leighton and Sawyer I would think Leighton was the girl and Sawyer was the boy. I think Sawyer is a good choice for a boy for you. I also think Harrison sounds good, with harris as a nickname. I don't think anyone will call him Harry if you never do.

Anonymous said...

I think Harrison is a good, strong name, and I do think you can avoid the nickname "Harry," like the other posters said, especially if you never use that.

There's a kid on my son's soccer team whose name is Foster, and I think that's another good choice (plus it uses a family name.)

Another name that I thought of was Graham. Or Colin/Collin.

The Mrs. said...

Harrison Foster is so incredibly amazing that I'm hesitant to suggest anything else.

Here are three less incredible options, though:


Otherwise, your middle name idea of Truman is really fantastic.

Best wishes to you and your growing family!!

Caroline said...

my cousin is named Harrison and no one has ever called him Harry. People have called him Harris, though, which goes in your favor!

Harrison is a great name, I would totally go for it.

Heidi said...

Love Harrison! Don't like Leighton.

I'm kind of a weirdo on syllable counts, and personally, if I went with a 3-syllable first name to go with a 2-syllable last name, I like a shorter (1-syllable) middle name. There's something about the 3+2+1, in whatever order, that rolls off the tongue nicely. And yes, that's what we did with both our sons.

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't use a name with a nick name you don't want. You can control to an extent what people call your child, but you cannot control what your child calls himself! We have close friends with an Andrew who strongly dislike Andy. Their son came home from Kindergarten declaring they should now only call him Andy. You might be comfortable correcting family and friends, but would you correct your own child?

I happen to be a Katherine who was called Kathy for years (and hated it) My dad still says weird, condescending things about my preferences for being called Katherine and all I can say is HE PICKED MY NAME!! (true, my mom was not involved at all!)

FWIW, I like Harrison and I like Harry as well.

Anonymous said...

Masculine, preppy, classic but not common.

I noticed that your favored girls' names generally have a "Y" somewhere in them. Perhaps you would like "Colby." It is ranked #273 in the US.

Since you like Sawyer, but think of it as a potential girls' name, I am wondering if you'd like "Saul." Very manly, familiar, but not common. Ranked 329 in the US.

Given your affinity for names that end in N, I wonder if you'd consider "Alden." It reminds me of Landon on your list. It is Neil Armstrong's middle name. How much more masculine can you get? The meaning is wonderful, too, if you place any credence on that. Some people think it means "Old Friend." It is ranked 916 in the US.

Anonymous said...

Swistle, you must mean Allison (rather than Alice) as an example of a name traditionally given to boys, but no longer now that it's gone over to the girls--right?

Swistle said...

Anonymous- I did mean Alice, but I think I was actually thinking of Anne. But now I can't find the source that said that about Anne, and in any case I'll take Alice out of the list!

(Alison isn't a traditional boy name: it's a diminutive of the name Alice. It does tend to come up in these kinds of discussions, though, when people just say it "should" be a boy name because of the -son ending. I wonder if that's how I got mixed up about Alice?)

Anonymous said...

What about Weston? I like Weston Foster, Weston Conyers, what about Weston Conrad?

Anonymous said...

I think Harrison Foster is a great name-and I do think you can avoid Harry as a nickname. I agree Sawyer sounds too boy with your other girl names and Leighton/Leyton is too girl, maybe just switch them both over? I also think many of your possible middles would make nice first names-Foster, Truman & Gill all sound nice and shouldn't be really popular as first names. Some suggestions-Fletcher, Archer, Vaughn, Mitchell and Brennan.

Anonymous said...

I know someone with a Layton (boy). I also know a Harrison, who has only been called Harrison or by his 2 initials. Not Harry to my knowledge.

Kas said...

I love the name Harrison and think Harris is a great nn option! Im with you as i dont like the nn Harry and dont think it will be used if you introduce him as Harris!

Most of the names i was going to suggest have already been said but Lincoln and Lawson are my top picks for you if you like Landon!

Other suggestions


Congrats an good luck x

gail said...

Harrison Foster, nn'd Harris, is superb. Masculine, respectable, and on trend: I don't see how you could improve on it, you have great instincts. Of Swistle's alternatives, I like Anderson, Davis, Carson and Spencer, although even Spencer is now being considered unisex.

Leighton and Sawyer are both too unisex at this point in time for consideration, unless you are very comfortable with the concept of unisex naming.


Anonymous said...

Yes, Harrison Foster, Harris, works beautifully. Stop second guessing yourself. Sawyer is boyish and Leighton is girlish, although famous Australian tennis player Lleyton Hewitt, former world champion, is certainly a man! But go with the names you love which have significance for you. Keep us updated when they arrive!

Mary said...

What about Hayes? Hayes Foster T.. Preppyish yet still uncommon and easy to pronounce.

Beckye said...

Harrison Foster is extremely handsome. If you don't like Harry as a nickname, what about Sonny?

liz said...

I love Harrison Foster. What a great name!!

I always think of Morgan as a boy's name (Morgan Freeman, and my childhood friend Morgan T.)

Gordon, Owen, Langdon, Jonathan, Larson.