Tag Archives: boy names

Name of the Day: Roscoe

Derived from a place name, Roscoe is used as both a first and last name and means “doe wood”. I believe there are 15 Roscoe towns and villages in the US.  It was only given to 63 boys last year, which I find incredible! It’s so handsome, why are people not using it?

With the name Otis I just linked to a bunch of youtube videos of artists with the name… it seemed to resonate with my husband, so let’s try that approach again!

Roscoe Conkling “Fatty” Arbucke, a silent film star who mentored Charlie Chaplin and discovered Bob Hope. Other actors include: Roscoe Karns who comically starred in 150 films, Roscoe Orman (Gordon on Sesame Street), Roscoe Born, Roscoe Lee Browne and Alan Roscoe.

Outside the arts, there have been many influential politicians and accomplished athletes bearing Roscoe as a first or last name.  Several professor and scientist Roscoes have contributed research advancing the scientific world. It’s also the name of several war heroes and the first ever direcor of the CIA. Roscoe Pound is one of history’s most influential legal scholars. Roscoe Nicholson is one of the earliest advocates for conservation of forest life in the US.  Will Roscoe is an author and activist who’s works largely involve rights of the LGBT community.




Name of the Day: Reynard

An Ancient Germanic name meaning brave advice, this name has lots of spelling variations. I really like Rainard as it has the word rain in it, which I find peaceful and cleansing, but I struggle to find as much information about it being a legitimate spelling…So I’ll go on with Reynard as it’s the most common spelling… though it was still given to less than 5 babies last year.

Reynard is the name of a sneaky Fox (Fox could be a cool nickname) in which many many forklores have been based. These tales started in the middle ages and were popular in Germany, France, England and the Netherlands. In fact these tales were so popular that renard became the new word for fox in France (it used to be goupil.) Reynard’s stories often involve him out smarting the upper class authorities.

His first documented tale is a Latin poem from 1148 called Ysengrimus. Reynard is renamed Rossel in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The character was also used by the Nazi party in an Anti Semitic children’s book (not all the history of a given name can be good!). Disney’s Robin Hood was a fox to make him similar to Reynard. These are just a few of many many examples of Reynard’s many many appearances in pop culture over the years.

I found a modern day pop singer names named Reynard Silva… maybe he’s a big deal… I really don’t keep up with what’s currently hip. Whether a household name or not though, I think he’s pretty talented.

Paul Reynard was a French born artist and art teacher. Many of his paintings exist in the United States, including a mural at Harvard. He was also a very skilled stained glass artist.

 




Name of the Day: Otis

Peter’s rejected Otis several times already, but I just love it!! So, I’m going to look into it’s history anyways. Peter says it’s a cat’s name… which is so stupid because it’s the dog’s name on Milo and Otis, which happens to be a phenomenal movie that I loved as a kid and my kids love now. So if I’m going to name my kid after a dog, it’d be that protective little pug!

Otis has 2 different origins, cognate of Otto (which is another name I love) it means “wealth and fortune”. Or the Greek version of Latin Nemo, it would mean “no one”.

Several musicians bear the name Otis. For the sake of (somewhat) brevity I’m just going to provide links to some of their music and let that inspire you (or, rather my husband.)

Otis Dudley Duncan is one of history’s most influential sociologists. Much of his work focused on social mobility (or the lack of it) in the United States. His works are still being expanded upon today. When he retired in 1987 he took up composing electronic music and computer graphics. I love to learn how people influential in a given field are multidimensional and see how their passion drives them to other hobbies. In 2000 (4 years before his death) he published a few more pieces as a member of the Humanist Society. These included topics such as euthanasia, atheism and creationism.




Name of the Day: Bayard

Meaning “bay colored” this name was used in a medieval poem for a horse that could change size to accommodate more or less passengers. In some areas it’s become a common synonym for horse. But not where I live, so I shall continue.

Bayard Taylor was a 19th century poet, novelist and travel author. His travels were many, and he did his best to fully immerse himself in the culture. This led to both literature about his journeys and inspired creative fictional pieces. His most well-known travel piece is probably his book on the gold rush, El Dorado. His 2nd novel Joseph and His Friend: a Story of Pennsylvania is considered the first gay novel in America. A smart, adventurous and talented man, he makes the perfect namesake.

Bayard Rustin was a civil rights activist. Many consider him influential in gay rights as well. As an out of the closet gay man, he certainly spoke out in support of gay rights. However, he did not feel comfortable being known as a gay role model. He was outted on accident, he believes a person’s sexual preferences are private and he never had any intentions of letting the public know his. However, the public did know and in the last five years of his life he spoke out more about it. In 1982, since homosexuals had no way of marrying or solidifying their relationship legally, Bayard and his partner took an unconventional step; for themselves and to start discussion. Bayard adopted Walter, so that the law would recognize them as family. Walter was, of course a grown man, but his mother gave up her rights and a social worker had to approve Bayard as an acceptable care giver… the process seems ridiculous… but I wholly admire their desire to do something official! And they didn’t have other options.  In 1986 (a year before his death) he made a speech in support of New York State’s Gay Rights Bill called “The New Niggers are Gays”. In his life he’d seen (and helped provide) many improvements in the treatments of African Americans in our society… but believed gays were now the most vulnerable group.

Bayard was a big proponent of non violence, having worked with Gandhi during his movement in India. He helped Martin Luther King Jr to fully understand the movement, and Martin then brought it more attention. He worked behind the scenes with Martin and many other civil rights leaders and organizers but was rarely a spokesperson. Because he was known to be gay and have a previous association with the communist party he wasn’t a very wholesome figurehead. The list of all that he worked towards for equality is so overwhelming I can’t begin to summarize it in a paragraph. If you’d like to read more, check his Wikipedia page. Interestingly, Bayard was also an accomplished tenor who’s voice can be found on several albums from the 50s-70s.

I love the history of this name but I also love the nicknames Bay and Bear. I wish this name was used more. To appear on the social security list a name must be given to 5 or more babies in a year, Bayard was given to 5 boys in 2014 and has not reappeared since.




Name of the Day: Malcolm

The name of 4 Scottish kings, an Australian prime minister and of course Malcolm X, this name is great for a boy you want to teach to be a strong leader. An old name, with lots of history, Malcolm is pretty uncommon, ranked at #410 in 2016.

I think for my generation the 2 immediate associations with the name Malcolm are Malcolm in the Middle and Malcolm X. Malcolm in the Middle was a fictional show about a gifted boy in a dysfunctional family.. it was funny. It was clean humor without being goody goody and boring. I think it’s a positive association. I have fond memories watching it with my brother on Sunday nights.

Moving to Malcolm X, the real life association. I’m embarrassed to say that my knowledge of Malcolm X from my public school education is very limited. I was taught that he was a civil rights activist, but resorted to violence and anger..  the educators of my youth presented Martin Luther King Jr as the good guy and Malcolm X as the bad guy. As an adult I obviously recognize that they can both be good while having different methods and different journeys. I wonder if my teachers truly thought of Malcolm X as a bad guy, or if they were just scared to teach about his complex and murky history. To summarize my opinion, in case anyone reading this is realizing that their own education on the subject is lacking: Malcolm X had spent his life being treated unfairly. In looking for a fix to the solution, he presented ideas in a compelling manner, with good intentions. Though I disagree with many of his ideas, I can appreciate where they were coming from. By the time of his death has had reformed many of his ideas. He was more peaceful and loving. If given the chance to live a full life, he may have changed his position on other matters, too. He was young and excited and I think, like most young people, he expressed some of his feelings before properly exploring them. Overall, him and Martin Luther King Jr were on the same side, after their deaths, their widows were best friends.

In Shakespeare’s Macbeth Malcolm is based of the real life Malcolm III of Scotland. The rightful heir to the throne, this reference combines royalty, leadership and literature in one.

Malcolm Young is one of the founding members of AC/DC, Malcolm Lowry a poet and novelist (best known for Under the Volcano), the list of great namesakes goes on and on… Lastly I think the nick name Mac is adorable!




Name of the Day: Wilfred

Frederick used to be one of our favorite boy names until I realized I dislike it with our surname. And hubby agreed. But Wilfred would still allow the adorable nickname Freddie (which I think is a cute nickname for a girl too!), and the more I think about it, I think I like it even more than Frederick. I’m not crazy about the Rick part of Frederick, but I quite like the Wil part of Wilfred. Wil is a very handsome nickname and I’ve never understood why so many Williams go by Bill when Will is so much more sophisticated. Wilfy is another cute nickname.

Meaning desiring peace, Wilfred is a well known name, rarely used in the states. Throughout history, however, there have been many famous Wilfreds. Wilfred Greatorex was an accomplished television writer, several athletes also bear the name and Wilfred the Hairy was a count in modern day Spain back in the 800s.

Wilfred Gordon Bigelow was a heart surgeon who helped to create the artificial pacemaker and introduced the use of hypothermia in open heart surgery. Through both of these, Bigelow is responsible for saving countless lives!

Wilfred Trotter was another notable in the medical field. An outstanding surgeon, he was also very interested in the field of psychology. His major psychological works involved herd theory, and he was actually a big influencer of Wilfred Bion, who we will learn about in the next paragraph. He was also one of the first few people to see the genius of Sigmund Freud. As a surgeon he was both the surgeon of King George V and the person whom Freud himself turned to when he had terminal cancer.

Wilfred Bion was a very well-known and influential psychoanalyst who has been said to be the greatest mind known to psychology other than Freud. He was unafraid to do things differently and because of this was able to develop many new theories helping us to understand psychology, most notably relating to: our ability to learn from experience, group dynamics, how treatment during infancy affects an individual’s view on people and things during their adult years, and factors that push and pull individuals toward crime.

Wilfred Pickles was an English actor and radio celebrity. (We all know I love a good radio namesake!) He is best known for his radio show “Have a Go”, which co-starred his wife Mabel. The first radio game show in England, Mr. And Mrs. Pickles traveled the UK asking trivia questions to those they met and allowing them to win cash prizes. The show lasted 21 years and had a weekly audience of 20 million. Not only a symbol of success in the arts, Wilfred and Mabel are also a symbol of a loyal, everlasting love.

Wilfred Owen is credited as the greatest poet during the first World War. As a soldier he was relieved of duty after suffering serious injury, but despite the wish of those closest to him, enlisted again after he was healed. This decision was fatal, he was killed in action 1 week before the end of the war. His early life, under his mother’s influence, he was a devout member of the Church of England, but while attending university became upset by the church’s unwillingness to help those that needed it. This and his experience in the army were extremely influential on his poetry, which originally was influenced by romantic poets such as Keats and Shelley.

Wilfred Johnson was a Mafia enforcer turned FBI informant. He grew up with an alcoholic, abusive father, sometimes absent mother and a habit for getting in trouble at school. Eventually his rough life led him to organized crime, but while behind bars, those that claimed to provide for his family did not live up to their promise. This eventually made him switch his loyalty to the FBI. Once his cover was blown, the FBI wanted to put him in the witness protection program but he refused, leading to his murder. Though his story has a sad ending, I think his is a story that shows no matter what your past, you can still turn your life around.

Wilfred Wood is the name of both a Victoria Cross recipient and the first black bishop in England. Soldier Private Wood fought in the first World War and without any orders embarked on a mission that caused 140 enemies to surrender. Bishop Wood was influential not just within the Church of England but also helped raise awareness of racial issues and help unite the masses and bring equality throughout the country. In 2004 the public voted him the 2nd most influential black Briton in the nation’s history.

On the opposite end of the religious spectrum, Wilfred Cantwell Smith is a scholar, professor and author on religious studies most known for The Meaning and End of Religion in which Smith investigates how religions started, changed over time and what they mean to those practicing today. Very controversial but in my opinion very interesting and informative.

Sir Wilfred Stokes was made a knight for his invention of the Stokes Mortar, the first portable mortar, used a great deal in WWI. Any one else notice a lot of these Wilfreds are Englishmen during the first World war? Wilfred Thesiger was also made a knight, many years later in 1995. He was a travel writer, well known for his two books, Arabian Sands and The Marsh Arabs.

Wilfred originated from the name Wilfrid and I’m not even going to research those that had that name because, well, the above list is probably already more than anyone wants to read. My last reason for enjoying the name is it’s the name of a show that Peter and I enjoyed watching together. The title character is a dog, so, I admittedly wasn’t sure this was a positive association at first. But now that I know of so many great human nonfiction Wilfreds, I do not as strongly associate it with the dog character. And the show is HILARIOUS!




Name of the Day: Amos

Meaning “carried”, Amos is familiar but uncommon. In the Old Testament the book of Amos is one of the oldest of the books and is largely about greed, corruption and oppression of the poor. (Thank you behind the name for your always vast and helpful collection of name facts.) I find this to be particularly fitting in the current state of the world.

Besides the biblical Amos, Amos is also the birth name of Bronson Alcott, who went by his middle name and I wrote about in this post. It has musical ties through both Amos Lee and Tori Amos.

Known primarily for his Famous Amos cookies, Wallace Amos Jr. has also written 10 books, mostly  of the “self help” genre. Before starting his cookie business he was a talent agent, representing artists such as Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross and the Supremes. He has also worked to help adults learn to read through volunteering and through a television program he hosted in the 80s.

Other famous Amos’ include Olympians, inventors, actors and more. There are no nicknames I love for it… but that didn’t bother me since the name is only 2 syllables. It’s short, sophisticated but spunky and I also really like the way it looks!




Name of the Day: Evander

An ancient Greek name meaning “good man”. I think this name is strong and handsome… But worry it’s too associated with Evander Holyfield. He may be a lovely person, I don’t know. I have no interest in boxing, so with him being such a strong association for many, it’s probably not the perfect name for my son. But if boxing is your thing, I recommend it. And if it’s not but you think you can get past the Holyfield association, there have been other influential bearers of the name.

Evander of Pallene founded the city of Pallantium, which would later be Rome. He also started the Lupercalia festival, which rids the city of evil spirits, cleanses the villagers and making them healthy and fertile.

Evander is also the name of an ancient Greek philosopher, a sculptor and more. I love the nickname Van! LOVE!! Evan is another good nickname, as is Ander.




Name of the Day: Thaddeus

I’m obsessed with the name Thaddeus. My husband has shot it down before and I’ve put off bringing it up again as I know he isn’t a fan if the “Th” sound, especially in the beginning of a name. But I love it too much to not even try.

Thaddeus means courageous heart or could be related to Theodore, so would mean Gift of God. Both amazing meanings. Thaddeus is the last name of one of Jesus’s 12 Apostles, Jude.

I love nicknames Tad, Thad, Taz, Ted and Deus. Let’s be honest, as a baby I’d call him Tadpole!

Thaddeus can be considered a musically inspired name for 2 reasons: Thaddeus “Thad” Jones was a jazz trumpeter, composer and band leader. Also the inventor of the telharmonium (an electric organ considered the first synthetic instrument) was Thaddeus Cahill.

Thaddeus Stevens was a Radical Republican who wanted to rid our country of slavery. When the freedom of slaves was clearly going to happen, he thought some of the slave owners’ land should have been given to the newly freed slaves. When Lincoln was killed and Johnson took his place, Stevens was disgusted by his unwillingness to put into law any protections for the newly freed slaves. Thus, he tried to get Johnson impeached, which, as we know, never happened. He also believed in, worked for and donated his own resources towards free public education to all.




Name of the Day: Rupert

The German form of Robert this name means bright fame. In the top 200 in England and Wales, its not even ranked in the top 1,000 here in the States.

Rupert Murdoch may be a strong association for some. As I work in media, I do have some respect for the empire he’s built. However, I don’t have much respect for him as a person, so let’s find some better namesakes, shall we?

Rupert Brooke was a British War poet who was also known for his boyish good looks. His most known poem is the Soldier, read it here. A young man with lots of passion, he died at the age of 27.  I would have loves to see what he would have accomplished had he lived a longer life.

Prince Rupert of Rhine was an extremely interesting individual of the 17th century. He was an artist, soldier, scientist and more. He was very bright and quick witted, but it seems he often had the temper to match. Read more about him here.

A German king in the 15th century King Rupert was given the surname Clemens meaning “the gentle”. Though his efforts were mostly for naught, he did continuously try to bring peace to his kingdom.

Rupert von Trapp is the real life oldest son in the Trapp Family singers. In the Sound of Music his character was Friedrich (which by the way is another name we love!!). Peter is a big ol’ weirdo who dislikes the movie Sound of Music (one of my all time favorites), but I believe he’s in agreement that the story of the real von Trapp family is very inspirational, so perhaps he will love this namesake as much as I do…. probably not.

Rupert is also the name of not one but two bears. Rupert Bear is a children’s comic strip in England, being published since 1935 and still today. It’s also the name of Stewie’s stuffed bear on Family Guy, which is of course my husband’s first association with the name. You can find other famous Ruperts on this Wikipedia page.