A name trend requires a common thread: a style link that makes a whole group of names rise and fall together. It might be a shared suffix, or meaning, or linguistic origin. Occasionally it’s something more elusive—a theme you recognize but can’t easily define. That’s the case with a new set of boys’ names. They share huge momentum and a sound that’s unmistakably new but maddeningly hard to pin down.
The new rising names are short and hard-edged but not curt. They’re casual and breezy yet bursting with energy. They’re almost preppy, almost metal, almost sci-fi, almost cowboy. They’re…well, see for yourself. Each of these names has at least tripled in popularity over the past ten years.
The trend also spills over into some more traditionally styled names with a similar sound. 1950s nicknames like Chip, Skip and Buck are unexpectedly soaring. Bluff -s surnames like Riggs, Briggs and Banks are red-hot. Punchy word names like Chief and Tuff are no longer “nickname only.” But sound alone isn’t enough to ride this wave; the name has to have a little edge to it. Familiar given names like Craig and Todd are still out of luck.
Put it all together and you have a clear trend, accounting for tens of thousands of American babies. Yet I’ve put off writing about it because I can’t properly describe it. I just know it when I see it.
If you see it too, what are you seeing? How would you describe this name style?