Is it massive? Is it powerful? How about savage and prepared to wreak havoc? If so, it’s ready to be a baby name—for boys only.
An emerging style of male word names is frankly ferocious. These names blow past traditional boundaries to present themselves as huge (e.g. Goliath), powerful (Dominance), angry (Furious), dangerous (Savage), and just plain out of control (Mayhem). Since the turn of the millennium, their collective popularity has risen by nearly 1000%.
Each of these boys’ names has appeared in US baby name statistics in the last three years:
Most of these names are still rare. Only Cannon and Titan rank among the top 1000 boys’ names. But they’re just one corner of a much broader movement toward aggressive and aggrandizing names for boys.
The Bigger Picture
If you can imagine a type of name that would suggest dominance, aggression or ego, you’ll probably find it among 21st-century boys names. For instance:
- Combative “doer” names like Slayer, Shooter and Warrior
- Preeminent titles like Pharaoh, Sultan and Emperor
- Weapon brand names like Ruger, Winchester and Wesson
- Expressions of victory like Triumph, Champion and Prevail
- Brands of extra-large condoms like Magnum, Maxx and Kyng
- Apex predators like Lion, Hawk and Wolf
- Deific terms like Almighty, Sovereign and Supreme
- Mythological embodiments of power like Kratos, Atlas and Thor
The hyper-aggressive style is spreading in subtler ways as well, such as spelling. The letter X acts as a turbocharger in phrases like “X Games” and “X factor.” A double X takes it to the extreme.
40 years ago, not a single name containing xx appeared in American baby name stats. Last year’s stats featured 44 different xx names like Brixx and Maxximus, accounting for more than 1200 babies—nearly all of them boys.
Why are so many parents naming their sons like supervillains and power tools? Individually, their motivations doubtless vary. Some parents are inspired by comic book or video game characters. Others may hope to instill confidence in a child they fear society will seek to diminish. Still others enjoy the aggressive imagery itself and find the names fun and exciting.
In other words, individually the names are chosen with care like any others. But taken all together, they point to an image of masculinity as dangerously volatile rather than steady and stalwart. Coming soon to adulthood near you.