There's good reason why some boy names are dropped and never picked up again. They have what I call the 'urgh factor,' and are anything but beautiful sounding...and naturally you want your baby's name to be something that makes you gasp for the right reasons.
Several of the names I've included here on this list were becoming unpopular when I was a little one (late 80's, early 90's) and it's rare to hear them nowadays. Which in my opinion, is a very good thing...names like Shane, Nigel and Roy have always made me cringe, and if I ever meet a little one called either of these things, I can't help but think 'poor kid.' The name Roy, for example, peaked in popularity in 1910 and has plummeted in the ranks ever since.
Of course, you are the parent, so at the end of the day it's you who decides what to call your child, (though if you live in Iceland, this'll be a different story...) but take a moment to check out the names that appear on our list and, if you come across the one you were thinking on, ponder your choice for a while before going with it.
Whenever I think of the name Alec, I think of Alec Baldwin and whenever I think of Alec Baldwin I think not of the prolific American actor, but of a shifty looking guy with major anger issues. Not the best of introductions to a name, is it?
Pronounced Al-ec, Alec is an English name and is actually a short form of Alexander (something I did not know before this article). Variants include Al, Alek, Lex and Sandy - funnily enough, I don't like any of them either! Heck, this name is having a hard time...
In the US it has a lowly ranking of 491 and I wasn't able to find rankings for anywhere else. Though I can't say I'm all that surprised. I read an agreeable comment on BehindTheName.com where an anonymous user said that the name reminded them a lot of the term 'smart-aleck.'
Bradley is a boring name. There, I said it, and I'm sticking to my guns. When I speak this name out loud, I can hardly be bothered to get to the end. I'm bored by the letter 'l.'
If I had to choose between the names Brad and Bradley, I'd go with Brad every time, even though I do find it similarly unexciting. Even the fact it can be spelt in several different ways - Bradlee, Bradleigh and Bradleeh - doesn't help it become anymore exciting.
Pronounced BRAD-lee, Bradley originally comes from an Old English place name meaning 'broad clearing.' (Really not the most riveting of meanings, is it?) There's plenty of heated debate on baby name forums about whether Bradley is a 'wimpish' name or a masculine sounding one. I think you can guess my thoughts on this.
Cade really isn't a name that you hear every day. Thank goodness. It is missing the essential 'umph' of a good name, and comes across as just, well, bland. Really, really bland.
Pronounced KAYD, this English name is originally derived from an Old English nickname meaning 'round.' Wow. Exciting, huh? Sadly not only does it sound bland but the meaning is equally as dull. You can spell it Kade if you wish, though it doesn't do anything to lift it up.
Slight Night Shiver on BehindTheName.com said it's, 'Boring! Too minimalist for my taste,' though an anonymous user thought that it has a 'nice homey feel to it.' I kind of get what they mean about the 'homey feel' if I'm being perfectly honest, but it doesn't help to change my feelings towards it.
Admission time. I'm on the fence with Camden. In a way I think it's COOL AS HELL, especially because Camden Town (a vibrant, alternative district in London) was a pivotal place for my development into the human being I am today.
Though not everyone feels the same way as I do...an anonymous user on BehindTheName.com says, 'Camden Town is a place in that borough, which is very shabby and run-down, and is mostly famous for its market which sells cheap drug paraphernalia and tacky goth fetish-wear.'
If Camden Town has space reserved for it in your heart, I don't see why you can't call your precious little one after it. Pronounced KAM-den, it means 'enclosed valley' in Old English, and has been more commonly used as a surname. It's a good alternative to Cameron, a name I've never felt fond of.
When I was about seven years old, I would always use the names Colin and Billy when playing with imaginary friends. Why? I have no idea. But as I've grown older (and hopefully wiser) my taste changed and I found myself out of love with both names, though I thoroughly appreciate British actor Colin Firth...
Pronounced KOL-in in English and KHAL-in in Scottish, Colin is a Scottish name.
Some people think it's 'beautiful and delicate' while another person chose it for their little boy because they 'found it direct and masculine, yet refined and not brutish.' I, personally, find it far too lacklustre. It just doesn't do anything for me, and when I say it out loud my head just fills with images of things that are coloured beige.
Clive has always been one of those names that's sounded snakish, sly and sneaky. I think I'd find it hard to put my trust into someone called Clive...see the power that names have over us!
Pronounced KLIEV, but look at the spelling of the pronunciation too many times and you will start to see the word 'kiev'...and before you know it, your head will be filled with imagery of battered and fried chicken fillets.
I wasn't able to find rankings for the name Clive, (can't say I wasn't relieved.) But I did find out that there's quite an interesting meaning to the name. In Old English, the name Clive meant 'cliff,' and was a surname given to a person who lived near a cliff. While I don't like the name Clive, there are people out there who think it's 'commanding and stout, honorable and timeless.'
My Grandmother's next door neighbour had the misfortune of bearing the name Willie, and as kids this was an endless source of entertainment for my siblings and I. It was impossible to keep a straight face whenever he was in the room and his name was spoken out loud. (In England, it's common for a little boy to call their 'equipment' a willy.)
As childish as it is, I think I would still struggle not to smirk if I were to meet someone called Willie nowadays. In England, I think most parents have enough sense not to give their child a name which would, inevitably, lead to a lifetime of bullying.
I was able to find rankings for Willie in the US...it came in at 797 (I'm amazed it made it into the top 1000) though rankings for it elsewhere don't, to my knowledge, exist.
I have never, ever, ever liked the name Dean. I guess it has something to do with the fact that every Dean I have ever met (and I am not kidding folks) has been a thuggish bastard with some serious issues. I wasn't too shocked to find out that Dean means 'leadership' though the Deans I have encountered have led in the worst kind of ways...
There are some names which, I will admit, I am embarrassed that they originate in England, and Dean is one of them. There's absolutely no redeeming features to this name whatsoever, and whenever I hear it, I shudder.
People like it because it sounds 'strong,' 'masculine' and 'tough-sounding.' I think it sounds brutish, harsh and horribly unfriendly. Someone said they sound it 'refreshing...' how they could think such a thing I don't know.
Norman is another one of those 'beige' names, and to imagine it used on anyone under the age of 65 is a hard task. And it has that awful related name Norm.
While I don't think the name Norman is anything special, I am fond of the meaning. It's an old Germanic byname meaning 'northman' in reference to the Vikings. To begin with it was a nickname for Viking settlers, and then later on became known as a given name.
Norman isn't currently ranked anywhere (surprise, surprise), and while I can think of names going extinct to be a bad and a sad thing, in this instance, I think that it's for the greater good. The fascinating meaning behind Norman, isn't able to save it. And don't forget Norman Bates from Hitchcock's classic Psycho.
I have found, during my 31 years of life, that Dominics have the tendency to be so self-obsessed that it's actually something of a painful task to be around them. Heck, I wish I didn't have to say stuff like this, I don't like coming down so hard on some names, but it needs to be out there. I think it's one of those unlucky names.
Pronounced DAWM-i-nik, it means 'of the Lord,' and it used to be tradition to give the name Dominic to a child born on a Sunday. It's been used by a whole host of saints and was first used in England back in the 13th century.
There are plenty of people out there who like it though. An anonymous user on BehindTheName.com said it's a name that's 'manly, intelligent, exotic-sounding and downright seductive.'
I guess there's a reason why Ernest is ranked at 975 in the US baby name rankings, though I have to say I'm shocked it made it into the top 1000!
The names Ernest is derived from the Germanic word eornost which means 'serious,' and I think you very much get that 'serious' vibe when you look at and hear this name. In English it's pronounced UR-nest and in French it's pronounced ER-NEST, a pronunciation I much prefer.
While I might be head over heels in love with the name, there is an Ernest I do have a great amount of respect for, and that's the late Ernest Howard Shepard (E.H. Shepard) was a British artist and book illustrator. He was known especially for his illustrations for The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne.
I have to think really, really hard to remember the last time I met a child called Joe. While it isn't a name that is as cringeworthy as some of the ones I've talked about before, it does, I think, lack a certain something. What I think about when I think about the name Joe is a deflated balloon, as depressing as that might sound! It just doesn't stand out.
Mrnda13 commenting on BehindTheName.com said about the name Joe, 'Joe is an awful name in my opinion. It would be much better to just name someone Joseph, and pray they don't take on the nickname Joe. It sounds so sloppy, (no puns intended) and gross.' While SharonLee said it's 'dull' 'and 'boring.' Another commenter said 'it's quite nice...' which I guess is a kinder way of saying 'thanks, but no thanks.'
We had a Leslie in the family when I was younger, and even as a child under double figures, I can recall screwing up my face whenever I heard the name used. I never met the man (some distant uncle) but the name always repelled. It's one of those names that I just can't trust.
And it seems like people in the US feel the same way about this name, because it hasn't made it into the top 1000 names for boys since 1997. It would appear that it's popularity peaked in 1895.
People on BehindTheName.com are mostly of the belief that, for a boy, it's an 'ugly' name, and that it 'works much better' for girls. (Confession - I don't like it on either a girl or a boy). Though there are a few in favour, and one who thinks that it's 'wholesome' and 'inviting.'
This is another 'snaky' name, one I've never felt comfortable around. I always envisage it belonging to someone who always puts their own needs first. Unsurprisingly, I haven't been able to find it ranked anywhere. The last time it made it into the top 1000 in the US was way back in 1966!
The meaning behind Cyril is 'lord,' and has been used by several saints. It came into use in England quite late - the 19th Century. If I was to hear it used nowadays, I would assume that the child was a royal or at least from a very affluent family.
One comment about the name Cyril that made me laugh and think 'that's SO TRUE!' was from Julia on BehindTheName.com who said, 'Whenever I try to say this name, it sounds sort of like cereal.'
Martin is, I think, an unimaginative name. And I do feel a little bit bad saying that because I have met so many nice people called Martin. It's just not a choice I would go for. And, it would seem, parents in the US and England feel much the same.
While the name might not do much for me, I do, however, find the different pronunciations fascinating... you'll find it pronounced MAHR-tin in English, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish, MAR-TEN in French, MAR-teen in German and Slovak, MAWR-teen in Hungarian, mar-TIN in Bulgarian and MAHR-teen in Finnish.
While there are plenty of us who would skip this one, there are some who think it's a perfect choice, including an anonymous user on BehindTheName.com who said 'Martin is common in my family. I love it. I picture a nice strong man who is wise and friendly.'
Nigel is another name I've loathed since childhood. I've never seen the appeal. I haven't been able to find it ranked anywhere, so I know I'm not the only person who feels this way!
I found plenty of 'loathing' on the BehindTheName.com forum too... 'I don't like this name. It sounds old-fashioned.' 'This has got to be the ugliest name I have ever heard.' 'Ugh, I have never liked this name. It sounds like one of those elitist British names given to British boys who are sent to boarding schools. The sound is very unpleasant anyway.'
And apparently, according to commenter Mondays Child, it even plays a role in Aussie slang... "Nigel No Friends" - Aussie slang for someone without any friends, someone who's alone. My mum uses this one a lot, e.g. "Yeah, she's a bit of a Nigel. Her whole family's gone to Europe for Christmas."
This English name is most defiantly a strange one...and not strange for the right kind of reasons. There's nothing particularly 'spectacular' about it. Pronounced PAYT-en, Payton - which is apparently a unisex name - is one of the more obscure names that we have on this list.
One comment that made me howl was someone who said that it made them 'think of a horse.' I can totally see where they're coming from to be honest! I'm able to envisage Peyton being used at the Grand National, but not on a birth certificate for a human child! Someone else said it 'Sounds like an elitist, snobby upper-crust country club name. I can see a kid with this name being extremely entitled and bratty.'
Another downside is that it can actually mean 'aggressive,' really not a meaning you want behind the name for your child.
Believe it or not, but Phillip was widely used as a female name, right up until the 19th century. I don't despise it as much as I do other names on the list, but I wouldn't choose it for my own children - male or female!
When one mom on Nameberry.com asked for her fellow commenter's opinion on if she should call her son Phillip, she had some very mixed responses, including Graham P who said 'The only Philip I know of cheated on his wife and their two children and is currently living with my ex, so I can't relate anything honest and decent or vaguely good to that name,"
Rachel M on the other hand, had this to say, I don't think Phillip's too old fashioned at all. It's a good strong, name. If you wanted to shorten it and make it trendier he could be a "Pip."'
Despite its dull look and sound, Roy does have quite the strong meaning behind it, and comes from the French word roi which means 'king.' I was uber surprised to find that it's ranked in the US (at 539 in case you were wondering) though not ranked anywhere else.
On BehindTheName.com there was mixed opinions about the name. Here are two starkly different views, the first from Lyrewen and the second from 7up. 'The sound just makes me think of a freaky loner who lives in his basement. If you're named Roy I don't mean anything by it that's just the image it brings to mind.'
'I think of a rather cute looking sword guy with reddish-brown hair and cool attack moves, or an adorable stuffed toy that was my art teacher's, that has its own website. Either way, those things gave me good impressions.'
I've saved the best of the worst till last! The Irish name Shane has never been a favourite of mine. It's jarring and unpleasant and brings to mind someone who is foul mouthed, aggressive and horrible to be around. It does actually have a reputation for being a 'bad boy' name... Hell, I feel kind of bad now after all of this slagging off.
Though there are plenty of people who disagree with me though. Sdoll13 thinks it's 'a cool name,' while Animal Lover thinks 'Shane is a great boy's name as it always seems to sound more enthusiastic than some other names. One of my best friends, who I've known since the age of four, is called Shane, and his name can be said in so many different tones and still sound good.'
Sources: BehindTheName.com, Express.co.uk, DailyMail.co.uk, BabyCenter.com, NameBerry.com, NetMums.com