This blog has moved! Please join us over at!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Baby Boy Kil

Sarah writes:
My husband Dave and I are due with our second son on September 15th. We've never found ourselves in agreement about names. Our 21-month-old son, Isaac Zygmunt, was two days old before we named him. (Dave suggested Isaac after Sir Isaac Newton, and I readily agreed since it was what I'd wanted my parents to name my youngest brother. Zygmunt is after Dave's long-deceased grandfather, and also the middle name of both Dave and his dad.) We call him Ike. I like the idea of his new baby brother getting a fun nickname, too, but it's not a requirement.

In my opinion, our last name, Kil (pronounced "kill") can be a bit hard on first names. Ones that end in "-en" or "-an" often create an unpleasant combo. For example, Dave recently suggested the name Roman, and I pointed out that with our last name, it would sound like "roam and kill."

Dave, a geek, looks to scientists and mathematicians for name inspiration. (Hence Isaac.) But even more, he loves what he calls "gladiator/warrior" names--Apollo, Leonidas, Maximus, Sinbad. These strike me as names better suited to pets or comic book heroes. Dave loves the idea of Maximus "Max" Kil, but it just sounds too violent to me.

I like the idea of using names from our families. We could name the baby after our dads, Charles and Richard, who both died shortly after Dave and I started dating. I like the nickname Charlie for a little guy. (My dad went by Chuck, which sounds like more of a grown-up nickname to me.) I'd rather not use Richard as the first name because Dave says he'd want to shorten it to his dad's nickname, Dick. (No offense to a great guy.)

Probably my favorite at the moment is Arlo. It first appealed to me in high school, when I noticed a couple famous people with the name. I've been thinking about it again recently, but I held off on suggesting it until a few days ago. Dave didn't shoot it down, but I think he was just being polite because I built it up so much. I tried to sell him on the idea that it sounds similar to Apollo. It's also an Italian variant of Charles, which I enjoy knowing, since my dad was half Italian.

I have long liked the name Atticus (from one of my favorite books, To Kill A Mockingbird). Dave has expressed that it's cool because it has that ancient Roman sound he likes, but I wonder if it's just a little too unusual to actually saddle my kid with.

Dave also likes Xavier; while I find it vastly preferable to his other picks, I don't love it. Names which have been suggested and not outright disagreed upon are Abraham (Abe) and Asher (Ash).

Besides Zygmunt, our grandfathers had/have very common first names, but niftier middle names that might be worked in somewhere: Gardner, Martin, Roland. Oh, and David might be all right, too.

Can you come up with a name that will somehow marry our disparate tastes? Many thanks!

I'm with you on Maximus Kil. The child has geek genes, you said? A name like Maximus Kil is not going to work if he turns out intellectual, quiet, bookish, or skinny. In fact, I can't picture it on a burly football player, either. Or on a doctor. Or on a computer programmer, a teacher, a psychologist, a scientist, or anyone except a pro wrestler or video game character.

The name Atticus leaps out at me from your list, but I wish it had a nickname. It seems like a lot of name for everyday use. But it would make a terrific middle name. Perhaps for this boy you could switch the family name to the first position and do Charles Atticus. Ike and Charlie.

I love Arlo and hope your husband will go for it. I like Arlo Richard, since it puts the name of honor in a non-nickname position.

Another first-name possibility is Edison. I've said it aloud a few times with your surname and I don't think it presents problems there. Ike and Ed is adorable.

I also suggest Augustus. Ike and Gus.

Or Quintus: Ike and Quin.

Archimedes is a lot of name, but the cute nickname Archie makes it more manageable. Ike and Archie.

Darwin is a GREAT boy name, but Darwin has come to represent all of evolutionary theory. The name may now be too steeped in meaning for regular use.

Linus. Ike and Linus.

Tycho was the name of a famous astronomer, but doesn't he sound more like a gladiator? Ike and Ty. [Edit: I've been saying it TIKE-o, but apparently it's TEEK-o. Thanks, Karen! I think Ike and Teek is great.]

Name update 09-25-2009! Sarah writes:
Both you and your readers provided excellent ideas. When we saw Augustus/"Gus," Dave and I were both excited. It really was perfect for both our tastes. The next day Dave's enthusiasm for it waned, but I'll be keeping it for possible future use.

Our new little guy was born on the 15th, and after a couple nameless days, we were getting frustrated. I liked a number of names but had no absolute favorite; Dave had been campaigning for Maximus since before our first son was born. I told Dave we should go with Maximus. He got nervous about my sudden change of heart, so it took another day before we officially committed to Maximus Richard, "Max." I can't imagine him as anyone other than Max now and feel that he'll mold the name to who he is.


Jan said...

I really like Swistle's suggestion of Edison. Charles Richard is nice, too, if you want to go the family route.

Other science/math names that might work: Blaise or Nicolaus (Copernicus)? I think Nico is an adorable nn.

Karen said...

Great ideas Swistle. Dad may balk at Ty as a nn for Tycho. Tycho Brahe's name is pronounced TEEko by English science readers.

I love Edison. Isaac and Edison.

Karen said...

I like Jan's suggestion of Nico/las for Copernicus. I've always liked Pascal but it doesn't work with Kil but Blaise does. Maybe too well - Blaise Kil sounds very close to Blaise (de) Pascal. I assume Albert has been considered and rejected? Some more science-theme names:

Leonardo (for da Vinci) nn Leo
Maxwell (for James Maxwell) nn Max
Max (for Planck)

Meg said...

My suggestions:

(Scientists & Mathematicians)
-Archimedes nn Archie
-Alexander (Zander, Xander) (alexander Anderson and Alexander Graham Belle)
-Fleming (I like it but it's one of those that many may not)
-Rutherford, nn Ford or Thar? (maybe) (Daniel Rutherford)
-Stirling (James Stirling)

-Cleveland (Cleveland Kill to me has a pretty cool ring, sounds like a baseball superstar to me)
-Linwood nn Woody (which will only work till Middle school probably)
-Thorin nn Thor

Good luck!!

Zoo Askew said...

I love Edison and Nico.

What about Abel? Or Dickon (as a given name or nickname of Richard)? Or, Deacon? nn Deke?

Rebecca is fabulous said...

i love Edison and Archimedes.
and Meg, I knew a Fleming in high school...he was by far the hottest guy in school. :)

TweePopACap said...

I absolutely love Charles Atticus for this family. Everyone wins - mom, dad, grandpa, and (most importantly) BABY. There's the great nickname (works for the sib set), the family connection (works for honoring Grandpa), the literary connection (works for Mom), the ancient Roman sound (works for Dad), and it's not a ridiculous name (works for baby). Perfect!

Plus, I can see Arlo is a conceivable nickname for Charles. Another bonus for mom!

Swistle said...

Ooooo, Ike and Teek (for Tycho) is even cuter!

StephLove said...

When I read your post carefully the name you used the most positive language for in describing BOTH your feelings was Atticus. So I might go with that.

Alternately, how about a Roman sounding name (good for him) that's a little more mainstream (good for you): Lucas, Marcus, etc. Maybe you could find an Italian baby name site and go from there.

Clare said...

Go for Atticus. My cousin just named her son Atticus, and they call him Atti. The nick name may not be your cup of tea, but once people in the family got over the uncommonness of the name, everyone had a positive reaction to it.

Shari said...

My step-nephew is named Atticus, nicknamed Artie. Not sure where they got that nickname, but it's much more manageable than Atticus on a little kid.
My personal preference is Edison - love it!

Melio (MelissaInk) said...

I could get on board with Edison. Probably my favorite choice.

I also love the name Atticus, but it does seem like a lot of name with no "good" nick name.

I was also thinking Dexter (Dex is cool, but with the TV show and the last name Kil, well, it might be too much). Maybe Duncan or Declan?

Leo is a nice choice too.

Anonymous said...

I realize this is common knowledge, but just to point out: Darwin's first name was Charles. So Charles is not only a family name, it's a "science" name as well...

Shoeaddict said...

I like Charles Atticus, Charlie for nn.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

I like Charles, nn Charlie most. A lot of the other names just sound too harsh with the last name "Kil" (many of them end up having a similar effect as Max Kil, imo). I think you need something less "Crazy Macho" to balance the last name.

I also like the suggestion of Nicolaus.

Frazzled Mom said...

Another problem with Max Kil is that it sounds too much like the full name Maxwell.

I really like the science theme and I feel you can find something unique but perfectly usable. However, I really do like you suggestion of Arlo too. But I feel Arlo paired with one of the science names would be just too much. Arlo Atticus? No!

Not only do I not like the sound of Arlo Atticus, none of the family names are used, unless Mom and Dad go the two middle name route. But I almost hate to open that can of worms since Sarah hasn't expressed any interest in two middle names, and since I am not personally a multiple middle name person, I don't usually encourage it.

I feel Charles Atticus or Arlo Richard is your best bet.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought for a nickname for Atticus.. It might be a stretch, but what about Gus? It begins with a different but similar sound. And I don't think people would not understand where it came from. It could be too far from the original for some, but it was the first nickname I thought of for Atticus.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

If your husband likes Xavier, than perhaps Zander would be an option? Nice ring, unusual sound, very cool... Otherwise I liked Augustus above w/ Gus or Auggie as nn.

KMW said...

Oh I like Augustus nn Gus. That's adorable and goes well with Isaac. Charles is my second choice pick.

Great taste, by the way!

Anonymous said...

I think your choice of Atticus is great. It covers both the "sounds Roman" and has a pretty strong connotation to a noble literary character, which I would think gives it another credibility point in the geek category (not that I'm knocking it for a second - I think it's great).

I also think it sounds wonderful with your last name. I like Charles for the middle name to honor the grandparent.

Rayleen said...

I love Edison with Isaac.

Also, I just have to point out that if you name your son Charles and he chooses to go by Chuck....his full name might sound like "chuckle" if you say it fast. Don't know if that's something you might worry about, but it's the first thing I thought of when I said it out loud.