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Calvin-Hobbes-calvin-and-hobbes-23762782-1280-800

Surname names for boys that aren’t popular in Australia and have never charted here, yet are rising internationally. These names only chart for boys at present, giving them a solidly masculine feel.

Beckett
English surname with several possible origins. It could be after a place name – Beckett in Berkshire means “bee cottage” in Old English, while Beckett in Devonshire means “Bicca’s cottage”; the Anglo-Saxon name Bicca means “pick axe”. It could also refer to someone who lived near a stream, because the word beck means stream. Finally, it could be derived from the surname Beake, a nickname for someone with a big nose. Beckett has been used as a first name since at least the 16th century, and may have been inspired by St Thomas Becket (also known as Thomas à Becket), the famous medieval archbishop murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by supporters of Henry II. You can find it in early records as a middle name for people called Thomas A. Beckett and so on. In the Artemis Fowl books, Beckett is the younger brother of Artemis, blessed with strength and dexterity. Although rare in Australia, Beckett is storming up the charts in both the US and the UK. The obvious nickname is Beck.

Calvin
From the French surname Cauvin, derived from chauve, French for “bald”. It has been in use as a first name since the late 16th century, inspired by the French theologian Jehan Cauvin, known as John Calvin by English-speakers (Calvin is the Latinised form of his name, from calvus, “bald”). He was a leader of the Protestant Reformation, and his thoughts on the value of hard work as part of a pious Christian life one of the factors in the rise of capitalism. Famous namesakes include former US president (John) Calvin Coolidge, fashion designer Calvin Klein, and rapper Calvin Broadus Jr, otherwise known as Snoop Dogg. However, many will be reminded of the mischievous little boy in the Calvin and Hobbes comic books, who lives in a fantasy world with his imaginary friend Hobbes, a tiger – both Calvin and Hobbes are named after famous philosophers. Around the 300s in Australia, Calvin is fairly stable in the US, UK, and France, and rose in all three countries last year, while Top 100 in Scotland. Similar in sound to familiar Callum, this also has the nickname Cal.

Emmett
May be derived from Emmot, a medieval pet form of the name Emma. There are several surnames derived from male names that we think suitable for girls (eg Addison, Mackenzie) so it makes sense that a surname derived from a female name is suitable for boys! It could also be a variant of Emmott, a place name in Lancashire meaning “junction of streams”. Emmett was originally a name for girls, but by the 19th century had become overwhelmingly a boy’s name, and much more common in the United States. The name Emmett was already rising in the US when Twilight was published in 2005, but had a definite surge after the release of the movie, with Kellan Lutz in the role of strong-man vampire Emmett Cullen. Still rising, it is now in the mid 100s in the US, while rising steeply in the UK since 2005. It’s around the 200s in Australia. Famous namesakes include outlaw Emmett Dalton, clown Emmett Kelly, and teenager Emmett Till, whose murder helped inspire the Civil Rights movement. And who could forget Dr Emmet Brown from Back to the Future?

Grayson
When Scottish, a corruption of Grierson, meaning “son of Grier”, with Grier a pet form of Gregory. When English, it might be from “son of the greyve” – greyve was the medieval word for “a steward”. The Scottish usage is supposedly older. Any connection with the word grey is apparently a coincidence, although Grayson might almost be considered a colour name. Grayson has been used as a boy’s name since the 18th century, and originates from the north of England on the border with Scotland, possibly lending some weight to the Scottish theory. Grayson has been in the US Top 1000 since 1984, a sound-alike successor to Jason. The name is now Top 100 in the US, and still climbing. In the UK, Grayson has charted since 2005 and is now in the 200s and climbing steeply. Although Grayson doesn’t chart here, the name is being seen more often, and is already popular in New Zealand. International trends suggest that Grayson is climbing in Australia too. A famous namesake is Dick Grayson, otherwise known as Batman’s junior sidekick, Robin.

Hendrix
Variant of the Dutch surname Hendriks, derived from Hendrik, a form of Henry. Although Hendrix has been used as a personal name since the 17th century, originating in The Netherlands, its current inspiration is 1960s rock star Jimi Hendrix, considered one of the greatest electric guitarists of all time. A pioneer and innovator of psychedelic rock, he is a guitar legend who has influenced many since. The name Hendrix joined the US 1000 in 2011, the year after Hendrix’s album Valleys of Neptune was posthumously released, reaching #1 on the US charts; Hendrix is now in the 500s in the US. In the UK, Hendrix has charted since 2004, and has been climbing steeply since 2011; it’s now in the 700s. Hendrix is around the 500s in Australia, and has been chosen for their sons’ names by Madeleine West and Natalie Bassingthwaighte. A musical name that’s a cool spin on popular Henry.

Jamison
Variant of Jameson, a Scottish surname meaning “son of James”. There is a famous father and son with this surname in Australian history. Thomas Jamison came here as a naval surgeon on the First Fleet; he was an Irishman of Scottish descent. He was surgeon to the Norfolk Island colony who published Australia’s first medical paper. Granted land, he became wealthy but got mixed up in the Rum Rebellion and returned to Britain. His son Sir John Jamison was also a naval surgeon appointed to Norfolk Island, and became Surgeon-General. As the first titled free settler, he immediately became the head of Australian society. There are a number of places named after one or other of these Jamisons. In use as a personal name since the 18th century, Jamison has a particular connection to Scotland. Jamison is around the 400s in Australia, and is in the 400s and climbing in the US, although in rare use in the UK. A possible way to honour a James, with a wealth of potential nicknames, including Jay and Jamie.

Kingsley
English surname from the village of Kingsley in Cheshire, whose name means “king’s meadow”. Famous people with the surname include novelist Charles Kingsley, and actor Sir Ben Kingsley (born Krishna Bhanji). Kingsley has been used as a personal name since the 18th century, and was a particular favourite in America. Famous namesakes include the satirical novelist Sir Kingsley Amis, and the YouTube comedy star Kingsley, whose real name is King. A famous fictional namesake is the cool, powerful wizard Kingsley Shacklebolt from the Harry Potter series, played by George Harris in the films. The name Kingsley has been on the US Top 1000 since 2010, the year after Kingsley first went viral on YouTube. It climbed last year and is now in the 700s. In the UK, Kingsley is in the 500s and climbing, while in Australia it is around the 300s. King- names are on trend, along with other nods towards royalty.

Knox
Scottish surname, perhaps after the place name Knock, which comes from the Gaelic An Cnoc, meaning “the hillock”; there is a village named Knock on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides of Scotland. It could also be given to someone who lived near a small hill. One of its most famous namesakes is 16th century theologian John Knox, who led the Protestant Reformation in Scotland; posh private schools are sometimes named after him. Another notable namesake is Henry Knox, who was the first US Secretary of War in the late 18th century – the famous Fort Knox in Kentucky is named in his honour, along with many other places. Knox has been used as a personal name since the 18th century. Knox rejoined the US Top 1000 in 2009, a year after Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie named their son Knox (twin to Vivienne) – Knox was the middle name of Pitt’s grandfather. Since then it has screamed up the charts and is now in the 200s. Although rare in the UK, it has appeared on the England/Wales charts since 2009. In Australia, it is around the 600s. Apart from the Hollywood star factor, this is a smart name ending with a fashionable X, in line with names such as Max and Fox.

Marshall
An occupational surname. The English word marshal comes from the Old French word mareschal, which literally means “horse servant”, and originally referred someone who was in charge of taking care of horses. Later it came to mean both a blacksmith, and a high-ranking officer who was in charge of a medieval prince or lord’s cavalry, and later still, of his military forces – what we might call a general or field marshal. This duality in the name’s meaning meant that some Marshalls were of the nobility, especially in Scotland, and others had a more humble origin. Marshall has been used as a personal name since at least the 16th century, and even from its earliest days was sometimes given to girls, although it is now overwhelmingly considered male (perhaps partly because it sounds like the word martial, meaning “war-like, warrior-like”). Marshall Amplication is a famous English music company, while Marshall and Sons was a pioneering music retailer in Adelaide. Marshall was Jimi Hendrix’s middle name, and there’s also Marshall Mathers III, otherwise known as Eminem. Marshall is around the 300s in Australia, similar to its position in the US and UK: the name rose in both countries last year.

Tate
Derived from the Old English name Tata, of obscure meaning. There were a number of Anglo-Saxon kings called Tata as a nickname – just to make it slightly more confusing, Tate seems to be the feminine form, which was what a Queen Ethelburga was known as. It is conjectured that it might come from the Old English toetan, meaning “to caress”, so it could be an affectionate nickname like Sweetie or Cuddles. There is an identical sounding Scottish surname Tait, and this comes from the Old Norse name Teitr, meaning “glad” – it is not impossible that the Old English nickname Tata came from the same source, so might be a nickname along the lines of Happy or Merry. The two different surnames have probably become meshed, in any case. Tate is around the 200s in Australia, and in the 300s in the US and UK. In the US it has been generally on the rise since around the time of the 1991 film Little Man Tate (about a child genius named Fred Tate), and in the UK has been rising steeply since 2012 – the year after former Spice Girl Emma Bunton welcomed a son named Tate.

POLL RESULTS
People’s favourite names were Emmett, Beckett and Calvin, and their least favourite were Jamison, Knox and Kingsley.

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