My husband and I started trying to have a baby this month, so here is to hoping that we will get some happy news after I pee on the stick in a few weeks.
Regardless I am very passionate about names. My future children’s, other peoples children, etc.
My main issue I would like to address is the name Atlas. I LOVE THIS NAME. I like the way it sounds, I like the way it looks, I like the stories behind it, I like it all. However, when I tell other people (friends & family) about it I sometime see the panic in their eye.
The fact that is is not common makes me very happy. My name is Autumn and believe it or not I haven’t met many others in my lifetime. I also have people say all the time “I have never heard that used as a name! How beautiful!” and every now and then I have people ask, “Can you spell that?” which blows my mind. Anyways, I love the uniqueness of my name.
My husbands name is Joshua (normally Josh, sometimes J) which is much more common, although I do like the sound of it. Also our last name is Vernon.
Back to Atlas. We don’t plan on finding out the gender of our baby so we will have 9-10 months to decide on some girl and boys names that we love. For a girl I am pretty set on Blair. I think it is feminine yet spunky, old yet new, and I have NEVER met anyone with the name. Middle name Catherine (my mothers name).
I am just worried that Atlas may be too “out there”. However, J and I think it is very masculine and strong.
Atlas really resonates with me. I have traveled extensively my whole life and am truly passionate about seeing the world. And I think the name would be a tribute to the adventurous, strong willed personalities we hope to pass on to him.
His name would be Atlas Scott (Husband’s Middle/Grandpa’s Name)
Some other names on the list to give you an idea of my overall style:
Boys: Knox, Phoenix, Huck, Dexter (Dex), Lincoln
Girls: Ivy, Phoebe, Wren, Rory, Poppy
I honestly prefer names without a nickname most of the time or short and sweet one syllable names. My middle names is where I will add some length. Except for Scott. Oh well, you see what I’m saying.
Name I like but can’t use:
Boys: Miles (could possibly use but long kinda bad story behind it), Hudson (too popular), Ace (sister in law naming baby Asa and I feel too close)
Girls: London (way to popular), Lane
Hopefully this all makes sense and isn’t just a jumbled mess.
So I would love insight on any of the above names but my main questions is, “Atlas, Usable or Not?”
Thanks so much,
Excited (hopefully) soon to be mama
One of my favorite baby-name-considering exercises is to imagine the name on a variety of people. In this case, let’s picture the name Atlas on:
- an adventurous, strong-willed man in his early 20s
- a pale, non-athletic little boy wearing glasses
- an outgoing, cheerful little boy
- an awkward high-school boy with pimples
- a high-school football quarterback
- a grocery stockboy
- a lawyer in a courtroom
- a dad at Parents’ Night
- a dentist
- a teacher
- a wrestler
- a baseball player
- a dancer
- a Target clerk
- our husbands/boyfriends
- our fathers/brothers/uncles/cousins
- our children’s friends
Another good test is to imagine an introduction: either imagine introducing yourself as Atlas, or meeting someone named Atlas, or introducing a child to someone else. You say, “Hi, I’m Autumn!” He says, “Hi, I’m Atlas!” Or you say, “Hello! My name is Autumn and this is my son Atlas.” Or, “Hello! This is Atlas; he has a 10:00 appointment.”
I like to imagine the name in everyday use. The nurse leans out into the waiting room and calls “Atlas?” There is an arrangement of apple cut-outs by the classroom door, and one of them says Atlas. A kindergarten scribble with Atlas written on the bottom. “Atlas, did you do your homework?” “Atlas, I have told you THREE TIMES to put your shoes on!” A college student tells her/his parents about a new boyfriend, named Atlas.
The Starbucks coffee test is a favorite around here. The clerk asks for a name to put on a coffee. Your husband says “Atlas.” This is a good one for your husband to do in person, rather than imagining it.
Testing the name in your own social circles can also be useful. However, I do think for the most part people adapt to the names that are chosen—and if they don’t, it feels like a small thing: we all have different tastes in names, and I don’t necessarily like the names my friends/relatives choose for their kids, either. What I think of more is “Will the child like the reactions he gets to his name?” And of course we can’t know that: some people LOVE the startle factor, and some people wince and end up going by their middle names.
For a first baby especially, I like to do a Sibling Name check: pair up the name Atlas with other names on your lists, and make sure you can make sets you like. If for example you liked the names Atlas, David, Thomas, William, and Charles, I’d suggest Atlas might be a difficult one to pair up, and might be an outlier for your tastes. Looking at your lists, I’d say the two issues will be: (1) finding something mighty/important enough to measure up to the name of a divine being, and (2) finding something that doesn’t sound amusing. The name Lincoln might be mighty enough, but the pairing strikes me as amusing—I think because I get a mental picture of tall, dignified, top-hat-wearing Abraham Lincoln standing next to naked, crouching, heavily-muscled Atlas with the universe on his shoulders. Atlas and Phoenix seems good, but gives you a strong mythological theme. And so on. Brother names seem more important to me than sister names: I think it’s fine to have brother/sister style differences, and I am much more likely to notice, say, “Jacob and Grover” than, say, “Sophia and Grover.”
For me, I think the main impediment to the name Atlas is the divine-being thing. It seems like a tough name to live up to, no matter how strong-willed and adventurous a person might be. And on a homebody who likes to read, the imagery of the huge and heavy burden is more apt but less pleasing.
The symbolism is also iffy, if what you’re looking for is adventure. We call a book of maps an atlas, and so that could give the explorer/adventurer/traveler imagery you like; but the mythological Atlas is the Titan who was punished by having to stand still forever and hold up the heavens. Atlas is a symbol of endurance, rather than of adventures and exploration; and his strength was used to carry a burden, rather than to exert his own will.
I think if I were you, I might pursue a similar but different track. Perhaps I would look for the names of famous (human) explorers/adventurers, or other people you admire whose names make you think of confidence and strong will and adventure.
You mention liking the uniqueness of your own name, but the name Autumn was/is much more common than the name Atlas. I think another area to explore is names that are more in the league of your own name’s level of unusualness. You can find name rankings on the Social Security Administration’s baby name site.
If what you’re asking is if the name is usable, the answer is yes: it is currently being used in the United States, and in fact it just appeared in the Top 1000 for the first time in 2013, at a ranking of #789. This tells us that not only are people using it, they’re using it more and more. Let’s look at how the name’s popularity has increased over the past ten years of data: