10 Alternatives to Jack

The BBC's modernised version of Sherlock Holmes went down a treat with viewers in 2010, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, from idovillainy.com

Jack has been eternally popular in the UK now for going on two decades. What makes him so successful? Personally, I love the short, simplicity of him, and because I also hold the belief he pairs with most names. To keep things interesting, I set a limit of not being in the current [2009] top 100 in England&Wales, allowing us to look at other options. That does mean that Jude, which I had originally placed at #3 on the list had to be booted, because he sits at #98.

1. Ned

He has a mix of the old-time charm and modern vibe that Jack used to once have. I think Ned is a fantastic name, considering there’s not much to love in terms of length. Traditionally, Ned is the short form of Edward, which itself is having a boost thanks to Twilight. There is also Benedict, which sits at #447. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock Holmes in the hugely popular BBC mini-series of the same name that is currently being repeated. A second, originally unplanned, series is expected in the autumn following the high ratings of the original three-part series. My one hold back is whether Ned is really substantial enough.

Currently, Ned sits at #627 with 51 births, and his long form Edward sits in the Top 50 at #44. Edward means rich guard.

2. Ivo

Another name which comes from an old-time pick, this time Ivor. I mentioned an Alex/Ivo identical twinset many moons ago, and I do believe Ivo has potential, but perhaps not the coverage needed to enter the mainstream. As it stands, Ivo sits right down at #1358 with 17 births, and Ivor sits even further down with 14 births.

The name Ivor himself comes from an Old Norse name, which was brought to Britain with Scandinavian settlers in the Middle Ages. The name than gradually entered usage for the natives. The name means yew wood or archer.

3. Cal

We’re on a bit of a Cal binge at the moment, but he does qualify for this list in his own right, even if we’ve already mentioned him several times before recently in a post on nicknames, and I’ve still got to finish off the second part of his post on lesser known names that could be long forms to derive Cal from.

4. Tate

I could see a Tate and Joshua sibset; Tate and Catherine (Tate&Kate!); Tate and Lucretia. That ticks one of the boxes that makes me love Jack so. In England, one of the best known art galleries is called the Tate Modern. It has a couple other branches dotted around, also dubbed Tate. Emma Bunton recently gave birth to a son named Tate, and again, we’ve already mentioned him somewhat.

As a recap, Tate currently sits at #711 with 42 births, and may or may not mean lovable depending on which source you believe him to come from.

5. Flynn

This name should begin to rise, thanks to the recent birth of Baby Bloom. Prior to his arrival, I’d already been contemplating him as an alternative to Finn, who’s on a bit of a high at the moment thanks to Glee. Out of the majority of the names on this list, Flynn seems to be one of the more substantial one, but crucially is not traditionally a short form of another. I’ve thought of Flynn as a short for Phineas, but then you may appear to be a fan of the Disney show, Phineas&Ferb, where one of the main characters is called Phineas Flynn.

Flynn currently sits at #216 in England&Wales, which is important because the 2009 list comes before Orlando Bloom’s child made an appearance in January 2011. So 208 babies made this name reasonably popular without the help of a celeb-baby. The name itself comes of Irish origins, meaning descendant of Flann. The name Flann means red in Irish Gaelic.

6. Dash

The turning point for this name was likely to be the release of the 2004 film, The Incredibles, which featured a lad named Dashiell, but more often than not referred to as Dash. It comes as no surprise that his superpower was superspeed. However, he’s not had much luck in terms of the short form, which does not rank, and the long form of Dashiell was assigned to only 7 lads in 2009, placing him at #2544, which is not exactly high.

The name is supposed to come from the French surname de Cheil. Cate Blanchett has a son named Dashiell who was born in 2001, and Chris Shiflett of The Foo Fighters has a son named Dashall.

7. Cole

I have a friend named Nicholas who more often than not goes by the name Cole rather than Nick. The name itself is from an old English nickname, cola, meaning charcoal. It was given to a person with dark features. Cole currently sits at #130 in England&Wales with 419 births.

At the present time, there are two Coles on the England National Football team – Joe Cole and Ashley Cole, no relation. The latter was married to Cheryl Cole, a singer from Newcastle who can’t actually sing. It remains to be seen how Ashley’s infidelities and later divorce from Cheryl in 2010 have affected the popularity of this name.

8. Lou

Yay, my name! I guess that may not be a good thing when I’m trying to sell it as a male name, but I switched to Lou from Lucy because I wanted to go by a less cutesy name. Lou can be short for Lewis, which is currently in the Top 100, and also names such as Lucian and Lucas et al. Lou sits a little down the list as he may also not be substantial enough to use solely. And the public agree with me, as not enough male Lous were born in 2009 for him to chart (they list every name used 3 or more times), but 3 female ones were born, meaning Lou did chart on the female list, albeit way past the #5000 mark. 

This poses a problem we could perhaps blame on the supermodel, Heidi Klum, who had a daughter in 2009 named Lou. Especially as her husband Seal is British, so there was a reasonably amount of coverage in the British media about it

9. Flint

I debated about whether or not to lump him in with Flynn, but at the last minute decided to reward him with his own spot. The most notable Flint for me is Flint Lockwood, the clumsy if lovable protagonist of Cloudy with a chance of meatballs, which came out in 2009, with rumours of a sequel in the works.

He has potential, since nature names are supposedly trending right now and like Flynn, could piggyback off of brother Finn. Like Lou above, Flint does not rank; and like Flynn, he does not technically have a long form, but could work as a short of Phineas if you don’t want to use Flynn for the previously stated reasons.

10. Olive

I decided to go for a slight wildcard choice for #10 to finish this list off with a bang, but I have put some thought into this suggestion. In 2009, Jack was toppled from the #1 spot after around a decade of dominance by Oliver. At the same time, Olivia was sitting pretty as the #1 girls name. That means, in theory, Olive is now in a good place to rise on their tails, much like Emma did with Emily

Generally speaking, Olive is used more as a female name, with 97 of them born in 2009 putting her in the Top 1000 quite comfortably, but the olive itself has strong links with peace, as an olive branch symbolises just that. I think for a child born on the day of an attack of some form, Olive would make for a fitting choice.

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4 thoughts on “10 Alternatives to Jack

  1. Ned and Flynn are both quite popular here (due to Ned Kelly and Erroll Flynn) and I’m a big fan of Cole.

    I think you’re right that Jack pairs with almost all names; I think Lily is the female equivalent that goes with everything.


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