Fetching Names: Ends in -r

by appellationmountain on October 20, 2011

card letter r Image by Leo Reynolds via Flickr

Devastated that Archer and Asher seem to be on everyone’s lists these days? Like the sound of Conor but can’t imagine your son sharing his name with Highlander? Ticked that Taylor has been borrowed by the girls? Here’s a list of fresh, ends-in-r alternatives that you might like instead. Only no guarantees that they won’t follow their style cousins up the charts!

Cedar – Free of Forrest’s preppy overtones and not as popular as River, Cedar is wild, but not too out there. Ideal for parents seeking a masculine nature name without going as far as Tiger.

Calder – Like Jackson, this one bridges the artistic/cowboy vibe. (Three Alexander Calders, grandfather, father and son, made sculptures, while Jackson Pollock flung paint.) He owes something to current favorite Carter, and a little bit to retro presidential pick Calvin, too.

Catcher - Remember the Ewan McGregor/Renee Zellweger rom-com Down With Love? McGregor played a caddish man-about-town called Catcher Block. He’s popped up on birth announcements a few times in recent years, a blend of sporting terminology and literary cachet, thanks to The Catcher in the Rye. Even though Salinger’s hero was, of course, named Holden. A similar option could be Booker, also a nineteenth century hero name thanks to Booker T. Washington.

Baxter, Chester - They’re antiques that might seem more appropriate for a pet than a person at first glance. But with Dexter white hot, why not these jazzy sound-alikes? Tom Hanks has a Chester, nicknamed Chet.

Grayer, Greyer - The privileged, poor little rich kid in 2002 bestseller was named Grayer. With Greyson and Grayson leaping up the popularity charts, this one seems poised to catch on, especially with rumors of a television adaptation coming soon. Bonus points: there’s little chance than Grayer will be confused with nouveau gender-ambiguous options like Graycen.

McGregor, MacGregor – He’s one of the few Mac- names that remains solidly masculine, thanks his association with Greg. A Scottish heritage choice, or possibly a

Prosper - A little bit Puritan, a touch Vulcan, he’s a wearable virtue name for boys.

Roger - At home on the mid-century Mad Men set, but also rich with medieval associations. Nameberry called him one of the 12 Neglected Boys’ Classics. Another possible retro revival? Walter.

Slater - Chances are you grew up with Christian Slater, or maybe indie rockers Sleater-Kinney. Either way, this name sounds familiar. He’s softer than Slade, more masculine than Shea.

Thayer - The name that started it all, a less-common version of Taylor. I spotted it on a message board, the original post prompted by a character in ABC Family’s The Lying Game. Surname names aren’t for everyone, but if you love them, Thayer bears consideration, as does another starts-with-T choice: Thatcher.

Are there other ends-in-r choices for boys you would consider? What’s missing from this list?

{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

BarbaraW April 27, 2014 at 2:31 AM

Let’s see… I like using names that have at least some family connection, so, raiding my family…

Instead of Chester, Winchester (can still be Chet)
Fisher
Culmer
Walker
Fuller
Prior
Wooster
Gulliver

I probably should avoid “Belcher” and “Hooker,” family names or not. ;p Hatmaker would also sound silly, and I have a feeling other kids would find a way to make fun of Fritcher.

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april March 7, 2014 at 8:28 PM

i’m only interested naming our first baby with a letter ending “r” because my husband is australian and aussie’s can’t pronounce “r” and i love picking on him and everybody else here in australia sound so cute ^^
i might add

tyler
olivier

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Noelle June 25, 2012 at 2:00 AM

I’m a bit late to comment lol… But search for a name for my third boy. I didn’t purposely start a trend of “er” with My first two boys..
Granger and Banner. I love their names! I’m stuck what to name this one :( I don’t want common or close to ordinary…

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Sabrina October 21, 2011 at 2:32 PM

I like Asher and Baxter, and my favorite is Sawyer.

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hyzen October 21, 2011 at 12:18 PM

I know a young Calder, and I really like it. It has a lovely meaning, an nice sound, feels unusual but not odd, and has the artistic connection to make it feel a bit more high brow than Carter, et al. It’s on my list, but we’re not likely to use it, especially as we already have an -er at home (Oliver, who we sometimes call Ollivander in a fit of Harry Potter geekiness). I love a lot of the other -r names, too, though–many have been mentioned already: Evander, Leander, Wilder, Casimir. I’ve long been a fan of Thatcher (although I originally saw it on a dog, so it leans more ‘pet name’ for me, as does Baxter), and Slater is an interesting suggestion–I think it is too tied up with Saved by the Bell for me, but otherwise I might love it. I find Archer, Sawyer, Asher, Fisher, Parker, etc. attractive, though I probably wouldn’t use them myself.

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Amy3 October 21, 2011 at 9:29 AM

I like a lot of these names! Had our daughter been a boy her middle would have been Walter after my husband’s grandfather. Love that name!

I have a nephew called Tucker (15 years old) and a cousin who’s Conor (13 years old).

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countrylizb October 21, 2011 at 2:58 AM

I think Abner should be on the list.

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appellationmountain October 21, 2011 at 3:23 AM

Abner is a great addition!

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Amy3 October 21, 2011 at 9:30 AM

I love Abner! Too bad we used it earlier on a cat. :)

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Sarah A October 20, 2011 at 11:58 PM

DH’s last name ends in -er and I don’t think it has to be a deal breaker. We both adore Walter, though for him it would be after the main character in Breaking Bad :)

Thanks for highlighting Booker – why is that name not more popular? One I would add to the list is Omar.

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Julie October 20, 2011 at 10:37 PM

A lot of these names sound awkward with my -er surname, but Walter is one I’ve had on my list since I read The World According to Garp in high school.

Just to throw out a few more:
Proctor, Ivor, Granger, Jesper, Victor, Luther and Nestor.
Plus two from our family tree: Rainer and Seaver.

Grayer/Greyer (and Tanner) are one of my name pet peeves. To me, comparative adjectives don’t work as names. I just want to ask “Grayer than what?”

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T October 20, 2011 at 10:32 PM

Walter and Miller are in my top 3 for boys.

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Rosy October 20, 2011 at 8:19 PM

I think Catcher, Slater, Greyer, MacGregor, Cedar, and Thayer are awful. Prosper is a big guilty pleasure of mine, though, and I like it as a middle name. My favorite -r names are Casimir, Evander, Leander, Arthur, Peter, Oscar, and Caspar.

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British American October 20, 2011 at 7:41 PM

I seem to like -r names, having had Oliver, Oscar and Walter on my boy lists. I’d still use all of those.

I kind of like Prosper too. Moreso as a middle name. I like it a lot as a middle name.

My husband makes fun of my accent though, as when I say an -r name, it sounds more like “ah” than “er”. We knew a Bridger and I said it more like “Bridge-ah” than “Bridge-ur”

We know a toddler Dexter. I think Baxter is a great next step from that one.

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Lauren October 20, 2011 at 5:04 PM

I really can’t get behind many of these names! I don’t like a lot of occupational names anyway, so all of those are out. I do like Arthur, but I prefer Arturs or Arturius. And my surname now and my future married name both start with R, making a weird combo.

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Emily October 20, 2011 at 4:42 PM

I really like these names. The more vintage-y ones are on my list: Jasper, Arthur, Walter, Roger, Grover, Oscar, Peter, and Homer (my great-grandfather’s name). Hector and Casper I like, but not enough to ever use. Casper is totally past the friendly ghost for me. Was it really that bad of an association in the first place?

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Mar October 20, 2011 at 4:34 PM

I noticed that this post was tagged as being posted in “Names for Girls” and I got so excited! I hope this doesn’t sound needy or presumptuous, but I wonder if you could do a girls’ names ending in R post? I’ve noticed that I’ve taken a liking to them lately, but I can’t think of many myself – Esther, Honor, Vesper, Taylor, and I suppose that’s it.

I’m a long-time lurker and first-time commenter, but I’d like to say that our blog is amazing! I’m in love with it. Thanks for all of your research and hard work!

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appellationmountain October 20, 2011 at 5:43 PM

How did I manage that epic mistagging? And never fear, there’s a girls’ version in the works!

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Catherine October 20, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Hester, Aster, Grier, Pilar, I could probably think of more heh

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KatieB October 21, 2011 at 7:56 AM

I have a female cousin named Timber … not sure if she is named for wood or as a musical reference

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appellationmountain October 21, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Interesting – really gutsy name choice!

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punkprincessphd October 8, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Wouldn’t the musical term be spelled “timbre”?

Charlee October 20, 2011 at 4:29 PM

I love, love, love the name Leander. I met my husband serving in the Navy on a Leander class frigate so it has some significance to us so is a favourite for me if we have any more kids…

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Marie October 20, 2011 at 3:56 PM

I would add Hunter to the list – which we used for our 1 year old (was a family last name a few generations ago).

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Sarah Murray October 20, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Miller has to be my favorite -er name. I think it’s absolutely neutral, too. ugh, and Greyer has to be my #1 most-hated name. Makes me grimace every time I see it. It just sounds so pretentious to me.
I know a 2 yr old Baxter and a 20-something female Cedar. I liked the choice of Baxter. New sister Parker was a letdown.

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Lou @ Mer de noms October 20, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Love both Calder and Prosper – could easily see myself embracing either. I’ve seen Casper in his many variation popping up more and more ’round my parts, so he could be the one to watch.

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Fran October 20, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Really like Arthur, Caspar, Jasper, Hector and Walter.

Archie is far too popular here to even give consideration to Archer :)

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Natalie October 20, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Ending in “R” names are some of my favourites!
I love Archer but scared of how popular he will become.
Some others;
Evander
Lysander
Weaver – a strange one but I could see it working..
Casper
Hector
Leander
Blair
Grier
and for the girls; Hestor and Brier

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KatieB October 20, 2011 at 1:08 PM

I LOVE Casper! But not sure if it will ever live down the friendly ghost.

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Katherine October 20, 2011 at 11:21 AM

I’m loving Walter. I’ll have to add that to my list.

I’m not really liking any of the rest of these. Chester (the molester), Catcher, and Prosper particularly bother me. I’m not really sure where the Chester thing comes from though…

Calder could be ok, but in a book I read recently there was a character named Caulder (which I imagine is pronounced the same way) and he was really unlikable, so that’s tainted it for me.

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Livlife October 20, 2011 at 10:53 AM

I’m a little surprised that no one commented on Slater. It has all the hallmarks of a great boys name, ends in -er, two syllable, strong sounds.

But for anyone who grew up in the 80s/90s, he’ll always be the jock from Saved By the Bell. As a matter of fact every time I see Mario Lopez these days (and doesn’t it seem like he’s everywhere?) I can’t help but think Slater!

I’ll throw a couple others in though:

A friend just named her little boy Ryker.
Also on the list was Kyler.

I also like Mercer and Sumner

A little more out there? Whistler

Great post!

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appellationmountain October 20, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Mercer and Sumner are great – and how could I forget Mario Lopez?

Whistler – wasn’t there a minor character in Angel called Whistler?

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KatieB October 20, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Yes! Whistler is supposed to be the guy who found Angel living off rats and gave him a purpose by introducing him to the slayer :)

Mercer is the name of my alma mater. I loved it there but I’m not sure I loved it enough to honor it in a childs name.

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katybug October 20, 2011 at 10:48 AM

I know a 4-year-old Fletcher, and he totally won me over to the name an the nn Fletch. Walter is my favorite from your list–how adorable would a little Walt be? Roger is a “hot guy” name to me thanks to Roger Federer and Mad Men character Roger Sterling.

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appellationmountain October 20, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Mad Men completely changed my image of Roger!

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Eponymia October 20, 2011 at 10:00 AM

This is not my favorite sound in a name, but I do like Prosper.

Some others I do like are Balthasar, Casimir, Casper, Hector, Homer and Salvador.

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appellationmountain October 20, 2011 at 11:32 AM

Homer – d’oh! – should totally be on the list.

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Beth October 20, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Walker
Tucker

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KatieB October 20, 2011 at 9:32 AM

I love Grayer! Though I could see this being confused with Grier which is another gender-bender. I knew a Baxter & a Dexter (would be in their mid-20s) and I love both names, though I like Dexter nn Dex a bit more.

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Kristi October 20, 2011 at 9:30 AM

One of my husband’s cousin is Calder (his mother’s maiden name). I married into the name, so obviously I won’t be using it as a first, but it makes for a really cool but unusual name. I really love Greyer and Thayer. I also love Asher and would still use it despite its trendiness, but now my husband isn’t too keen on it anymore.

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Nicole October 20, 2011 at 9:19 AM

Before I met my husband, -r names that were on “the list” were boys Parker, Porter Sawyer, Lysander and Thatcher.. I seemed to like this trend more on girls..Briar, Clover, Winter, October, December, Piper, Pepper, Sadly my married name now ends in -er which discounts all of these wonderful names.. but in the end I guess it really helps narrow down the list.

Fave boys name was Lysander and Fave girls name was October

@ Elizabeth- Wheeler is super cool
@Meryl- Love Zephyr

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Laine October 20, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Oh, I do love Roger! Another ends in -r name that I love is Casper, though my husband strongly vetoed this choice. A friend of mine just married a guy named Hatcher. Its a family name and suits his preppy style perfectly.

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Martha October 20, 2011 at 9:05 AM

I have an Archer, and I love the name. We probably won’t do any more ending in R names. We have friends that just had a Thatcher, and my husband and I love the sound of the name Arbor for a boy or a girl (but we obviously couldn’t do Archer and Arbor!)

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Alli B October 20, 2011 at 8:52 AM

We named our 8 month old Sawyer. I have discovered that there are some girl Sawyers out there, but to me it is solidly masculine.

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SkyeRhyly October 20, 2011 at 8:46 AM

Not a big fan of these names, sorry.

I have met several “ends in -r” names, its very trendy for boys. Not a fan of Roger, still can only picture this on an old man.
I like Baylor and Saylor as alternatives to the ever-too-popular Taylor. Ryder and Skyler are also very popular.
Oooo I love Shea, that really needs a comeback.

I think like most -en names, -er names have unisex appeal. We all know that whatever trend becomes very popular for boys, girls will also follow.

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appellationmountain October 20, 2011 at 11:36 AM

I think there are good ends-in-r choices for girls, but I have a hard time seeing some of these as gender neutral. Then again, never say never …

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dotmyiis October 20, 2011 at 8:21 AM

I went to high school with a McGregor. The common joke was that he had two last names. :P He was the outgoing popular type, around senior year people were calling him Greg.

My favorite from the list is probably Calder. My grandfather’s name is Roger though, so I would probably be most likely to use that.

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namemuststay October 20, 2011 at 1:15 PM

I like Calder, Catcher, and Slater!

What are your thoughts on Vesper? I know it was a Bond vixen but I don’t think it’s TOO outrageous…?

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Names4Real October 20, 2011 at 8:01 AM

-Er (-R) ending names are very big right now. Others I’ve seen are Wilder, Evander, Ryder (lots of these), Jasper, & Bridger.

There’s a blogger (can’t remember the name) that has a son named Catcher and a daughter named Louisiana. I always thought that was a cool sibset. I spotted a Catcher the other day and then a 2nd one at the same hospital born a month apart. I haven’t spotted a Catcher all year and then found two in one day. I’m always amazed when that happens. :)

Sarah

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dreadedjaws October 20, 2011 at 6:50 AM

Among my friends’ kids, there is a 6 year old Asher, a 3 year old Baxter and a newborn Calder. My pick from the list?: Walter – Love it! But, as you know, I love that r sound…. even in the middle (Arlo, Charles, Jarvis, etc.).

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Meryl October 20, 2011 at 5:38 AM

Catcher is terrible! It reminds me of the crude gay reference, pitchers and catchers (apologies if I offend)… Not something I’d name a child!

I like Baxter and Chester and love Walter. Asher was on my list at one point.

Others:

Lorimer
Sawyer
Zephyr (LOVE)
Lysander
Caspar
Nestor
Sylvester
Oleander
Balthazar
Casimir

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appellationmountain October 20, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Wow, I hadn’t thought about that … then again, people still name their kids John. :)

Zephyr is great – there’s a little one in my ‘hood.

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Sarah A October 21, 2011 at 12:04 AM

Meryl – I had the same reaction to Catcher; it seems really unusable for that reason.

Abby – that’s the thing I think though with really established names like John. The history and ubiquity can overshadow the euphamism.

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appellationmountain October 21, 2011 at 5:49 PM

Very true, Sarah!

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hyzen October 21, 2011 at 12:07 PM

I had the same thought about Catcher, immediately. Definitely a deal killer, I think.

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Elizabeth October 20, 2011 at 5:12 AM

I like Calder. Here are some I’ve met irl-

Arthur
Bailor
Bauer
Chester
Dwyer
Gardner
Palmer
Porter
Strider
Wheeler

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appellationmountain October 20, 2011 at 11:39 AM

I’m getting a very LotR vibe from Strider!

Porter has possibilities … pretty and humble, all at once.

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Fran October 20, 2011 at 2:27 PM

I used to have a horse called Strider!

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Charlotte Vera October 20, 2011 at 3:02 AM

Great list! My addition is the much-neglected yet charming Walter.

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Charlotte Vera October 20, 2011 at 3:05 AM

*My favourite, not “My addition”.

Sorry, it’s very late at night here and my brain’s not working.

Rupert Baxter is the rather annoying secretary in Wodehouse’s Blandings series, so that name is rather marred for me.

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Catherine October 20, 2011 at 2:59 AM

I have had a name crush on Walter since I was a little girl! Roger is similarly medieval but friendly to the modern ear/eye as well. I <3 them both so much.

and of course the fiance's and my favourite girl name is Ember.

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Catherine October 20, 2011 at 3:01 AM

Have to admit that the first Cedar I met was a large black lab so that’s firmly in the Fido Category for me.

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waltzingmorethanmatilda October 20, 2011 at 2:23 AM

I love Baxter and Prosper, and I agree Roger and Walter could easily gain a following.

Becker seems to be going well recently – or is something else that’s on too many people’s lists?

I have seen quite a few Denvers @ For Real Baby Names.

Fletcher is moderately popular here, not sure whether I can interest anyone else in it …

Gulliver is another that you see a bit of, but not a lot of.

Jagger is really taking off, and so is Javier. I’m seeing both these names regularly.

I’m a big fan of Leander.

You can do all the month names – September, October, November, December.

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Nicole October 20, 2011 at 9:03 AM

October is one of my faves

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