Fetching Names: Ends in -r

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 SleaterKinney. 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?


  1. Kelly says

    I notice that a lot of these names end in -er; a neat thing about having one of those names is if you’re learning French or Spanish and want some more practice conjugating verbs you could also try “conjugating” your name!

    On the Nameberry game forum I created a thread where you can practice “conjugating” names that have an ending that is a valid infinitive form in another language. I made the joke that the movie “Heathers” should be “(nous) Heathons” in French and “(nosotros) Heathemos” in Spanish – translating to “we Heather” in each case.

  2. BarbaraW says

    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)

    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.

  3. april says

    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


  4. Noelle says

    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…

  5. hyzen says

    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.

  6. Amy3 says

    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).

  7. Sarah A says

    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.

  8. Julie says

    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?”

  9. Rosy says

    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.

  10. says

    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.

  11. Lauren says

    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.

  12. Emily says

    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?

  13. Mar says

    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!

  14. Charlee says

    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…

  15. Marie says

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

  16. says

    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.

  17. says

    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.

  18. Fran says

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

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

  19. Natalie says

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

  20. Katherine says

    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.

  21. Livlife says

    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!

      • KatieB says

        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.

  22. katybug says

    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.

  23. KatieB says

    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.

  24. Kristi says

    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.

  25. Nicole says

    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

  26. Laine says

    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.

  27. Martha says

    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!)

  28. Alli B says

    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.

  29. says

    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.

  30. dotmyiis says

    I went to high school with a McGregor. The common joke was that he had two last names. ūüėõ 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.

  31. namemuststay says

    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…?

  32. says

    -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. :)


  33. says

    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.).

  34. Meryl says

    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.


    Zephyr (LOVE)

  35. Elizabeth says

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


    • Charlotte Vera says

      *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.

  36. Catherine says

    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.

    • Catherine says

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

  37. says

    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.


  1. […] for girls (For Real just spotted a Norah Revae), -r names for boys or girls (Appellation Mountain released a long boy list last week and promised a girl one, too), or the names are all about the rock. (Lou @ Mer de Noms just did a […]

  2. […] for girls (For Real just spotted a Norah Revae), -r names for boys or girls (Appellation Mountain released a long boy list last week and promised a girl one, too), or the names are all about the rock. (Lou @ Mer de Noms just did a […]

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