Fox: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on June 6, 2013

English: FOX FOX MIKE

Photo credit: Wikipedia

If boys can answer to Leo, what other great names are waiting in the animal kingdom?

Thanks to Linda for suggesting Fox as our Baby Name of the Day.

Fox may be borrowed from the natural world, but it was a supernatural drama from that put him squarely in the given name category in the US.

In 1993, the world met Special Agent Fox Mulder.  He’s the whip smart, paranormal-obsessed investigator on The X-Files, partnered with the equally sharp, but skeptical, Dana Scully.

Some speculated that the character’s name came from Fox, the upstart network that was still less than a decade old when the series debuted.

If that were true, then Special Agent Mulder would ultimately pay homage to William Fox, the early twentieth century entrepreneur who founded what would ultimately become 20th Century Fox and the Fox Broadcasting Company.  He was born Wilhelm Fried – presumably inspiration for his new surname came from his mother’s maiden name, Fuchs.

Fuchs became fox in Old English ages ago.  It refers to the animal’s bushy tail.  Plenty of people wear some form of the name as a surname.  Todd also comes from fox, via a separate Middle English word.

The creature has taken on lots of other attributes in myth and folklore.  He’s clever and resourceful, but not always pure of heart.  There’s Aesop’s fable, and many more in literature through the centuries, right up to Dora the Explorer’s badly-behaved Swiper.

Foxy is something of a compliment, having more to do with good looks, as in the Jimi Hendrix song.

But Special Agent Mulder wasn’t named after William Fox or his many corporate descendants.  Instead, X-Files series creator apparently knew a boy called Fox years before he dreamed up the show.

The handful of men to answer to the name prior to the 1990s are almost certainly wearing their mother’s maiden name.

But after 1993, he picks up as a given name for boys, and Special Agent Mulder almost certainly gets much of the credit.  96 boys received the name in 2012 – a new high.

More than a notable namesake, Fox fits with a trifecta of trends:

  • We love nature names for our children, from gentle River and Willow to fierce Hawk.  Fox falls neatly in the middle.
  • He also fits with ends-with-x names for boys.  If Max is a retro classic and Jax a modern favorite, why not Fox?  Let’s not forget Dex, Felix, Dax, Alex, and scores more names with the high value Scrabble letter.
  • Boys’ names that are brief and complete are having a good run.  From just Gus or Tom on the birth certificate to mini names like Cade and Cole, parents are keeping it simple these days – and that minimalist approach is good for Fox.  He packs a lot of style into just three letters.

Farther back in history, there’s New York Times columnist Fox Butterfield and World War I military leader Fox Conner, the mentor of Dwight Eisenhower.  And, of course, there are too many notables with the surname Fox to even begin to list, though Michael J. Fox and Megan Fox are pop culture fixtures for modern parents.

All in all, this makes for a surprising choice for a son, but a thoroughly wearable one.  It sounds like a given name, but remains distinctive.  If you’re after a daring name that isn’t in any way invented, Fox is one to consider.  Better yet, check your family tree for a Fuchs or some other similar surname.  You might be surprised!

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Sabrina December 7, 2014 at 1:11 AM

We have an 13 month old boy and we named him Fox Tiberius!!!! My family fought us till the end on the name and now they love it and him!!! We’re huge x-Files fans and Star Trek fans!!!! The names just seemed perfect!!! I wanted a name that was something unique and meant something to us!!!!

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Erin K September 3, 2014 at 8:11 PM

I actually have a Leo (age 5) and a Fox (10 months). I get a lot of positive comments on Fox’s name! Not a lot of people catch on right away that Leo is also an animal name.

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appellationmountain September 4, 2014 at 9:33 AM

What a great duo! And you’re right – when I say them together, Leo and Fox seem matched without it being so obvious …

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Jenn January 4, 2014 at 11:26 AM

I would love to know the 2013 numbers— we had a Fox William early in August, and then foxes got really big!! We came to the name via the xfiles, of which my mom was a big fan and was our show… she died when I was 8 weeks along, and I re-watched all 9 seasons during the rest of my pregnancy. Fox is a perfect name for our guy with so much personality. :)

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Katie December 31, 2013 at 4:34 PM

We have a Fox Benjamin of our own and he couldn’t match the name any more perfectly. He’s wild and fun and curious and we couldn’t be happier that we decided on Fox.

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appellationmountain January 1, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Katie, thanks for sharing – and I’m so glad you found the perfect name for your son!

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RW October 27, 2013 at 10:49 PM

Our first boy is named Fox, and his little brother is Felix. We love the name Fox and have no regrets. He loves it to, and though we get the occasional raised eyebrow from adults, his friends love the name and think it is very cool.
If you are thinking of naming you son Fox, go for it!

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Tracy October 6, 2013 at 9:40 PM

Our little boy is named Fox :) We love the name!

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Toni June 25, 2013 at 11:46 AM

I’m due with a boy in August and right now Felix is in first place for his name and I have been thinking that Fox might be a good nickname (or Fitz or Fix). Fox as the full first name isn’t for us, but I do think it’s cool.

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Caitlin June 18, 2013 at 3:20 PM

Our first is due in October and we are using Fox as his first name. Fox Vaughn Taylor :)

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appellationmountain June 21, 2013 at 7:24 AM

Great name, Caitlin – congrats!

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Tiffany February 20, 2014 at 2:58 PM

I had a boy in October and his name is Fox Wayne Taylor! How funny.

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Caitlin April 10, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Oh, my gosh, that’s so funny! Congrats!

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Panya June 18, 2013 at 9:56 AM

FYI, Todd links to the Leif page.

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Sarah June 16, 2013 at 12:40 AM

My LN before I married was Fox. We keep teasing my brother and his wife that when they have a child, there are so many good first names they could use!

Stone Fox
Steel Fox
Forest Fox
Fire Fox (my favorite)
Star Fox

My brother and SIL aren’t planning to use any of the suggestions, though. I wonder why. :)

Fox is a great name. My siblings and I all had nicknames of Foxy or Big Fox and Little Fox at some point.

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David June 14, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Our little one is due in October, and he will be named Fox. Our jaws dropped when we saw this post. It certainly doesn’t get much run, but 96 last year is more than I would have guessed. We have a long, complicated Italian last name, so we wanted to something short and sweet up front. Fox fits perfectly.

And, yes. We’re huge X-Files fans.

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Josie June 7, 2013 at 12:37 PM

I like Fox. It’s tied to Saul in a lot of Jewish folklore/naming links (like lions and Judah or deer and Naphtali) and I like both Saul and Fox. Whether or not Fox Mulder was supposed to be a Jewish character was always a bit up in the air, wasn’t it? Or am I – and maybe Duchovny – reading that in?

I like it best as a first name than in the middle. Not sure what I’d pair with it though. Fox Tobias? Fox Alastair? Needs 3-4 syllables.

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Panya June 18, 2013 at 9:22 AM

I’d always assumed that the elder William Mulder’s parents had converted to Christianity from Judaism to escape persecution [he was born in 1936, so the timing fits]. Therefore Fox Mulder could have grown up with Jewish culture/mannerisms without the religion.

As for the character being named for William Fox, Chris Carter denied this and said he had a childhood friend called Fox.

I do find it interesting that the character’s birth name was inverted — William Fox Lastname — this makes me think that the middle name was a family name [for the characters].

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T June 7, 2013 at 1:21 AM

I love Fox. If Wolf wasn’t our first boy choice (it’s a family name for me) and our last name didn’t begin with S, Fox would probably be at the top of my list. I love short, succinct names like this that still somehow feel substantial enough.

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Kristin June 6, 2013 at 2:49 PM

I like Fox in theory, but not quite in practice, at least for a first name. I do think of the animals, but the television network is just too prevalent in my mind. It could make for a whimsically lovely middle with a built in nursery theme.

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Joanna June 6, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Fox is a family name for me (as a given name). I like the sound of it and it’s got spunk in a short package, but there are other family members I’m closer to, so I don’t know. It could be a great middle.

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Vicki June 6, 2013 at 2:17 PM

In so many ways I really like this; it’s short, funky and dynamic.

But foxes, whilst admirable in many ways, are real menaces. They steal chickens and there’s an increasing problem of urban foxes attacking sleeping children in the night. The characterisation in things like Fantastic Mr Fox makes them cunning and resourceful and appealing but the reality is not as lovely.

As a funny aside, however, my maiden name was Hunter. Years ago I remember watching the X-Files with my Dad who said “Fox. That is a cool name. We should have called your brother Fox.” “I think not, Dad,” I said. “Fox Hunter? Best not.”

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appellationmountain June 7, 2013 at 6:22 AM

That’s a nice point, Vicki.

I know a family with the LN Hunter. It really does rule out any noun name, doesn’t it? Violet Hunter, Star Hunter, Blue Hunter … they all sound off.

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Tracy June 6, 2013 at 8:34 AM

You know, my mom’s maiden name is Voss, and I’ve heard that that means Fox… I’ve always liked the thought of using it somewhere – maybe a spunky middle? – to honor her side of the family!

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appellationmountain June 7, 2013 at 6:21 AM

Oh, I love that idea!

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