With all this talk of starbabies called Ford and Flynn, could this single-syllable choice get more attention?
Thanks to Lindsay for suggesting Flint as our Baby Name of the Day.
Not only does Flint share sounds with fashionable choices like Finn and Flynn, he’s also one of the few nature names that is indisputably all-boy.
Flint is a type of rock, often dark grey or black in color. It’s been in use as a tool since the Stone Age. It’s also incredibly useful for starting a fire. You might have come across a flintlock rifle; while the technology has been surpassed, it was quite the innovation for more than two centuries.
As a surname, Flint probably referred to someone who lived near an outcropping of flint. You can find Flintshire on the map in Wales, and of course there’s Flint, Michigan, too.
If he hasn’t caught on as a given name, blame an unfortunate association. Because flint is hard, flinty has become an adjective to describe someone who is hard-hearted, even cruel. Ebenezer Scrooge was a skinflint – a miser.
Between the mock-Bond and the negative meaning, Flint has stayed firmly in the last spot, though he dipped into the US Top 1000 in 1959 and 1960, and he appears in the US Census records as a given name more often than you might expect. Nancy tells us that 29 boys received the name in 2009.
But most uses have been fictional, like:
- Robert Louis Stevenson’s Captain Flint was a hard-hearted treasure hoarder, indeed. After burying his massive wealth of gold coins and precious jewels, he killed all six of his crew members who had assisted in the effort;
- GI Joe good-guy Dashiell Faireborn answers to Flint;
- Sometimes Spider-Man ally Flint Marko, better known as Sandman. He first appeared in the comics back in 1963, but his profile was boosted when the character was incorporated into 2007’s Spider-Man 3, and played by Thomas Haden Church;
- Piers Anthony used the name for a character in his Cluster series, lending the name a sci-fi edge.
Most uses tend to fit this pattern – a mix of sci-fi adventurer and tough guy, sometimes worn by a particularly unsavory character, like thuggish Slytherin House member Marcus Flint in the Harry Potter series.
But then came 2009’s light-hearted Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Bumbling young inventor Flint Lockwood creates a startling machine that first saves his tiny town, then threatens to destroy it. Flint, with the help of his pet monkey, eventually saves the day and wins the heart of a weather girl, too. If you’ve seen the movie, you might find Flint less eye-patch/gunslinger and more ordinary boy.
There’s still a chance that he’ll sound overwhelmingly masculine on a small boy, but odds are that Flint would share a playground with Slade and Gage, Cade, Cole, and Stone. It might not be the most fitting name, should he grow up to be, say, a poet. But he’ll fit right in with his peers.