F by nickton via Flickr

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.

In 1966, the James Bond parody Our Man Flint featured the exploits of super-spy Derek Flint, played by James Coburn. Coburn reprised the role a year later in In Like Flint.

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.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. First thought is definitely Marcus Flint, although flint arrowheads also come to mind (maybe I’d expect a bearer to be sort of sharp and pointy in personality?)

    As far as Harry Potter is concerned, Marcus Flint is the butt of a lot of fan jokes, as Rowling didn’t quite get the math right and had him as a character in a book where he should have already graduated. When asked about this, she said something like “oh, well, he was held back a year…” So the character, who is already shown to be incredibly stupid, is thought of as having three brain cells at most.

    I don’t know how popular the Harry Potter books will be in the futures of babies born today, but at present they’re still everywhere and so I think most children would think of this character almost immediately. But I could be wrong.

  2. Sarah, that’s a good point–does the nature of a place color our impressions of the name? I’ve always wondered why we don’t see more little boys (or girls) named Camden. It seems like it would be on trend with Cameron and all the -den names. But Camden, New Jersey, has a negative reputation. Does that affect naming choices? I think that there was a similar comment on the Aurora NOTD post, too.
    I think Flint has a great sound but I wouldn’t use it because I don’t care for word names.

    1. I’d be really surprised to meet a Camden in the NJ/PA area, but not necessarily out in the midwest or somewhere that may not even know about Camden, NJ

    2. katybug, my husband and I live in New Jersey so now Camden and Trenton are right up there with Flint for me in terms of place names with bad reputations! I agree that outside of the areas these names could catch on, but definitely not locally.

  3. I grew up an hour from Flint, Michigan and it has a pretty bad reputation as a depressed town. But I do see how it fits in with current naming styles…

  4. I have many positive memories of Flint, Michigan because my family vacationed nearby my entire childhood. We would take day trips to Flint. I would definitely use this name if it sounded better with our surname.

  5. The very first thought I have is of Scrooge, followed closely by Captain Flint.

    And as an anthropology major, I also find myself dwelling on it as a tool. And who really wants a name associated with a tool? haha.

    I’d say Flint is firmly on the list of “Not a Fan” for me.

  6. this just reminds me of dryer lint, or belly button lint, or Flicking lint. Not very appealing. But I see how it follows trend.

    Also in the Cloudy reference you call him Flick at first then Flint. 😉

  7. Flint was the name of Ken’s favorite D&D dwarf character. Works there, for me but that’s about it. If we ever got a bassett hound, I’d consider naming him, Flint.
    Funny about “CwaCoM”, I’ve watched it a dozen times and even with the captioning on, I hear “Flynn” not “Flint I think it’s because that ‘t’ is rather soft. The only ‘t’ ender on my list is Rupert. His final ‘t’ is a bit more solid. Well, at least I hear that one! 🙂