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.

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What do you think?


  1. My name is Flint and I’m a girl. I think this name can be used for all genders, not just boys. It makes me so mad when I look up my name and I find so many baby name websites saying its just a boys name because its not.

    1. Well … if it’s your name + you’re a girl, then of course, Flint is a girl’s name.

      But statistically speaking? Your name is VERY, VERY rare. Not only is Flint wildly uncommon – cracking the US Top 1000 just twice – but it’s never been given to even five girls in a single year. Perhaps 850 boys have been named Flint from the year 2000 onward. At the absolute most, it’s theoretically possible 76 girls were named Flint in the same time period … but I’d be stunned if the number were that high. (For privacy reasons, the US Social Security Administration doesn’t release data on names given to so few children.)

      Enjoy your unique name!

  2. Eh…I’m not a fan of the uber-masculine, manly-man names like this one. I would rather use Finn or even Flynn, even though I’m not overly fond of Flynn. Flint seems too hard and well…flinty (tee hee) for me.

  3. I like Flint. Rhymes with Clint, word name, has a nature edge. Where Finn seems happy, and Flynn has a dashing vibe, Flint connotes rugged toughness.

    And who can forget the Flintstones?!?