N by Aunt Owwee via Flickr

Lester is a non-starter, but Chester is catching on once more. And Oscar and Hector have some serious style. Where does that leave this choice?

Thanks to Hayley for suggesting the mythological Nestor as our Baby Name of the Day.

Nestor appears in plenty of stories, and he’s a steady presence – intelligent, strategic, seemingly free of the character flaws that plague so many of our heroes. Of course, Nestor also rarely takes center stage.

He became King of Pylos after his dad had a falling out with Heracles. (Heracles killed Nestor’s dad, Neleus, plus Nestor’s brothers.)

Maybe it was his father’s untimely demise; maybe Nestor was just born sharp. Either way, when he appears in ancient myth, he’s usually there to dispense wisdom. His adventures included:

  • Setting out as one of the Argonauts;
  • Fighting in the Trojan War as one of Homer’s long-haired Achaeans;
  • Attempting to make peace between Agamemnon and Achilles;
  • Coaching a younger warrior on the finer points of chariot racing.

A second legend comes to mind, this one rooted in the twentieth century. In early 1900s, brothers David and William Horsley opened one of the first movie studios. Nestor Motion Picture Company relocated from New Jersey to Los Angeles in 1911, and built an early motion picture stage in Sunset Boulevard’s Blondeau Tavern. The Mutt and Jeff comedy shorts – live action adaptations of a popular comic strip – were Nestor’s breakout hit. The studio was acquired, and then acquired again.

If that pair of references doesn’t move you, there’s also:

  • A third century saint;
  • A type of parrot native to New Zealand;
  • A long-eared donkey, immortalized by the same studio that created the stop-motion animated Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in the 1970s. Their Nestor is the donkey a pregnant Mary rode to Jerusalem;
  • A fictional penguin from 2006’s animated Happy Feet;
  • French crime novelist Leo Malet’s hard-boiled PI Nestor Burma.

He’s also a surname, sometimes related to the hero from antiquity, and sometimes adopted as a convenient Anglicization of an Irish surname.

Nestor appeared in the US Top 1000 most years from the 1960s into the early 2000s, and a few times earlier, too. most years 1960s into early 2000s. I can’t confirm it, but I suspect many of the Nestors were Latino. The name has at least some currency in South America, where Nestor Kirchner was President of Argentina from 2003 through 2007.

With names from Connor to Archer popular of late, it isn’t a stretch to think that Nestor could wear well on a son. He’s unexpected, but not at all out of step.

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. I’m of two thought on Nestor…
    First there’s Mr. Carbonell, Nestor Serrano (another actor) and a young boxer I briefly dated. All hot men who are quite masculine and not remotely feminine. On the right man, Nestor’s sexy.

    But the Nestor is so close in sound to Hester and most obvious nicknames are Nessie and Ness, which make me think of Vanessa and Agnes. So I’m not sure.

  2. Ohh, I totally thought this was a girl’s name. Ooops. Maybe it’s the similar sound to Esther or perhaps I was thinking of Hester (which I just looked up and that’s a variation of Esther.) Apparently I don’t know any mythology!

    I don’t think I really like the sound – though I do somewhat like Chester (if it wasn’t for the Chesty / busty association.)

  3. There’s a sports talk show host called “nasty” Nestor Aparicio, so that’s all I think of–Nasty Nester, which puts Nestor with Lester as not usable.