The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind … and another …
Maurice Sendak’s legendary 1963 children’s book gave a grandpa name to a young boy, and the parents who grew up hearing it as a beloved bedtime story have done the same.
But let’s say you find Max too brief to complete your son’s birth certificate. What are the options for a longer form? There are more possibilities than you might guess.
It’s Just Max
There’s certainly a case for keeping it simple. Unlike some short names, he feels complete at three letters, a satisfyingly full sound. And at #96 in 2011, Max is the most popular option for parents, a brother for Finn or Xavier or Gus. His sound appeals to those who embrace new discoveries, that current x sound, or retro mini names. Little wonder he’s such a hit.
Maxx has made an appearance, too. Olympic gold medalist-turned-commentator Scott Hamilton gave the extra-x appellation to his son born in 2008. Plenty of names repeat a letter – like Scott, for one – and yet he feels rather extremely extreme. More than 200 newborn boys received this spelling in 2011.
Many parents seem to want just a little bit more for their son’s birth certificate, maybe an extra syllable to tack on when their little guy crosses the line.
Maxwell, he of the silver hammer, adds a Beatles song component to the children’s literary vibe. At #134 in 2011, he’s just a few paces behind the three-letter version. Maxwell is actually a surname related to Magnus. His surname style fits right in with Carter and Landon.
Maxfield offers something similar, but is far less common. American artist and illustrator Maxfield Parrish makes the name familiar – he’s best known for his illustrations of children’s books. Incidentally, Parrish was born Frederick, and adopted his grandmother’s maiden name as his professional name.
Maxim should be a great name, the go-to for parents seeking something slightly more formal for a son. Except there’s the racy men’s magazine. Which is too bad, because it really is such a clever choice. A maxim is a saying, a statement of truth or principle. As a given name, it is used in Russian – think Maxim Gorky – though it is often spelled Maksim. He’s not unknown, though – he ranked #722 in 2011.
Speaking of alternate spellings, the Welsh version of the name is typically Macsen, but Maxen is sometimes seen, too. It looks modern, but if you’re attracted to options like Rhys, he might appeal.
Modern invention Maxton just sneaks into the US Top 1000 at #949. He’s at home in the company of other nouveau creations like Axton and Jaxon. Similar possibilities abound. Just add -on, -son, or -den.
Taking it to the Max
At three syllables, Maximus shouldn’t feel like too much name. But his rise to popularity came after actor Russell Crowe played the ancient warrior in 2000’s Gladiator. Crowe scored an Oscar for his role, and parents embraced the name almost immediately. It’s not as testosterone-charged as Slade or Gunner, and at #212 in 2011, he’s pretty popular. Still, it feels like an ambitious choice for a small boy – Maximus means “the greatest” and seems to require feats of military prowess on the scale of a Roman commander.
Maximilian fits right in with Alexander and Nicholas. They’re elaborate names for boys with ties to saints and kings. He strikes me as slightly more versatile than the sword-and-sandals Maximus. At #433 in 2011, he’s the choice for some parents. Variants include Maximillian and Maximilien. The baffling re-spellings Maximillion and Maxamillion have also been seen.
Maximiliano is actually slightly more popular than Maximilian, ranking #289. He’s the Spanish form of the name.
Maximo is another, slightly shorter, Spanish possibility, currently ranked #802 in the US.
The Italian Massimo feels stylish, but might not lead as naturally to the nickname.
Maximum is a word name, rich with braggadocio. Maximus does mean the greatest, but somehow putting Maximum on your son’s birth certificate begs the question of maximum what?
Do you love Max? Would you use a longer form, or just stick with Max? Are there any possibilities I’ve missed?