Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every Saturday, one reader’s name questions will be discussed.
We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!
We are a blended family expecting the first “ours” of yours, mine, and ours in April. Our older children are Katelynn, Connor, and Emmett.
Before finding out the gender we thought we had two perfect names: Remi Grace and Locke Jackson. We like unusual names – nothing in the Top 100.
After finding out its a boy (yay!), I started to have doubts about the name Locke. I still love it, but my 13 year old daughter came up with the nickname “Loch Ness monster.” Will he be made fun of? Is this asking for years of torture? I think it’s a strong boys name, but also don’t know if it goes with our last name, which is three syllables and ends in k. (Think Wosniak, but with an L sound instead.)
Our runner up name right now is Nash.
Congratulations on your baby-on-the-way!
Let’s start with my reaction: I like Locke quite a bit. It feels like a modern, bold name for a boy, but is much less common than many similar choices, like Jax.
Your runner-up name, Nash, seems like an equally appealing possibility.
So let’s talk about Locke and Loch, and monsters and nicknames and all of that.
Every name has the potential for nicknames, some silly and sweet. Others might be embarrassing, even cringe-worthy.
My sense is that Locke Ness Monster is the former. It’s affectionate. It might lead to a cute Halloween costume in toddlerhood. Who knows? If he turns out to be athletic, maybe it will become a nickname on the playing field, too.
But I can’t see how it would set a child up for a lifetime of torment. Everything is embarrassing in middle school, but that’s a phase that passes – and I don’t think it’s automatic that others would nickname Locke after the monster.
Let’s have a poll, though, because I’m always curious to hear what others think:
Now, if you’re down to Locke or Nash, here’s something to consider.
You’d like to avoid a very popular name. I’m guessing that Katelynn and Connor have met other kids with their name, and maybe Emmett, too.
Locke is significantly less popular than any of those names. It’s risen quite a bit in the past few years, but it was given to just 66 boys in 2014. That means that not only is Locke outside the US Top 100, it doesn’t crack the Top 1000. Or even the Top 2000! Locke is rare.
Lachlan and Lochlan are in the US Top 1000, but barely. They both rank in the 900s. Both names are rising, too. That makes me think that Locke is very much on trend, but will remain a distinctive choice.
It also makes me think of Enlightenment philosopher John Locke, so while the name is edgy and cool, it’s got a hint of Whitman-Hawthorne-Rhodes about it. So it’s not too cool, either.
Now, about Nash.
The name has been catching on since 1996, when Don Johnson starred as a San Francisco police inspector on Nash Bridges. As of 2014, the name ranked #364 – it’s highest ranking yet. That translates to 867 newborn boys named Nash.
So Nash is much more popular than Locke, and seems likely to climb even higher, meaning that Nash might be a future Top 100 name.
My suggestion is this: if finding a truly different, distinctive name is your priority, then Locke is the way to go.
If you’d prefer to stick to something not in the Top 100, but that feels like a more conventional name for a child born today, then Nash is the better choice.
Other names that come to mind: Axel, Beau, Dashiell (or Dash), or Briggs. But my vote still goes to Locke.
Readers, what do you say? Locke or Nash? Are there other names that Chelsey should consider?
We named our son Locke and it is great. Overall it has have had a wonderful reception. I love it! Some people have spelled it ‘Loch’ on cards, and we are asked to spell it reasonably often, but don’t be discouraged. 🙂
Mrs. Locke says
My married last name is Locke, and you should be forewarned that a LOT of people assume it is pronounced “lock-ey” with two syllables. If I were you, I would go with Nash. For a name that shares similar sounds but is actually a first name and not a surname, what about Luke?
Juno Blue says
There is a very good fantasy novel called The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. That is my first association with the name. On the other hand, Loch An Eilein is one of my favourite places and there is also the song Loch Lomond. So it has more associations than just the Loch Ness Monster.
I am Australian and for some years Lachlan was a top ten boys name here (number one in my state for ages). Consequently there are lots of little Lachie’s running around. I have never heard anyone reference the loch ness monster to them. Here it would be not a problem at all. US mileage might vary though…
My first associate was to John Locke but I have studied education philosophy so I’m biased on that point.
If an opinion from Scotland would help – Locke and Loch would have quite distinct pronunciations here so it wouldn’t be an issue! The monster generally goes by Nessie too. I like Locke.
Can you explain the differences in pronunciation? I’m curious! Thanks.
I think both Locke and Nash are great names, but I’m not crazy about them with your last name – the Locke and Loz.. part, or the Nash and …niak part. The repeated sound combinations would be a deal breaker for me. What about Laird? You’ve still got the double L, but the vowels are completely different.
I’ll be the lone voice of dissent and say that if your last name starts with “L” (as I’m interpreting your description), it is too much alliteration for me we the Lo-Lo with the hard “k” sound at the end. My vote is for Nash.
my first association for some reason, was Mr. Lockwood, the narrator from Wuthering Heights. I think it’s a wonderful name and wouldn’t worry about teasing. I think the teasing possibilities are a minor concern when weighed agains the fact that you’d be missing out on a favorite name. Plus, kids are creative and could probably think of teasing / nickname for almost any name, so might as well go with a name you adore!
Stick with Locke. We chose Wiley for our son. Some people bring up Wile E. Coyote but its not an issue. Just a cute nickname.
Megan M. says
I also immediately think “Lost” and John Locke, which are neutral-to-good associations to me. I’m sure you’ll hear “Loch Ness monster” because people looooooove to make cringeworthy pun jokes, but honestly I think that will fade over time or be an affectionate joke. The Loch Ness monster is like Bigfoot to me – something it’s fun to believe in/tell stories about, but that no one is actually scared of.
British American says
My first association is the Lost character John Locke – I had no idea that he was named after an actual philosopher!
I think the Loch Ness monster association is a fine one – it could be cute. Not a deal breaker at all.
My immediate association is with John Locke, the philosopher not Loch Ness.
I like the idea of considering Remy for a boy!
I think both are excellent choices. John Locke was my first thought when seeing Locke. People may assume it’s a family name or a hero name. Also, just something I would avoid but I know it is desirable for others (all a matter of taste really) – is the repetition of sounds with the last name. You may want to repeat the two pairs aloud several times and see if it’s for you.
I think Locke is fine, but I wouldn’t personally use it because I think Loch (lake) every time. Locke L…owski makes me think a Polish explorer founded a Scottish lake.
From your letter, it seems you are considering Remi for a girl. As someone living in a French area, I am wondering if you would consider Remi/Rémi for a boy? I would find it a natural boy name, and it goes well with the sibling set.