This Biblical choice might seem like an unlikely pick – but once upon a time, so did Isaiah.
Thanks to Rocking Fetal for suggesting Boaz as Name of the Day.
Back in the Old Testament, Boaz was Ruth’s husband, an ancient magnate. In some tellings it is a December-June romance; others paint Boaz as rich, young and handsome to boot. Regardless of Boaz’ attributes, he and Ruth had a son, and their son had a son, who had a son of his own – the future King David.
For another religious angle, the two copper, brass or bronze pillars in the first temple in Jerusalem were called Boaz and Jachin. Boaz meant swift or strong; Jachin meant founding. They’re described in more than one passage in the Bible.
While Noah and Rebecca are perfectly mainstream, inspiring parents to dig ever deeper for an inventive Biblical choice, Boaz has been largely overlooked. He should be given a two-syllable pronunciation – BO az. But it is tempting to say boze, like the speakers. Or worse, to mangle Boaz as Bozo. That may be why the name has yet to catch on – Bozo the Clown comes to mind, and was such a pop culture icon for Baby Boomers that he’s yet to fade.
But Boaz is a distinctive choice, and he may be familiar from the map. Boaz, Wisconsin was the site of an early mastodon discovery. Not only did archeologists unearth a skeleton, they also found evidence of early human settlements hunting the giant beasts. The creature is known as the Boaz mastodon.
Meet a Boaz circa 2009, and he’s probably Israeli. In the 2007 season of Kokhav Nolad – the Israeli version of Pop Idol – the winner was Boaz Ma’uda. Other contests that season were Marina and Shlomi. Not every Israeli name translates gracefully into English. But Boaz scored a brand new Chevy and a recording contract, so perhaps he’ll inspire some parents.
Long before the singer or the clown, you can find Boaz in sparing use. Protestant parents leafing through the Good Book sometimes chose Boaz. And they’ve continued to do so right through modern day. US Census recordings show a steady sprinkling of men named Boaz.
That said, he’s never charted in the US Top 1000 and seems like a long-shot for a revival. But if you’re searching for a formal name to go on a birth certificate for baby Bo? Then Boaz might be a dark horse contender.
I’m really loving this name, and would love to see your whole write-up on it, but it’s not here. Please update!! 🙂
I have a Boaz! He’s 6, almost 7, currently. It was my top choice for a boy from the start, but since we named our first daughter Rosemary, the next, our first boy, was Judah, because Boaz was a bit much immediately next to “Rose.” I have always loved it, so I was surprised to meet with violent opposition from my own mother when my husband and I picked this name for our son. Her objection was that it was just waaaay too unusual with our equally-odd last name, but as my husband and I both grew up with top-10 names, call it an over-reaction to each of us having three people with our own names in each class growing up! (Mom did give in after hubby put his foot down, but it was an unpleasant week after his birth, debating and second-guessing ourselves . . . )
lydia Grimes says
I have sons named Joseph and Benjamin. Does the name Boaz/Bo fit with the set?
I really dig Boaz, with the 2 syllable pronunciation. He feels very artsy to me, probably emphasised by Boaz Davidson (at least I’m fairly sure that’s his whole name) He’s a Hollywood producer. I see his name often in the credits of the moviesI watch. I think it’s a fabulous name if you’ve got a simple surname!
Boaz is a spunky choice. I went to school with an Ezra and always liked it. It has always had a vibrant vibe to me. I also like the possible nickname option of Bo.
I adore the Silas, Ezra, and Boaz set also! Of that set, Boaz is the only one my husband would consider– Silas with our S-last name would be too much for him and he’d call Ezra “girly” because of the -a ending. I like Boaz, and Bo is a nice nickname– it grows up well from a cute little boy to a strong man in my mind.
(Regaring Ezra sounding girly to my husband, when my Calypso was younger, we had the same problem in reverse– strangers (when making appointments on the phone and such) assuming that she was a boy because her name ended in -o. As the name is more out there, used on a lot of products and featured in the last Pirates of the Carribean movie, we’re having a lot less of that. Ezra is all boy to me, in any case.)
I don’t care for it, but it is a great way to get to Bo. Still like Beau better, tho’.
Thank you so much for making Boaz NOTD! It’s a name that has really grown on me and is slowly crawling up my (not so) long list.
Silas, Ezra and Boaz is about my favorite set ever! 😛 I wanted to name my first son Silas, but we went with Lucas instead. Our second son is Ezra. Boaz is a little much next to Ezra for my liking, but maybe I’ll use it down the line.
Call me (Ishmael) crazy, but I really prefer the “boze” pronunciation; it’s just easier and more user-friendly when I try to say it.
This is a name I’d consider for my own son, but I know without even asking that my husband would cross it off the list immediately. Too “out there” for him. Plus we’d never be able to use a name that had “Bo” as a nn (as much as I love it), because “Bo Bilbo” is just too…Too.
I’m undecided on this one. To me the pronunciation is intuitive, and I don’t mind the sound, but I agree with Emmy Jo’s proposal – he doesn’t sound very much like a name to me, despite Noah sitting at #10 for the boys.
I’d never use him, but I’d be charmed to hear one!
Boaz is a fun sounding name that I could see appealing to parents with a sense of adventure. It makes me think of Joan Baez just because Boaz and Baez have a similar structure. And while Emmy Jo has a point, there are names like Chaz and Miles (which is the z sound at the end, even if it’s not written as such) and some others, so the final z isn’t too strange… and Noah is an o-a combo, even if that a sounds like an ‘uh’ rather than an ‘aaah’. Didn’t think of the clown/Bozo or the sound system. It seems fairly intuitive to pronounce it properly. It seems pretty wearable to me and the option to go with the nn Bo makes it even more so. Not for me, but definitely for someone else!
Although I live in Seattle, I have crashed my car outside of Boaz, Wisconsin – TWICE. Within a 30-yard stretch.
I feel like it would be a very bad omen to give that name to any child of mine.
Definitely avoid this name!
Boaz is getting a warmer reception that I’d have guessed!
Tau, I agree – unless you crashed your car and then met your future spouse at the service station waiting for a repair … well, Boaz is NOT for you! 😉
Friends of my brother have three sons named Silas, Ezra and Boaz (usually called Bo). A little matchy-match soundwise, but otherwise I always thought they were a rather well named sibling set.
Julie, that is a nice threesome. And I like Bo/Beau, so why not? Though Silas, Ezra and Boaz is tough to say three times fast!
Emmy Jo says
Boaz could be a cool name. I never thought to associate it with Bose speakers (even though my husband has two huge ones right next to our computer) or Bozo the Clown. (Just to clarify, you meant to write “Bozo the Clown” and not “Boaz the Clown,” right? I’ve never heard of a clown called Boaz.)
The thing that I think has kept it out of the rankings is that it doesn’t sound very similar to English names. Gideon, for example, and even Hiram and Adoniram, have a “name-like feel” in English, if that makes sense. Plenty of boys’ names end in N, and there are even a few popular ones that end in M (which linguistically is similar to N anyway).
But few names end in Z, and few names have that “o-a” vowel transition — so altogether the name sounds somewhat foreign.
But if Boaz is to be revived, now seems to be the time. After all, the top-20 Noah has similar vowel sounds and plenty of names that are clearly foreign and biblical are experiencing peaks of popularity (like the Isaiah you mentioned, or Elijah).
Yikes! Yes, Emmy Jo. Bozo. Boaz the Clown … not so much! I’ve changed it – thank you!