Pilot: Yea or Nay?

Jocelyn Howarth and Nancy Bird, ca. 1930-33 / ...

Jocelyn Howarth and Nancy Bird, ca. 1930-33 / by unknown photographer (Photo credit: State Library of New South Wales collection)

Pilot is among the most maligned celebrity baby names ever, regularly topping the lists of crazy choices, second only to Apple and Dweezil.

But is Pilot really such an out-there appellation?  We love occupational surnames for boys, from Carter to Mason.  And his sound is solidly masculine.  Plus Pilot’s parents have a sweet story about choosing his name from a song.

Pilot comes from a Greek word for helmsman, which probably traces back to pedon oar.  The word has been in use for centuries, originally applied to the person steering a boat.  Once airplanes were invented, pilot was applied to aviators, too.

I’ll admit that I would have paired Pilot with anything other than Inspektor.  To me, it is the first-middle combination that feels over-the-top.

What do you say?  Would Pilot work for a non-celeb child, or is he just too out there?  Pilot, yea or nay?

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22 Comments

It’s the combination of two commonly known words that gets Pilot on the “Crazy Baby” name lists… Just like Moxie Crimefighter and Audio Science. If the celebs in question had named their kids Pilot Joseph, Audio Daniel and Moxie Jane… only name-nerds would remember their names.

Shepherd Kellen Seinfeld and Sailor Lee Brinkley Cook are both unusual… but neither child’s name appear on the “crazy” lists.

I like Pilot, but not Inspektor. I agree that it is both names together that makes it over the top.

P.S. I found a Pilot the other day. His middle name. Jupiter. Pilot Jupiter makes me think they want him to grow up and be an astronaut.

So I’ve been watching ‘Farscape’ on Netflix and one of the alien characters is named Pilot – so I immediately thought of him. He’s named Pilot because he is the Pilot of the spaceship and apparently his whole race is known as the Pilots.

I think I like Pilot better than Walker. It seems like a more ‘lofty’ ideal!

I agree that it would sound less strange with a traditional masculine middle name. I’m not a big fan of occupational names either.

Well, I’m not a fan of occupational names in the first place. They all seem faintly ridiculous to me. Pilot’s no different. Just another yuck. The combo’s aful on a whole ‘nother level, of course but even if it had been Pilot James or Pilot Frederick, I’d still not be a fan.

This thread is so timely! I’ve actually been reassessing Pilot lately and thinking about how much I like it. It has a similarity to Violet helps to make it more name-like, and Ps seem to be a bit of a trend right now (or maybe it’s just me?). I really like just the sound of it. I’d never heard the story behind it before, but I it definitely adds to its appeal.

I never understood the negativity toward Pilot. It’s no different than other occupational names like Archer or Fletcher. What makes some occupational names “great,” while others are “awful”?

Pilot Inspektor is over the top. If the full name were Pilot Edward or Pilot Alexander, somehow I don’t think Pilot would be so controversial.

That sweet story about choosing the name from a song refers to the line, “he’s simple, he’s dumb, he’s the pilot. Seems to me Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf made their son’s name a joke before anyone else did.

I think the name Pilot works just as well as Mason, in truth. As you said, just don’t pair it with Inspektor.

Oh dear I didn’t know that about the song – that’s pretty bad. And not sweet!

I don’t know that we do all love occupational names (isn’t everyone bored with them by now?), but Pilot doesn’t seem too ghastly, and for sure if they’d called the kid James Pilot everyone would have said what a cool, kicky little middle name it was.

My very first thought when seeing Pilot is Pontius Pilate and the Apostle’s Creed. Not sure why that association is so strong for me. Perhaps it is because I thought I was hearing Pilot when younger? Next I, too, think of the dog in Jane Eyre. It’s a big nay for me.

While I can fully understand and accept why Pilot would be a “yea” for many people, all I can think of is the dog in Jane Eyre.

Pilot is nice, no worse than Thatcher or Ryder. Better than Ryder IMHO.
It’s the combination that’s not doing it for me.
Inspektor makes me sing the very annoying ‘Inspector Gadget’ theme song. Can’t shake that!