Ask the Name Lady

Ask Now

Help! My Favorite Baby Name is Getting Popular!

My husband and I have been holding onto the name Archer for a few years now, so no discussion was needed when we found out we were having a boy -- we could use our favorite name. However, on the NameVoyager and elsewhere, it seems like Archer is surging in popularity. We want to avoid bestowing a trendy name, so now we are rethinking our #2 choice, Adlai. We love the name and it will never be trendy, but, everyone we've mentioned it to thinks it's a girl name! What do you think? - A's Mom

I can imagine your feelings watching your favorite name rise up the popularity charts. Archer's uniqueness was part of what drew you to it. Now you feel a loss, as if your special name has been robbed of its specialness. That's a natural emotional reaction, but don't let it become an over-reaction. If you confuse a run up the charts with true popularity, you might just talk yourself out of the perfect name.

Let me see if I can help bring you and Archer back together. Take another look at that scary graph that shows the number of baby Archers suddenly shooting skyward. Tear your eyes away from the upward spike and look at the number on the righthand side. That's the number of Archers you'll find out of a million babies born in America.

Now try typing the name Jacob instead. Or try John or Michael and look at the peaks of those graphs. What looks like a mountainous popularity surge on the Archer graph is just a tiny bump in the great naming landscape. The percentage of babies named Archer is still miniscule: .0086%. It's less common than Prince, Ireland, Zechariah and Sincere.

Yes, Archer will rise some, but it should never be truly "trendy." It's also handsome, easy to spell and pronounce, and miraculously sounds both antique and modern. Everybody you talk to likes it better than Adlai -- even, you might recall, you. Do you really want to give up your perfect name just because one in 6,000 babies shares it?


Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

October 12, 2010 11:48 AM
By Mallory (not verified)

Archer was in my pocket too for a boy but with a last name with the same sounds it doesn't work well. I understand where you are coming from, not wanting something super trendy but you and he have to live with it so choose something you love :) It will never be a John or Michael

October 12, 2010 12:04 PM
By Brandy (not verified)

I also had Archer on my list of boy names, but my husband shot it down. Go for it - you both love it!

October 12, 2010 12:20 PM
By Kenton (not verified)

Upgrade your Archer to a Rifleman.

October 12, 2010 12:22 PM
By Kenton (not verified)

(See, I just managed to merge this article with the Video Game name article by making a Civilization V reference.)

October 12, 2010 4:06 PM
By jhwest (not verified)

Definitely don't go with Adlai! I have an Adelaide and I'm going crazy with all the Adalyns, Addies and Adelines. Adlai just sounds like yet-another-variation. People will definitely think your son is a girl.

October 12, 2010 4:45 PM
By Julie (not verified)

the 2nd choice sounds WAY girly... sounds like Adelheid (remember the book "Heidi"?)
and even the nn Addy is a girl's name.

If Archer is still out of the question,
(and since both of the names you chose are "A" names) what about:
Ansel (nn Annie, but hey, if Anakin can have it...)

October 12, 2010 4:57 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

What about Arden or Alden.

October 12, 2010 5:28 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

"The percentage of babies named Archer is still miniscule: .0086%. It's less common than Prince, Ireland, Zechariah and Sincere."

...And there, we see an example of why the Babynamewizard tools are powerful and useful.

October 12, 2010 9:09 PM
By Sarah (not verified)

Great reminder to not just look at the "spike". I'm not having children any time soon, but I do like to look at name trends. It's good to remember that just because a name is rising it doesn't mean that it is mainstream and everyone is using it.

Excellent post. Also, I love the name Archer, although I probably wouldn't use it myself.

October 13, 2010 2:38 AM
By Lisa (not verified)

Go with Archer. My partner and I agreed well before TTC that if we had a girl we would call her Trinity (yes, Matrix fans) We occasionally come across other Trinity's, some older than ours, some similarly aged, and I'm sure there are some younger, but I doubt she's going to be at school with another Trinity because we're in a rural "city" in Australia :)

October 14, 2010 1:13 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Yes, be careful... We named our son Jackson a few years ago and within two years there are millions of them. Even two of our friends ended up naming their boys this and it was annoying... It's one of those things, I guess...!

October 14, 2010 1:13 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Yes, be careful... We named our son Jackson a few years ago and within two years there are millions of them. Even two of our friends ended up naming their boys this and it was annoying... It's one of those things, I guess...!

October 14, 2010 9:01 PM
By Julie (not verified)

Go with it. I've never heard of or met anyone with the name Archer, so I don't think you have anything to worry about.

October 14, 2010 11:23 PM
By Mara (not verified)

My best friend just named her son Archer and it suits him perfectly. They were inspired by the symbol of the astrological sign of Sagittarius (which both mom and dad are.)

Not much advice beyond that. I was just excited to see it. It is still fairly unusual. I suspect any spike in popularity will only help to cement it as a good, solid name and not turn it into the next, as someone mentioned above, Jackson.

October 15, 2010 12:33 AM
By Elisabeth (not verified)

Yes, I agree, I wouldn't worry too much about Archer in particular having a meteoric rise to the top ten. The occupation name genre does seem to be blasting upwards -- I think half my acquaintances have named their sons things like Cooper and Mason -- but I have yet to hear of a real Archer (I don't suppose Captain Archer from Star Trek counts...?).

October 15, 2010 1:23 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I have a friend with a little boy named Archer and a different friend with a little girl named Adlai-- that being said, I don't think either is going to become super popular!

October 17, 2010 12:08 AM
By Essy (not verified)

The name lady is 100% right, right now there aren't enough Archers to be worried. If there wasn't the internet you wouldn't even realize there are other Archers out there! It just feels like there are lots of Archers out there because so many people like the name and talk about it online but the # of actual Archers is very minimal.

Also there aren't millions of Jacksons - only 11,988 babies were named Jackson last year (2009), 11,595 (2008), 11,634 (2007), and it steadily goes down from there 6,832 (2001) and 3,858 in 1998 when it first got into the top 100 (At #100) baby boy names. I'd say there is probably just over 100, 000 Jacksons in the US - and Archer is no where near that popularity yet - Jackson's been on the top 100 for over a decade and at most for the generation that is 12 and under it's just hit 100 000 - there are approx 300 million people in the US - I think it's safe to say, Asher is more than a safe bet! If anything I think the boost Jackson got was because of Hannah Montana and I have a feeling it's pretty much reached it's peak. I see it hanging around 25 for a while before dropping off.

SIDE NOTE! @Julie super list! I love the inclusion of Adonis, I'd personally feel really bad for a kid named Adonis unless he was really really beautiful. but I absolutely love Shelley's poem Adonais and I admit contemplated naming a kid Adonais before.

October 17, 2010 11:30 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I am naming my son Jacob Piotr. Because his grandfathers middle name is Jacob and we want to honor him in this way even though Jacob is one of the most popular names out there nowadays it has special meaning for us and our family so we decided to use it anyways

October 19, 2010 12:09 PM
By Kira (not verified)

Adlai is a clearly male name to me, not girlish at all - but I'm 41, and I think of Adlai Stevenson.

Archer is cute - I would hate for my son to be called Archie, though.

October 21, 2010 6:53 PM
By B Devan (not verified)

First--Adlai doesn't sound girly to me, but I'm from Chicago, so I think of Stevenson (Like Kira)

Second--I understand the fear of giving a popular name, but from a slightly different perspective. My parents named me Brittany back in the early 80s, before it was popular. Growing up, it was really unique, which I hated because I couldn't find anything with my name on it in stores (oh the worries of a 6 year old). I was in Middle School when Britney Spears became famous, and things have never been the same. The first time I went to a bar, the bouncer took one look at my ID and said "oh no! the Brittanys are 21". Everyone expect me to be a complete moron because of my name, which is the opposite of true--I'm working on a PhD for goodness sake! The moral of my story, make sure to give your kid a good middle name to--I've gone by mine since I started College--you've got to have options.

October 23, 2010 3:31 PM
By Nicola (not verified)

Who cares how popular a name is? If it's a classy, timeless name then it will never sound stale, no matter how many others you meet (think 'Michael' and 'Tom'). My worry is that people nowadays care more about how common a name is than how suitable it is, given that your child will be saddled with it for life. Choosing a trendy name may seem like a good idea now, but think of the inevitable bullying at school, constantly having to correct people on spelling and punctuation, and as 'B Devan' says, " [not being able to] find anything with my name on it in stores". I found this annoying as a child, and my name isn't even that uncommon.

November 22, 2010 6:08 PM
By Laura (not verified)

If you like Archer, use it. You can nickname him Arch, or Archie.

January 7, 2012 11:28 PM
By renee (not verified)

Archer is our name too (our "name." for a future baby we're not yet expecting.) and I worry about the same thing. But it's a good one, and still not super common. My sister's name is Anna, which shows up every year in the top 100 and isn't going anywhere, and yet she's never cared that it was "too popular", nor has it affected her life. It suits her. I'm sure Archer will suit your little boy as well, ESPECIALLY if you've been picturing a little Archer-man in your life for years, as we have.

January 30, 2012 3:46 PM
By Bess (not verified)

We named our son Archer in 2009. I had never heard of anyone with that name. A month later, there was another little boy born at our church given the name, Archer. But, I haven't heard of any others, so I don't think it's getting too popular. Meanwhile all my friends seem to want to name their boys Jack or Henry. Those are the kids who will have to go by their last initial in school. My daughter had 4 Jacks in her class this year. Everyone loves the name Archer! I have no regrets for using it!

January 10, 2013 8:14 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I know how you feel. I just found out I am having a boy and over 6 years ago my husband and I decided on the name Archer. It's a name that goes way back in my family. When we just announced the name a few of our friends told us that the name was on their short list too! I couldn't imagine why. It's not popular and it's not a name with family ties to them. I don't want a trendy name either. I had to think back to the first times I told most of my friends that we would use the name Archer and a few of them snubbed it. (that didn't bother me because I have an unusual name myself that is also a family name) I don't think Archer is a name for everyone and it will never be an "Aiden". It's beautiful name boy or girl!

March 10, 2013 4:02 PM
By Sunnie (not verified)

We named out son born 1/17/13 Archer Graham ( both are family names). We love it. Archer fits him so well:)

May 7, 2013 9:45 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

We love the name Archer and named our first son, born Sept.11,2001.

May 29, 2014 5:30 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I love the name Archer, and would have loved to have used it on my son, but on the other hand, I absolutely cringe at the thought that somewhere along the line someone will call him Arch!

October 28, 2014 10:17 PM
By Sam (not verified)

We named our son Archer Charles on June 13, 2014. He's a little stud, and we love the name. It's super adorable to hear his two-year old sister call him Archie. "Oh, bless you Archie!" whenever he sneezes. We call him Arch sometimes too. Love it.

May 7, 2015 9:10 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I had a friend named Archer and we and his family called him Archie. He didn't like it because people would often say, "Archie, just like the comic book character?" My friend absolutely hated his name and also to be called Archie. He got older and went by his middle name. Do not name your child Archer if you really love him!

July 19, 2016 12:40 PM
By Akers207 (not verified)

We named our son Archer back in 2007. It goes well with our last name and he is a Sagittarius...we love it! Still have never met another one face to face although we've seen a few references to others on TV. For a while we were worried because he had trouble with his "R's" and couldn't pronounce his own name...came out as "O-Cho" and created much confusion. :) Thankfully, that problem has gone away!

August 4, 2017 1:49 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I have a son named Arden and one named Archer!! You have good taste!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.