So, you're naming a baby, and maybe the recommendations from your friends and family aren't quite hitting the mark. Although there's certainly a place for old-fashioned names (they don't call them "classics" for nothing), many parents want to give their kids a head start in setting the trends of the future. Those parents may also be wishing they had a crystal ball that would reveal the perfect modern, cutting-edge name worthy of the next, oh, 10 decades or so.
If that's you, you've come to the right place. We've taken inspiration from last names, names with uncommon letters (like X and Z) and names that are climbing (though not yet topping) the popularity charts to put together a list of baby boy names that are guaranteed to go the extra mile — or millennium.
Last names as first names
Using a common last name, such as Smith, as a first name is super-on trend. Names that sound traditional as a last name take on new life when used as a first. Just pay attention, and you'll be surprised how many last names would make cool and modern-sounding firsts. Here are some examples.
Cute yet edgy baby boy names
We love the following baby boy names because they are cute yet totally cool with a bit of an edge. These names are pretty easy to spell and pronounce, but they'll still stand out in a crowd.
Boy names with X & Z
Once the ignored and forgotten letters of the alphabet, X and Z have emerged as the "cool kids" when it comes to baby names. Not only are there many modern boy names that use the letters X or Z, but you can also make a traditional name more modern by subbing in these letters — such as changing Jack to Jax. Many celebrities have gotten in on this trend, including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt (sons Maddox, Pax and Knox) and Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz (son Bronx).
Here are our top picks for modern boy names with the letters X or Z.
Boy names ahead of their time
The Social Security Administration has determined that the modern boy names Brantley, Iker, Maximiliano, Zaiden and Kamden have all made big jumps up the baby name lists recently. Want more boy names that are decidedly ahead of their time? These are nowhere near the top of popular baby name lists, but we predict they will be in the future.
What is your favorite modern baby name?
A version of this article was originally published in September 2011.