Hi Duana,

I recently found out I am pregnant and my husband and I are throwing names back and forth. Last night he threw out Fox as a boy option. Fox is a family last name that has ended - there are no more. It's in many of my family members' middle names, but none in the current generation - it truly is dying out! I think Fox could be a great middle name, but does it have any business being a little boy's first name? We both kind of love it, but at the same time are wondering can we really do that? Name a child Fox??

Any insight would be awesome!



As I write this, I’m watching the end of School Ties – the part where they all sign their names on the honor code on the exam (is this a spoiler?). One of the names is “Rip”. Because of course it is. God, I love this movie. 

Anyway, that’s what Fox makes me think of. It’s a name that’s a bit antiquated, not in a grandpa way, just in a we-don’t-wear-sport-coats-to-class-anymore way. It’s also kind of its own nickname, which can throw some people for a loop – it’s not easy to lengthen or shorten. Fox is Fox.

But then, that might work in its favour. It’s a name with nothing to “hide”, and it’s in your family so there’s some heritage there. Not having a longer form or a formal version might be a nonissue with a name so straightforward.

The problem, I think, is not even that it is also an “animal” name – there are enough children named Winter and Sage to make that irrelevant – but that Foxes – like their namesakes, foxes – are seen as cunning and maybe tricky and dishonest. Am I projecting something onto the name here? Yes, totally, but I do think it has an adult quality to it that isn’t present in, say, Matthew. I think this totally worked in the case of Fox Mulder, but it might – and I say might, because I’m not sure – cause others to look a bit askance at your Fox, expecting him to be older or more mature or somehow less “babyish”.

This, of course, can work in some cases and some not, but it’s hard to know until you’re there. I think the perfect solution, if you’re in love with it, is to make him one of those stealth middle name people who fascinate and confound me. Name him Nathan Fox or whatever you like, call him Fox, unless it starts to feel weird or you decide it really doesn’t suit him, and let him have the extra cool signature when he’s older, like C. Thomas Howell or G. Gordon Liddy.

And let me know!