Perhaps the quest for a long name to bestow on your baby boy comes from your own experiences with a three-letter moniker that seemed to lack weight and significance. Or it may just be that a very short last name seems to call for a longer first one. For the first hundred years after the Social Security Administration started keeping track, the most popular names for American baby boys all had fewer than four syllables, so long names for baby boys are generally those with at least three syllables.
According the Social Security Administration, since the year 2000, the five most popular names with three syllables or more for baby boys were Christopher, Joshua, Anthony, Alexander and Nicholas. Going back to 1900 through 2000, the following names can be added to that popularity list: Jonathan, Timothy, Gregory, Samuel and Benjamin.
Naming boys for cities, states and countries their parents associate with childhood and/or happy memories is a trend that began in the 1980s. Some little boys — as well as older ones — are walking around with long state names such as Montana, Indiana and Dakota. Cities became boys’ names as well, with such entries as Madison (also used for girls), Orlando and Manchester. Natives or fans of Honduras, Israel, Jamaica and Samoa (presumably Sam for short) have bestowed these names on their baby boys.
Parents wanting to name their little boys after Biblical characters have a head start on looking for long names. From A for Abraham to Z for Zachariah, three syllable, or longer, names abound in the Bible. Among the more popular are Benjamin, Darius, Ezekiel, Gideon, Immanuel, Jeremiah, Nathanial, Solomon and Thaddeus.
Naming a baby boy after a real individual or a character in a book is a long-held practice; many of these are longer names. When the movie “ET” was released, a wave of little Elliotts started kindergarten five years later. Fans of Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” hoped their sons would grow up to emulate Atticus and continue to give them that name. Other less-lofty name ideas come from such sources as Sebastian the crab from “The Little Mermaid.” From real life, people have often named kids after U.S. presidents with long names, such as Theodore (Roosevelt), and used the last names of Jefferson, Harrison and Kennedy.
Longer names from a variety of cultures give little boys distinction. For example, Irish names include Finnian and Cassidy; Alexander and Nicholas are from Greece; and Diego and Alejandro are Spanish. Many parents interested in passing on their ethnic heritage choose longer names that reflect that interest.