How to pick a middle name your kid will WANT to share

Guest post by Kelly Ward
Danger really IS his middle name.
Danger really IS his middle name.

Last December, my husband and I welcomed into this world our first born son: Lincoln. Lincoln Danger. Yep. As you might imagine, a typical conversation following Lincoln’s birth went as follows:

Us: It’s a boy!
Friend or Family member: Congratulations! What’s his name?
Us: Lincoln Danger.
Friend or Family: (blank stare) I’m sorry, did you say Danger?

After the initial surprise, said friend or family member either feigned indifference, pretended not to notice, or (our favorite) broke out into a “That. Is. Awesome. Why didn’t we think of that?!”

When you choose an atypical name (even a middle name) for your child, you must be prepared to answer the why’s…

First, though, it might be helpful to think about how middle names are typically chosen in the first place:

    1. Some people choose a name to honor a family member, usually the grandmother or grandfather. Sometimes the mother’s maiden name is used.
    2. Perhaps it “just sounds good” with whatever first name was selected.
    3. The middle name might actually be intended to be used as part of the first name (e.g., Mary Ann, John Paul)
    4. It could be part of a family tradition (e.g., My dad has 5 sisters. Every one of them has the middle name Ann).

When we were choosing Lincoln’s name, we fell somewhat into the family tradition category–not that Danger is family heritage. For 5 generations in my husband’s family, the initials L.D.W. have been given to the first born son (taking a slight detour with my husband’s uncle, who named his son Chris…my husband’s parents chose to carry-on the tradition instead).

So, we knew we needed an “L” name (done!) and a “D” name. Combing through baby name books at our local bookstore gave us a few front runners, but we still weren’t sold on anything. My husband was a bit sad that his number one choice actually started with a “P” so couldn’t be used (since I’m feeling generous, I’ll offer the name up to any takers out there: Pocket (I know…).

In fact, please use it. That way I can tell him it’s been done and I won’t have to consider it for baby #2.

One day as I was searching online, I came across a baby name list I hadn’t seen before. Going straight to the “D” names, I saw it: Danger. We loved it and never looked back.

But how to answer the inevitable “why” questions we were sure to get?

Really, for us, it boils down to the fact that the middle name (in America, at least) is rarely used. Sure, you’ll print it on your birth announcements, they’ll call it out on graduation day, it will probably make an appearance on your wedding invitations…but really, most people don’t go around everyday introducing yourself with your full name. [Editor’s note: unless you’re me. -AMS]

Think about it — other than close friends and family, do you know people’s middle names? On resumes and other paperwork in the business world, the middle initial is more often used that the full name. Keeping all that in mind, we decided to move forward with our name choice. Why did we pick it? Why not? If it is hardly ever going to get used, why not have fun with it?

Our one regret about choosing such a unique middle name for our son? The intense pressure we now have to come up with something equally unique when baby #2 comes along (I mean, really. How are we supposed to follow that??). We aren’t expecting yet, but I’m already writing down ideas. It is going to take a long time to come up with something that lives up to Danger.

Comments on How to pick a middle name your kid will WANT to share

  1. I know just how important names are.
    My first and middle make me sound like i came from a time shifting device. Amaryllis constance. It's very 1700's Yet I wouldnt be able to deal with a common name. I find it hard enough being in earshot of anyone names karol or darryl. I'm not used to not responding to my name like people with common names are.

  2. Lincoln Danger is made of awesome.

    My own middle name, not so awesome. Amber Kay. Boring, and according to my mom it means absolutely nothing other than it sounded nice. Which is fine. My daughter's name is Eden Anne, Anne being the same middle name as both her grandmas. I thought it only appropriate. πŸ™‚

    • Hey! My middle name is Kay and it means “joyful”–don’t knock it. πŸ™‚ It’s my mother and grandmother’s middle names as well, although I admit to thinking it was kinda boring when I was younger.

  3. I love it, and it's something your son will probably be *bragging* about to all his friends as he's older. It took us a while too to come up with something for our baby, but as soon as we found out the sex, it was set, Vida Irie P_____t. Yes, her initials are V.I.P. and few people know what Irie means but to us that just makes it all the better. I can't wait til she's older though and gets to introduce herself… sometimes I wish people would all introduce themselves FULLY every time, haha. πŸ˜›

    • My younger sister’s middle name is Irie. My dad convinced my momma that it was an old family name πŸ˜›

  4. When I was 13 I attended the birth of a baby boy (born to a family friend, i was mostly there to watch the 3 year old sister, and keep her from freaking out over her mother’s pain) The baby was given the middle name Valor. It was the coolest thing I’d ever heard at the time, and I have to say it’s still pretty darn cool.

  5. My husband and I also gave our children different but cool middle names.Our son is named Alex Proton,Alex after my great grandfather and Proton after one of the members in my husbands favourite bands.we named our daughter Georgie Dirtbike and people are genuinely horrified by this!our little dirtbike was named after something we as a family love to do and my grandfather and father.She loves her name even when she gets stick over it and I have not come across one little boy who wishes it was his middle name and that includes our Alex Proton.
    Oh and if our little Dirtbike had been a boy,the name we picked was William Danger!

  6. My whole family is full of unique names. I have a huge extended family. My childrens names are Justice, Dominic-Talon and Rayna. I have nephews named Shanyn Wolfe, Sydhartha, and Tallon, I have neices named Irys, Noelia, and Kahlan (pronounced Colin)

  7. I personally view middle names as the most important. I have always seen them in the same light as a person’s “witch’s name” or “hebrew name”. Something special linking you to your spirit. You have control over who knows it and who doesnt.
    I named my first born son Lazaro Orion. The Orion constellation passed over my house every day that I was pregnant with him. Plus he is the hunter. Lazaro is 1, derived from Lazarus who rose from the dead. and 2, derived from St. Lazaro (who is huge in Cuban life) who is the patron saint of the poor.
    My middle son is Luciano Alexander. Luciano for a few reasons (one of which is after Luciano Pavarotti). Another reason is that it means “light”. Alexander is “the great protector”. So his name translates into Great Protector of Light.
    My third son (yes, I have 3 boys) my fiance wanted to name after me and I wanted to name after him. My middle name is Gabrielle and my fiance’s name is Ian. So his name is Gabriel Ian. Another added bonus, my fiance’s great grandfather’s (passed) name is also Gabriel.

  8. I love it! Danger is actually on my boy name list along with Maverick and a few other similar names I also love that you stuck to a family tradition while putting your own twist on it, my family has a similar tradition with the middle initial “j” for girls. My daughter’s middle name is Belle.. that did not go over well with my mother or her mother i wish i had been as innovative!

  9. When I found out I was pregnant with baby #2, I already decided on a girls name if it were a girl. My friend at work suggested Danger as the middle name. Annabelle Danger. I really hope baby #3 is a girl so I can use this name. πŸ™‚

  10. I love your choice, so many people complain about having “boring” middle names, I think it’s awesome that one can say, “Yeah baby my middle name is Danger!”

    My middle name is Maree (which was supposed to be mums middle name which we later found out when I was 16 thats her’s was actually Marie on her birth certificate and nana has taught her to spell it wrong haha) so we do want to go with that for one of the girls, but we’ve also agreed on using Ivy as a middle name as it’s my nanas name and despite her saying that she doesn’t want anyone to use it to name their kids with (she hates her name and never got given a middle name to “save her from it”) I love it and she couldn’t hide that she was happy we wanted to use it.

  11. we gave our son Joel my mother’s maiden name, as she died when I was 15 and also adopted, so He has a connection to that side of his family still. My mom’s sister wasn’t adopted and couldn’t be happier that we gave him Higgins as a middle name now that both grandparents had passed and she also has no children. It meant a lot to her that someone got to carry on the name. And since he didnt get to meet my grandparents or my mother, i look forward to him asking where his name came from in the future.

  12. If I may make some suggestions for baby #2:

    “Trouble” is another word that people often say “is my middle name.” It’d go along nicely with “danger”

    Also, I saw a birth announcement in a newspaper, once, where a girl was named Lillian Dynamite. I thought it was amazing, and sounded like a superhero. I hope she grows up to be a punk or a writer or something where people would normally pick an alias. She already has a badass one, legally. Or maybe she’ll work with explosives.

  13. Danger is pretty sweet – as a less-used variation, I offer up my favorite, “Venture” as an alternative. (my favorite pairing is Sequoia Venture)

    I am excited about a trend of names that has some imagination and pep to it.

  14. We just had our 1st boy after 3 girls. After much search for a name, my husband decided his son must be able to say that his middle name is Danger. I knew the reactions we would get, but I couldn’t deny him this right to name his only son. So we have a Sebastian Danger Maddox (I insisted on a 2nd middle name because I was in love with it and it was the original middle name and I wanted Sebastian to have a 2nd option to use JIC)

  15. I am going to name my daughter after my husband, and her middle name will be one that I heard YEARS ago in college!

    It will culminate to : Derrick Blaze–I LOVE IT!!

    • i am fixing to have my 1st baby boy and i love the name blayze but i cant come up with unique middle name…any suggestions

  16. I really wanted this middle name for a boy, but alas my husband vetoed it and all our family hated it πŸ™

  17. I’ve been begging Gabe to let us legally change Scarlet’s name to either Scarlet Trouble or Scarlet Max (our last name is Payne, so it’d be so rad) he isn’t budging. But baby number two is having Max for sure.

  18. I met a little girl with the middle name Danger.

    Our last name is Kann and of course my husband wants to name our baby Ghengis (if its a boy). Had to put my foot down on that one.

  19. our son’s name is Zander Cage. we chose Zander because i wanted to name our son after my husband and hes Alexander. it was a way to pass on family name with out it being the same. Cage comes from that movie XXX with vin diesil! i loved that character and we knew it would go with Zander haha!
    and our Daughter is named Lola Kaydence. Lola is named after myself and my mother. and Kaydence was the only name that my husband and i could agree on lol. the only stipulation i had with middle names is that it can have the same ending. and my kid reflect that! and it seems to have a better sound to it. just my opinion tho πŸ™‚

  20. I love the name :)!!

    And I am in the same boat about being asked how a child get their name. My daughters name is Novemberlynn. (Yes its all one word, her middle name is Marie. And no she was not born in November) I get asked all the time how I came up with it. It started as a joke and turned into a name I loved πŸ™‚

  21. I read this article a long time ago and it really helped when me when my husband offered up a very nontraditional middle name for our daughter who is due in March. Having been raised Italian and Catholic all of me and my brothers names come from the Bible and are easily translated into Italian. I chose the first name of Natalie for our daughter (Natalia for my mother) and was thinking of something similarly traditional for the middle name when my husband suggested “Teneile.” Huh?! At first I was skeptical and then he added that it meant “champion” (we’re both coaches) and “passionate” (which I have tattooed in Italian on my hip). Ahh. I get it. It wasn’t what I originally had in mind, but it is absolutely perfect and she will have the joy of sharing her daddy’s special middle name with people for the rest of her life.

  22. OK so my husband has been wanting kids since we got married 5 years ago just so he can use Danger as a middle name. Well, he actually wanted “Bocefus Danger”. Bocefus was shot down IMMEDIATELY if not faster but secretly, I’ve actually entertained Danger. Well now I’m 20 weeks pregnant with our first. A boy. Having thought of a first name, but being stuck on a second, it came back but I kinda had it tucked away in my back pocket thinking I’d find something that worked better. Today I had a 3d US done and the tech had to have me turn on my stomach and beat me with the wand thingy in order to get him to turn around and show his face. He finally did, but he totally had his dukes up like he already knew how to protect himself!! Because he’s that awesome already!! Well, to this my husband responded “all the more reason his middle name should be Danger!!” So, tonight, I sleep on it. If I still like it in the morning, it’s official. Hartley Danger. It’s definitely growing on me.

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