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. PS I have friends whose last name is Johnson. Their first son is Lucky Mister Johnson. No joke.

  2. My husband really wants to use Danger when we have a baby. I am not currently pregnant, but we are TTC right now, so it is on our minds. I hate to admit how much I really like it. We are thinking about Ash as a first name. I’m not sure whether it will be short for anything yet.

  3. Wanted to write a quick update (author of original post): after months (and months!) of agonizing over a middle name, we welcomed new baby Bennett Action into our family on April 18. Big brother Lincoln couldn’t be more excited (nor could his parents!)

    • We’re naming our children Murphy Badger and Hopscotch Virginia, assuming we get one of each sex! Murphy Danger was a close second!

  4. The first name that my husband and I fell in love with for our son was Atom Case. I think the very definition of Atom is great for a child’s name – the smallest component of an element and having its same properties. Also, I loved the literary reference of “Adam” as the firstborn son. i did fear that people would just always spell his name ‘Adam’ though, because it sounds so similar. We decided eventually that we would give him a first name that was a variation of his father and grandfather’s name William. So Wiley Atom Case, it is!

    Lincoln is a strong contender for our second child if a boy (I’m just about 8 weeks). I love Lincoln Arrow. And my husband is a huge fan of Zelda, so I’m thinking Link for short! 🙂

  5. HAH! my son’s middle name is danger, too! He definitely lives up to it.
    There was a guy we met at the grocery store who has the same first name as my son and he challenged us to a middle-name-coolness match(not knowing he would lose). And when we told him our sons middle name he said, “Oh! he is THAT kid?”. I was so proud….
    But I’m thinking we will name the next one “table manners” or the like. :p

  6. I have a Jesse James here at home… We needed a name to coincide with the initials JJ so BAM there it was.

  7. I will admit, I am sorely tempted to name my first daughter Honey Badger F____. Sorely tempted.

  8. So glad I have found someone else who has used Danger as a middle name. We don’t know what we are having yet but if it is a boy we have picked out “Dax Danger” because my husband would want our son to be able to say “Danger is my middle name”…and we are the athletic type…I actually ran the 12 mile Tough mudder and went through the ice baths and electric shock obstacles and found out later that I was 2 weeks pregnant at the time (long story short I had just miscarried and had no clue I could be pregnant at the time of the race or I wouldn’t have done it)…but now the name seems like it would definately fit!

  9. My daughter’s middle name is Danger! At first it was just a joke, but my mother in law forbade it-so then we HAD to!

  10. Our little Danger was born 2 weeks ago. Dax Danger…I took him up to the firehouse when his dad was working and none of the guys called him Dax…everyone one of them wanted to see Danger! It must be a west coast name because we have never heard of anyone else choosing it. My husband and I are both into extreme sports…ie I ran the tough mudder and was pregnant and didn’t know it yet. We joke that since we gave him an awesome name that he will become an accountant or computer geek.

  11. We are seriously considering naming our son Lincoln Danger. I found this thread after it was picked, and I NEED that shirt. Where can I find one or two just like it?

  12. I have a niece with the middle name ‘Crimefighter’ and just for that she’s cooler than I will ever be 😛

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