As modern parents become more adventurous in choosing names for their children, a few new favorite trends have surfaced. One of the most prominent trends in names given to babies in recent years is what I like to call the ‘occupational’ trend, an offshoot of the ‘surname as first name’ movement.
While the most popular of this category is Mason – a top 10 name for boys since 2011, when it shot to number 2 – it isn’t the only name enjoying popularity. Hunter, Parker, Cooper, Tanner, Sawyer, Taylor, and Carter are some other examples of the trend, referencing many long gone occupations that were once important trades in medieval England.
Carter, once the name of a man whose job it would be to transport goods by cart, now has a totally different feel. No longer working class, it now carries a bright and preppy vibe.
When it comes to choosing a middle name for Carter, there are a few different approaches you can take, depending on the results you’re looking for. You can lean in to the clean cut and preppy image by pairing Carter with another trim and modern name, or go with an older and more traditional choice to balance it out.
Clean Cut and Preppy
If you’re after a country club vibe, pairing Carter with a middle name that is more modern is the way to go. Another name rooted in the ‘surnames as first names’ trend is a good place to look for inspiration.
Just avoid another occupational name with a similar –er ending, to avoid a repetitive sound. Choosing a shorter name – either one syllable or two short ones – helps avoid the full name sounding like a law firm. Think Carter Blake Lastname, for example, vs Carter Anderson Lastname.
Carter Austin, Carter Pierce, Carter Maxwell, Carter Bryce, Carter Nolan, Carter Preston, Carter Brock, or Carter Tate are some other suggestions in a similar vein.
While not surnames, the middle names in this category overlap some of the choices listed above in the short and snappy category.
If you have a longer last name, or one that is more complicated to spell or pronounce, consider using a quick one-syllable middle name to achieve the best flow.
You could take the more traditional path using middle names such as Carter John and Carter James, or go a slightly less travelled route with choices such as Carter Paul, Carter Dean, Carter Joel, Carter Sean, or Carter Miles.
Older, traditional names are the type that will never go out of style.
If you’re choosing a more contemporary first name like Carter, balancing it with a tried and true middle name that has been around for centuries will make the name feel a bit more serious and substantial.
If you like to think about how the name will look printed on a resume twenty years from now, this might be the way to go.
As always, it’s important to think about factors such as the length of the name and any repeating letter sounds that it shares with Carter. Robert, for example, is a solid middle name under most circumstances, but Carter is already a name that is heavy on the letter R. Pairing it with a middle name that also starts with the letter R makes the name tricky to say – just try saying Carter Robert ten times fast!
Instead, I would choose a middle name that contains a variety of consonant sounds to help mix it up. Carter Frederick, Carter Nathaniel, Carter Douglas, Carter Thomas, Carter Samuel, Carter Daniel, Carter Michael, Carter Lawrence, and Carter Dominic have all been around for centuries, and would add some weight to a contemporary name.
Lead With a Vowel
If we focus just on the sound of the name alone, and ignore any previous references to names that we might carry with us, I think that I really love the way Carter sounds with a middle name that starts with a vowel.
The R ending combined gives the vowel at the start of the middle name a sharper sound.
Carter Anthony, Carter Andrew, Carter Abraham, Carter Adrian, Carter Allen, Carter Edward, Carter Elliott, Carter Ethan, Carter Eric, Carter Ezra, Carter Everett, Carter Isaac, are just a few of these vowel names that I think have great potential as middle names.
Of course, when using a middle name that starts with a vowel, don’t forget to do an initial check to make sure that your child’s name won’t spell out any undesirable words or acronyms!
When choosing a middle name, remember to mix up the repeated consonant sounds and the number of syllables to achieve the best flow.
Something to be aware of: some parents have started to use Carter on girls. While Carter is still firmly in the ‘boy’ camp for me, I would be sure to pair it with a clearly masculine middle name to eliminate any potential confusion in the future.
If I were to choose a middle name for Carter, my top three choices would probably be Carter Nathaniel, Carter Anthony, or Carter Maxwell. Good luck deciding!