Roscoe has that sound of the moment. It has the o-ending without the o-suffix. Long popular on pets, but obscure on people, Roscoe is one of those names I believe will eventually shed its pet-name baggage.
Look at Max. While Max has become somewhat commonplace on boys, believe it or not, for years Max was seen as a dog’s name. Now Max is in the top 100 at #96, and at its highest rank ever. When you consider Max is also a nickname for several other names (Maxwell #134, Maximus #212, Maximilian #433, and others), Max is heard more often than a #96 ranking suggests.
Or look at Felix, which is still seen as a cat’s name by some people. Celebrity parents Gillian Anderson (from The X-Files) and Elizabeth Banks (from Hunger Games) disagree. Both felt Felix was the perfect moniker for their sons. The public may soon follow suit. Felix ranked at #311 in 2011, and appears to be on the rise.
Max and Felix have that letter X thing going for them. For that reason, names like Max and Felix have suddenly become not just acceptable, but revered on boys. When it comes to stylish members of the alphabet, the O is right up there with the X. Leo has become a go-to brother name for Max. Christmas cards suddenly resemble tic-tac-toe boards.
And while Roscoe ends in an E, it has that o-ending sound. This is why, despite the small number of babies named Roscoe in recent years (there were 47 in 2011), I believe we will see that number rise.
It’s not just a double dose of this popular vowel that gives Roscoe style. Roscoe also makes a great fashionably old-fashioned candidate.
The name peaked at #117 in both 1881 and 1888 (there are no name statistics available before 1880). It had been close to the top 200 until the very early 20th century, and had never left the top 1000 until 1975. Since 1979, it has been absent from the top 1000. This historic usage makes Roscoe a prime revival name. Roscoe fits in with other quirky revival boy names like Amos, Ferdinand, Linus, and Otto.
Vowel-enders can have surprising origins to anyone who feels names that end in a vowel sound Italian or Greek. In actuality many o-enders (or o-ender sound-alikes) are English or German. Roscoe happens to be English. It is derived from an English surname and place-name, meaning “doe wood” or “deer forest”.
The name’s image was tarnished a bit by silent film star, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, but he’s hardly a household name to newer generations. The name was also hurt by a redneck image resulting from the fictional Sheriff Roscoe Coltrane from The Dukes of Hazzard. While some may find this image unappealing, I believe this image gives Roscoe an 80s-pop-culture edge.
As a place-name, Roscoe is well represented across America. Towns bearing this name are found in nine states: California, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Texas.
And another notable fact: The R in Edward R Murrow stands for Roscoe. He was born Egbert Roscoe Murrow. Remember that for your next game of trivia.
Perhaps I’m alone, but despite the less than sexy image of prominent namesakes, Roscoe has a sexy vibe to me. I can easily picture the name on a handsome actor or musician. However, most parents don’t want their children to have names that are too sexy. I don’t feel that’s a problem with Roscoe. Roscoe can still be serious when needed. Roscoe doesn’t seem out-of-place on a CFO or Insurance Agent.
Roscoe’s ability to be quirky, rugged, and authoritative is a big selling point with me. While there are many girl names that make me almost wish I could have another baby so I could use them, there aren’t many boys names like that. Roscoe is like that. If it wasn’t completely impractical, I would love to have another boy just so I could have a son named Roscoe. (Shh. Don’t tell Rob or he’ll start hyperventilating.)
Since Roscoe is one of those names, I feel this name is wasted on pets. I love dogs, and just happen to have a doggie nephew named Roscoe, but I was somewhat disappointed when searching Flickr for this post’s photo using the keyword, “Roscoe”. I had to weed through a bunch of photos of people’s dogs. I would love to see keyword “Roscoe” result in an adorable picture of someone’s baby.
Readers: What do you think of Roscoe?