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Eliminating Nicknames When Choosing a Baby Name


Question: I’m thinking of naming my baby boy Jackson, but to prevent people from calling him Jack I want to change the spelling to Jaxon, Jaxin or Jaxyn.  What are your thoughts? – Not Jack’s Mom

Answer: When you change the spelling of a traditional name, you change its essence. Jackson is a familiar surname, steeped in American history. It’s President Andrew Jackson, and General Stonewall Jackson. It’s also painter Jackson Pollack, America’s mid-century artist rebel.

Jaxon/Jaxin/Jaxyn, meanwhile, are trendy contemporary creations anchored by the super popular letter X. The impact it makes is very, very different from Jackson.

That’s not to scare you off Jaxon. (Readers, if you think this mom is going out on a limb with her “wacky” name idea, think again. Jaxon is one of the top 100 boys’ names in America. But I urge you not to use the name defensively. The right reason to choose Jaxon is because you love the name, not as a compromise spurred by fear of Jack.

Jackson is such a popular name today that most people will naturally take it whole. Boys called Jack are usually just named Jack, rather than Jackson.  The only person who might hijack the name is your son himself, if he feels more like a Jack in his teenage years. So your fears are – probably – unfounded.

In fact, Jackson might ironically prove to be more nickname resistant than Jaxon. Did you know that Jax is the name of a key character in the Mortal Kombat video game series? It’s now a given name in its own right – top 400 in the US, and rising fast.

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