baby wearing mortar board


All parents want to set their kids up for success, so why not start with a successful-sounding name? We can totally see these baby names showing up on the 2022 Harvard class list or between Dr. and M.D. on one of those fancy certificates on your kid’s office wall!

Hey, it paid off for the nerdy Carlton Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. (And as long as we’re learning things from that show, you may want to consider the name “Hilary” for your future fashion plate/weather girl.)

This one works best if you pronounce it “AH-na.” It’s very British that way and everyone knows an English accent automatically makes you smarter.

Emerson, Grayson, Anderson
Another easy way to make a name sound smart? Add a -”son” to the end. Anderson Cooper, Jackson Pollock, Ralph Waldo Emerson … all brilliant. It can’t be a coincidence.

The awesomely nerdy David Hyde Pierce made this one famous on “Frasier,” where-in addition to uptight suits and ties–his character, Niles Crane also sported M.D., Ph.D. and A.P.A. after his name.

Pretty in Pink prep, Blaine, pulled off prep with swagger as he captured the heart of Molly Ringwald … and every other girl born between 1970 and 1980. And we’re still crushing hard on hottie dad Andrew McCarthy. (Works equally well for prep-school bound girls, just be sure to buy her plenty of pink Izod shirts and plaid skorts.)

Can the official magazine for rich and brilliant business people make for a fab baby name, too? Our sources say, “YES!”

Okay, we admit it: We totally Cliff Notes’d The Catcher in the Rye in 11th grade English, so we might have missed some parts. But we definitely didn’t miss the cool and clever name of the main character, Holden Caufield, who is (Wikipedia tells us) “among the most important characters of twentieth-century American literature.” Who knew?!

Got a brilliant baby name idea for this list? Add it to the comments below!