Cool Baby Name of the Week: Casey | Parents

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Both of my next door neighbors chose the exact same name for their sons—Casey. Fortunately, the two don’t travel in the same circles. The elder Casey is a college student and part-time rock star, while the younger is a chubby, cheerful little preschooler who is thrilled to play “lollipop store” with my daughter Maggie.

But the name suits both of these boys. It’s a name that doesn’t feel formal or stuffy, and gives off a very “all-American” vibe. Casey is the kind of kid you’d expect to play baseball and catch frogs.

But Casey is actually a simplified spelling of an Irish surname, Cathasaigh, and it’s a name that means brave. And perhaps the most famous Casey, “Casey” Jones, was indeed extremely brave—this train engineer at the turn of the 20th century died saving his passengers when his train, the Cannonball Express, crashed into a stalled freight train. (His story inspired the Grateful Dead’s classic tune of the same name.) Two other celebrities who share this moniker include radio personality Casey Kasem, and actor Casey Affleck (Ben’s little brother). It does have one not-so-positive association, with Casey Anthony, the woman who was tried for murder in death of her daughter, Caylee.

Casey is one of those unisex names that hasn’t been totally taken over by the girls—yet. It ranks in the top 400 names for boys, and the top 700 for girls. While my neighbors chose two-syllable middle names for their boys, I think it pairs best with some of those cool new, one-syllable middle names, given its simple, not-so-stuffy vibe. I like it with James, West and Lane for boys; for girls, Blue, Jade and Paige all make good pairings with Casey.

What do you think of the name Casey? Do you see it as more of a boys’ name or a girls’ name?

Photo: Pregnant woman via Ronald Summers/