The definitive ranking of standard English blokes' names 5 years ago

The definitive ranking of standard English blokes' names

Have you ever wondered how good your name is?

Of course you haven't, but based on nothing other than the way it sounds, we've dissected a bunch of English men's names and put them in an arbitrary ranking. Why? Because anything is possible on the internet.


We had to make some parameters for this ranking, otherwise we'd have thousands of names to make broad and largely inaccurate assumptions about, so we're only looking at what we're terming Standard English Bloke names.

If you're a Cecil, a Humphrey or a Cuthbert, then we're afraid this is not the list you're looking for. If you're a Dave, a Gary or a Phil, then you're right at home. So, let's find out how much you have to thank/blame your parents for.

26. John

Photo: Julian Mason

Johns are ten a penny. Every action hero is a John. Every taxi driver is a John. Every other bloke you meet is a John. It's hard to drum up any enthusiasm for a name that pretty much a quarter of the population can claim as their own. It's a sturdy forename, but there's no magic in John. It's the missionary position of names.



25. Jack


Photo: vagueonthehow

Jack is really just John coated in a thin veneer of cool. Jack is John wearing skinny jeans. Jack is John ordering a flat white instead of a black coffee. Jack is John listening to Stormzy and talking about how 'it's about time grime got the recognition it deserves'.  You're not fooling anyone, Jack.



24. Adrian


Photo: Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

There's something about the name Adrian that is inherently villainous. Has a good person ever been called Adrian? That's not to say there aren't good Adrians in the world right now - no one is born bad, not even an Adrian. It takes time for the evil of Adrian to settle in and take root in the mind of the afflicted. You think you love Adrian now, but just wait until he gets his hands on a nuclear weapon.



23. Clive


Photo: Mario Antonio Pena Zapatería

Clive is a name that thinks its too good for itself. It's a name that's trying to reach beyond its grasp and coming up with nothing. It's a name that's standing with its legs astride the track, trying to be in both sides of town at the same time, but ultimately ending up occupying no man's land. It's also too close to clove, which gives it a bit of a garlicy aftertaste.


22. Dan

onstage during the 43rd AFI Life Achievement Award Gala honoring Steve Martin at Dolby Theatre on June 4, 2015 in Hollywood, California.

Photo: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Dan barely even qualifies as a name; it's over so quickly it may as well not actually exist. As for the man behind the name, who can say? Dan gives nothing away. "Who's Dan?", people ask. Literally anyone. Point to any man in any room and he's probably a Dan, but why would you care? The only thing the name Dan is good for is, as Alan Partridge demonstrated, shouting over and over.


21. Les

Photo: Ben Salter

Les has a slippery quality to it; a greasiness; a degree of mistrust. Les is a good laugh and knows a lot about dog breeds, but you don't want him to represent you in court or have access to your financial records.

Les has a leather motorcycle jacket and yet he has no motorcycle. Les is good at poker, a bit too good at poker. The thing about Les is you want him on your side, because even the slipperiest of fish can still be supper, but just mind out for his little teeth.


20. Gary

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Photo: Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

Gary is your embarrassing uncle's name. Uncle Gary. Everyone hopes that Uncle Gary won't be coming to the next family function, but Uncle Gary is, in his own mind, the life of the party. Gary loves putting his arse in a bit of pudding, because "it's funny".

To a man named Gary, it's funny to put his arse in a pudding. But Gary is a master of seduction; he seduces you into thinking that it's funny to put his arse in a pudding. Look at you, you're laughing at a man with his arse in a pudding. And that man's name is Gary.


19. Nigel


Photo: Matt Cardy / Getty Images

Nigel has an unfortunate nasal whine about it. Niiiiiigel. Nigel forgot to buy milk again. Niiiiiigel. Nigel never takes the bins out. Niiiiiigel. Nigel sounds like an electric drill that needs recharging. Niiiiiigel. Nigel doesn't like lager because it's too fizzy. Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiigel.


18. Bill

on stage during The Moet British Independent Film Awards at Old Billingsgate Market on December 7, 2014 in London, England.
Photo: Tristan Fewings / Getty Images

Why would a man go by Bill if he was born a William? We're all short on time but is Bill any shorter than Will? What's Bill trying to hide behind that B, and why is he so keen to outrun the W that was his birthright? Bill has secrets. Bill knows something we don't. A man of the people? Don't believe a word of it. Bill is up to something.


17. Des

LONDON - OCTOBER 03: Des Lynam poses with his book before attending the book launch for today's publication of Des Lynam’s autobiography “I Should Have Been At Work” at the Carlton Tower Hotel on October 3, 3005 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Des Lynh
Photo: Chris Jackson / Getty Images

There's not much to say about Des. He was born, he lived, and he died. And that was the story of Des.


16. Brian


Photo: Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

Brian is the archetypical 'comedy' name. It's meant to convey a sense of mediocrity, the kind boring Middle England life that a man called Brian would be expected to lead.

When Monty Python were writing Life of Brian, they needed a name that was the complete antithesis of the glory of Christ - Brian was a natural fit. But Brian is a bit tired now, a little bit '80s, so what do you have when everyone is bored of a boring name? Not a whole lot.


15. Dave


Photo: Dave Benson Phillips

Dave is your best mate's name. In fact, Dave is everyone's best mate. If you don't have a best mate called Dave, then you probably don't have any friends at all. 80% of all best men at weddings are called Dave, that's a 100% true fact. Go to any wedding and there's an 80% chance the best man is called Dave.

That's because Dave is a reliable name. Daves don't forget the rings, but they bring a spare set of rings just in case the original set spontaneously melt.


14. Fred

<> at Gramercy Theatre on May 5, 2010 in New York City.
Photo: Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

Good old Fred. Fred is a name you pass in the street and say good morning to, because you genuinely hope Fred has a good morning: "Morning Fred, how're you today?" "Oh, mustn't grumble, mustn't grumble." A Fred never grumbles, because Fred knows that life is good, even if his band is called Limp Bizkit.


13. Tom

attends UK Premiere of "The Revenant" at Empire Leicester Square on January 14, 2016 in London, England.
Photo: John Phillips / Getty Images

For such an unremarkable name, Tom has a lot of scope for greatness. It's so plain and unpretentious, which frees it from any expectation. A boy named Monty is always destined to drink port and work in some kind of art dealership, but Tom can do anything he wants.

A Tom can work with his hands, he can solve complex problems, he can fight, he can make peace, he can ask the big questions and get some answers. There's nothing a Tom can't do.


12. Frank


Photo: John Gichigi / Getty Images

Frank is the guy you want around when your head is in a mess. When nothing makes sense, when the world is slowly turning upside down, Frank is the man who sets it straight.

He knows the right thing to say to put you on the right track, because a Frank is wiser than his years. Never too busy for a chat, never too big to listen to the little things, Frank simply understands. He also wears a flat cap, because as a Frank, it is his right to do so.


11. Eric

attends the 2014 Laureus World Sports Awards at the Istana Budaya Theatre on March 26, 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Photo: Mike Hewitt / Getty Images

Eric is a ridiculous name, and that's why it's great. Who was the first person to look at their precious newborn son and say, "I dub this beautiful baby boy... Eric"?

The Erics who have made something of themselves (Morecambe, Clapton, Cantona) have over-exceeded their expectations, because they didn't know how hard they'd have to struggle against the ludicrousness of being called Eric. They knew they had a challenging life ahead, so they threw themselves at it with full force and landed among the greats. Eric is not a disadvantage, it's a challenge that promises great rewards. Even if you're lumped with a double-whammy like Eric Pickles.


10. Kevin


Photo: Rob Kim / Getty Images

Once in a while you'll meet a man, a man so with it, so on point, so ethereally cool that you struggle to believe he's real. His talents are numerous and masterful; his demeanour is so relaxed it's practically horizontal; he has really cool hair. He comes and he goes, blowing through town like the wind, and you'll ask, "Who was that man?" And the answer will return: "That was Kevin." Kevin? Really?

The thing is, Kevin doesn't sound like a cool name, which is what makes it a cool name. It's like wearing clothes from the 80s or eating chips out of miniature buckets: basically, Kevin is the hipster of names. Like all hipsters, he's cool now, but where will he be next year? Maybe next year Les will be the new Kevin.


9. Bob


Photo: Jeff Spicer / Getty Images

See: Blackadder.


8. Greg


Photo: Stuart Wilson / Getty Images

Greg. What a joker, what a joker is Greg. The comic potential of Greg is limitless. Greg. Greg! It's a funny name, and that seeps into the man himself. It's such a satisfyingly complete word, with a G to begin and a G to end. It's like a mini rollercoaster of laughs: up, down and around - Greg!


7. Darren

during the Premier League match between XXX and XXX at The Hawthorns on August 28, 2016 in West Bromwich, England.

Photo: Stu Forster / Getty Images

Darren is misunderstood. Darren isn't the layabout you think he is. Darren actually isn't missing three of his teeth. Darren didn't just drop out of school with a C in Maths and a black eye. While you've been busy judging Darren, Darren has been quietly beavering away, making a solid life for himself. Darren will lend you a tenner if you need one. Darren knows a guy who knows a guy who can fix your boiler for cheap. Darren is, in a word, sound.


6. Phil

on Day One of the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

Photo: Elsa / Getty Images

Phil is a dark horse. He's like Clark Kent: on the surface, he's just an average guy with a smart but functional pair of glasses who does his job well, holds the door open for people and in no way reminds anyone of the most famous superhero on Earth. But underneath, he's Superman. His quiet strength, limitless determination and fucking laser eyes, all hidden behind that unassuming monosyllabic moniker: Phil.


5. Bert


Photo: Disney

Bert is a jolly funster of a name. It's big and round and inviting; whenever a Bert is around, you feel right at home. Bert always has a cup of tea and a variety pack of biscuits ready, and he's saved your favourite just for you, because a Bert takes care of Bert's own. Bert is also the most fun name to shout: "BEEEEEEERT. BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERT."


4. Ray


Photo: Tim P. Whitby / Getty Images

Ray has the dual allure of being both cool and down-to-earth. Ray Charles: cool. Ray Winstone: down-to-earth. Both men owe a considerable part of their success to their forename, and they'd be the first to admit it, because every Ray knows that they were born with a gift. Rays are destined for success, even glory.


3. Steve

SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 27: Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs announces the new iPad as he speaks during an Apple Special Event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts January 27, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Apple introduced its latest creation, the iPad, a mobile tablet browsing device that is a cross between the iPhone and a MacBook laptop. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

When you hear the name Steve, you're immediately bathed in the glowing sense that everything's going to be alright. "Hi, my name's Steve," they say. "Thank goodness you're here, Steve," you reply. "I was about to drink all this bleach and jump in front of a car, but now you're here, life doesn't seem so hideously bleak." That's the power of Steve.


2. Geoff

1966 England World Cup team member Geoff Hurst attends The Football Association's 150th Anniversary Gala Dinner at the Grand Connaught Rooms in central London on October 26, 2013. The Duke of Cambridge is president of the Football Association, which was founded 150 years ago on October 26, 1863. The event marks the day when a group of men representing a dozen London and suburban clubs met at the Freemason's Tavern in London, to draw up the rules of a sport that went on to become the most popular in the world. AFP PHOTO/POOL/LEON NEAL

Photo: Leon Neal - WPA Pool / Getty Images

Geoff is a name you can trust. If a Geoff is coming round to install your new shower, you're going to get the best damn shower you've ever heard. Perfect pressure, just the right temperature and not a leaky pipe in sight. Britain was built on the backs of Geoffs, at least the sturdy bits were. Bridges and tunnels, that was a whole load of Geoffs. The Westminster parliamentary system, that was probably a Gideon.


1. Alan


Photo: BBC

It had to be Alan. It couldn't be anyone else. Rickman. Shearer. Partridge. Some of our greatest men have been Alans. Every Alan you've ever met has been an exemplary figure of a man, a really top-drawer bloke.

There's something in the name Alan that breeds excellence. The playful, inquisitive 'Al' compliments the decisive, uncompromising 'an'; the two halves of a man who is both a thinker and a doer.

Fertile people of the world, we implore you: go forth and spring more Alans from your loins, as many as your loins can muster. If we're to have any hope of dragging this hellhole of a world back into prosperity, it will be by the might of Alan's arm that we drag it.