There are plenty of names that, when we hear spoken aloud, we immediately know the meaning of. That is just how it goes. But there are also names which baffle us, which leave us pondering hard about what's behind it.
Embarrassingly, I've always been so fixated on the meaning of other people's names that I've never taken the time to look into my own. When I sat down to write this article I thought to myself. 'I can't even remember the meaning behind my own name! I'm going to need to ask Google.' For the record it means 'pure.'
But how important is it, really, that we choose a name that has a powerful message or a beautiful meaning? Will it actually have that much of an impact on our child's life? Many are of the belief that, giving your child a name that radiates strength or loveliness or both, truly will give your child a head start in life, and I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree. To provide your child with a memorable name, that has a positive and strong meaning behind it is worth more than any other gift you could possibly give them.
All the names I've listed here for little boys are names I genuinely did not know the meaning of before researching into this article. They are names I've heard over time, but have never looked deeply into...until now. So, this article has been as much my teacher as it will be yours.
I have met plenty of Jakes in my lifetime, and they've always been spunky, artistic, sociable and kind-hearted. The name Jake is English in origin, and is the medieval variant of Jack. It's also known to be used as a shortened version of Jacob.
The meaning of the name Jake is a little bit peculiar, for it means 'he grasps the heel.' Pronounced JAYK, variants of the name include Corby, Jeb and Koby. While some people think it to be a plain and boring name, others regard it as rugged, strong and masculine to the core.
Jake isn't an overly used name by any means, so it's perfect if you're looking for something just that little bit out there. The name peaked in popularity in the late 90's, and since 2013 it hasn't - to my knowledge - made an appearance in the top 100 boy names in the US.
My obsession with the name Milo started when I was about nine years old. My best friend and I would always talk about what we'd call our kids when we were older and I always said 'Billy, Colin and Milo.'
For the life of me I don't know why these three names. I can't stand the names Billy and Colin nowadays, but I'm on the fence with Milo. It intrigues me. I'm uncertain what it means, though I've read that it could mean 'mild/peaceful/calm.'
Pronounced MIE-lo, this cute, cool English name is actually quite common in Sweden where it's ranked as the 68th most popular name for boys. In England and Wales it sits at 135 and in the US at 288. It's not a name you'll often hear being shouted across the playground in Australia though, as Milo happens to be the name of a popular chocolate flavoured drink!
I felt something of a connection with the same Silas from the moment I heard it. And now that I know the meaning, I can understand why. This Greek name means 'of the forest,' and it's pronounced SIE-las. The name Silas first made its appearance in the Bible. It was the name of a prominent member of the early church at Jerusalem.
It's a relatively popular choice in Canada where it's ranked as the 97th most popular name for boys. In the US it sits at 129. It's a handsome, strong, masculine name with an air of mystery about it. You can imagine the name Silas equally as well on a man as you can on a little boy.
In 2015 Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel called their son Silas Randall Timberlake. While it's most commonly used for boys, I've also heard of it being used for girls too.
Origin : Swedish
When one of my good friends brought her son into the world a few months ago, she called him Magnus. And I have been itching to find out why she and her partner gave him the name. It's not one you hear often in the UK. More so in its home of origin - Scandinavia.
While I don't like to be ageist with names, it is one I tend to associate with elder generations. As it goes, the little tyke wears his name beautifully!
Pronounced MAHNG-nus in Swedish and MAG-nus in English, Magnus means 'great' and was first borne by a 7th-Century saint. It's reign of popularity in Scandinavia began after the time of the 11th-Century Norwegian king Magnus I. It was used by several more Norwegian kings as well as three kings of Sweden. It's the 10th most popular name in Denmark and the 7th most popular in Norway.
I have had some hit and misses with Stephens in my time, but that doesn't stop me being curious about the name! Many of the Stephens I've met have been studious, introverted and morose. Apparently, Stephen stems from the Greek name Stephanos which means 'crown' or, if you want to be precise, 'that which surrounds.'
Pronounced STEEV-an, though I've also heard it pronounced STEF-an, a pronunciation I actually prefer, Stephen, as told in the New Testament, was a deacon who was stoned to death. He's regarded as the first Christian martyr. His name quickly became a common choice in the Christian world and it was made popular in England by the Normans.
There are three Stephens for whom I have enormous amounts of respect for, and those would be the English theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, the English comedian Stephen Fry and the master of horror Stephen King.
The second time I 'fell in love' I was nine years old and it was with a boy in my class called Finn. His dad was American and I think his mum was Irish...all the kids had quirky names, the sort you'd find in a book of Irish fairy tales.
The name's origins are in Irish mythology, and Finn's variants include Fionn, Fion, Fionn and Fynn. It is, quite bizarrely, a hugely popular choice in the Netherlands where it ranks as the 9th most popular name for boys. It's also commonly used in Belgium where it's ranked at 16. In Ireland it's the 30th most popular choice. This short, sweet, universal name translates to 'fair.'
Finn MacCool was an Irish warrior who played an active role in the stories from Irish Mythology. He also had roles to play in mythological tales from Scotland and the Isles of Man.
One of my best friends growing up was called Theo. He was a natural comedian and an all round good guy. It's difficult for me to imagine someone called Theo not being nice. Pronounced THEE-o or TAY-o, it's the short form of Theodore and Theobald, neither of which I warm to!
While it might sound all cutesy, the meaning behind Theo actually throws a bit of a punch for it means 'god.' Use it wisely! It's a popular choice in Germany and to be honest, I think no matter where you live in the world you'll be able to call you little boy Theo without any issues. It's easy to spell, easy to pronounce and memorable. People called Theo have the tendency to be highly creative and brilliant at self-expression. They love life and love to help others love life, too. They make for excellent, reliable friends.
Origin: Old Norse
Strength, command, structure...words that come to mind when I think of the name Ralph. It's a no nonsense name that's actually not as used as I assumed it would be. I don't even think it appears in the US top 1000. It's more widely used in England and Wales where it's ranked as the #122 most popular name for boys. I've encountered a couple of meanings including 'wolf counsel' and 'strong.'
Pronounced RALF in English and RAHLF in German, Ralph is a form of the Old Norse name Ráðúlfr. It was Scandinavian settlers who introduced it to England. It was usually spelt Ralf back in the Middle Ages. The spelling Ralph actually only appeared in the 18th Century.
Many people say that The Simpsons character Ralph Wiggum puts them off using this name, but on the upside, there's designer Ralph Lauren and the brilliant late American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The first time I heard the name Anders used it was as a German surname. In Germany it has the interesting meaning of 'different.' The forename Anders, however, is the Scandinavian form of Andreas which is derived from Andrew.
Pronounced AHN-desh in Swedish - if you hear the sh-sound, you're pronouncing it right - and AHN-ders in Danish, it does have an old-fashioned feeling to it. But it's also cool, has a great meaning behind it - manly - and is just the right amount of quirky. It can work just as well for an 8 year old as it would for an 80 year old.
Funnily enough there was a Danish pop group called Alphabeat who had three members in the band all called Anders! Unfortunately, the name has been tarnished somewhat by the Norwegian terrorist who killed 76 people during terrorist attacks in Oslo and Utøya island.
Sebastian is my boyfriend's name, but until this article, I didn't know what it meant or where it was from. Pronounced ze-BAHS-tee-ahn in German and Sa -BAS - chan in English (though I use the German pronunciation), it's a commonly used name in Mexico, where it's ranked as the 6th most popular name for boys. It's the #13 most popular name in Norway and the 14th most popular name in Chile. I've read it means 'joy.'
There are many awesome nicknames you could use for a little Sebastian, including Seban - my boyfriend's nickname - Sebbie and Bastian. It's a handsome, masculine, weighty name that holds just as well for a little boy as it does for a grown man. My Sebastian is charming, funny and intelligent, but he's also stubborn as a mule! Oddly enough this is how most of the Sebastians I've met have turned out to be.
I'm going to come right out and say it that I've never warmed to this name. It just doesn't do anything for me and I have an avid dislike of the British actor Jude Law. But that doesn't mean that you can't fall in love with it!
Pronounced JOOD, it's made it into the top 100 list in England and Wales with a place at 61. It's an even more popular choice in Northern Ireland where it's ranked as the 35th most popular name. It's also a trendy choice in Scotland.
The name has quite an interesting background, for St Jude is the patron saint of lost causes and was also the cousin of Jesus. Also, song Hey Jude was actually originally named Hey Jules, but Paul changed it because it was easier to sing Jude! It has a beautiful meaning behind it too - 'sweetness' or 'gentleness of character.'
This name is so English it hurts! I heard it many years ago because from a book called Kit's Wilderness by David Almond. Though the most recent time I have heard it used was with the character Kit Walker from American Horror Story : Asylum played by Evan Peters. Pronounced KIT it's a diminutive of Christopher and Katherine. Easy to pronounce, easy to spell, easy to remember, this name is a winner on all counts. It's meaning is 'bearing Christ.'
It's a timeless choice and, while some short names are just, well, too short and sound bad for it, Kit's shortness is its strength. It was a popular choice in the late 1800's and then again in the 1940's and I think it'll see a rise in popularity due to the success of Kit Harrington, the English actor known for his role as John Snow in Game of Thrones.
While it isn't a name I'd use for my little boy, it's one I can appreciate. There's something cool about the name Lennon. I know it's probably because of the John Lennon influence, but when I think of a Lennon I think of someone so laid back they're practically horizontal.
Lennon is the Anglicized form of the Irish surname Ó Leannáin, which translates to 'descendant of Leannán,' and the name Leannán means 'lover' in Gaelic. It's rarely used in the US where it's ranked at number 609. It's a bit more popular in England and Wales where it stands at 271.
You'll probably know the name best because of the late John Lennon of The Beatles. Liam Gallagher of the British band Oasis and Patsy Kensit have a son called Lennon, in honour of the musician. From my research, I've found most people would use it as a middle name.
I have never met a Travis before, but I was a humongous fan of the Indie band Travis back in the late 90's. (I can't listen to them now without cringing though.)
When I think of someone called Travis, I think bleach blonde hair, tons of vibrant energy and a crazy-but-in- a-good-way personality. The name is French in origin, and is pronounced TRA-vis. It's actually derived from the Old French word traverse. The name became known as an occupational title for someone who collected a toll from people crossing the boundaries of a town.
It's not all that popular a choice in the US where it ranks at 257 nor is it commonly used in England and Wales where it sits at 273. One Travis you may well be familiar with is Travis Fimmel, the Australian actor renowned for his role as Ragnar Lothbrok in the hit TV show Vikings.
When I started thinking of Travis and wondering what the meaning was behind it, I couldn't help but be led to the name of the front man, Fran Healey. I had no idea what his name meant either.
While Fran is a unisex name, I think it works so much better for boys than it does for girls. It's actually a shortened version of Frances, a name which I've disliked ever since I was a small child. From what I've been able to gather though, it has a beautiful meaning behind it - 'free one.' It's a classic name that's simple to remember, spell and pronounce!
It's a common name choice in Croatia, where it's ranked at 16. It's considered an extremely masculine name and is pronounced FRAHN. The Spanish and Italians use Fran frequently as a male name, whereas in England, you'll find mostly women called Fran.
I pretend not to be interested in what celebrities are calling their kids...but really I find it fascinating. You should have seen me before the announcement was made for what Price William and Kate had called their firstborn - face inches from the TV screen.
So, when Victoria Beckham had her third child I was all ears to find out what her and David would name him. I didn't know what to expect about Brooklyn and Romeo!
Cruz means 'cross' in Spanish - referring to the cross of the crucifixion. Pronounced CROOTH in Spanish and KROOS in Latin American Spanish, it's a slick sounding name whichever way you say it. Despite it being the choice of one of the world's most famous couples, Cruz isn't a common choice in the US where it's ranked at 324. It's even less common in England and Wales where it sits at 406.
In England, most of the boys you'll meet called Hugo will be from money. That's just the way it is. When I think of a Hugo, I automatically think tweed, hunting and Wimbledon.
Greek in origin, Hugo does have a beautiful meaning - 'bright in mind and spirit. In England it's pronounced HYOO-go, in Holland you'll find it pronounced HUY-kho and in Germany it's HOO-go. One of its most famous bearers would be Victor Hugo - even if he did use it as a surname - the French author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Misérables.
In England it's the 55th most popular name for boys, in the US it's the 432nd most popular choice, but in Spain it holds 1st place! One comment I read about this name was that it 'sounds like someone having an asthma attack,' though another commenter said it sounds 'squishy and huggable.'
The name Blake brings to mind the late William Blake, one of England's most noteworthy poets and artists, whose talents were sadly largely unrecognized when he was alive. It's a regal, classic, strong choice, which would work just as well for a girl as it would for a boy. (Though some argue that it's too masculine for a girl.) It's a timeless choice.
English in origin and pronounced BLAYK, Blake is from a surname which started life as the old English word black which means 'pale.' Despite its connection to William Blake, I didn't expect to see it be in the top 100 names for boys in England and Wales.
It's actually the 62nd most popular name choice. And in the US it's in the top 100 too, though only just, sitting in at 66. Unexpectedly, it's hugely popular in New Zealand where it's the 27th most popular name.
Origin: Old Norse
I first heard the name Tate on American Horror Story : Murder House. Tate Langdon was a character portrayed by Evan Peters. Ever since I first heard it spoken, I've been curious about what it came from.
This strong and unmistakable name is pronounced TAYT, and originally stems from the English surname Tait. Tait is the Old Norse word for 'cheerful.' It's a cute, simple choice, and a name that I love to say aloud. It can also be spelt Tayte.
Someone on a baby names forum made a great point that 'boy names sound so great when expressed in one syllable' and I have to say I agree wholeheartedly. Others dislike the minimalism. Tate - which you can also use for your little girl - is most definitely not a overused name! In the US it's ranked at 421 and in England and Wales it's at 359.
I have heard this name quite a lot in England, actually, despite it being a distinctly Italian name. Pronounced LOO-kah, Luca is the Italian form of Luke and it means 'bringer of light.' In Switzerland it's the second most common name for little boys, while in England and Wales, it's the 53rd most common choice. While it shouldn't surprise me, it does.
I really love the Slovene variant - Luka, the Norwegian and Swedish variant - Lukas, and the Dutch variant - Lukk. Some commenters on baby name forums say they love this name, but because there is a hit man in the book and movie The Godfather called Luca, they've been put off using it. Others have said that it 'looks incomplete.' Interestingly, Luca is the name of Audrey Hepburn's second son. While it's mostly used for boys, it's not that rare to find a female Luca too!
Oh how I would love to meet a Quinn! Just to satisfy my curiosity, really. Pronounced KWIN, this unisex name is originally from an Irish surname which meant 'descendant of Conn.' The meaning of Conn could be any of the following - 'wisdom,' 'reason,' or 'intelligence.'
It's a unique name, that I think could work regardless of your background or heritage. You might have people telling you not to give your child an Irish name if you don't have Irish heritage. I say bollocks to that. It's your choice.
Despite never having met a Quinn in my life, the name makes it into the top 100 names for boys in England and Wales. It sits at 97. It's a considerably more popular choice in the Netherlands where it's the 59th most popular name for boys. It doesn't even leave a mark on the US lists though!
If you have seen the epic film Braveheart, you should remember William Wallace's best friend, and comrade in arms, Hamish. His kind, larger-than-life personality is reason enough for you to name your son Hamish, in my opinion. Though more recently, it's also been the name of a character in Disney Pixar's 'Brave.'
Pronounced HAY-mish, this Scottish name is actually much less popular in England and Wales than I'd first assumed it would be. It ranks at a lowly 399. Though in neighbouring Scotland, it's the 81st most popular name for boys. It's also a popular choice in Australia where its ranked at 98. In 2015 in the US it was given to only 20 boys.
It's never been a name that I've cared for much, but the more time I spend looking at it and speaking it out loud, the more it grows on me.
One of the most inspiring people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting was called Julian. I think he had several hearts in his chest instead of one. So much love to give to everyone.
As a result, I can't but help envisage people called Julian as being genuine, kind, witty and intelligent as the Julian I once knew. I've also been caught by this name because of its connection to Enid Blyton's Famous Five books - one of the main protagonists in the stories was called Julian.
Some people think that it sounds too feminine for a boy. I have to disagree. It's a strong name with a youthfulness about it. And it has one of the best nicknames too - Jules. Pronounced JOO-lee-an, Julian means 'youthful' or 'downy.' Interestingly, in the late 1500's it was more common for this name to be given to girls than it was to boys.
It seems kind of funny that you can be smitten with a musician for almost twenty years, yet not know the meaning of their name. That has been the case with Kurt Cobain. It's only in the past few days that I've learned what the name Kurt actually means and I can't say I was surprised by my findings.
Another famous Kurt is Kurt Vonnegut, the author of the cult classic 'Slaughterhouse-Five. From what I've gathered, the meaning behind the name Kurt is 'courteous,' and 'polite,' and, while it's a strong, masculine name, there is something beautiful about it.
Kurt is pronounced KURT in English but KUWRT in German, and I'm still trying to get my head around that pronunciation! It was way back in 2005 when the name last made it into the top 1,000 in the US. It's most popular year appears to have been 1966.
I can still clearly remember the first time I heard the name Ike. I was 10 years old and visiting a friend. Her neighbors had a three year old son called Ike. Back then, I couldn't understand how someone could give their child such a name.
Nowadays though, I'm on the other side of the fence for Ike. It may be in part due to the fact that one of my favourite South Park characters has the name - Kyle's baby brother, Ike Broflovski. The name followed the rise of the stylish name Isaac, as a quirky nickname. And it's stuck though not quite enough to make it into the top 1000 lists.
Pronounced IEK it's cute yet strong, unique but not hard to forget, it also has a beautiful meaning - 'laughter.' There has even been a hurricane called Hurricane Ike. It wreaked havoc in North America back in 2008.
Sources: BehindTheName.com, NameBerry.com