Finding the right name for a boy is hard work. Just like their clothes tend to not change in style for years on end, boy names tend to stay rather constant over the decades as well. Sure, a new one comes around every decade and massively takes over the name charts, but the boys classics don’t change much. Sometimes people give their sons a last name as a first name or dig deep into their family archives to find a name that is not Paul or Michael. Mostly, they just seem to stick with what is known.
Not that there is anything wrong with classic boys name. They have reached their constant popularity because they are pleasant on the ear and easy to spell. Finding a name that fits those criteria and sounds appropriately masculine is hard, which may explain the low turnover rate. However, all is not lost in the hunt for a good name for your son. There are some unique gems that other parents have found really attractive over the years. They just aren’t common here and haven't been in the last couple of decades. The next 25 names have been charming many parents the world over and we're confident that they will inspire you too.
There are some names that deserve top billing just because of how princely they sound and Taran is one of these. In fact, it was the name of 7th century Pictish King, who, according to Historyfiles.co.uk, reigned for 100 years sometime before 43 AD.
The name means ‘thunder’ in Gaelic, and, if you think about it, is a very masculine natural phenomenon.
All the classical thunder gods are guys after all. It has a great history in literature too. It was used as the name of a main character of a book series based on Gaelic mythology, and it is the name of the author of the best-selling author of the Summoner series.
Now, it can be used as girl’s name, too, so if you happen to be unsure of your child’s gender and want a strong and beautiful name for any situation, Taran is a great choice.
We all think our children are beautiful. In fact, we probably all think our particular children are the most beautiful children ever. Why not make it official by naming your most gorgeous son Adonis? You may recognize the name from the Greek book, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, about a young man of that name who was love interest of Aphrodite. Naturally, Adonis literally means ‘handsome," which is a fitting name for any little boy.
Believe it not, there are a few men named Adonis in the US. It entered the country in the 1970’s and it is currently 394th in popularity according to Nameberry.com. It has been rising up the charts recently, and you will hopefully see a few more little boys with the name. After all, our little boys deserve to be told they are special from the very beginning.
When you pick a name for a kid, simplicity has a certain appeal. You will be saying the name a lot and writing it on a whole bunch of paperwork. Amari is a pretty choice if you want a simple name. The combination of sounding like it is spelled and hard vowels make it both memorable and easy to use.
This may be why at least three cultures have latched on to it.
In Hebrew, the name means ‘eternal.’ According to Behindthename.com, Amari is also a popular girls' name in Japan, where it is written with kanjis that mean ‘second, reality, and benefit.’ It is also from Senegal, where it was the name of a king from that area. This beauty is currently number 269 on the name charts.
Another Greek name that is in the top 100 baby boy names list of many countries is Darrius. However, it isn’t quite as popular in America. According to the Social Security Administration, Darrius was 942nd most popular name in 2006, and has since dropped off the top 1000. If you are familiar with the name, it may be because you remember Darius the Great, the King of Persia. There were actually three kings of Persia with the name, probably because it means ‘possesses goodness’ in Persian. That is always something that any parent would want their little prince to have.
If the name sounds Greek, it is because the original Persian name is Darayavahush. I love authenticity, but that may be pushing it (it might be a great name for a cat, though.) Darrius is the Greek form of the Persian name, and since it was Greeks that battled the Persians and wrote a history about it, we get their version of the name.
Vidar does sound a little bit like Vader, so it has familiarity points, despite not being in the top 2000 names according to Thinkbabynames.com. That is, unless you are from Sweden. It is a pretty common name there, ranking #60 in 2016. And why wouldn’t it be popular? It’s has a fantastic sound, and it comes from a great source:
Vidar was the son of Odin in Norse mythology.
He never talked, but he was super strong. This makes is it a great name if you think your son might be the strong silent type.
Aside from the Swedish nod of approval and divine source, Vidar has a fine meaning. According to Norse-mythology.org, Vidar was the one who killed Fenrir, the wolf in Norse mythology who eats the world, for killing Odin. He apparently used a shoe that was made specifically for this purpose.
Little boys should start out with the hope of a heroic life. This is why Sigurd is a popular name in Norway according to Carla.umn.edu. It’s in the top 100 names there, which shows their respect for epic legends. Sigurd was the guy who was sent to recover a hoard of gold and had to battle the dragon Fafnir. When he tasted the blood of Fafnir, he developed the ability to understand the language of birds, who told him that his foster-father was out to get him. Naturally, he defeated his foster father and lived an exciting life full of gold and adventure. His name comes from the Norse words ‘sigr’ and ‘varor,’ which translates as ‘victory guardian.’
Sigurd actually did have a few minutes of popularity in the United States. According to Behindthename.com, it was ranked 852 in 1897 and 778 in 1896. This may have stemmed from the influx of Norwegian immigrants or the popularity of Wagner’s plays, which were based on the legend of Sigurd.
If you are one of those parents who have a fear of people shortening down their child’s name, Ori is a good pick. Ori cannot be mispronounced or mangled except by the really dedicated nicknamer. No teacher will misspell his name, nor will his friends. It’s also a lovely name with hard vowels that feel right in the mouth.
You may think that I am offering this name because Ori was one of the 13 dwarves in The Hobbit (he was Nori’s brother,) but it is also a favorite in Israel.
Ori is Hebrew for ‘my light,’ which many sons are to their parents.
And that meaning shows, because according to the Jerusalem Post, Ori has been in the top 5 names for boys for at least 2 years. It’s a little weird that the Social Security Administration didn’t have Ori in the top 1000 names since 1900 given its pleasant meaning and sound.
Keeping a name short and sweet for your baby boy is very handy. For one thing, your son is currently short and sweet, so it is a good fit. That’s why diminutives are so popular for little baby names. A great example is the name Rudi. Behindthename.com reveals that Rudi is the diminutive of Rudolph. Rudolph (like the red-nosed reindeer) is a charming name that comes from the Germanic words for ‘fame’ and ‘wolf.’ Rudi keeps the ‘fame’ part of the name, and the connotation of being a leader of the pack. There were at least 3 kings of Burgundy with the name, so you know someone thought it was fit for a leader.
Rudi is great for parents with a horror of people nicknaming their kids. It already is a nickname, and the cute ‘y’ sound at the end makes it irresistible to relatives and friends, even people whose life goal is to give everyone a nickname.
Pronounced ‘You-stine,’ Jostein is a name in the top 100 names for boys in Norway according to Carla.umn.edu. It’s very close to Justin in sound, so it reaches that sweet spot of being familiar enough for traditionalists, but different enough to make your kid stand out. There will definitely never have to share a name with another kid in his class so long as he stays in America, since the name is ranked 7580 on the baby name charts. That is an actual gain, since it didn’t even register appear on the charts in 2017.
But if more parents knew the meaning of the name, it would probably become more popular.
It derives from Old Norse words ‘jor’ and ‘stein,’ which mean respectively ‘stallion’ and ‘stone.’
Everybody would like their baby boys associated with the toughness of stallions and stones. The little boy with this name would also have a fun namesake in Jostein Gaarder, a Norwegian author.
Pronounced like the Fantasy book publishers, Tor is making in-roads in the US. It is easy on listeners, speakers and spellers, for one thing. For another thing, it derives from Thor, which means 'thunder.' If you think that the name may be from Norse mythology, you would be correct.
Thor was the son of Odin and the god of thunder. Having a name that says it all would certainly be handy. Despite the obvious advantages of it, however, it wasn't recorded as a normal first name until the 1700's. According to Carla.uhm.edu, it is now one of the top 100 names in Norway. It is number 12 on the list, to be exact. It isn't in the top 1000 here in the States yet, but I know a Tor. Call that a sign that it is coming into its own.
Ulrik’s meaning may surprise you. According to thinkbabynames.com,
the name is of Old German and English stock, and it means ‘power of the wolf.’
It’s a variant on Wulric, which means ‘wolf people.’ A pretty variant spelling you could opt for is Ulrich, but I do like the intuitive look of Ulrik.
It has a pretty ring to it, and it’s easy on users. Plus, it was the name of a saint, the Bishop of Augsburg, who lived from 890 to 973 CE. This combination of divine approval, accessibility, and association with the noble wolf might be why it is ranked 58 in Norway as a baby boy’s name as of 2015. It may even deserve to be in the top 1000 names in the US, though it isn’t yet.
Leander rolls off the tongue and conjures up visions of princely deeds. It just sounds like it belongs to a Byronic hero. This is fitting, because the original Leander was a Greek gentleman who swam the Hellespont to visit his beloved. Clearly, he was a very brave and athletic soul. Your son could do worse for namesakes. According to Thinkbabynames.com, the name means ‘lion man’ in Greek, which seems as heroic as the legend would have him be.
Where was this name beloved? It is mostly popular in Greece these days, but we did love it once. It was the 443rd most popular name in the United States in the 1880’s, and it is only ranked 1812 now. The popularity might have come from the Victorian love of Classical literature. You don’t have to be interested in mythology to love the name, though. It’s a lovely sounding name.
Brage is a variant of Bragi, who was the Norse god of poetry. He was the son of Odin (Odin did love learning and singing, so it isn’t too surprising.) Bragi was tasked with welcoming guests to Valhalla, so he had an important position. Putting aside the fine namesake, Brage is a nice name because of its complimentary meaning. According to Behindthename.com,
it comes from the Old Norse word bragr, which means ‘best or foremost.’
It also means poetry, so it has a very sophisticated aura about it. Like I said, it is highly flattering, and it is nice to start your son out with the knowledge that you think he’s the greatest.
It’s a relatively popular in Norway. There is a Norwegian editor by the name and a snowboarder. Many parents here can enjoy it, too as it’s cute sounding for a baby boy, and refined for a grown man.
This was a beloved name in America a few decades back, mostly as a girl’s name. However, it traditionally can be used as a moniker for both boys and girls. In fact, one of the more famous bearers of the name was a male character in Gone with the Wind. According to Behindthename.com, it was normally used as a name for boys before the 1960’s. Why could it be used so regularly for little boys?
Well, it’s one of the many English names that derive from the place where a family came from. It comes from the Old English words ‘aesc’ and ‘leah,’ which translates as ‘ash tree clearing.’ Ash trees are gender neutral, as anyone can grow up in a clearing with trees in it.
It’s good for a boy because Ashley has a nice ring to it, and can be shortened down to Ash.
I have a thing against the name Michael. As I may have mentioned before, I have trouble spelling it: the ch is utterly unnecessary, and it is supposed to be ‘e before a.’ Besides, other versions of the name is just cooler sounding. Enter the Romanian version, Mihai. The vowels are soft and sweet, and it sounds very cute. Plus, Mihai has an epic namesake: there was a prince of Wallachia who united Romania in the early 17th century. His name was Mihai the Brave. You can take that name to bank and withdraw all the epic. There are also a bunch of athletes with the name.
According to Behindthename.com,
Mihai was ranked 7th in popularity in Romania.
Of course, in America, you are practically guaranteed to be related to a Michael. It was extremely common in the 1950’s. Those relatives would probably appreciate you giving a version of their name to your kid.
When you are having a little boy, you might want to get a name that is appropriately masculine. Anders has that strong ‘er’ ending that feels right for a male. It also has a very manly meaning. It comes from the Greek name Andreas, which, according to Behindthename.com, means ‘manly.’ It’s related to Andrew, which means the same thing. Since St. Andrew was a very popular apostle in the New Testament, many nations came up with variants on his name. The Scandinavian version is Anders. It was pretty common in Denmark before 2015, and it was ranked 818 in the United States in 2016.
Of course, just like Andrew, you can shorten the kid’s name down to Andy if you like the feel of it. It’s an incredibly easy name to use, and your son will appreciate its ability to be both familiar and not omnipresent.
You don’t meet many men named Arman in the United States, but it is a big hit in Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to Behindthename.com, it was ranked 25th most popular name pretty consistently across the decades. You can probably see the appeal: short, easy to spell and pronounce, and beautiful sounding. It evokes the open grandeur of the steppes and is still the soul of simplicity. Fittingly, this name means ‘dream’ in Kazakh, and comes from Persia.
There is also a sound-alike name that comes from the Teutonic word for ‘soldier.’
The old German name was originally Armand, but it was pronounced without the ‘d,’ and some have discarded the unnecessary consonant.
You can see why it caught on for a little while in the US. Thinkbabynames.com reveals that it was used in the last decade of the 1800’s and the first decade of the 1900’s. It reached its peak of popularity in the 1910’s, when it was ranked 1107.
Tymon is a classy name, ending with a gentlemanly sound and looking refined. This name is of Greek origin, and it comes from the word ‘timao,’ which means ‘to honor or esteem.’ It came to world notice by the time-honored tradition of being briefly mentioned in the New Testament, and was used as the name of the main character in Shakespeare’s play, ‘Timon of Athens.’
Of course, it may be more familiar as the name of the meerkat from The Lion King. According to Behindthename.com, Tymon is the Polish spelling of the name, but you can take Timon, too. However, the Ty spelling is cuter and more popular, especially in Poland. The name has been steadily climbing the charts there. It is currently ranked 41, and shows no sign of quitting.
Ignacy as a name that dances. It begs to bounce around the mouth and hop around the bearer of the name with joy. This is a little surprising, because it is the Polish version of Ignatius, which tends to evoke visions of Loyola College instead. According to Behindthename.com,
the name comes from the Roman family name for people of Etruscan origin.
The name was popular with saints all over Europe, including the founder of the Jesuits and a bishop of Antioch.
In Poland, the name Ignacy is ranked 44th. It is easy to see why they like this name as it has saintly approval, and it has a beautiful sound to it. Plus, if you like nicknames, it is tough to beat a little boy named Iggy or Igs. You can also try Nacy if you want to.
Cyprian has romantic air about it. It sounds like it comes from the Caspian Sea, or at least from far away. And it does. According to Behindthename.com, it comes from the Latin family name Cyprianus, which means ‘From Cyprus.’ There was a saint by that name in the 3rd century who was martyred under Emperor Valerian, so there is a lot of exotic allure to the name. There are a few variants of the name, but the Polish version sounds the least like an herb and the most like a prince’s name. In fact, it’s a classic in Poland, hovering around 100 on the name popularity charts.
If the name needs a little shortening down while your boy is a toddler, you can always nickname him Zippy. In the mean time, you can give him a name that anticipates traveling and adventure for him.
Sasha has a lot going for it as a name for a little boy. It’s short, with repeating syllables that are fun to say. It’s user-friendly for even the most spelling-challenged. If you are a nickname-lover, this can be your dream name: Sash, Sha, and Sasa make good shortened names from this lovely name.
And it is somewhat fitting that a name from Russia is such a good source for other names. Russian Orthodox Catholics love to layer on the names. Actually, it is doubly fitting, because Sasha itself is a diminutive of Aleksandr or Aleksandra. According to behindthename.com,
this name means ‘defender of men’ and stems from Alexandros.
Now, Sasha can be a girl’s name. It can be a diminutive of Alexandra then, but the result is the same. She would still be a ‘defender’ with an awesome array of nicknames.
Daniil is a princely name. A Russian variant of Daniel, it means ‘God is my Judge.’ This makes it a classic in places such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia and Ukraine. Themeaningofthename.com estimates that there are about 8200 with Daniil as a name, and there are plenty of reasons to add your kid to that list.
For one thing, the short, semi-familiar form of the name can blend easily with shorter, but more exotic, last names. For another thing, it is rare enough to help your boy stand out in whatever institution. Anyone who hears your son’s name will immediately think of the Russian writer Daniil Adreyev, or the saint, Daniil Sihastrul, who lived from 1400 to 1482. After all, there aren’t a lot of other Daniils to choose from, so your boy will always have a famous association to talk about it.
When Noam Chomsky was born, the hospital nurses apparently didn’t realize that Noam is a name. They filled out his hospital birth certificate with Naomi Chomsky. Well, his parents knew his name, at least, and so did many parents in Israel. According to the Jerusalem Post, Noam was in the top 5 names for Israeli boys for years now. It is well known in France, too, where it was ranked 60th in popularity in 2016.
Noam is a Hebrew virtue name that means ‘pleasantness.’
I don’t know too many people who think their baby boy is unpleasant most of the time, with the exception of when they wake up at 5 in the morning and decide to climb on you. Also, the most famous bearer of the name is a linguist and philosopher, so the name has a halo of intelligence.
The story goes that there was a guy named MacCool in Ireland who tried to get hired by various kings, but wouldn’t reveal his real given name. It seemed a bunch of warriors were gunning for him on the grounds that his dad was replaced by the leader of the Fianna. In place of an official name, his compatriots called him Blondie, which, in Gaelic, is Fionn. Fionn MacCool went on to become the leader of the Fianna and do any number of amazing things as a culture hero. Fionn got shortened down to Finn in modern Ireland and became a popular name.
There is also Finn from Sweden. This name is from the Old Norse word for “Sami, person from Finland.” Behindthename.com reveals that it was in the top 100 names the Norse until 1969, and it is steadily rising in popularity in the US. Either way, Finn has the international seal of approval.
Eitan is another name that was popular for a while in Isreal. A Jerusalem Post article revealed that it was one of the top 10 names for boys there. Perhaps what they were attracted to the charming mix of vowels and ‘an’ ending. Maybe it was the meaning, which, according to Behindthename.com, is ‘solid, enduring and firm.’
Maybe it was its place in the Old Testament. Whatever the case, it is really popular as a name there.
If you think Eitan sounds like Ethan, it is because Eitan is the Hebrew version of the name. Since Ethan is the top 10 of boy names in America, using a variant on the name is very familiar feeling to other people. This will make using the name easier on everyone, while still giving your son a touch of special flair.