It is commonly believed that a successful name should be easy to pronounce and spell. It should be short and simple and not feel overwhelming. The name should sound good with the family name. A good rule of thumb is to have the same number of syllables in both given and family names. However, if parents are using a very short first name with a one-syllable surname it is a good idea to sound the whole name out. There may be a concern that mom sounds like she is barking out orders, so spend some time considering the entire name.
The name should also grow with the child. Whilst some names sound great for babies, they do not translate well to adulthood, and vice versa. Try to choose a name that will grow with the baby boy.
So for a great boy’s name, keep it short and sweet with no unnecessary fuss. Having said that, there is such a huge range of boy’s names to choose from that keeping it short does not mean resorting to Bob or Phil. There are many trendy and funky names available that will allow a son to stand out from the crowd. Here are 25 short and sharp names for a smart man about town. Good luck finding the perfect short name!
This might seem like one of those modern ‘made up’ names that are increasingly popular, but actually, it dates back to Middle England. It was used as a nickname and was originally spelt ‘bere’ or ‘bera’ and referred to someone who had characteristics like a bear. Perhaps they were very big and strong, or fierce and protective of their families, for instance. Bear now sits in the UK’s top 900, thanks to notable people such as adventurer Bear Grylls and a whole host of celebrity babies.
Smart, creative, sleek and beautiful, a fox is certainly a fine animal to name a child after. It dates back to Middle England, being given to people who were very cunning, or even those with red hair. Whilst it is still common as a surname it sits around the bottom of the top 1000 lists for given names.
Famous Foxes include Fox Mulder, a fictional character in the television series ‘The X-Files’, and the main character in Roald Dahl’s ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’.
Achieving place number 269 in the US baby charts, Colt is a popular American name. Often a shortened version of Colton, this stylish and to-the-point name is strong and very masculine. Whilst it is essentially the name for a young male horse, it also brings to mind the famous brand of revolver, used by all tough guys in movies and the whisky brand. It became popular following the 1981 TV show ‘The Fall Guy’, in which Lee Majors played a character called Colt Seavers.
This snappy Sanskrit name translates as ‘knowledge’. Whilst still relatively rare, its popularity has increased slowly but surely and it now sits at number 806 in some baby naming charts, which means that only 62 babies per million have this name. Sometimes translated as ‘sacred knowledge’, boys with this name are usually very hard working and organised, with a willingness to work long hours to get a job done properly. With a positive attitude to life, Ved is a serious person with a desire to experience adventure.
Any literary fans will probably be thinking of Mark Twain at the mention of this name. Huck is used as a given name thanks to his character ‘Huckleberry Finn’. Whilst Huckleberry is adorable for a small child, the abbreviation ‘Huck’ is often used as a more adult version. A Huckleberry is an American word for a small berry similar to a blueberry. Another very cute variation is ‘Hucklebuddy’. Never a hugely popular name, Huck now sits at 1,718 in the charts.
If Leo is a little too popular for you, try this lovely name instead. Meaning ‘gift’ in Tswana, it is used there as a unisex name. It also comes from the Greek word ‘neos’, meaning ‘new’.
Currently sitting right down at number 1,030 in the baby name charts, this name has seen more use since the Matrix film series, in which Keanu Reeves’ character is called Neo. As well as being the name of various pop and rock bands, Neo is also a famous German artist - Neo Rauch - and a Marvel race of superhumans.
The ultimate in short names, many people will be struck with nostalgia on hearing this name as they think of wizards and ruby slippers. Although ‘The Wizard of Oz’ has certainly had an influence, this name actually dates back to Biblical times, where Ozni was the grandson of Jacob. The name translates from Hebrew as ‘strength, power and courage’. With full versions such as Osmond, Ozias and Osgood to choose from, Oz is a great name on its own or as a fun nickname.
This unisex name is a spiritual word linked to Buddhism. Ultimately Zen is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘dhyāna’, which indicates a meditative state. Alternatively, some translate it from the Greek meaning ‘gift of Zeus’. Either way, the name marks a person who possesses a great ability to do or act on things. Zen is a person with authority or command over others, but works towards a higher cause and is happy to surrender something prized or desirable.
Zen can also be a shortened form of the name Zenon, as in the US soccer player Zen Luzniak.
This Hebrew name has the lovely translation of ‘brilliance’. Whilst it is also a synonym for the Hebrew month of Iyar, which usually falls in May, Ziv sounds like a person who is full of life and energy. In Slavic countries, the name translates as ‘lively’. Name analysis backs this up, as boys with this name enjoy being the centre of attention and lean towards careers that will put them in the limelight, such as the arts. Whilst they like to give to others in terms of money and knowledge, they can be reckless.
This mineral name refers to the black gemstone which is created by decaying wood and is now used to create beautiful jewellery and ornaments. In the US this is also an altered spelling of ‘Jet’, referring to the rise of aviation and used by several notable celebrities for their children. Whilst this name oozes coolness and masculinity, it enjoys varying success around the world, with it being at number 555 in England, 301 in the US but a firm favourite in Australia at number 98.
pinterest.comLeo is a popular and ancient name that has been used since Roman times. This Latin name is well known for representing the lion and has been used for many Christian saints and thirteen popes. In German, it is a short form of Leopold or Leon, which means ‘brave people’.
Popular all over the world, Leo is currently very common in France, where it is pronounced ‘LAY-o’ and in some Scandinavian countries.
Strong, masculine and certainly not someone to be messed with, Leo is a great short name for a boy.
This gorgeous name comes from Spain and Portugal and means ‘river’. A common abbreviation for the city of ‘Rio de Janeiro’, (River of January), this name sounds like summer and makes us all think of carnival and fun. Although popular for boys, it is also used for girls, as in Duran Duran’s catchy song of the same title. Currently, at number 246 in the baby name charts, Rio is a cheerful and lively name that grows well from babyhood to adulthood.
Van sounds modern and stylish, despite being very old. In Middle English and French it comes from ‘vanne’, which was a type of winnowing machine, suggesting that someone with this name was involved in farming or agriculture. However, over in Holland ‘van’ indicates a place of origin, meaning ‘of or from’ and is sometimes written as ‘var’.
Notable bearers include the musician Van Morrison, the rock band Van Halen and the American actor Van Heflin. Van peaked in popularity in the 1880’s but continues to be a steadily popular choice.
If something is ace, it is recognised as being brilliant, or first-rate and the meaning of this name is very similar. It is from the Latin meaning ‘unity’ and was a nickname given to those who excelled in something. It also has roots as an English surname, meaning ‘noble’.
At the turn of this century, it was not a popular name choice, with only around 20 babies per million being given it. However, it has suddenly become much more common and now sees 666 babies being Ace every year and this number is still increasing.
Alf is a friendly yet cheeky sounding name which works well for both children and adults. It has its origins in the words ‘elff’ and can be used as a standalone name or as an abbreviation. The Old Norse word ‘álf’ gave rise to both Alf and Alv, meaning ‘elf’, so probably given to someone who was small or very slender, or perhaps had pointy ears.
Various names such as Alfred, Alvaro or Alfie can be shortened down to Alf.
Previously thought of as just as the abbreviation of Benjamin or Benedict, Ben is now popular as a name on its own. It comes from the Latin ‘benedictus’ meaning ‘blessed’. Ben is also a Hebrew name meaning ‘son of’.
One of the most famous bearers is the 6th-century St Benedict of Nursia, who founded the Benedictine order of monks and nuns. Ben was the top boy’s name in Germany in 2016 whereas in England it was at 206 and in the US was 729. Ben easily stays in the top 1000 the world over, making this friendly sounding name a great choice.
This masculine name is a variation of Günter and can be spelt Gun, Guin, Guinn or even Genn. According to ancestry, Gunn is from an old Scottish surname and associated with a clan from Caithness. The name arrived in Scotland with the Viking settlers, with the name deriving from the Old Norse name Gunnr. Essentially, Gunn means ‘battle’ and was historically given to those who were successful or great in fighting and war.
Strangely, a representation of the Gunn clan coats of arms was found chiselled into a rock face in Massachusetts, and this has been back to 1395, 100 years before Columbus ‘discovered’ America!
This short, sharp name is a common abbreviation for the Hebrew name ‘Isaac’. Reaching back to Biblical times, Isaac was the only son of Abraham and Sarah and has the lovely translation of ‘he who laughs, or laughter’. This reflects the fact that his parents laughed with happiness and disbelief when he was born as they thought they would not have a son. Hugely popular in the 19th-century, nowadays only around 25 babies per million are given this name annually and it sits at number 2,300 in the baby name charts.
This friendly sounding boy’s name is from the Latin ‘gaius’, meaning ‘to rejoice’. As well as an abbreviation for anyone whose name starts with ‘J’, this name is also a nod to the small bird of the same name The jaybird is well-known for its constant singing and chattering, so this name is great for anyone who talks a lot.
In Hindu communities, the name comes from the Sanskrit word for ‘win’ or ‘victory’ and is spelt as either Jay or Jai.
Again, a popular nickname for any names beginning with ‘Z’, such as Zebedee, Zain, Zeke or Zachary, this is also a name in its own right. It comes from the Hebrew name Zedis, or Zedekiah, meaning ‘the Lord is righteous or God’s justice’. Despite having been in use for hundreds of years it is widely underused now, coming in at only number 3,788 in the baby name lists.
Zed has appeared in popular culture in films such as ‘Men in Black’, ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Police Academy’.
Tye is a locational name coming very specifically from East Anglia in the UK. It denotes someone who lives by a common pasture, the word for this being tye or teag in Old English.
In Germany, however, it originates with Dietrich, a nickname for which is commonly Tide or Tye.
Whilst common as a surname, the use of Tye as a given name has not really taken off and it has never reached the top 1000 names in the USA. A notable bearer is the American heavyweight boxer Tye Fields.
Made popular by the 19th-century US president Abraham Lincoln, Abe dates back to the Old Testament. Meaning ‘father of a multitude’, Abe can be used as an abbreviation for Abram or Abraham. Abraham was one of the stars of Genesis, who went on to become the father of the Hebrew nation.
Abe has appeared in TV series ‘The Simpsons’ as well as being the name of two Japanese empresses. The name peaked in popularity in the 19th-century, largely thanks to the president, but has since slumped and is now a rare choice.
This short and punchy name is an abbreviation for some of the longest going. Maximilian, Maximus and Maxwell are all a bit of a mouthful, but funky Max is straight to the point. Popular in Roman times, and name to many emperors, this ancient name means ‘greatest’ and comes from the Latin language. It is and always has been, a very popular name, coming in at number 68 in the baby name charts, thanks to its modern feel and excellent meaning.
You can’t get any more masculine than this French boy’s name, which translates as ‘manly or sturdy’. Strangely it is also used for girls, in which case it translates as ‘warrior’, but is very uncommon at number 3,949 in the baby name charts. In English, the name translates as ‘wise’. In the US it sits at number 2,803 in the popularity charts so would make a unique name for your little boy.
Boys with this name are said to excel in analysis, understanding and learning. They make great teachers and philosophers and like to express themselves through the arts.
Nik, or Nick, is an abbreviation of the ever popular Nicholas and fast becoming a name in its own right. As well as being a famous brand of shoe, Nike was the Greek goddess of victory and the root of Nicholas. The name, therefore, translates as ‘victory’ but also as ‘lord’.
A top 10 name in Slovenia, Nik is a name that has many variations such as Niko, Nikos and Nikol and has remained steadily within the top 1000 in many countries worldwide.
Sources: babynamewizard.com, ancestry.co.uk, ohbabynames.com, babycenter.com, babynames.merschat.com, nameberry.com/babyname, sheknows.com