Anyone reading this article is likely expecting a baby boy. As exciting as it is, many parents-to-be don’t realize the difficulty that comes with picking out the perfect baby boy name. Many parents want the name to sound strong and masculine, without being overly macho or stereotypical. At the same time, there’s something charming about a boy’s name that’s softer and more gender-neutral.
There’s a lot more to consider when choosing a baby boy’s name. Many parents struggle with deciding between a short or long name (although short names are trendier at the moment). A benefit of long names is that they come with tons of cute nickname options. But they can also be more difficult to pronounce. Some parents want their son’s name to carry an important meaning, whether that be through a family connection or the name’s translation itself. And perhaps most importantly, many parents prefer choosing a name that stands out. Too often are there multiple kids in a classroom with the same name. Choosing something that’s more unique will make sure the name is memorable.
This list features some of the boldest boy names that are popular this year. From names inspired by nature to two-letter names, there’s something on this list for every parent. And rest assured, all of these names are uncommon and eye-catching, so parents will be hard-pressed to find another kid with one of these names.
Although recognizable mostly as a last name (and also the name of a chocolate company), Maynard is quickly becoming a trendy first name option, and it’s not hard to see why. This striking boy’s name has its origins in Germany. It has a valiant meaning, translating to mean ‘hardy, brave, and strong,’ which are three things any parent would want for their baby boy. Although this name is uncommon, it’s not hard to pronounce or over-the-top. Rather, it boasts an air of sophistication and smartness. Any boy with this name will definitely grow up to be a proper gentleman. The world will be his oyster!
Angelina Jolie helped popularize the name Maddox when she adopted her first son. So if you find yourself drawn to the edgy name, considered Maddock as a stylish variation. Maddock is less commonly used than the Brangelina-associated version, but it’s just as mysterious and charming. This name, out of Wales, which used to be spelled Madog, translated to mean ‘fortunate’ and ‘good.’ Any boy with this name is bound to have good luck for years to come.
Edric is a charming baby boy’s name that’s a cross between the popular monikers Eric, Cedric, and also Derick. So, it’s fitting for any parents who find themselves drawn to those names but want something with a bit more personality. Edric is a name out of England that translates to mean ‘wealthy ruler.’ Don’t be surprised if your little one grows up to be a self-made millionaire! Its regal meaning follows the trend of naming children after royal-sounding words, like Prince, Saint, or Duke, except it’s not as in-your-face. Despite being uncommon, Edric has a classic sound that’s soft as it rolls off the tongue without losing its masculinity.
Cyril is a dashing name with origins in Greece that is far underappreciated. The commanding name translates to mean ‘masterful and ‘lord,’ so we bet any baby with this name will grow up to fulfill an important position. Despite its strong meaning, Cyril also has a soft feeling as it rolls off the tongue. It may be a more feminine boy’s name, but it's dashing and gallant at the same time. Any boy with this name is sure to be a gentleman.
Names like Kaden and Kaleb have been blowing up the baby name charts for years. And while they’re popular for a reason (because they’re striking!), it does mean that you likely know a few kids with such names or at least similar-sounding ones. And to most parents, that’s a turn-off when it comes to choosing their child’s name. Kawan presents an untraditional option that has a similar sound. Kawan is traditionally a well-known name in Korea. It translates to mean ‘strong,’ which is a meaning any parent would want their son’s name to carry. Your little one will definitely be popular with such a striking name as this one.
Omar is said to be one of the most common names in the world. And while it’s definitely handsome, it’s becoming too overused. So, we suggest the name Omri as a fresh update. Unlike Omar, Omri isn’t an Arabic name. Instead, it’s a Hebrew name, which translates to mean ‘my sheaf.’ A sheaf is a bundle of grain stalks ties together after reaping. The way the name ends with an ‘I’ gives it an edgy, unexpected sound, which is likely why it’s becoming a trendy option amongst millennial parents.
Z-names have always been trendy for the fact that they carry a distinctive edgy sound to them, and Zale is no exception. Zale is a strong, domineering name of Greece. It translates to mean ‘sea-strength,’ which makes us wonder if your little one will have work at sea with such a valiant name. This baby boy name definitely has an edginess to it. It’s a catchy, easy-to-pronounce name that is definitely memorable. And it’s 4-letter word spelling is right on trend with short baby names. Besides, if parents have started calling their kids Kale (yes, after the leafy vegetable), then Zale seems like a pretty tame option in comparison.
Axel is already a popular name for baby boys. So we’re guessing that its variation Avel is going to be all the rage soon. Avel is traditionally a first name in Russia. It comes from the Hebrew word for ‘gentle’ and ‘breathe,’ giving the name a whimsical feel. The moniker also has a biblical connection, as it's mentioned several times in the Old Testament. The feminine version of Avel is Avelya, which is equally beautiful and unique.
Boaz might seem like a modern millennial name because it’s so unheard of, but it wasn’t a recent generation that popularized this moniker. In fact, Boaz has a biblical connotation. The name is mentioned various times in the Old Testament, making it a great option for parents who want to celebrate their Christian religion. On the other hand, Boaz makes a great name no matter what background the parents come from. This striking moniker means “swiftness’ and comes from Hebrew. Either your little boy will be quick on his feet or have a sharp mind with such a meaning. Plus, how adorable does Bo sound as a nickname?
Valerio might be one of the most handsome names on this list! With a brave and powerful-sounding air, a little boy with this name will be sure to command the attention of any room he walks into. Valerio is of Latin origin. It translates to mean ‘strength’ and ‘health.’ With a meaning like that, we wouldn’t rule out your little boy becoming a doctor or working in some other life-saving profession. Some sources also link Valerio to the word for ‘valor,’ which also translates to strength. While Valor would be an attractive name, as well, we love the distinctly masculine touch the final ‘o’ of Valerio adds to the name.
We’ve already mentioned that 4-letter names have been trendy in recent years. So jump on that trend with the unique name Maoz. This name originates in Hebrew. It’s pronounced as mah-ohz. Although the name might be a bit tricky for newcomers to pronounce at first, we think its valiant meaning makes up for it. Maoz translates to mean ‘fortress’ and ‘strength.’ Any boy with that name will grow up to be compassionate and courageous, which is something all parents want for their kiddo. Maoz is also a very important name to the Jewish faith, as it was a symbolic name given to boys during the rededication of the Holy Temple, in which the son Maoz Tzur was being sung.
Fain is a highly unusual name; one we guess most parents have never heard before. Though most name that start with ‘fa’ tend to lean on the feminine side, we think Fain sounds commandeering and masculine. Fain is a name out of England, and it translates to mean ‘joyful.’ Any child with a name with such a gorgeous meaning is definitely going to be the light of their parent’s life. And with such a bubbly personality, we wouldn’t be surprised if they wound up in a job where their face is front and center.
Many parents have been naming their children after animals, with monikers like Grizzly and Kat being some of the most popular. Elk is beginning to take off as a trendy baby name. So if you find yourself drawn to this nature-inspired name, perhaps consider its variation Elkan as an option. Elk can be used as shorthand for the longer version Elkan. But what’s nice about Elkan is that people don’t instantly think of the animal upon hearing it. Elkan is actually a Hebrew name. It translates to mean ‘he belongs to God,’ making it a beautiful way to honor the parents’ dedication to their faith.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans will recognize Giles as the first name of the Watcher assigned to guide Buffy as she accepted her slayer duties. But even if you’re not a fan of the hit ‘90s show, we still recommend keeping this potential baby boy name on your list. Giles, which is pronounced as ‘jiles,’ is both uncommon and sophisticated. Even though it’s rarely used, it’s got a classic sensibility about it, which doesn’t make it feel too over-the-top. Giles is actually a name with origins in Greece, which translates to mean ‘young goat.’
Parents may be surprised to hear it, but Thor has become an increasingly popular baby name ever since Chris Hemsworth helped popularize the character on the big screen. Of course, any little one who dawns this moniker will instantly inspire others to think of the Marvel character. But aside from the pop culture reference, Thor also has a bold meaning that may convince some parents it’s the name for their son. This Norse name translates to mean ‘thunder,’ which explains Thor’s powers in the movie. Naming kids after weather-inspired words has become a trend recently (just think of Kylie Jenner’s daughter Stormi), which is just another reason Thor has become so on-trend recently.
Cayden, Callum, and other similar sounding ‘c’ names have become popular in recent years. Cailan is a variation of these popular names that’s a bit more unique and underused. Pronounced the same as the female name Kailyn, this moniker is a millennial invention. Cailan is traditionally a name of Scotland. It has several translations, including ‘child,’ ‘powerful warrior,’ and ‘victory of the people.’ It’s for certain that any boy with this valiant moniker will grow up to be a hero in some sense one day.
Michael is one of the most common boy names out there. And while its both charming and classic, we suggest giving it a fresh upgrade and opting for its variation, Mekhi. This unusual first name has a lot of character and personality, which is likely why so many parents are gravitating towards it. It’s said to be a Hebrew name that translates to mean ‘who is like God.’ Your child is surely to be someone special with a name full of such greatness.
Everyone has heard of the popular name Daniel. And while it’s a charming and classic name, you likely know at least a couple people with it. If you find yourself drawn to the name Daniel, then we suggest freshening it up by opting for its variation Kaniel. This is another Hebrew name to make our list. It has a beautiful meaning, translating to ‘the Lord supports me.’ It’s another great option for parents who want to celebrate their faith. But it’s also just a smart-sounding name on its own. Kane can be used as a nickname that’s also not overused.
Osiris is perhaps one of the most unique-sounding names on this list. Translating to mean ‘with strong eyesight,’ the name has historically been important to the mythology of Egypt, which is possibly why it may sound familiar to most people. Osiris was the name of a god who was said to pass and be reborn every year. With such a strong meaning, any little boy with this moniker is bound to grow up to be wise beyond his years. Another great reason to pick this name is because of the cute nicknames that can be derived from it. Cyrus and Oz would both be adorable shorthand for Osiris.
Xi (which is pronounced as ‘zee’) might sound like an extremely unique choice for a baby name. This simple name resonates a lot of power and command despite being only letters long. The name, which has its origins in China, is said to translate to mean ‘rare,’ which is definitely one word that can be used to describe this moniker. Given that it starts with an ‘x,’ the name has a distinct edgy flare to it, but its short spelling keeps it simple and easy to pronounce.
Ryder has become a popular first name choice for both little girls and boys- but it’s beginning to get so popular that it’s starting to lose attraction. Ryker is a nice alternative that isn’t nearly as common. Although it can be used for both genders, Ryker is more commonly associated amongst boys. This name originates in Germany and translates to mean ‘rich.’ We have a feeling that could mean fame and fortune is in your little boy’s future with a name so regal. And the name is unique enough that it would definitely be memorable if he did become a celebrity.
Lazar is a handsome name for any baby boy. It’s considered a variation of the names Lazarus and Eleazar, both of which translate to mean ‘God is my helper.’ Lazarus comes from Greece, while Eleazar is a Hebrew name. Interestingly, Lazar is most popular as a first name in Serbia. Other variations of the name include Laszlo and Lazaro, both of which have the same edginess that we find appealing in Lazar. Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz has a son named Saint Laszlo.
Thijs may be one of the hardest names on this list to pronounce given its unusual spelling, but we encourage parents not to let that dissuade them from choosing this moniker for their little boy. Thijs is a variation of the more well-known name Mathijs or Mathis. Thijs translates to mean ‘gift from God,’ which is definitely what everyone feels their baby boy is. Interestingly, the name is pronounced as th-ICE, and is meant to rhyme with ‘rice.’
While names that start with ‘I’ may be common for girls, they’re less appreciated when it comes to baby boy names. That’s probably why you’ve never heard of this unique moniker: Imre. Pronounced ‘EEM-reh,’ this name is actually out of Hungary. Parents-to-be will love its meaning, as it translates to literally mean ‘strength.’ This is definitely a bold choice, but with such an impressive meaning and interesting pronunciation, the name is sure to be a conversation starter. Could you see yourself with an Imre?
One of the biggest trends in recent years is repurposing names that are traditionally either male or female as gender-neutral. We’ve seen a lot of celebrities do that with classically boys name, like when Blake Lively named her daughter James and Haylie Duff had a daughter named Ryan. Marris is commonly a female name, but it’s becoming more popular as a boy’s name, too. It’s considered a variation of the classic name Marie and shares the same meaning - ‘of the sea.’
Sources: NameBerry, Mom Junction, BabyNames.org