Category: classic names for boys
Our new book, The Nameberry Guide to the Best Baby Names for Boys, selects the 600 very best choices from the 20,000 boys’ names on Nameberry.
We wanted to pick the top choices from a wide range of different types of names – classics and new inventions, adventurous and conservative – to help parents zero in on the best of the best.
Today we spotlight ten biblical names included in The Nameberry Guide to the Best Baby Names for Boys.
Abraham was the first of the Old Testament patriarchs and is considered the founding father of the Jewish people. He was originally named Abram, until, according to Genesis, he was told, “No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.”
Classic baby names can encompass several different categories. There are Biblical names, from Anne to Zachary. There are names rooted in ancient cultures, including Atticus and Juno, which have survived or are being revived today.
And then there are the classic names that have been well-used in English-speaking cultures over the decades and centuries. While classic names by any definition do move in and out of style just like other names, some manage to endure better than others and become, well, the most classic classic names.
Here, our picks for ten of the best classic baby names today.
Catherine – The Duchess formerly known as Kate has done much to swing fashion toward the C-beginning version of this most classic of girls’ names. Catherine, classic in any spelling, has been borne by saints and queens along with some of the most inspiring literary heroines, including Heathcliff‘s Cathy of Wuthering Heights. Greek for “pure,” Catherine comes in countless international variations and with a wide range of nicknames. Most stylish today are Cate or Kate or the vintage-feeling Kay or Kitty.
The Theo family of names is moving on up, en masse.
The pater familias, Theodore, progressed thirty places this year on the Social Security list, rose 115% on Nameberry searches and was the only boy’s name to register more than once on our latest Quarterly Report, plus it’s been the choice of several celebrities, including Dallas Bryce Howard, Natascha McElhone and Ali Larter.
It’s a name with so much to recommend it—as one of the classic names that has a lot more personality than many others, being serious but with a sense of humor, and boasting a choice of great nicknames.
In this country, Theodore’s history is very much tied to our youngest president ever, the ebullient, energetic, charismatic Theodore Roosevelt (who was a Theodore, Junior), the U.S. Chief Executive from 1901 to 1905. It was in that period that the name hit its highest peak, reaching Number 30 in 1904, then staying in the Top 100 until 1944. One thing that didn’t catch on, though, was his childhood nickname of Teedie.
But then there are those that move in and out of style, names that can appear timeless in one period and then seem tired and fusty in another. These names, once at the top of their class, are now nearer the bottom—in one case having slipped away completely.
Yesterday we looked at forgotten girls’ classics. Today we bring you a dozen classic boys’ names that have fallen off the radar but deserve a fresh look.
The other day we brought you the classic girls’ names: those that had been among the Top 1000 for all of the 130 years the U.S. government has been tracking baby names.
The boys’ group of classic boys’ names as defined the same way is nearly twice as large, encompassing 208 names to the girls’ 114. As with the girls’ names, we broke the classic boys’ names down into categories.
There are the Core Classics, about 20 percent of the group, which include those names everyone commonly thinks of as classics: John, Henry, William. Then there are the Biblical names that have endured in modern usage, from Moses to Matthew. Variations and short forms such as Anton and Andy make two more groups of names that have consistently been in the Top 1000.
And then there are those names that are quantitatively more enduring that you might guess: Harley? Riley? Hard to believe, yet the numbers bear it out. And then there are the Outliers, names whose continued use defies explanation and in some cases, sanity.
All of this gives you a wider range of options in classic boys’ names than you might initially think. Any of the following qualify.