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German Names for Boys

German Names for Boys
German names for boys include many males names that rank solidly in the US: Charles and William, Henry and Richard, Louis and Robert. Along with Charles and Henry, the top German boy names in the US Top 500 today include Axel, Emerson, Emmett, Everett, Harrison, Justus, Leo, Milo, Ryker, and Walter.

The top boy names in Germany include both those popular throughout Europe and North America, such as Ben, Finn, and Noah, as well as the high-ranking names Emile and Moritz. The German popularity list also includes some short forms particular to Germany, such as Till, a German short form of Dietrich or Theodoric, and Fiete, a diminutive for Friedrich or Frederick.

Many of the unusual German boy names here started life as surnames, and with surname-names fashionable for baby boys, you may find a German name on your family tree that can be adapted as a first.

Some selections on this list that work perfectly: Adler, Barrett, Kiefer, Romer, and Wagner. Unique German boy names to watch include Amory, Ansel, Benno, Boden, Hugo, Leopold, Luther, Otis, Otto, Roland, Walden, Wilbur, and Wolf.

You can explore the complete roster of German boy names on Nameberry on this page. The top names below rank among the current US Top 1000 Baby Names and are ordered by popularity. Unique names rank below the Top 1000 and are listed alphabetically.

You may also want to browse our list of German girl names.
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HenryHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "estate ruler"
  • Description:

    Henry was derived from the French Henri, which ultimately comes from the Germanic name Heimrich, made up of the components heim, meaning "home" or "estate," and rich, meaning "ruler." The most famous wearer is Henry VIII of England, best known for having six wives—two of whom he beheaded for not bearing him sons. It’s been used in the British royal family many times since.

LeoHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "lion"
  • Description:

    Leo was derived from the Latin leo, meaning “lion.” Thirteen popes have carried the name, including St. Leo the Great. In Germanic languages, Leo has historically been used as a nickname for names including Leon and Leopold. In Latinate languages, Leonardo is considered a full form for Leo.

CharlesHeart

  • Origin:

    French from German
  • Meaning:

    "man, free man"
  • Description:

    Charles derives from the Germanic name Karl, meaning "man" or "freeman", and is a royal name in multiple European countries. A famous early bearer is Charlemagne, King of the Franks and Lombards and then Roman Emperor in the 8th-9th centuries. The word for “king” in several languages came from Charles, including Slavic, Russian, and Polish.

AxelHeart

  • Origin:

    Scandinavian variation of Absalom
  • Meaning:

    "father of peace"
  • Description:

    A classic in its native Scandinavia, Axel has a cool rock 'n' roll flavor in the US, thanks to Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose (born William). Axel is a popular Scandinavian form of the Biblical Absalom, who was a son of King David, and is the name of the title character of William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom.

RobertHeart

  • Origin:

    English from German
  • Meaning:

    "bright fame"
  • Description:

    Robert was derived from the ancient Germanic name Hrodebert, from the elements hrod, meaning "fame" and bertha, "bright." Robert was the name of three kings of Scotland, including Robert the Bruce, who freed Scotland from English rule. The name was brought to England by the Normans.
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EverettHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of the German Eberhard
  • Meaning:

    "brave as a wild boar"
  • Description:

    Everett is a statesmanlike, wintry New England name whose recent leap in popularity can be credited to its similarity to trendy girls’ names such as Eva and Ava. Its high point was about a century ago, when Everett was a Top 100 name.

EmmettHeart

  • Origin:

    English masculine variation of Emma, German
  • Meaning:

    "universal"
  • Description:

    Emmett, honest and sincere, laid-back and creative, is on the rise as a male cognate of the megapopular Emma and Emily, not to mention being a character in the popular Twilight series.

MiloHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin and Old German
  • Meaning:

    "soldier or merciful"
  • Description:

    Milo is most commonly considered to be Germanic name derived from the Latin word miles, meaning "soldier." However, there is evidence to suggest it also may have independently spawned from the Slavic root milu, meaning "merciful." Milo predates brother name Miles, a variation that evolved when the name immigrated to the British Isles in the Middle Ages. Mylo is an alternate spelling.

LuisHeart

  • Origin:

    French and German variation of Louis
  • Meaning:

    "renowned warrior"
  • Description:

    Luis has long been one of the most popular Hispanic names in America — it was in the Top 100 every year from 1980 to 2014, though it's dropped a bit in popularity. It's familiar, yet would add a worldly touch to a basic surname.

MaxHeart

  • Origin:

    English and German diminutive of Maximilian or Maxwell
  • Meaning:

    "greatest"
  • Description:

    Max was derived from Maximilian, a Latin name that originated from the Roman family name Maximus. The character name Max in the children's classic Where the Wild Things Are had an impact on baby namers. Max is a widely used name internationally.
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RykerHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "rich"
  • Description:

    As a stylish name, Ryker has three big things going for it: its Ry beginning (as in Riley, Ryder, and Rylan), its two-syllable rhythm, and its er ending. A nice surprise for many is it's "rich" meaning. While this may not be a factor beyond New York City, there is an infamous prison there called Riker's Island. Ryker is one of the trendiest German names for boys in the US.

BarrettHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "bear strength"
  • Description:

    Pleasing sound and literary association with poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, though little girls may associate it with the word barrette.

LeonHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek variation of Leo
  • Meaning:

    "lion"
  • Description:

    Leon is one of the leonine names that is extremely hot in Europe right now. Although it peaked here in the 1920s, it is slowly making its way back, and it could climb further with parents wanting a more serious and studious alternative to Leo.

RichardHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "dominant ruler"
  • Description:

    A classic old Norman name popular for a thousand years and favored for kings (Richard Nixon was named for Richard the Lionhearted), as well as the hoi polloi (as in every Tom, Dick and Harry), Richard was the sixth most popular US boys’ name in 1925, and was still Number 8 in 1950, but is now much less popular.

LukasHeart

  • Origin:

    German variation of Lucas
  • Meaning:

    "man from Lucanus"
  • Description:

    Highly popular name in Norway and in Germany in a spelling that translates well.
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LouisHeart

  • Origin:

    German and French
  • Meaning:

    "renowned warrior"
  • Description:

    Kate and William shocked the world when they announced that they'd named their third child Louis -- Prince Louis Arthur Charles, to be more precise. But we've been predicting a comeback for this classic name for a long time.

EmersonHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "son of Emery"
  • Description:

    Emerson is a dignified, somewhat serious name associated with transcendental thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson. Much more popular now for girls since Desperate Housewife Teri Hatcher used it for her daughter, it is definitely still a viable boys name.

WalterHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "army ruler"
  • Description:

    Walter was seen as a noble name in the Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Walter Scott era, but it then spent decades in baby name limbo. Now quite a few independent-minded parents are looking at it as a renewable, slightly quirky, classic, stronger and more distinctive than James or John, second only to William among the handsome classic boy baby names starting with W. The recent popularity of Breaking Bad has brought us Walter White, conferring on the name Walter a new kind of cool and prompting a fresh wave of popularity.

DerekHeart

  • Origin:

    English from German form of THEODORIC
  • Meaning:

    "the people's ruler"
  • Description:

    Derek started out as a sophisticated Brit, but the name became so common over the last decades of the twentieth century that it lost much of its English accent, along with its stylish edge. Derek was a Top 100 name in the U.S. for 25 years, from 1970 to 1995.

RaymondHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "wise-protector"
  • Description:

    Now that the show has gone into reruns, does anybody still love Raymond? Though it's been long dormant, some parents -- including Jack Nicholson -- are finding its cool name component, largely through the nickname Ray.
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JeffreyHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Geoffrey
  • Meaning:

    "pledge of peace"
  • Description:

    The mostly Americanized version of Geoffrey was a trendy mid-century hit, with nickname Jeff the epitome of cool. Jeffrey entered the pop list in 1934 and was a Top 20 name from the mid-fifties to 1978.

OttoHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "wealthy"
  • Description:

    Cutting-edge parents have revived this German name a la Oscar.

HugoHeart

  • Origin:

    Latinized form of Hugh
  • Meaning:

    "mind, intellect"
  • Description:

    Hugo, the Latin form of Hugh, has more heft and energy than the original -- and of course we love names that end (or begin, for that matter) with an o. This one is especially appealing because it's backed up by lots of solid history and European style.

FrankHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Francis or Franklin
  • Meaning:

    "Frenchman or free man"
  • Description:

    A Top 10 name from the 1880s until the 1920s, Frank has fallen from favor but still has a certain warm, friendly real-guy grandpa flavor that could come back into style, like other such choices as Jake and Jack. Maybe thanks to Sinatra, it's become a new hipster favorite with such couples as Diana Krall and Elvis Costello.

ArchieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Archibald, Teutonic
  • Meaning:

    "truly brave"
  • Description:

    Archie made global news as the surprise first name of the newborn royal baby, son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex aka Harry and Meghan. Archie has now officially transcended Archie Bunker and Riverdale's Archie to take the, um, throne as the quintessential retro nickname name.
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FrederickHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "peaceful ruler"
  • Description:

    Frederick, and friendlier nickname Fred, seemed almost to have disappeared, leaving just the memory of Freds past such as Astaire, Mr. Rogers and Flintstone. But today's parents are beginning to recognize it as a strong classic and one of the top royal baby boy names.

RoccoHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian from German
  • Meaning:

    "rest"
  • Description:

    Madonna did much to polish up the image of this old-neighborhood Italian choice when she picked it for her son with British director Guy Ritchie, and several years later it was also used by Rose Byrne and Bobby Canavale for their son. It now feels much more mainstream than many celebrity baby names, sharing the quirky appeal of some other so-far-out-they're-in baby names as Bruno and Hugo.

AlbertHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "noble, bright"
  • Description:

    Albert has acquired a new gloss as one of the top royal baby boy names, a serious upgrade from its serious, studious image (think Einstein, Schweitzer). Albert remained popular for 80 years, and though it's far less fashionable today, it's still a widely used choice. Still, along with such stalwarts as Walter and George, it could now make an unusual yet classic choice. It became especially popular in Britain following the 1840 marriage of Queen Victoria to the German Prince Albert. Enlivening nickname Bertie is popular on its own in England.

ConradHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "brave counsel"
  • Description:

    Conrad has a somewhat intellectual masculine image, a solid name that has been consistently on the popularity lists, especially well used in the 1920s and 30s, and given a pop of rock energy by the Elvis-like character of Conrad Birdie in Bye, Bye, Birdie--("We love you Conrad, oh yes we do!").

RolandHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "famous throughout the land"
  • Description:

    Roland is a chivalrous old name made famous by the supposedly eight-foot-tall romantic hero and nephew of Charlemagne, celebrated in medieval poetry and song. It is more widely heard in the US now in its Spanish form, Rolando. You might want to consider rollicking short form Rollo, either on its own or as an abbreviation of Roland. Orlando is the graceful Italian form.
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JohanHeart

  • Origin:

    German variation of John
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Still very Old European, conjuring up the image of a classical composer. But surprisingly, it's now been in the Top 600 in the U.S. since the turn of the 21st century, largely thanks to Heidi Klum and Seal's young son.

LeonardHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "brave lion"
  • Description:

    Leonard is the name of several saints, including one who is the patron saint of childhood, and another medieval saint who's the patron of prisoners--known for freeing prisoners he deemed worthy of God. Popular from 1900 to 1930, Leonard is perhaps more notable for those who dropped the name when they entered show biz than those who kept it: former Leonards include Roy Rogers and Tony Randall. Two musical Leonards did keep their names though--composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein and poet-singer Leonard Cohen. Leonard Woolf was the husband and publisher of great English novellist Virginia Woolf. These days, modern parents tend to prefer Leo or the romantic Italian Leonardo, especially since Leonard does not get pronounced with the trendy "Leo" sound.

OtisHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "wealthy"
  • Description:

    Otis has a double image: it's cool and bluesy a la Otis Redding, but also an upscale, high-society name of the past. Otis has real appeal for parents attracted to its catchy O initial and combination of strength and spunk.

RogerHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "famous warrior"
  • Description:

    In the World War II era, Roger had nothing but the most positive associations, actually used by military personnel to mean 'Received and understood'--or A-OK, and though it is now on extended furlough, it does have a long and distinguished history. Introduced to England after the Norman Conquest of 1066, Roger soon became very popular there, with nicknames Hodge and Dodge, and had a long run later in the U.S, remaining in the Top 100 for 55 years.

HarlanHeart

  • Origin:

    German and English
  • Meaning:

    "rocky land"
  • Description:

    Pleasant but uninspired surname name somewhat connected to writers Ellison and Coben. After three decades off the US Top 1000, it reentered in 2013, maybe because it's an unusual example of the trendy class of two-syllable n-ending boys’ names. Kevin Harlan is an NFL, NBA, and college basketball announcer for TV and radio.
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KellanHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Kellen
  • Meaning:

    "swamp; slender"
  • Description:

    Kellan Lutz is the attractive young actor who plays Emmett Cullen in the Twilight series.

TomasHeart

  • Origin:

    German and Portuguese version of Thomas
  • Meaning:

    "twin"
  • Description:

    The pronunciation may be slightly different—toe-MAHS—though some parents use this as a phonetic spelling of Thomas.

BrunoHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "brown"
  • Description:

    Bruno is a popular name throughout Europe and South America that deserves more attention here. Its color meaning makes it one of the perfect names for November babies, or really a boy born in any of the autumn months.

HarryHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Henry
  • Meaning:

    "estate ruler"
  • Description:

    Harry is the medieval English form of Henry, which derived from the Germanic name Heimrich, meaning “estate ruler.” Harry was the nickname of all eight King Henrys; it is also a diminutive of Harold and Harrison.

EmeryHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "industrious"
  • Description:

    Emery is one of the newly popular Em- names that has great potential, though right now for girls more than boys: it received a boost in 2009, a year after Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn used it for one of their daughters. Emery ranks on the Top 1000 for both boys and girls, but all the way up in the Top 100 for girls and down in the 700s for boys. Many related names are also trending for baby boys, from Emerson to Emrys to Amory to Emmett.
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HughHeart

  • Origin:

    English from German
  • Meaning:

    "mind, intellect"
  • Description:

    Patrician to the core, Hugh was firmly in the Top 100 until 1903. Now it's used very quietly, though the name is still in the Top 1000.

ValentinHeart

  • Origin:

    French, German, Russian, Czech, Scandinavian variation of Valentine
  • Meaning:

    "strength, health"
  • Description:

    Romantic name used throughout Europe, though sure to lead to pronunciation problems here. Though it's never been too widely used in the US, it's quite popular in Switzerland, France, Austria, and Romania.

AlonsoHeart

  • Origin:

    Portuguese and Spanish variation of Adalfuns, German
  • Meaning:

    "noble and ready"
  • Description:

    Alonso is the Spanish and Portuguese diminutive version of Alfonso, itself deriving from an old Germanic name “Adalfuns” meaning "noble and ready." Although the Italian spelling Alonzo is more popular in the US, Alonso has its own strong history.

KellenHeart

  • Origin:

    German; Irish
  • Meaning:

    "swamp; slender"
  • Description:

    Kellen is German in origin and Irish in spirit. Kellen has fallen a bit in popularity for boys since its peak in 2012, but it has possibilities for girls too. In fact, Kellen's similarity to such feminine names as Helen, Ellen, and Kelly makes it feel more unisex or even female, though Twilight actor Kellan Lutz has done much to popularize this name for boys.

CarlHeart

  • Origin:

    German variation of Charles
  • Meaning:

    "free man"
  • Description:

    This no-nonsense German variation of Charles is strong and still well used, but lacks much sensitivity or subtlety; the Latin forms have far more energy.
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EmoryHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Emery
  • Description:

    Less popular than Emery, this name also attributes to Emory University. Both spellings of the name lean more heavily to the girls' side, but this one is not quite as unbalanced.

AlaricHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "all-powerful ruler"
  • Description:

    Alaric is an ancient regal name that sounds modern enough to be considered. Alaric was a traditional name for the kings of the Ostrogoths, the most famous of whom was Alaric I, the King of the West Goths who sacked Rome in 410.

BodenHeart

  • Origin:

    English or German surname
  • Meaning:

    "hill shaped like a bow or floor"
  • Description:

    Boden is most often inspired by the clothing catalog of the same name, and it feels like an appropriate first name for boys because of its stylish two-syllable -n ending rhythm, a la Logan, Mason, Owen, and other trendy choices. While Boden or Bowden is a fairly common English surname, in German it is the everyday name for "floor". Boden entered the US Top 1000 in 2014. You might also consider Bowen, Bode, Bodhi, and Bowie.

BobbyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Robert
  • Meaning:

    "bright fame"
  • Description:

    Bobby is the quintessential mid-century nickname, the name of the son on Mad Men and overused to the point of cliche. Though Robert is still a highly popular choice, most Roberts today are called by their full name or Rob or Robbie rather than Bob or Bobby.

RudyHeart

  • Origin:

    German, diminutive of Rudolph
  • Meaning:

    "famous wolf"
  • Description:

    Rudy has a bit of style currency, thanks to the fact that Jude Law used it for his son. It has been consistently in the Top 1000 for as long as Social Security records have been tallied, as opposed to parent name Rudolph, which, perhaps due to the reindeer, hasn't been heard from in some time.
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