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Gender: Male Meaning of Rufus: "red-head" Origin of Rufus: Latin

The name Rufus is a boy's name of Latin origin meaning "red-head". Rufus and is often added to lists like Unique Boy Names: Unusual and Rare and discussed in our forums with posts like "Names on NB that make you go WOW!".

From the experts:

Rufus is a rumpled, redheaded (it was the nickname for red-haired King William) ancient Roman name popular with saints and singers (e.g. Rufus Wainwright); now, Rufus is on the cutting edge of cool.

Fellow singer James Taylor named one of his twins Rufus, and Rufus Humphrey is a Gossip Girl character. Rufus Sewell is a commanding, intense English actor.

Rufus is mentioned in the New Testament as the name of a son of Simon the Cytherian, and there are several St. Rufuses. He's also a major figure in the George Eliot novel Felix Holt: The Radical, an honest and passionate preacher and politician.

Find other names based on Rufus using our baby name generator.

Famous People Named Rufus

Rufus McGarrigle Wainwright, Canadian singer-songwriter
Rufus King, U.S. senator from New York
Rufus Choate, U.S. senator from Massachusetts
Rufus Frederik Sewell, English actor
Rufus Thomas, American R&B singer
Rufus Reid, American jazz bassist
Rufus Arthur Johnson aka Bizarre, American rapper
Rufus Cooper III aka Young Noble, American rapper
Rufus Wilmot Griswold, American anthologist and poet
Rufus R. "Freight Train" Jones (born Carey L. Lloyd), American pro wrestler
Rufus Smith Frost, U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts
Rufus, mentioned in Paul's letter to the Romans (16:13)
Rufus Tiger Taylor (b. 1991), American musician of The Darkness; son of drummer Roger Taylor of Queen
Rufus William Rawdon Slim (b. 1995), son of the 2nd Viscount Slim
Rufus Logan Taylor (b. 2001), son of singer/songwriter James Taylor; twin brother Henry David
Rufus Murphy Dunstan, one of the triplet sons of Australian youtubers Rohan and Chloe Dunstan (Life with Beans); siblings are Evan, Otto, Felix, Henry, & Pearl
Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland, Canadian actor

Pop Culture References for the name Rufus

Rufus, the 13th apostle in film "Dogma"
Rufus, character in movie "Kill Bill"
Rufus Barma, character in the manga/anime "Pandora Hearts"
Rufus Scrimgeour, character in the "Harry Potter" series
Rufus, naked mole rat on animated series "Kim Possible"
Rufus ShinRa, character in video game "Final Fantasy VII"
Rufus "Roofy" Jones, baby in Nick Hornby's "Slam"
Rufus Humphrey, character on TV's "Gossip Girl"
Rufus Sixsmith, character in David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas"
Rufus Lore, character in manga and anime 'Fairy Tail'
Rufus Weylin, despicable slaveowner in Octavia Butler's "Kindred"
Rufus, time-traveling character in the "Bill & Ted" franchise
Rufus Turner, character on TV's "Supernatural"
Rufus Raven, character in Jenny Nimmo's "The Children of the Red King" series
Rufus Hodgekiss, character in "The Author's Apprentice"
Rufus, villain in TV's "House of Anubis"
Rufus T. Firefly, Groucho Marx's character in "Duck Soup"

Rufino, Rayfus, Rufe, Ruffis, Ruffus, Rufo, Rufous

Rufus's International Variations

Rufino (Spanish)


Koolkitty108 Says:


This just sounds like a hillbilly name to me along with Billie Joe or Billy Joe (whichever way you spell that).

FantasyandPrayer Says:


This has been one of my all time favourites for as long as I can remember. I had a friend called Rufus when I was very young, about 5 years old, who left the area and I never saw or heard from again, but his name has stuck with me all these years!!

bobtron Says:


I Like the name but on many occasions separate people have said it sounds like a dog name. Also it does have a dog-barking onomatopoeic aspect to it "Roof Roof Roofus"

EW314 Says:


I like Rufus a lot. It has sort of a rumpled, tousled, amiable aristocrat vibe to me, like Rupert's sexy younger brother.

headintheclouds Says:


The main thing that comes to mind with Rufus is the naked mole rat in the cartoon Kim Possible. Fledgling name nerd-me had always thought that he was very aptly named, since Rufus has a sort of sniffy ratlike sound and look to the name. I still kind of think that, although I've also come to see it as an alternative rock and roller-sounding name, or a satirical-stuffy-British upper-class nobility name.

I can sort of see where the appeal is with Rufus, but I don't really like the name either. Aside from the associations I've mentioned, it also sounds to me like "Roof us". Rupert is a similar-sounding name to Rufus that I prefer much better.

Tina_and_Bert Says:


I agree! I informally polled my friends a few years ago and got an overwhelmingly "sounds like a dog's name" response, so I was put off of it temporarily. But I keep on coming back to it and can't seem to forget it, so I think I may just ignore that unfortunate connotation! It's a solid, manly name with a long history---I think a little boy would be lucky to wear it.

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


True. I guess it's just a personal assocation.

kiwipop Says:


Yeees! Schoolhouse rock!

kiwipop Says:


Any human name can be a dog`s name.

Kayte Says:


Rufus and Doofus sounds so much alike that I would be afraid a child would be teased unmercifully.

SimoneKadele Says:


That was my friend's cat's name....but he was black and white. Anyway, I think it's an animal name, too.

Zelliew Says:


I love ginger cats so I'll have to reserve this name for my next cat

mlewis_jeri Says:


Rufus Xavier Sasparilla anyone?

bearcub27 Says:


Okay, I feel as though I need to come to the defense of Rufus! It's a very handsome name, in my opinion. Charming, vintage, spunky. Yes, there have many people that have named their dogs Rufus, but so do people name their dogs Lucy and Stella and Jake, and yet we don't identify those as "dog names." It has its roots in Ancient Rome and has been borne by many prominent people. And, for added personal favor, it's my great-grandfather's name, so yes, I'm partial! But I hate to see such a classy, wonderful, historical name such as Rufus get belittled to nothing more than a name you give your dog.

indiefendi2 Says:


Can we all acknowledge that this sounds like the perfect name for a naked mole rat? Ewwww.

jessieo Says:


my dog was named Rufus :P

Essa Says:


I like Rufus but I'd never use it because of how it reminds me of a dog!

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


I'm probably alone here, but I really don't see the appeal of this name. It sounds like a name you'd give to a dog.

Catastroffy Says:



JD Says:


Rufus is also the name of the naked mole rat on the Kim Possible cartoon :)

NaomiNY Says:


I'm neutral on Rufus. It's also the name of the Barton Boutique cat from the anime-based site, Gaia Online.

NaughtyChimp Says:


LOVE this name. Cute, traditional, masculine... Mmmm.