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10 Appealing German Boys’ Names to Consider

Some neglected German choices for boys, from Florian to Otto

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By Anna Otto, Waltzing More Than Matilda

Anna recently recommended ten German girls’ names for importation, and now she’s done the same for the boys.

Andreas
Latinised form of the Greek form of Andrew. The name has been used in Germany since the Middle Ages; a famous medieval namesake is Andreas Osiander, a Lutheran mystic and theologian. The name Andreas was used in Britain too, although probably the name was still pronounced the same way as Andrew in everyday life. Just outside the Top 100 in Germany, Andreas is less often seen in English-speaking countries, perhaps because of fears it will be be confused with its feminine counterpart, Andrea. This German classic seems like a fresh update to flagging Andrew, and has recently had some publicity from the disaster movie San Andreas.

Anton
The equivalent of Antony, used since the Middle Ages, and a traditional name amongst European nobility and royalty. Antons in fiction tend to be baddies, which isn’t a help to the name’s image. One exception is the children’s book Summer of My German Soldier, where Anton is an escaped German POW who befriends a little Jewish girl. Anton is a popular name in Germany, and just returned to the US Top 1000 last year. A suave multicultural choice – and even the villainous Antons in fiction give it a an edge.

Florian
From from the Roman name Florianus, derived from Florus, which is from the Latin for “flower.” Florianus, or Florian, was one of the Roman emperors, and Saint Florian was a Roman soldier whose duties included organising fire brigades. He was martyred by drowning in an Austrian river and is a favourite saint in central Europe. With such imperial, noble, saintly, patriotic, and butch firefighting associations, it’s little wonder elegant Florian is a popular name in Germany. It’s rare in English-speaking countries, but the rise of Florence in some ways gives it more familiarity.

Johannes
Latin form of the Greek form of John. Famous German namesakes are seriously heavy duty achievers, including Johannes Gutenberg, astronomer Johannes Kepler, and composer Johannes Brahms. Popular in central Europe and Scandinavia, Johannes is #56 in Germany. A strong, handsome, intelligent classic which can give the nickname Joe.

Justus
Latin name meaning “just.” There are quite a number of saints named Justus, including two early Christians in the New Testament, a Pope, and an Archbishop of Canterbury. A famous German namesake is Justus Perthes, an 18th century publisher who founded the Almanach de Gotha, a directory of European royalty and nobility.  Justus is popular in Germany, and #817 in the US. It seems like a solid alternative to the virtue name Justice.

Karsten
German form of Christian. It is more common as a surname than a first name in Germany, and is rare in English-speaking countries, although very much like familiar names such as Carson and Carter.

Klaus
Short form of Nikolaus, a German form of Nicholas. Well known in fiction due to teen bookworm Klaus Bauldelaire from A Series of Unfortunate Events and vampire-werewolf hybrid Klaus Mikaelson from The Vampire Diaries. Slightly dated in Germany, this charming name is very rare in English-speaking countries, probably because it reminds people of Santa ClausKlaus is said to rhyme with house though.

Otto
Modern form of the ancient Germanic name Audo or Odo, originally short forms of names beginning with aud-, meaning “wealth, riches, fortune.”  A name in common use by German royalty and nobility, there have been four Holy Roman Emperors named Otto. The name might also remind you of statesman Otto von Bismarck or film director Otto Preminger. In fiction, Otto has often been used as a comedic or joke name, but “Big OttoDelaney from Sons of Anarchy is an example of it being both serious and powerful. Currently #320 in Germany, Otto is #627 and rising in the US, and #399 in the UK. It seems hip and rather quirky.

Rudolf
Modern form of the ancient Germanic name Hrodulf, translated as “famous wolf”. It was commonly used by German royalty and nobility, and Rudolf II was a Holy Roman Emperor. Modern namesakes include ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev and philosopher Rudolf Steiner. The name features in Anthony Hope‘s classic adventure novel, The Prisoner of Zenda: a European king named Rudolf is impersonated by his distant relative, also named Rudolf. Despite all these interesting Rudolfs, the name is rarely used in English-speaking countries as it reminds people of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Rather a shame, as this name is strong and charismatic.

Wolf
Short form of names such as Wolfgang (“wolf path) and Wolfram (“wolf raven”), sometimes used as an independent name. The word wolf is the same in English and German, and you can also see this as a vocabulary name referring to the animal. Humans have always been fascinated by wolves, and Wolf is right on trend along with other animal names. It’s now Number 216 on Nameberry

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About the author

waltzingmorethanmatilda

Waltzing More Than Matilda is the creation of Anna Otto, who blogs about a wide variety of Australian names, and Aussie name trends.
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14 Responses to “10 Appealing German Boys’ Names to Consider”

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AldabellaxWulfe Says:

September 8th, 2015 at 11:27 pm

Florian and Rudolf are amazing names. And that little pink suit in the picture is adorable!!!

10 Appealing German Boys Names to Consider | Greatest Images and Reviews Says:

September 9th, 2015 at 6:55 am

[…] Nameberry – Baby Name Blog […]

terrilee1323 Says:

September 9th, 2015 at 9:47 am

i love klaus

10 Appealing German Boys Names to Consider Part of Top Quality of Picture and Image Says:

September 9th, 2015 at 5:47 pm

[…] Nameberry – Baby Name Blog […]

SimoneKadele Says:

September 9th, 2015 at 8:25 pm

Otto is in my top 10!

gipro2003 Says:

September 9th, 2015 at 8:36 pm

Florian is my absolute favorite boys name. I’m a German living in the States, so a lot of these names are on my list, but SO doesn’t care for any of them 🙁

jtay07 Says:

September 9th, 2015 at 9:23 pm

I think Anton and Johannes are handsome.

lesliemarion Says:

September 9th, 2015 at 11:57 pm

Love these names, just not Justus and Karsten which look like terrible American misspellings! 🙂

SoDallas3 Says:

September 10th, 2015 at 1:04 am

Karsten, Jonas, Max, and Axel are my favourite German boys names. I love Franz too, but it’s too old fashioned.

rosemilk Says:

September 10th, 2015 at 6:44 am

Some nice choices here, I especially like Florian! Some other German names I would add are Karl, Leopold, and August.

chi1127 Says:

September 10th, 2015 at 9:34 am

While I do like Johannes, I shy away from it, because English speakers would be more likely to pronounce the J the English way. And I think spelling it Yohannes just looks awkward.

ARead Says:

September 10th, 2015 at 1:48 pm

I love most of these! My brother and father are both Andreas (we’re German) and I’m considering using middle name Ottilie to honor a great uncle Otto for DD #2. I’ve always loved Florian from this list and ever since I read Summer of my German Soldier in middle school, I’ve loved Anton. other German boys’ names I like: Jonas, Kurt, Caspar, Matthias, and Rudi.

ashbee Says:

September 13th, 2015 at 11:19 am

These are so great! I agree with previous posters that Florian is a wonderful name. I think Anton and Otto are pretty usable in the US, but I’d be afraid to use Klaus, Johannes, and Justus (all of which I like). Other names that I think are used in Germany that I like: Julian, Jonas, Matthias, and Tobias.

krh21 Says:

September 23rd, 2015 at 12:51 am

My favourite German boy name is Melchior. It’s soooo cool. It’s on my top 10 names.

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