12 Boy Names That Deserve More Love
Looking for a boy name that feels both fashionable and original, that stands out for its rarity but fits with current trends?
Boy names are evolving at lightning speed right now, with parents more willing than ever to branch out from traditional choices and embrace individuality in their sons' names as well as their daughters'.
It's a great time to be naming a son, but if you'd prefer something a little more unusual, it's always worth checking out the latest popularity charts. Parents who grew up in the era of endless Michaels and Matthews are sometimes surprised to discover that Axel and Maverick, Xavier and Ezekiel are now all Top 100 picks.
Top Boy Names That Should Be More Popular
We recently spotlighted the 12 top girl names we think deserve more love. These are the super stylish choices that feel like they should be on everyone’s list, but that – for some mysterious reason – remain far below the radar in the US.
Today, it’s the boys’ turn! The rules are the same: none of these names was given to more than 50 baby boys last year, but all fit with current trends and feel perfect for parents looking for a cool, unusual choice that doesn’t feel too wacky or wild.
The figures in brackets show the number of baby boys who received each name in 2020. For reference, the #1000 boy name (Ephraim) was given to 209 boys last year.
Biblical boy names with the long A vowel sound are highly fashionable right now: from Abel and Abraham to Asa and Amos. And rare Bible names in general are booming – especially for boys.
Asaph is a seriously underused option that has never been given to more than a couple dozen baby boys per year in the US. With its similarity to timeless classic Joseph, we can only assume that it’s largely down to lack of familiarity that soft yet sturdy Asaph hasn’t seen more love from American parents!
This highly unusual word name blends an appealing virtuous meaning – “belief in truth” – with a super stylish sound, reminiscent of dynamic modern choices like Creed and Justice and stately vintage picks like Clarence.
We thought Credence might see a big boost from the Fantastic Beasts film franchise, which stars Ezra Miller as the enigmatic Credence Barebone. But although the franchise did put it on the baby naming map, three films later Credence is still a super obscure option that feels perfectly in step with current naming trends.
Classic rock fans might also appreciate the link to iconic American band Creedence Clearwater Revival.
At the start of this year, we tipped Everest as one of the next big baby names to watch – combining a super fashionable sound with a lofty nature meaning. Sure enough, a few months later the SSA revealed that it had broken into the US Top 1000 for the first time!
All-American Denali, the name of the highest peak in North America, boasts all of the same advantages. But despite a PR boost in 2015, when President Obama officially reverted the name of Mount McKinley back to the original Athabascan term, Denali remains a rare gem for either sex.
Its three-syllable, I-ending rhythm fits right in with other rising stars like Dakari, Kamari and Damari, and it boasts a great meaning too: “the high one”.
Brooks, Banks, Hayes, Jones, Riggs and Wells were all among the fastest rising names of 2020, and suave Eames both fits right in and stands out for its sleek style credentials.
Pronounced “EEMZ”, it’s the surname of industrial designers Charles and Ray Eames, famous for their iconic midcentury modern style. Pronounced “AIMZ”, it’s reminiscent of Irish import Eamon and stylish surname name Ames, both also on the rise.
Old school Elwood peaked in 1921, putting it right on track for a revival right now. But despite ticking so many style boxes, it’s still a standout choice for lovers of retro names with a jazzy edge.
Jazz trumpeter Elwood Buchanan was an early mentor of the great Miles Davis, and Elwood Blues is one half of the iconic Blues Brothers, portrayed by Dan Aykroyd on the big and small screen.
Its appealing natural meaning also makes Elwood one of the coolest woodsy names for boys, a category we’re expecting to catch on in a big way over the coming years.
Another woodsy option we’re amazed isn’t more popular is Fielder, with its fashionable -er ending and high-energy appeal.
Traditionally, Fielder was a locational surname denoting someone who lived in the open country, making this a cottagecore baby name par excellence. But baseball fans will also appreciate the link to the sport, which has helped to boost countless fashionable boy names, from Ace to Nolan.
When supermodel Miranda Kerr named her second son Hart in 2018, we had it pegged to rise up the rankings. After all, her first son's name, Flynn, more than quadrupled in use in the two years following his birth.
Hart is short, snappy and strong yet sensitive – a true rebel poet name, borne by the influential modernist poet Hart Crane.
Its majestic natural namesake also qualifies it as one of the most sophisticated of the wild nature names. White harts have featured strongly in folklore and legend for centuries, from Celtic myth to Arthurian legend to Harry Potter.
Two-syllable Irish names have proved one of the most enduring categories of cool boy names in the US – from the Kevins, Brians and Ryans of a generation or two ago, to the Liams, Aidens and Declans of today.
Lorcan is a rare choice rich in history, borne by several Irish kings and the patron saint of the Irish capital Dublin, Lorcán Ua Tuathail (known in English as Laurence O’Toole). More recently, J. K. Rowling chose the name for one of Luna Lovegood’s twins, brother to Lysander.
Considering its proximity to contemporary favorites like Logan and Lochlan, it’s amazing how underused this fierce Gaelic gem remains.
An occupational name with a dashing flair, Mercer derives from the Old French mercier, originally denoting a trader in textiles. More recently, it has become especially associated with music and the arts, due to its many illustrious namesakes.
Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics to “Moon River” and many other midcentury hits, Mercer Ellington was a musician, composer and the only son of jazz great Duke Ellington, and hugely influential dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham was born Mercier.
We’d love to see more parents considering this adventurous alternative to the likes of Mason, Carter and Cooper.
The energetic O ending is one of the hottest sounds in boy names right now – not just in the US, but across Europe and the English-speaking world. Earlier this year, we revealed Nameberry’s most viewed names around the world, and short, punchy O-enders like Leo, Milo, Hugo and especially Arlo topped the list time and again for boys.
Miro blends that high-energy sound with a peaceful meaning and a cultured, artistic appeal, thanks to the association with the iconic Spanish painter and sculptor.
It’s also a majestic Māori nature name, referring to a large evergreen tree native to New Zealand.
Previously considered too much for all but the most religious families, elaborate and eye-catching Biblical names like Zachariah, Hezekiah, Nehemiah and Jedidiah are on the rise! They follow in the footsteps of more traditional choices like Isaiah, Josiah and Jeremiah, which have popularized the dynamic -iah ending sound.
Zedekiah is a particularly punchy option with a wealth of cool nickname possibilities – like Zed, Zeke or even fashionable favorite Kai.
Meaning “peak, summit, highest point”, Zenith is one of the loftiest of the modern word and virtue names. And with aspirational choices like Legend, King and Ace all in the US Top 500 for boys, it’s a perfect option for parents looking for an off-the-beaten-track alternative which still packs a punch.
Cool nickname Zen is fast becoming a new celebrity favorite – recently chosen by Nick Cannon and Alyssa Scott for their son – and lends a peaceful, spiritual side to this zippy possibility.