Z is uncommon at the start of words in English, so baby names beginning with Z tend to sound a bit exotic. They also feel full of life, probably because they remind us of upbeat words like zest, zip and zing.
There hasn’t been a single Z initial in the Top 100 boys’ names since Zachary dropped out in 2017. But while that modern classic has fallen from its peak, there are plenty of other Z names that are fresh and catching parents’ eyes.
Here are our 12 favorites, inspired by ancient Greece and China, the bible, the world of rock music, and more.
One of the few Z-names with an Anglo-Saxon origin, this surname has taken over in popularity from early 2000s cool boy Dane. Spell it Zayn or Zain and you get an Arabic crossover name, as in singer Zayn Malik – but it’s not too tied to him anymore.
A friendly twist on formidable Zebediah, Zebedee may remind some of the bouncy character from the British children’s show The Magic Roundabout – but it’s time to reclaim it. It’s a way to cool nicknames like Zeb, Zebby, Zed and Zee.
Zebulon feels like a forgotten son of Israel, lagging far behind classic Joseph and Benjamin and up-and-coming Asher and Levi. If you’re looking for a rare name with biblical gravitas and a nifty nickname (Zeb again), this is one to consider.
This cool-dude name feels like a successor to Zack, and similar names like Drake and Duke. It works equally well on its own or short for Ezekiel. With plenty of namesakes in sports and pop culture to give Zeke a boost, it looks set to keep rising.
The calmest of Z-names, Zen is simple, unisex, and evokes concepts like mindfulness and loving-kindness. Names inspired by Eastern spirituality are tipped to be popular in 2019, and this is one of the most accessible. Zoe Saldana used it for her son in 2016.
Coming to you from ancient Greece, Zeno was the name of several philosophers and a Byzantine emperor. We love its modern, almost sci-fi sound. It could make a good alternative to popular -o ending names like Leo and Enzo (which is an anagram of Zeno).
Names from Greek mythology are hot right now, with Atlas, Orion and Achilles all in America’s Top 1000. Mighty Zeus is rarer, but also on the rise. As the supreme sky-god, it’s especially fitting for a boy born during a storm!
This gentle name of the west wind is a favorite of name-lovers, and lately more parents are starting to use it. It always makes me think of the Red Hot Chili Peppers song – not at all a bad association.
Zeppelin isn’t just for rock stars. Since Korn frontman Jonathan Davis and later actor Jensen Ackles used it for their sons, it’s been gathering momentum. As well as feeling rock’n’roll, it’s also a steampunk name – think of the zeppelins flying through the sky in The Golden Compass.
Did someone say rock’n’roll? Bowie is on the rise, and the name of his glam rock incarnation has also caught some parents’ eyes – especially here on Nameberry, where it is in the Top 300 most viewed names. If you feel like it needs to be short for something, Sigmund and Siegfried are in urgent need of more love.
Zoltan is a rare gem of a cultural crossover with a highly distinctive sound. Although it looks a little like Sultan (oh hi, royalty word names), it’s actually Hungarian with the great meaning of ‘life’, and it’s currently #26 in that country.
Over to you: which Z name for boys has the most pizzazz?