By Abby Sandel
Last week’s baby name news was brought to us by the letter B.
At first glance, Billy and Bear don’t have much in common. One belongs with bold word names, the kind of choice guaranteed to make headlines. The other is delightfully retro, rare on birth certificates circa 2017, but instantly familiar to all.
What unites them? The letter B.
As of 2015, B ranked eighth for first letters of boys’ names, behind J, A, C, M, L, E, and D, but ahead of K and R.
Now there’s a new generation of B boy names coming. Here’s a dozen of the best.
Bastian – If Liam can pull ahead of William in the popularity charts, how about Bastian? The short form of Sebastian was used for the hero of 1984’s The Neverending Story. (His full name? The marvelously alliterative Bastian Balthazar Bux.) While Bastian remains rare, it’s more than tripled in use in the US over the last three years.
Beau – Handsome Beau feels slightly Southern, but this name is gaining in popularity across the US. Tori Spelling just named her newest arrival Beau. At Number 203, it’s more popular than ever. Simplified spelling Bo is another option.
Beckett – After years of boys with surname names like Mason and Logan and Landon, the ends-with-etts offer something new. At Number 218, Beckett is among the most stylish of this class. Cool nickname Beck leans musical, while Beckett feels literary.
Benedict – With Benjamin in the Top Ten, a handful of alternative formal names for Ben could also rise. There’s surnamey Benton, Benson, and Bennett; Biblical Benaiah; and saintly Benedict, worn by sixteen popes. It’s not just Ben raising this name’s profile. There’s also Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch.
Blaise and Blaze – Blaise has long been used in small numbers. (Think Blaise Pascal.) Fiery Blaze transforms this traditional pick into a modern word name. While they feel like they’d appeal to very different kinds of namers, they’re both rising in the charts at the same time, with Blaise reaching Number 805 and Blaze at Number 706 as of 2015.
Bodhi – Spiritually significant, Bodhi appeals to parents seeking a meaningful boys’ name with an on-trend sound. Also spelled Bode and Bodie, this name has gone from almost unknown a generation ago to an almost mainstream favorite today.
Brecken – Brecken is yet another Irish surname possibility, boosted by actor Breckin Meyer. It shares roots with bracken, a type of fern, making it almost a nature name. Initially more popular for girls, it’s gone to the boys in the 2000s. Today it makes a modern choice that feels just different enough from the so popular Brayden and Brandon.
Briar – Move over, Rowan. Briar is the latest unisex nature name to chart for boys and girls in the US. While it’s slightly more popular for girls, at Number 844 versus Number 998, the sound works well for both. Fresher than Brian or even Bryce, Briar could be the next River.
Brighton – Brighton has held steady just outside of the boys’ Top 1000 for a few years now. Long a popular seaside resort in England, it belongs with place names from Camden to Brooklyn. But Brighton also succeeds on sound, and that light, bright first syllable. A young Chris Pratt played Brighton “Bright” Abbott on the WB’s Everwood.
Bruno – Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Bruno Mars keeps his name in the spotlight, but he’s far from the first. The name feels traditionally Italian in the US, putting it in the company of rising romance language favorites like Luca and Matteo. It’s heard throughout Europe, and historical Brunos abound. It makes a great, under-used o-ending boy name.
Byron – Long before the great Romantic poet Lord Byron penned “Don Juan,” this was just an ordinary English surname, for someone who lived near cow sheds. It’s never left the US Top 1000, and has a long history of steady use. In fact, it was more popular in 1917 and 1957 than it is today. It’s a great stands-out, fits-in choice.
What are your favorite B names for boys?