Best Boys’ Names: 10 stylish selections

Our new book The Nameberry Guide to the Best Baby Names for Boys includes many different styles of great boys’ names — including, well, stylish ones.

Stylish might mean popular…but not necessarily. More precisely, it means names that strike the right fashion note for the times, that are in today, and may be even more in tomorrow.

Like Pottery Barn furniture or J. Crew clothes, stylish baby names often combine freshness, quality, and broad appeal. It’s a difficult balance to strike, and no wonder that some of the names that achieve this magic mix go on to be adopted by many — some might say too many — parents.

The stylish boys’ names here are among the best in their class. Any would make a handsome choice for a contemporary baby boy.

August

August has been heating up in Hollywood—used by Mariska Hargitay, Lena Olin, Dave Matthews,  and Jeanne Tripplehorn, (and by Garth Brooks for his daughter), and is rapidly becoming the preferred month of the year for boys. The month of August was named after the Emperor Augustus.

August has two august literary namesakes: the Swedish playwright August Strindberg (it has always been a popular name in Scandinavia), and August Wilson, as well as photographer August Sander.

Cassian

Cassian is a saints’ and Latin clan name, related to Cassius, that is virtually unused and waiting to be discovered.

There have been at least four fourth- and fifth-century St. Cassians, one of whom is the patron saint of (not many of them left) stenographers. John Cassian was a monk and ascetic writer who introduced Eastern monasticism into the West.
Patrick Wilson used the alternate spelling Kassian for his son.

Felix

Felix, energetic and upbeat with a felicitous meaning — happy! — has finally transcended its negative associations to Felix the Cat and the persnickety Felix Unger.

The name of four popes and sixty-seven saints, Felix has long been fashionable in upscale London and is rapidly becoming a Nameberry fave. The name was first adopted by the ancient Roman Sulla, who believed that he was especially blessed with luck by the gods. Gillian Anderson and Elizabeth Banks are two modern celebrities who chose Felix for their baby boys. A notable namesake is Felix Frankfurter, a long-term Supreme Court Justice.

Felix is also celebrating a surge in Germany and Austria, where it is in the Top 15. Felix has been on the US popularity list for as long as records have been kept, now at Number 316.

Finn

Finn is a name with enormous energy and charm, that of the greatest hero of Irish mythology, Finn MacCool (aka Fionn mac Cuumhaill), an intrepid warrior with mystical supernatural powers, noted as well for his wisdom and generosity.

Finn is rising fast through the charts and is a Nameberry favorite—and is also (go figure) the fourth most popular name in Germany. After entering the U.S. pop list in 2000, Finn has moved up every year since, now at Number 291.

Finn was chosen by cool couple Christy Turlington and Ed Burns for their son, and also by Jane Leeves and Autumn Reeser.

Griffin

Griffin is one of the newer and most appealing of the two-syllable Celtic surnames (also the name of a mythological creature, half-eagle, half-lion). It entered the list in 1983 after an absence of 75+ years, and has been climbing ever since, now at Number 220. Brendan Fraser, Teri Polo and Joey McIntyre all chose Griffin for their sons.

Also worth considering: the original classic Welsh Griffith.

Hart

Hart could be the hero of a romantic novel, but on the other hand, it’s short, straightforward, and strong sounding. The most famous bearer of the name was tragic poet Hart (born Harold) Crane, but it also has musical cred via Lorenz Hart, of the classic Rodgers & Hart songwriting duo and a literary tie to playwright Moss Hart.

Hart would make an interesting middle name choice—with heart.

Jasper

Jasper has a lot going for it—in the past years it shot up 112 places and is still rising, after long being considered a hip and charming name in England. Distinctly masculine, Jasper represents a variety of quartz—one of the few gem names for boys—and is the first name of the great modern artist Jasper Johns. Our only caveat: Jasper is a favorite of a lot of hip parents, and will also be picked up through its strong appearance in the Twilight books and movies.

Jasper is the usual English form for one of the three Wise Men who brought gifts to the infant Christ according to medieval tradition, and appears in the Bible as a reference to the stone itself in Revelations 4:3.

Linus

Can Linus lose its metaphorical security blanket and move from the Peanuts page onto the birth certificate? We think it has enough charm and other positive elements going for it for the answer to be yes, and many other parents are starting to agree.

In Greek myth, Linus is both a musician and poet, the inventor of rhythm and melody who taught music to Hercules. In the Christian era, Linus was the name of the second pope, Saint Peter’s successor, while in modern times chemist Linus Pauling was awarded the Nobel Prize twice.

Linus is currently in or around the Top 50 in Germany, Sweden and Norway.

Roman

Roman—a surprise hit name of recent years—owes much of its popularity to Cate Blanchett and Debra Messing, who almost simultaneously chose Roman for their sons, as Molly Ringwald did later.


best boys names
In fact, several relatives of Roman are also newly stylish, from Romy to Romilly to Romeo. Definitely a romantic name, however you use it. This year, Roman

Well-known Romans include director Polanski (born Raimund), Polish photographer Vishniac, and onetime star quarterback Gabriel. Francis Ford Coppola has a son named Roman, who is a director now himself.

Sullivan

Sullivan is a jaunty Celtic three-syllable name, with a real twinkle in its eye. It was immortalized in the 1930s classic film Sullivan’s Travels and was chosen for one of Patrick Dempsey’s twin boys. Nickname Sully is equally jaunty, while Van picks up on the name’s sleek side.

The third most common surname in Ireland, Sullivan’s heritage dates back to the third century. Countless distinguished surnamed Sullivans include Sir Arthur, half of composing team Gilbert & Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher Annie, Chicago architect Louis, early boxer John L. and dour columnist/TV emcee Ed.

For more amazing names for boys, get your copy of The Nameberry Guide to the Best Baby Names for Boys, available now in ebook or paper.

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32 Responses to “Best Boys’ Names: 10 stylish selections”

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Bea_Kent Says:

September 30th, 2013 at 11:27 pm

I really like Jasper and Felix. I think they are both pretty fresh.

ninkynonk Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 12:57 am

Felix and in particular, Jasper are on the verge of being WAY overdone in my neck of the woods (inner Sydney). I have a Felix and they are everywhere. And if the other Felixes have a brother, he is most likely to be named Jasper – so we steered clear of it for our third son.

dindlee Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 5:17 am

Cassian. I like that.

MaeBear24 Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 5:57 am

Sullivan is my favorite name- my fiance and I have had this picked for a future son for years. I hope that it doesn’t become too popular, which I could see happening with the surname as first name trend!

bluejuniper Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 6:27 am

I love Griffin (and Griffith), Hart, Roman and Sullivan. This is such a good cross section of boys names 🙂

ScarlettSensibility Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 7:10 am

I lIKE all these names, but only Roman stands out as a true favorite, although Felix is growing on me.

Also, wasn’t Hart paired with Kaufman in the songster duo? I think it was Rodgers/Hammerstein, Kaufman/Hart.

Pam Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 7:22 am

No, it actually WAS Rodgers and Hart, ScarlettSensibility: http://store.nameberry.com/products/the-nameberry-guide-to-the-best-baby-names-for-boys

Rodgers paired with Hammerstein after Hart’s death.

rachel27 Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 7:40 am

I love Felix and August from this list. Actually, I’d love to meet a little boy with any of these names, except maybe Hart. I think it’s fine for a middle name, but wouldn’t wear well as a FN.

LuMary Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 8:33 am

I’m slow to warm to Felix. Can’t help but think of whiskers when I see the name. He’s the governor of Judea in Acts 2.

I love Finn, but as a short form to Finian/Finnian, Fintan, Finbar. If you listen to Irish radio programming, or frequent children’s Irish dance troupe performances, you are sure to run across one or more of these forms.

Ryan O’Neal has a son, Griffin.

Pretty much like most of these. Would like to see Roman and August come back. Jasper is nice, but will it go girl? I like Casper; there’s a White Sox outfielder, Casper Wells.

LuMary Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 8:39 am

LuMary Says:
October 1st, 2013 at 8:33 am

“I’m slow to warm to Felix. Can’t help but think of whiskers when I see the name. He’s the governor of Judea in Acts 2.”

I meant Acts 24.

dancingwithdad Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 8:41 am

Felix, Finn, Griffin and Roman, love them! Though I think Finn is already too popular when you consider how it is also a nickname possibility.

millymom619 Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 9:01 am

Hi. Please stop promoting the name August. I picked it for my 2.5 yr old son because it was not common. I’m afraid everyone is starting to find this, awesome, perfect name. Help a mama out, here! 🙂

handsallover Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 9:17 am

Oh, I love these. Especially Cassian, Hart, Jasper and Roman. I also like Finn but nowadays Phinneas nn Finn would be more stylish in my point,

benjamelissa Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 9:18 am

Griffin Hart Anderson, my next son, if ever. Also, like Jasper. I had a doll named Jasper when I was itty bitty. 30-something years ago. Surprised it is just now “coming out”. I have a little Austin. Wow! Should have gone with August, instead.

tori101 Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 9:52 am

I really love August, Cassian, Felix, Finn, Griffin, Jasper, and Roman.

My favourite boy’s names at the moment are Levi & Roman : )

alyssakate Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 10:26 am

I love Hart! It was my Grandpa’s name 🙂 Actually, his full name was Hartvig, but everybody called him Hart.

VivianLoud Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Yeah I love the name Roman but I would not have connected it to Roman Polanski seeing as he fled the country after allegedly raping a 13 year old girl. Not an image I’d want when naming my little boy, y’know? I love Felix and Jasper as well, but there are soooooo many of them it’s like UGH. And I love love love Sullivan. It makes me think of the color green for some reason.

KickinKay Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 2:39 pm

We picked Griffin “Finn” for a son almost three years ago. Please don’t let it get popular now!!!

banjodoo Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 4:19 pm

I want to like the name Jasper but I just can’t. There is a town in Texas named Jasper. There was a horrible racist murder in that town that was all over the news, all over the country when it happened. My in laws had a lake house close to there. The name makes me cringe even though I’m sure there are some delightful boys with the name.

misskendra Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Apparently stylish names are not my thing. I guess I should have known that though my boys have old men names 🙂

explorach1 Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Quinn is my son’s name, and that is the best name for a boy! Not as popular as Finn, and with Irish roots.
I love Felix and Jasper, too. This is a really nice list, Sullivan, Griffin, and the unexpected Casspian. Well done. 🙂

JH Says:

October 1st, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Roman is my grandpa’s name and my husband really likes it, but we just named my son after my other grandpa who I was closer to. Both of my grandpas’ names are getting popular now. Sigh. August is on my short list if we have a second boy. I like Felix too, but I don’t think I’d actually ever use it, so we named my son’s frog stuffed animal Felix. 🙂

KateMP91 Says:

October 2nd, 2013 at 3:23 pm

The only one of these names that actually feels refreshing and awesome, imo, is Hart. I wouldn’t use it though. Maybe if I had ten boys.

rh1223 Says:

October 2nd, 2013 at 9:06 pm

SO excited to see Hart on this list! It’s so distinguished — like, I can see this on a 60-year-old man — but it has a swag about it that I love. It’s a man’s name. That’s the epitome of what a boy’s name should be, in my opinion.

mariahsweet Says:

October 5th, 2013 at 8:57 pm

We have a Griffin and one of his buddies is a kid named August (called Gus). Also had Jasper and Sullivan on our top ten list for awhile! We’re expecting again and I still sometimes come back to Sullivan for a third boy.

I know a young man named Felix who wears the name beautifully. He’s a talented musician, stylish and eccentric, and a nice guy in general. He left me with an excellent impression of the name.

I like Hart quite a lot, too, but couldn’t use it with our last name. I actually can’t use Jasper, either. But I think both names have a lovely, masculine charm.

wickedjr89 Says:

November 7th, 2013 at 9:16 pm

I love Jasper as I love gem names, and there isn’t many for boys but Jasper is one of the few and I love it.

SadieJosephine Says:

November 20th, 2013 at 3:42 pm

I actually prefer Augustus to August–it has less of a monthly feel to it, and sounds grand and historic. Favorite nickname? Gus 😀 I love Felix, and I love Griffin. And another name closely associated with the second name I mentioned? Griffith. 😀

celly Says:

December 27th, 2013 at 5:30 pm

We have a Felix! At first when we told my family we were going to name him that they didn’t really like it. I’m glad we still named him that because he is totally a Felix.

Megarebegga Says:

April 23rd, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Cassian, Jasper, and Hart are my favorites!

amers911 Says:

April 29th, 2015 at 11:54 pm

I have a Griffin who’s almost 6 years old. I really hope his name doesn’t become super popular. I’ve loved the name for so long! I knew in the 90’s that if I had a son, I’d name him Griffin. There was a character on the show Party of Five, played by Jeremy London I believe, named Griffin. It was Neve Campbell’s characters boyfriend. I don’t think nameberry even has that reference under the name Griffin. Please don’t add it & fuel the popularity fire! 🙂 There were lots of great names on that show. Many of the others have been very popular at times. Owen, Charlie, Bailey, Claudia, and Julia. From this list I also really like August, Jasper & Sullivan!

Micke156 Says:

April 30th, 2015 at 1:45 am

Love Felix and Linus!! Wouldn’t have thought of Linus as “stylish” but I’ll take it! Sent this to ,y Fiance to keep trying to sell him on Linus 🙂

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