By Linda Rosenkrantz
There are times when your name search is narrowed down to one-syllable options. It might be because you need to balance a multi-syllabic surname or need a short connective between an elongated first and last. Or maybe you simply like the directness and strength of that single sound. And you also want a name that’s familiar enough to be in the Top 500.
But for boys, there’s a far larger and wider group—close to 70—ranging from classics James and John to the more modern Jase, Jace and Jayce. Here are our picks for the 14 best single-syllable boys’ names in the Top 400, which could be just what you’re looking for.
Ace–#290—A name that’s made a rapid move from the sassy sidelines into the mainstream, Ace has a vibrant vibe and nothing but positive connotations. Chosen by several musicians and singers for their sons, including Jessica Simpson.
Beau—#156–Meaning handsome in French, Beau has an appealing Southern insouciance, a la the rarely used full name Beauregard. On the SSA list steadily since 1969, it’s been chosen by Art Garfunkel, Jamie–Lynn Sigler, Tori Spelling and others for their boys. Beau is a Top 100 name in Australia and New Zealand.
Cole–#115—More and more parents are warming to this cool name, which holds a lot of richness and strength within its single syllable. Composer Cole Porter is a notable namesake, and there have been Cole-named characters on Charmed, Scrubs, and in the movie The Sixth Sense.
Cruz—#348—Influential baby namers (Brooklyn, Romeo) David and Victoria Beckham almost single-handedly imported this Spanish name into the Anglo mainstream in 2005–although soap opera character Cruz Castillo was introduced on Santa Barbara back in 1984. Another one-syllable name with a lot of charisma.
Frank–#373—A quiet classic, Frank was a Top 25 name until 1948 and looks to be making a comeback as a sincere word name, piggy-backing on the new popularity of nickname Frankie—and even as a tribute to Frank Sinatra. Or Frank Ocean (born Christopher). Hip couple Diana Krall and Elvis Costello have a son named Frank.
Jude—#157—The combination of the Beatles ‘Hey Jude’ with the adorable Jude Law afforded this name an irresistible image, distancing it from its saintly and novelistic (Jude the Obscure) references. Jude rose from #1000 in 1997 to its present position—and it’s also #54 on Nameberry.
Kai—#127—One of the few Hawaiian names to ever go global, Kai is also heard in the Japanese, Navajo and Maori cultures. Familiar via the boy enchanted by the fairy tale Snow Queen, Kai has been chosen by a wide range of celebs, from Jennifer Connelly to footballer Wayne Rooney.
Knox—#232—Brad Pitt had a great-great-grandfather with the middle name of Knox, which he and Angelina Jolie then bestowed as a first name on their twin son in 2008, continuing their pattern of x-ending boy names. This Scottish surname began to climb the following year and is now a Top 300 name.
Luke—#30—Now in the Top 30, Luke combines the attributes of New Testament gravitas with contemporary Luke Skywalker pop culture cred, its widespread popularity stretching from Ireland (#7) to New Zealand (#36).
Miles—#110—Sleek and jazzy, Miles was most recently picked by Chrissy Teigen and John Legend in honor of the great jazz trumpeter and composer, Miles Davis. A constant on the US popularity list, Miles is now at its highest rank ever, and is #34 on Nameberry.
Nash—#283—Dashing Nash came onto the baby-namer radar in the late 90s, via charming TV hero Nash Bridges, entering the pop charts in 1997, and has been steadily climbing, along with rhyming cousins Cash and Ash. Nash seems to be particularly admired by athlete parents.
Reed—#381—With both musical and nature cred, the versatile and elegant Reed is one of the more subtle ‘red-haired’ choices. Seen on shows from Grey’s Anatomy to Party of Five it was chosen for his son by Apple’s Steve Jobs. Spelling Reid is another popular option.
Zane –#202– Zane’s appealing cowboyish image originated with Western novelist Zane Grey (born Pearl), has been on the SSA list since 1921 and is now at its highest rank ever. It was the surname of the character played by the UK’s new Duchess of Sussex on Suits.