“Bo” Names are Booming
Popular Bo names
Bodhi — The name that set it all off. If you’ve been following baby name trends recently, you’ve probably heard of Bodhi. But there’s only a slim chance you’ll meet a Bodhi over the age of 10, still less over 20. In the year 2000, it was an obscure name known only to people familiar with Indian an Buddhist culture.
The first high-profile Bodhi was Amy Brenneman’s son, born in 2005. Oliver Hudson and Erinn Bartlett (Goldie Hawn’s son and daughter-in-law) named their son Bodhi in 2010, giving it enough momentum to break into the Top 1000. Then in 2014, two actresses — Megan Fox and Teresa Palmer — welcomed boys called Bodhi within a week of each other, putting the name in the headlines and in parents’ minds.
Its success is a double-whammy of meaning and sound. It’s both a nature name and a spiritual name, which is important to many parents: here’s just one story as an example. But the sound alone is also enough to make Bodhi cool, as we can see from the two alternative spellings in the Top 1000, Bodie and Bode (as in the skier Bode Miller, whose name has two syllables). There are also a few children named Bodi, Bohdi, Bodee, Bodey, Bowdy and Bhodi. If it needed any more cool credentials, Bodhi is also a character name in Star Wars: Rogue One.
Beau — The French spelling is more popular, but pared-down Bo is not far behind. Both have a cool cowboy (or cowgirl) vibe, but if neither floats your boat, there’s also the option of jazzed-up Beaux, down-to-earth Boe, or wordy Bow. All spellings are more popular for boys in the States, but elsewhere, like the UK, they are more balanced between the sexes.
Less common Bo names
Boaz — A punchy and distinctive biblical name that parents have started to take note of recently. It was below the Top 1000 in 2018… but maybe not for much longer.
Boden — Hot on the heels of the biggest Bo names, Boden sits just on the edge of the Top 1000. As well as the stylish sound — with an ending familiar from popular names like Aiden and Camden — Boden is an upmarket British clothing brand, and the surname of a character in Chicago Fire and folk musician Jon Boden. Alternative spellings include Bowden and Beauden (as in New Zealand rugby player Beauden Barrett).
Bohannon — A recent addition to the charts, this surname honors the Motown musician Hamilton Bohannon. It has been given to a handful of boys every year since 2014.
Bowie — Since David Bowie’s death in 2016, more and more parents have realised the potential of his surname. A few celebrity endorsements, such as Tess Holliday’s daughter Bowie Juniper, sealed the deal. It’s rising fast for boys and girls, and one to watch in the charts.
Not-quite Bo names
These bonus names don’t begin with Bo, but have a similar sound or spelling.
Finally, spare a thought for Boomer. When Michael Phelps chose it for his son in 2016, it was surprising, original and very cool. Its future as a name looked bright… until it became a generational put-down. Let’s hope the negatives fade and Boomer bounces back!