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Boy Names: Meaningful Minis

February 19, 2017 Abby Sandel

By Abby Sandel

Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego made a surprise announcement this weekend. Their family has grown! New son Zen joins big brothers Cy Aridio and Bowie Ezio.

Zen sounds exactly like the kind of name the Perego-Saldanas love: short, modern, with a great sound and lots of meaning.

It’s not just Zoe and Marco, though. Modern meaningfuls, short on letters but big on style, continue to grow in use. Zoe’s own name fits the category, as do other rising picks like Bodhi, Zion, and Ace.

Some of these names work equally well for a son or a daughter, and most would make great middle spot choices, too.

Here are nine of the best meaningful boy names, mini style.

Ari Ari means lion in Hebrew and eagle in Old Norse. Both animals are fierce, proud symbols of strength. Ari currently stands at Number 402 in the US – a new high. Lots of other Ar- names, like vintage Arthur and Arlo and modern favorites Aria and Ariana, are also enjoying a new wave of popularity today.

Bay – From San Francisco to the Chesapeake, Hudson to Guanabara to Ha Long, famous bays are known the world over. That makes Bay a possible place name, but water names also tend to feel peaceful. With popular River rising to the top of the charts, mini name Bay might get more attention, too.

Hale – We don’t often hear hale in everyday speech, but it’s a synonym for healthy or strong. As a surname, it has other possible origins. It feels slightly vintage – a brother for Harvey, an alternative to Holt. Just 22 boys received the name in the most recent year, but that’s the most since the 1930s.

LuxLux leans feminine, possibly because of fictional characters like one of the sisters from The Virgin Suicides. But it’s simply the Latin word for light, a meaning-rich choice that would wear well on a daughter or a son. Punk rock pioneer Lux Interior is one example of the latter – though he was born Erick.

Pax – If you studied ancient history, you’ll recognize Pax as the Latin word for peace, thanks to the long period without war known as the Pax Romana. It’s also the name of the Roman goddess of peace. Despite the name’s feminine roots, it’s most familiar as the given name of the middle JoliePitt brother. Unlike Maddox and Knox, Pax remains rare. But if you’re after a meaningful baby name, Pax delivers.

Sage Sage combines two trends: it’s a nature name, thanks to the herb, and it’s a virtue name, too. The Seven Sages of Greece were the original wise men, philosophers and statesmen whose teachings remain relevant more than 2,500 years later. Since then, sage has come to refer to any person of wisdom, making it a powerful choice for a child’s name.

Shai Dancing with the Stars cast members Peta Murgatroyd and Maksim Chmerkovskiy recently revealed that they chose their new son’s name, Shai, in part because it means “gift” in Hebrew. Shai rhymes with sky – and the equally stylish Kai.

True True makes for an easy, obvious choice for a meaningful child’s name. If boys can be Luke and Jude, why not True? In the 1910s, actor True Boardman was an early silent film star. It’s sometimes heard as a surname, too. While it’s far from common, True was given to 56 boys and 38 girls in 2015. Other Tru– names include Truly, Truett, and Truman, but True is the undisputed meaningful mini.

Zen – Let’s end where we began, with Zen. Zen benefits from the letter Z, giving the name a distinctive sound. Just under 100 children were named Zen in 2015; three-quarters of them boys. Far rarer than Zion or Zane, Zen combines modern style with rich meaning.

What are your favorite meaningful mini names for boys?

About the author

Abby

Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at namesage@nameberry.com.

View all of Abby's articles

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