Boys’ Names: Which do you think is the very best?
For our new book, we winnowed the 20,000 boys’ names on Nameberry down to our picks for the very best: the most stylish classic names, the fashionable choices that transcend trends, the most usable unusual names.
It was a difficult task, but now we’re asking you to choose the best of the best.
What’s your nomination for the very best boys’ name of them all?
The name that’s got everything good going for it — all advantages, no downside.
If there even is such a beast.
Let’s collect the best of the best boys’ names.
And to see our full list of bests, get your copy of The Nameberry Guide to the Best Baby Names for Boys.
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on October 1st, 2013 at 11:09 pm
on October 1st, 2013 at 11:23 pm
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on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:02 am
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on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:33 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:40 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:40 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:43 am
George- Strong and classic a name fit for a prince 🙂 haha
on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:48 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 1:27 am
Hugo or Zac
on October 2nd, 2013 at 1:50 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 2:04 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 2:31 am
I second William.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 2:34 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 2:40 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 4:23 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 4:32 am
Job! 😉 Strong, classic, and yet still unique!
on October 2nd, 2013 at 5:10 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 5:35 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 5:44 am
William or Matthew
on October 2nd, 2013 at 5:51 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 6:01 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 6:02 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 6:03 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 6:19 am
Interesting that only Rebekah offered any explanation! That’s okay but if you have a reason behind your choice, we’d love to hear it!
on October 2nd, 2013 at 6:42 am
Samuel – Biblical, timeless (it’s been Top 100 since the SSA lists began) and yet, to me, it still sounds young and fresh. Plus for me, it’s my dad’s name, so that gives it extra meaning.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 6:47 am
Theo – happy, smart, fun, international
on October 2nd, 2013 at 7:15 am
A mix of classic king-ly and literary.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 7:18 am
Raphael – beautiful meaning, gorgeous sounds, great nicknames, international, a long history, familiar but not overused!
on October 2nd, 2013 at 7:32 am
I’m going to say William, too. Classic, strong, historied but with plenty of nicknames or international variations to keep it fresh feeling. It just seems appropriate for any setting.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 7:35 am
Nikolai; It’s been my absolute favorite for years. I love the look and the sound.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 7:36 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 7:37 am
Damien, Kieran, and Tristan. All very strong boys names that can be used for anyone.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 7:46 am
James. Strong, recognisable, timeless
on October 2nd, 2013 at 8:01 am
I want to say, James, but I’m sure it will be included. It’s regal, biblical, and straddles the centuries. It can be diminutized, of course, to Jim/Jimmy, but even Jem or, I’ve read, Jack. The only downside is the meaning: supplanter. I get around this by interpreting the meaning as Christ dying in our stead at Calvary; He took the place that mankind deserved.
But, I’m going to go with Michael. Though it’s more of a recent classic, it seems unlikely to fade, and has biblical roots. It transcends religions and cultures, and has great nicknames: Mike, Mikey, Mick, Mickey. It has a positive meaning: Who is like the Lord? It’s actually listed in the Old Testament as a name of a person, for those who don’t want merely an angelic association. What little boy wouldn’t want to be a Michael?
on October 2nd, 2013 at 8:02 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 8:06 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 8:09 am
William – such a classic name… and possibilities for nicknames – Will, Bill, Willy, Liam, Billy – what a great name!
on October 2nd, 2013 at 8:11 am
Adrian. It’s so fantasticly watery and shiny, glitter-ish but not showy, neither trendy nor boring.
And if to go second, I’d say James.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 8:59 am
It’s biblical, historical, and strong. It can be a cute little kid name of Sammy or a good solid man name of Sam. I love it!
on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:00 am
Well, since I’ve given my two cents about Michael and James :), I’ll give you a list: Patrick (Packy, used in County Cork, is a great alternative over the effeminate Pat), Samuel, Dominic, Andrew, Matthew, John (at least mention Jack as a nickname, if not a separate entry), William, Charles, Edward, Henry (Hank, Harry), Alexander, Thomas, Daniel, Joseph, Timothy, Christopher (Chris, Kit, Kip), Nicholas, Martin, Matthew, David, Stephen/Steven, Dominic, Peter, Francis (Frank, Frankie), Frederick, Robert, Anthony, Mark, Arthur, Benjamin, Louis/Lewis, Paul, Lucas (Luke), Roger, Lawrence, Victor, Philip/Phillip, Oliver, Stuart/Stewart, Xavier, Leo, Gregory, Allen.
Okay, some of these haven’t been revived – yet (Victor, Lawrence, Roger, to name a few), but they do have history. I ran into a little Roger in Gettysburg this summer.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:05 am
October 2nd, 2013 at 8:59 am
It’s biblical, historical, and strong. It can be a cute little kid name of Sammy or a good solid man name of Sam. I love it!”
I agree. It’s Colonial America (Samuel Adams, Samuel Wesley), 19th century (Samuel Clemens), turn of the century (dead ball era baseball), and currently revived. And symbolic of the US of A: Uncle Sam.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:09 am
Oh, and George!
on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:11 am
Probably Albert, Alfred, and Simon, too.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:14 am
Emmett – it’s strong and handsome. It’s a name that suits a new born baby and a grown man. It ticks all the boxes for me.
Other favourites are Wyatt, Atticus and Sawyer.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:33 am
Leo- Easy to spell, easy to pronounce, can be pronounced in many different languages, has a great history and meaning, is spunky but classic, not too popular and suits a child and adult equally well.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:34 am
I nominate the name Laurence for the following reasons:
– it’s a classic, underused and yet familiar
– it’s a name of great depth and history (saints, great namesakes in real life as well as the literary world).
– it comes with some great nickname choices like Laurie, Lorne and Lauro.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:35 am
Benjamin – soft yet strong and simply wonderful. It has been my favorite name since I was a little girl.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:35 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:39 am
Ashton – Not overused or too crazy a lovely name that ages well
on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:39 am
Archer! Though I’m a tad biased, I plan on naming my son such 😉 Its a little different without being “out there”, has the familiar “Archie”. Its easy to match with many surnames, our surname was quite difficult to match many names with: Ejdowski (eh-DOW-ski). Its adorable on a little boy, strong and manly for an adult, and perfectly suitable for an elder gentleman. Its also the name both my OH and I LOVE equally, we had really no debate that THE name for our son 🙂
Though William, Alexander, Thomas, James, etc are pretty top choices. Michael would be as well. Its stood the test of time, truly as timeless as it gets. It fits all ages, no stereotypes really. Its universally a great name 🙂
on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:48 am
Adam – the first man, simple and almost impossible to misspell, but not so common that everyone knows 10.
Calvin – bit more unusual, but again simple and hard to misspell, with nice nicknames. Historical and with present namesakes. Could fit any type of man or boy
on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:52 am
William, definitely. I love all the potential nicknames, it has a history, strong but not aggressive sounding, familiar across many cultures, adorable on a boy and dignified on a man. I could go on and on! Probably the only downside is that, at least in my family, it’s been used a LOT, so it’s likely only a middle name option for me.
Second best would be Theodore. What a fantastic name… But sadly I dislike Ted/teddy quite a bit.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:54 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:00 am
I love Jason because it is the name of the great greek hero and still is modern sounding.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:03 am
Theo! It’s nickname proof, easy to spell and pronounce, has no specific ethnic or religious leaning and just sounds like he would be a sweet kid/guy. Theo is a winner.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:04 am
Being extremely biased as the mother of two boys, I would say Felix. This is my oldest son’s name. It has never cracked the top 100, but it’s never disappeared off the charts completely, making it the perfect mix of familiar yet not overused. It’s easy to spell and pronounce, used in many different languages and cultures, clearly masculine, and has a positive meaning (lucky). It has ties to the Ancient Romans, popes, saints, musicians, judges, and pop culture. Felix makes for a cute baby/child name, but also a serious and sophisticated adult name.
My youngest son’s name is Victor, and I also think this is a perfect name but in a bit of a different way. It is also not overused yet still familiar, easy to spell and say, used in many languages and cultures with a positive meaning, and clearly masculine. Some people might consider Victor to be a bit too strong, although there are nickname possibilities, which is why we teamed Victor with a whimsical middle name. Overall, it has a long and distinguished history, would suit many different kinds of boys/men, yet is not heard too often.
But really, I don’t think there is such a thing as ‘the best name’. These two are the best names to me. But naming is far too subjective to ever definitively say that one name is ‘the best’.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:09 am
Classic and popular, but still doesn’t feel overused. Fits multiple cultural and religious backgrounds. Easy to spell/hard to alterna-spell. It reads both strong and sensitive to me (Biblical David was known for both being a warrior and a musician). Grows well from boyhood to manhood.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:13 am
Edmund – love the history and sound
Percival – love that it’s obscure and love the sound
Tristan – seems fantasy
on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:17 am
Nathaniel – A strong, masculine, classic name that’s been around for oh-so-long, is well known, yet isn’t trendy (it is popular though), and can work well on an adult in any job from bartender to doctor. Bonus: there are a lot of nickname potential: Nathan, Nate, Nat, or even Neil. Second Bonus: there are a lot of fabulous namesakes who also used this name. Downside: there is something there that somebody will not like because there always is 😉
on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:30 am
I suppose I’ll sound a bit biased but I think Derek is a great name. My husband and I chose it for our firstborn because it’s recognizable, though not mega popular at #182 here in the US. It means “ruler” which is a pretty positive image to aspire to (and as the firstborn, he’s bound to do a bit of that over his siblings, haha). Derek is also a shortened form of Theodoric, which sounds ridiculously cool to me.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:38 am
It’s literary, has great namesakes, rooted in history, easy to pronounce and spell.. It’s a little popular but I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:47 am
Elijah. I’ve loved it since I was a child and used it on my own son. It has such strong, Biblical roots. If I was to have another son, I would go with Abel.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:49 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:59 am
James. It fits on men and boys of any age, it’s peppy yet classic, it’s easy to spell but not boring. (Runner-up: Alexander.)
on October 2nd, 2013 at 11:08 am
Theodore. Strong, classic, with literary and historical connections (hello, Theodore Laurence and Teddy Roosevelt. Among many many others.) Multiple nickname options (Theo, Teddy, Ted) that provide flexibility through the different stages of life. Well known, but not ultra popular (it hasn’t been in the top 50 in the past hundred years – the last time was in 1908 at #49 when Teddy R was president). It is the perfect boys name, IMO!
on October 2nd, 2013 at 11:08 am
My favorite boy names are Desmond, Harrison, Elliott, and Emmett. I like that all of them sound strong and soft at the same time. They’re not super macho/masculine, and none of them are incredibly popular.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 11:11 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 11:25 am
on October 2nd, 2013 at 11:34 am
Edwin – I have a soft spot for this gem of a name. Handsome, classic, and very unusual (where I live at least…I’ve never ever met one!). Edwin’s a winner – “win” is right in there!
on October 2nd, 2013 at 11:41 am
Another vote for William.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 11:46 am
Cedar. It’s sweet, naturey (I’m a hippie) and uncommon.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 11:49 am
James, Alexander, or William. Other names invite too much controversy because they fit too well into certain styles or categories. Also, these are the only normal male names I can tolerate…my apologies to any of my future adopted sons.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:22 pm
John – A strong and classic name. Known ( as far as I know) all around the world and one of my all time favourites.
Theodor (e) and
James => both because I simply love them 😉 for a reason see “John”
on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:24 pm
Jonathan, Theodore, Desmond, Benjamin, William, Finnick, Isaiah, Sebastian, Michael, and James
I was writing out more explanations of why I love these names, and my reasons were pretty much all the same. The names are elegant and strong, have a lovely sound, and bring to mind adult men who are strong but gentle, intelligent and soft-spoken, and who are good at building, growing, or creating things.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:30 pm
I second Emmett. Such a great all around name.
Wes- Simple, firm name but soft sound. Great name through the ages.
Dean- Strong, simple, classic and underused.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:41 pm
IMO a boys name should be strong and not confused with a girls name.
Yes, all biblical names except William not intentionally though. These names are classic yet current.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 1:20 pm
on October 2nd, 2013 at 1:31 pm
Probably should add Zachary and Jeremy.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 1:40 pm
This name has been my favourite boys name for ages!! It’s the best boy’s name ever!! Levi has a fashionable sound, feels really soft and handsome along with having lovely biblical associations. Levi is just such a strong handsome choice.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 1:49 pm
Classic with a strong history. Has the nickname option of Hank but it’s not the sort of name that requires a nickname. I love everything about this name.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 1:57 pm
Herbert or it’s counter-name, Hisernie
Hobart or it’s counter-name, Pimplisa
These are all excellent names that are sadly underused in our society.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 2:18 pm
Dane-Simple, strong, clean, easy to spell without any variants. No nicknames to clutter up the choice.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 2:20 pm
I agree with so many of these. My pick would be Asher and Frederick (I don’t think that has been chosen).
Asher- biblical. Masculine but not overly masculine. Ages well. Familiar but not overly common (yet!))
Frederick- just such a great classic and regal name. Plus I love the nn Freddie
on October 2nd, 2013 at 2:24 pm
on October 2nd, 2013 at 2:26 pm
Edward: classic but has great nickname options which can take the name in a totally different direction – Bear has the cool animal name factor, Teddy is sweet, Ted, Ed and Eddie feel familiar and easy going.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 2:33 pm
Leo; It’s a substantial name even though short. I feel like it’s versatile and can be fitting to a football player or an entomologist.
Lucas: Also very versatile and fits many different personalities. It’s such a strong name!
on October 2nd, 2013 at 2:41 pm
Randon: Its not super popular but I love it!
on October 2nd, 2013 at 3:07 pm
Theodore- underused classic, hip, distinctive, versatility of several nicknames, sounds smart but approachable/friendly
on October 2nd, 2013 at 3:22 pm
Here are my picks. They’re all chosen because they’re handsome names that could suit any age.
Luke or Lucas
on October 2nd, 2013 at 3:27 pm
Masculine. Wonderful biblical heroes. Look at sound cute for children- and still wonderful for adults! I’ve always adored them… but Noah first
on October 2nd, 2013 at 3:33 pm
on October 2nd, 2013 at 3:47 pm
on October 2nd, 2013 at 3:55 pm
I think I need to change my number one…
After doing some serious thinking, I believe Michael is the very best boy name. It is familiar pretty much all over the world. It ages perfectly, has various nicknames, is biblical, historical, and classic.
Michael is hands-down the number one boy’s name, imo.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 4:13 pm
Flynn. Classy, not too weird and not too popular. Is packed with spunk!!
on October 2nd, 2013 at 4:42 pm
Malcolm! It’s familiar without being overexposed, distinctive without being weird, and it has literary, historical, and pop culture references. Cute nicknames, too: Mal, Mack, Mackie, Colm.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 5:29 pm
on October 2nd, 2013 at 5:38 pm
on October 2nd, 2013 at 5:57 pm
on October 2nd, 2013 at 6:01 pm
Tobias – great hebrew sound, warm and cute nicknames ‘toby’ or ‘tobes’, ‘god is good’ meaning.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 6:18 pm
Benjamin, Sebastian, and Marc!!
on October 2nd, 2013 at 6:24 pm
on October 2nd, 2013 at 6:33 pm
Judah. Beautiful sound, beautiful history
on October 2nd, 2013 at 7:03 pm
I want to add some more to my runners-up list:
on October 2nd, 2013 at 7:04 pm
Sullivan- it is a familiar sound without being over used. Lends itself well to nicknames if you are into that, but great as a stand alone. Works well on young boys, or on a man (will age with the child). It is just my very favourite name!
Other top boy names include:
on October 2nd, 2013 at 7:22 pm
Gabriel. Classic, international, strong and historical, with lovely spiritual resonance (even for an atheist like me) and a gorgeous sound.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 7:38 pm
Taryn and Holden
on October 2nd, 2013 at 7:52 pm
I also vote for Owen and Benjamin. Owen is easy to pronounce, not over used and has history.
Benjamin is a strong classic with great nickname potential. Also Frederick, love the meaning and it can be cute (Freddie) or handsome in its full form.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 8:38 pm
Benjamin. Benjamin is a strong, solidly masculine name. It’s got history, plenty of great namesakes, and a wonderful sound. It flows well with many, if not all, last names. I have been priviledged to have had two amazing Bens around for my entire life, so that adds special meaning for me. Unlike some newly trendy names, you wouldn’t know immediately if Ben was a baby, teen, or old man. I am one of the few berries who actually like Jayden, but you can easily assume any bearer of that name is under the age of 11. Benjamin doesn’t have that problem.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 8:42 pm
Andrew! Such a strong, handsome name for a boy that can grow with the child into adulthood. Andrew even means”strong and manly!” It’s timeless.
James, Thomas and William would be a close second.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 8:47 pm
Dimitri. Its easy to pronounce and only has a few different spellings. It doesn’t need to be shortened, but you could have the nickname Mitri. Its cool but not crazy. I sounds modern without being trendy or popular (its not even in the top 1000 currently). What else could you want?
on October 2nd, 2013 at 8:56 pm
on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:16 pm
on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:23 pm
Henry called Hal
on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:53 pm
Charles- timeless with a wide variety of nicknames and international variations
on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:11 pm
For me, these names tick all the boxes: they’re not too common (but nor are they unheard of), they’re easily spelled and pronounced, they have a history, they’re distinctive (unlike Jaden/Jayden/Kaden), they can stand alone without a nickname but aren’t informal, and they’re distinctly masculine but could be worn by a more sensitive, bookish type (unlike Brock, Axel, etc.).
on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:20 pm
Arthur and Abram are my favorites. They both seem strong but not hard, and both are classics that aren’t currently too popular.
Frederick and Franco are two others I really like. Frederick is a classic and Franco is familiar but a little more exotic. I think Freddie and Frankie are really nice nn’s also.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:29 pm
on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:34 pm
Strong classics that are not currently over used
on October 2nd, 2013 at 11:06 pm
#1 Nathan- my second son who at 24 thinks his name is the perfect balance between familiar and not too common- he’s usually the only one around. Middle name James- a strong name that sounds great with it.
#2 Michael- first son -my longtime favourite name but a little common now. Middle name David, another strong name.
Other faves are Andrew, Joshua and Kai- a break from the biblical
on October 3rd, 2013 at 5:45 am
William! So strong and classic and handsome and flexible! Loads of nickname opportunities, it’s classic and still feels fresh, works on a boy/man of any age, fits in with any style, sounds lovely in both FN and MN position, tonnes of great namesakes, everyone knows how to spell and pronounce it and it’s just plain brilliant!
on October 3rd, 2013 at 7:12 am
I was so sure of my response until I started reading other people’s choices! lol From other lists I love: Thomas, Benjamin, Roman, Franco, Kai, Lucas, Andrew and John. However, the Very very best is JAMES!!! Classic, handsome, won’t cause profiling, shouldn’t cause teasing, easy to spell and pronounce, and isn’t in the top ten so there shouldn’t be 3 in every class (like Jacob or Mason). I just adore James. William is my second pick
on October 3rd, 2013 at 9:01 am
on October 3rd, 2013 at 10:34 am
on October 3rd, 2013 at 2:35 pm
I have to go with Alexander. It’s a strong sounding name and it has a classic feel to it. Plus, it has a nickname possibility for any type of parent and boy. Alex, Al or Andy for those looking for something simple and easy. Lex or Xan(der) for those looking for something more daring and bold.
on October 3rd, 2013 at 5:25 pm
No one has mentioned this name, and I hardly ever see it, but it’s by far my favorite since I heard it (tho I’ve loved Caleb for a long time)….Kagen! I also recently have fallen in love with Rafe.
on October 3rd, 2013 at 7:23 pm
It’s so underused for boys! Allie is definitely my favorite name; I wouldn’t want to give it a longer name.
on October 3rd, 2013 at 8:55 pm
on October 3rd, 2013 at 9:35 pm
I cant decide what to name my son… Darnell or Maliq ????????
on October 4th, 2013 at 5:22 pm
Cecil or Micah
on October 4th, 2013 at 7:23 pm
on October 4th, 2013 at 9:38 pm
Henry – My grandfather’s name
Howard – My other grandfather’s name
Soren – Strong, Norse name
Oliver – Classic. Brings to mind corduroy, dark-brown hair, crunchy fall leaves
on October 6th, 2013 at 1:04 am
Ephraim and Nico(las)
on October 6th, 2013 at 12:53 pm
on October 7th, 2013 at 5:52 am
Finn had been my favorite since I saw Great Expectations. It grows on a boy until manhood and is a strong name on it’s own without the need for a shortened form.
on October 8th, 2013 at 1:16 am
Elliot: ages well, handsome, easy to say, and gives a charming air.
on October 8th, 2013 at 10:38 pm
on October 14th, 2013 at 2:39 pm
on November 20th, 2013 at 10:36 am
Drew and Dominic, the one because it’s clever, short, and strong; and Dominic because the meaning is strong and godly–no one can go wrong with god on their side.
And I love Kennedy(nn Ned), but the meaning is so awful, I don’t know if I’d be able to use it on my kid.
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