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Traditional Boy Names: The Ultimate Guide

August 10, 2020 Emma Waterhouse
traditional boy names

Traditional boy names remain perennially popular with parents today, in spite of the broader trend towards ever more unique baby names for both sexes.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that all traditional names for boys are popular. As well as the core classic boy names – like John, James and Joseph, which have all ranked in the Top 50 since records began – there is also a whole host of uncommon traditional boy names which have a rich history, but are rarely used today.

Other cool categories of traditional boy names include vintage names and Biblical names, which are full of stylish choices with a quirky classic feel.

Here, we present our ultimate guide to finding the perfect traditional boy name.

Top Classic Boy Names

The most enduring traditional boy names are the elite group of timeless classics that have proved popular throughout the centuries.

The top traditional boy names include classic royal names like Henry, James and Edward, as well as a core group of Biblical and saints’ names for boys, like Samuel, Joseph and Peter.

Other top classic names for boys might surprise you. Did you know that Victor has never dropped below #136 in the US – and that all the way back in 1880? Or that hipster favorite Oscar has ranked in the Top 250 since records began?

Below, 25 timeless traditional names that have always ranked in the US Top 250.

Alexander
Andrew
Benjamin
Charles
Daniel
David
Edward
George
Henry
James
John
Joseph
Matthew
Michael
Nicholas
Oscar
Paul
Peter
Richard
Robert
Samuel
Thomas
Victor
Vincent
William

Unique Traditional Boy Names

Traditional names don’t always have to mean popular names!

There are a whole host of cool classic boy names that are rich in history, but rank outside of the current US Top 1000.

Some of these are once-popular choices which now feel ripe for revival, like Edmund and Wilfred (already trending in the UK). Others are simply highly unusual names with a long history of use, like Auberon, Inigo and Lysander.

Here are 25 unique traditional boy names below the Top 1000.

Ambrose
Amias
Auberon
Blaise
Caius
Casper
Dashiell
Edmund
Evander
Fraser
Hadrian
Inigo
Ivor
Jethro
Linus
Lysander
Noble
Orson
Percy
Roscoe
Rufus
Sylvester
Urban
Valentine
Wilfred

Cool Vintage Boy Names

Vintage names are a stylish subset of the traditional boy names. They have a quirky old-fashioned feel, but also a cool, current appeal.

The most popular vintage boy names of the moment include fashionable favorites like Ezra, Jasper and Theodore. Less popular vintage options with even more old-school cool include Cyrus, Otis and Winston.

Here are 25 of the best cool vintage names for boys.

Albert
Arthur
August
Calvin
Cyrus
Desmond
Dexter
Ellis
Ezra
Felix
Franklin
Harvey
Hugo
Jasper
Louis
Maxwell
Milo
Otis
Otto
Quincy
Rex
Simon
Theodore
Walter
Winston

Traditional Biblical Boy Names

Bible names for boys have proved enduringly popular throughout the ages, with classic Biblical choices like Elias, Moses and Solomon ranking in the US Top 1000 since naming records began in 1880.

But even rare Biblical boy names have a cultural and historical weight behind them which grants them traditional status.

Here, 25 Biblical boy names from all over the popularity spectrum, which all share that traditional feel.

Abel
Amos
Asa
Balthazar
Boaz
Cain
Elias
Emmanuel
Ezekiel
Gideon
Hosea
Ira
Ishmael
Japheth
Jude
Levi
Moses
Omri
Phineas
Raphael
Reuben
Samson
Silas
Solomon
Zebediah

Traditional Nicknames for Boys

If some of the traditional boy names above feel a bit too heavy or formal for you, there’s always the option of using a short form on its own.

Although nicknames as full names are currently much more popular in the UK than in the US, there is actually a long tradition of nickname names in America. Billy, Charlie, Harry and Jack have all ranked in the Top 20 in the past, and all feel fresh and youthful again today.

Here are 25 traditional nicknames for boys which feel substantial enough to stand alone.

Alex
Archie
Ben
Billy
Cal
Charlie
Drew
Eddie
Frank
Gus
Harry
Jack
Joe
Johnny
Leo
Louie
Mack
Max
Nate
Ray
Rudy
Theo
Toby
Tom
Wes

About the author

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse — better known as @katinka around these parts — joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from where to find a cool vintage boy name to why some names become popular memes. As Nameberry's head moderator, she also helps to keep our active Forums community ticking. A linguist by background, Emma speaks six languages and lives in England's smallest county with her husband and three young children. You can reach her at emma@nameberry.com.

View all of Emma Waterhouse's articles

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