Enchanted Names for Boys

Where to find a truly one-of-a-kind baby boy name

By Katinka

“Unusual but not weird” — anyone who’s spent any amount of time on the Nameberry forums will recognize this phrase. At times, it can seem like the whole world and his wife are on the hunt for the exact same thing: an appealing (but not popular), on-trend (but not trendy), wearable (but not predictable) baby name with a solid history, which is both universally familiar and felicitously underused… Phew!

Fortunately, there’s an absolute wealth of wonderful lists on the site which cater to those rigorous requirements: try Cool Classic, Rare Biblical, Exotic Lite… or how about some more off-the-beaten-track themes like Jazz, or Steampunk, or even Pixar-inspired names? All different styles, but all on the trail of that most elusive of baby-naming beasts: the perfect “stands-out-fits-in” choice.

But what if you don’t want something that fits in at all?

I’ll admit it: the title of this blog post is lifted straight from this intriguing thread, started a couple of weeks ago. The challenge: “I want something that has a magical, one-of-a-kind element to it.” And, as ever, the Berries chimed in with some superb suggestions: Aramis and Auberon, Barnabas and Bartolomeo, Casimir and Constantine

It struck me that these are not names I see all that often — on Nameberry or, in fact, at all. Historically, parents have always been much more conservative when naming their sons. Since US naming records began in 1880, names in the boys’ top ten have remained there, on average, for almost 30 years. For girls, the figure is half that. And just five boy names — John, Robert, James, Michael, and Jacob — have held the #1 spot across that whole period, bar five years. For girls, it’s five in the past two decades!

In many ways, this is great news for lovers of truly undiscovered baby boy names — there really is a whole universe of untapped possibilities out there. But, by the same token, it can be much more difficult to come up with boy names which embody that elaborate, evocative, “enchanted” style… What is the male equivalent to bold Berry favorites like Bellatrix and Belphoebe, Persephone and Pomeline, Seraphina and Scheherazade?

Below is a roundup of some of the best places to look for enchanting inspiration, plus some particularly eye-catching examples in each category. All of the names listed were given to no more than ten babies in the US in 2016; the vast majority have never appeared on the SSA list at all. Enjoy!

Mythology magical monikers far beyond Arthur, Atlas and Apollo:

History legendary kings and chieftains, soldiers and explorers, writers and philosophers:

Literature  novel names from books, running the gamut from Shakespeare to Sherlock:

Nature  the freshest new possibilities, inspired by the natural world:

Lesser-Known Saints  saints’ names don’t stop at Matthew, Mark, Luke and John!

Foreign Imports fascinating finds from around the globe:

Name-lover, linguist and serial procrastinator Katinka is mum to two small humans and a fledgling blog: Onomastica.

[NB ed. note] Be sure to check out Katinka‘s new blog–it’s terrific!

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17 Responses to “Enchanted Names for Boys”

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lesliemarion Says:

March 12th, 2018 at 10:56 pm

Lovely list! Delicious…

Sky85 Says:

March 12th, 2018 at 11:14 pm

Severin, Arkady & Aneurin are some of my biggest loves!

minisia Says:

March 13th, 2018 at 1:05 am

Crazy awesome list! Thanks so much for putting it together. Especially love the “nature” ideas.

Josie1497 Says:

March 13th, 2018 at 1:29 am

Fantastic list!!! Dragomir, Arcturus, Domini, and Horizon are all so lovely!!

Bluegirl266 Says:

March 13th, 2018 at 3:12 am

This list is what I’ve been waiting for! It’s so easy to find unique girl names, but unique boys names seem to elude me, even after searching nameberry often. Please keep more like this coming. This is wonderful!

mother_dragons Says:

March 13th, 2018 at 6:05 am

What a wonderful list! Most of the names are waaaay too out there for me but I can still appreciate just how beautiful they are. Was also pleased to see so many names used in Harry Potter- further proof JK Rowling knows what’s up when it comes to naming. Plese keep these posts coming!

Birdie Largo Says:

March 13th, 2018 at 7:36 am

I love Gwidion!

Selkit Says:

March 13th, 2018 at 9:08 am

I absolutely love Meridian and Willoughby!

tfzolghadr Says:

March 13th, 2018 at 10:22 am

I’ve always thought that Equinox, nn Knox, would make a cool name.

ARead Says:

March 13th, 2018 at 2:11 pm

So many awesome names! Happy to see some of my long-time favorites on here. Interesting how much I seem to have a “type”—almost every name I clicked on to find the origin ended up being Welsh or Anglo-Saxon! So, naturally, I loved the previous blog post on Welsh names. Would be cool to see one on Anglo-Saxon …the ones still in use and the ones that should maybe be brought back!

LAINY Says:

March 13th, 2018 at 2:42 pm

Yay for Evergreen, one of my favorites!

southern.maple Says:

March 13th, 2018 at 4:37 pm

Thank you for this!

MaryH Says:

March 13th, 2018 at 10:01 pm

I love Willoughby too. This list has given me a lot of inspiration for naming my new puppy!

emz876 Says:

March 14th, 2018 at 2:59 am

Love Casimir

Flyingkids Says:

March 14th, 2018 at 5:08 am

These names are really cute!

peaseblossom Says:

March 14th, 2018 at 9:41 am

This is my favourite post in a long, long time. So imaginative, so original, and so many enchanting choices — more like this, please! Nice work, Katinka. Any chance of adding these to the Nameberry index?

I named my dog Prospero four years ago, and it’s perfect.

Orchid_Lover Says:

March 14th, 2018 at 10:49 pm

I’ve lost a lot of interest in NB lately largely due to the lack of new name fodder in the articles. Bravo, Katinka. This is the most original, inspiring, and imaginative, cutting-edge article I’ve seen in a very long time. Thank you. So many new names to research!

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