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Enchanted Names for Boys

March 12, 2018 Emma Waterhouse

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:

  1. Amyntor
  2. Astraeus
  3. Atlantis
  4. Bedivere
  5. Cormoran
  6. Daedalus
  7. Dionysus
  8. Endymion
  9. Excalibur
  10. Galahad
  11. Gawain
  12. Hesperus
  13. Hyperion
  14. Lancelot
  15. Oceanus
  16. Orestes
  17. Orpheus
  18. Pegasus
  19. Pellinore
  20. Pendragon
  21. Pygmalion
  22. Pyramus
  23. Ragnarok
  24. Romulus
  25. Taliesin
  26. Zephyrus

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

  1. Anaximander
  2. Athelstan
  3. Aurelian
  4. Cassander
  5. Charlemagne
  6. Cicero
  7. Columbus
  8. Domitian
  9. Ethelred
  10. Faramond
  11. Hephaestion
  12. Hiawatha
  13. Hieronymus
  14. Juvenal
  15. Leofric
  16. Nicander
  17. Nicanor
  18. Ozymandias
  19. Paladin
  20. Plutarch
  21. Ptolemy
  22. Quintilian
  23. Samoset
  24. Scipio
  25. Silvius
  26. Somerled
  27. Tamerlane
  28. Tarquin
  29. Theoderic
  30. Valerian
  31. Vespasian
  32. Voltaire
  33. Wenceslas

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

  1. Aladdin
  2. Aragorn
  3. Bensiabel
  4. Benvolio
  5. Caliban
  6. Cesario
  7. Cymbeline
  8. Endeavour
  9. Exupery
  10. Faramir
  11. Fauntleroy
  12. Figaro
  13. Fitzwilliam
  14. Gilderoy
  15. Geppetto
  16. Heathcliff
  17. Ivanhoe
  18. Legolas
  19. Malvolio
  20. Marinell
  21. Montague
  22. Ollivander
  23. Ossian
  24. Peregrin
  25. Prospero
  26. Quasimodo
  27. Sacheverell
  28. Solaris
  29. Tybalt
  30. Zhivago

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

  1. Alabaster
  2. Arcturus
  3. Borealis
  4. Campion
  5. Capricorn
  6. Caraway
  7. Carnelian
  8. Celadon
  9. Cerulean
  10. Equinox
  11. Evergreen
  12. Foxglove
  13. Halcyon
  14. Hellebore
  15. Horizon
  16. Hyacinth
  17. Jonquil
  18. Kingfisher
  19. Kittiwake
  20. Larkspur
  21. Lazuli
  22. Malachite
  23. Meridian
  24. Nightshade
  25. Obsidian
  26. Oleander
  27. Osier
  28. Peridot
  29. Regulus
  30. Rosewood
  31. Siderion
  32. Snapdragon
  33. Speedwell
  34. Tamarisk
  35. Tarragon
  36. Vermilion
  37. Vervain
  38. Vetiver
  39. Viridian
  40. Vivendel

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

  1. Acacius
  2. Alberic
  3. Alphege
  4. Antioch
  5. Artemas
  6. Balthazar
  7. Bessarion
  8. Boniface
  9. Calendion
  10. Corbinian
  11. Erasmus
  12. Erastus
  13. Evermund
  14. Fidelis
  15. Floribert
  16. Irenaeus
  17. Junian
  18. Kenelm
  19. Leontius
  20. Maxentius
  21. Melchior
  22. Moderan
  23. Onesimus
  24. Pantaleon
  25. Petronax
  26. Seraphim
  27. Serapion
  28. Spiridon
  29. Romaric
  30. Tydecho
  31. Vitalis
  32. Zosimus

Foreign Imports fascinating finds from around the globe:

  1. Agostino
  2. Aneurin
  3. Arkady
  4. Audamar
  5. Belvedere
  6. Benedetto
  7. Caradoc
  8. Casworon
  9. Cavanaugh
  10. Celestin
  11. Corentin
  12. Cosimo
  13. Domini
  14. Dragomir
  15. Farquhar
  16. Flavian
  17. Florestan
  18. Gwydion
  19. Hippolyte
  20. Isambard
  21. Iskandar
  22. Jacopo
  23. Kesteven
  24. Lavrenty
  25. Llewelyn
  26. Ludovic
  27. Mathurin
  28. Nicabar
  29. Severin
  30. Tolliver
  31. Torquil
  32. Tresillian
  33. Valdemar
  34. Willoughby
  35. Zephyrin
  36. Zoravar

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!

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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