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:

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!

About the author

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse — better known as @katinka around these parts — joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from pregnancy and birth to unique baby names from fiction and fantasy. 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

View all of Emma Waterhouse's articles


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