By Linda Rosenkrantz
Last week we looked at some fresh and fantastic girls’ names beginning with O, and now we see that they have nothing on the great boy names starting with O. And it’s not only the high-ranking Oliver (Number 19), Owen (36), Oscar (181), and Omar (217)–here are ten more wonderful, less frequently used names starting with this most open and optimistic of vowels:
Boy names starting with O
This sophisticated, rarely heard surname name has two things going for it: the stylish S ending for boys, combined with a not-overly-obvious nature connection, similar to the growing in popularity Brooks. Other sturdy oak possibilities: Oak, Oakley.
For fans of substantive biblical names like Jedidiah and Zachariah, this one becomes more warm and welcoming because of—yes—its open O opening. There are several Obadiahs in the Bible and in early English lit, as well as in the current Iron Man series. Nickname Obie couldn’t be cuter; another is the Star Warsian spelling Obi. Obadiah is currently Number 609 on Nameberry.
Oberon’s colorful history includes a leading role in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and in several operas, right up to a character in Disney’s animated Gargoyles. Oberon is also one of the Shakespeare-inspired moons of Uranus, giving it some astronomical cred.
We applauded the choice, just a couple of months ago, of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter’s pick of Odin for his baby boy. The supreme Norse god of art, culture and wisdom, Odin is right on trend with its O beginning and N ending—and could follow on the heels of Owen. He’s now Number 445 in the US (by far the record high), 56 in Norway, and 154 with the Berries.
And then there’s the Irish Oisin—which, when you realize it’s pronounced uh-SHEEN, becomes a lot more usable. The name of the mythological son of Finn McCool, it means ‘little deer’ and can also be Anglicized as Ossian or the shiny Osheen or even Ocean. Oisin is epidemically popular in Ireland, where it’s currently Number 13, 22 in Northern Ireland.
We often hear complaints that there are no good flower or gem names for the boys. Well, one candidate we nominate is Onyx, with its dynamic and powerful x ending. Literary cred includes an appearance in Ursula Le Guin’s books about the world of Earthsea. And an early role-playing video game was the 1984 The Black Onyx.
A name with both mythological and celestial links, Orion is a shooting star. It went from Number 996 in 1991 to its current rank of 368, and its further upswing seems inevitable. Orion is one of the brightest constellations in the night sky; it’s a Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl series name, and was picked by Chris Noth for his son. Could make a namesake name for an Uncle Ryan.
Though Orson Welles’s original first name was George, his middle name became almost a single-name signature for the maker of Citizen Kane. With its ‘bear cub’ meaning, stylish on-ending and rotund image, Orson is now a viable possibility. Both Paz Vega and Lauren Ambrose are moms of Orsons. And if you’re looking for something distinctive, Orson has been off the list since 1901.
Jazzy Otis is having a real renaissance, thanks to its appealing combo of strength and spunk. Well used at the turn of the last century—it even entered the Top 100 a couple of times—but then fell off completely a century later. Now it’s back, ranking at 104 on NB, is 168 in the Netherlands and 248 in England Wales. And it’s only been helped by being picked by such celebrities as Tobey Maguire and Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis.
Otto is a real so-far-out-it’s-in name, after being neglected along with other German names during and after the two World Wars. Parents now are responding to its bookended O’s, its childlike palindromic form and its frequent TV references. Otto was in the Top 100 in the late 1800s, took a deep dive, only to return in 2011. It’s now at Number 543, way up at 110 on Nameberry, and 77 in Sweden.