Unusual Boys’ Names Ready To Pop

Last week we brought you our selection of rare girls’ names destined for stardom; now we bring you our pick of unusual boys’ names ready to climb the popularity ladder.These are names given to fewer than 100 boys last year in the U.S.   But in Nameberry’s analytics, we see them drawing twice as much attention as other names.What that means: No matter how unusual these names are by the numbers, they’re attracting considerable buzz. And that’s bound to translate over the coming years into usage for a lot more babies.

As with the girls’ names, these names share much beyond their potential popularity.  Most are ancient names, slumbering for centuries.  While they hail from a range of cultures, a quorum are rooted in Ancient Rome or mythology.  And as has been the trend with boys’ names, how they end — in n, r, us, or o — seems to be more important to their fashion status than their first initial.

Here, 9 unusual boys’ names we see ready to pop.



Picture 1 of 9

Grayson may have already popped – there were nearly 4000 of these latter day Jasons born in 2011, vaulting it into the Top 100 -- but quieter brother Gray was given to just under 100 boys last year. One of the few color names better suited to boys than to girls, there are slightly more boys given the spelling Grey. We predict the numbers of Grays and Greys to swell, along with boys named Graylon, Grayton, ad virtually infinitum. This adorable gray hat is available on Etsy at Olive & Vince.

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35 Responses to “Unusual Boys’ Names Ready To Pop”

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asiabean Says:

September 26th, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Nero is also the name of one of my favorite DJ groups! A dubstep duo from the UK.

CaraMichelle Says:

September 26th, 2012 at 11:17 pm

I also see Barnabas rising.

Alexia Mae Says:

September 26th, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Breccan really stood out to me. Cool list!

Poppy528 Says:

September 26th, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Honestly, I think Gray is already here, although not on birth certificates. It makes a very handsome middle name, too. Breccan is cuuuuute; had not considered it before.

Sugarfoot Says:

September 26th, 2012 at 11:50 pm

I’ve always wondered why Breccan wasn’t more popular. It seems like a natural choice. I love Cato, i hope it never gets too popular to use.

meepallie Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 1:09 am

After the Fifty Shades phenomenon, I’m afraid Gray is off the radar for me, boy or girl. Can’t have a kid whose name I associate with book-porn. >:(

SuzumeChroi Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 1:45 am

My boyfriend’s name is Grey, named after a lullaby his father used to sing to his mother. I’ve always adored it.

maggiemary Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 5:02 am

I love Cato and Balthazar. I’ve liked Balthazar ever since the character Balthazar first appeared in Supernatural. If I remember rightly, a British TV presenter named her son Zephyr last year, I’m sure I read it somewhere when I was there visiting family. Perhaps one of the British berries will verify?

Gensen Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 5:22 am

I love Gray/Grey and Stelllan, and Breccan is cool, but the rest are too out there for me. I really can’t see Balthazar and Zephyr and Lazarus getting popular, at all.

Maerad Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 5:45 am

I agree with CaraMichelle, I think Barnabas is really set to soar. Especially in the UK, I’ve already met 3 babies named Barnabas!

I’d also like to dispell the ‘Fiddling whilst Rome burnt’ myth.
Firstly, fiddles/violins hadn’t been invented yet – and he also wasn’t playing the lyre.
Secondly, evidence shows that he openned his palace up to those made homeless and people who were seeking refuge. He personally aided fighting the fire and, when it was all over, used around half of his personal funds to help rebuild the city of Rome in a way that would prevent such dramamtic fires spreading in the future.
I prefer Nico to Nero as a name, but other parents shouldn’t be put off by that myth!

I also LOVE Stellan! I think it could make a really nice way of honouring a family member who is a ‘Stephan/Stephen’.

bluejuniper Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 6:15 am

Tiberius is also the middle name of Captain James Kirk from Star Trek 🙂

aunt_ning Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 6:50 am

Bluejuniper, I was going to post the same thing! However, unlike some people that actually draws me to the name, especially since my parents are both Trekkies and I have inherited the love of Star Trek.

I love the name Breccan, it “sounds devine” as my friend would say. I also love Stellan, but on a girl more.

kyemsma Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 6:59 am

Stellan is my favorite, followed by Grey. Grey would make a perfect middle name.

Dantea Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 7:53 am

I like Grey and Cato. I’m planning on Zephyrine, which is a female form of Zephyr. I know a Breccan and a Nero Donovan.

PinkPenguin87 Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 9:26 am

I really like the name Cato, but when I hear it, all I can picture is the little Asian dude from The Green Hornet! I also really like Gray/Grey and Stellan. Very cute names!

dresdendoll Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 10:41 am

Love Zephyr; hadn’t thought of that one. Gray is sophisticated, but also seems a little gloomy. Stellan sounds a bit contrived. I know a boy named Brecken (spelled like this). Cato makes me think of Kato Kaelin. Really like Tiber; prefer it over Tiberius. Nero seems cool. Balthazar is a bit much. And Lazarus feels like it goes too far.

blush Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 11:19 am

I already hear Grey/Gray everywhere. With 50 Shades of Grey, I anticipate it being hugely popular.

And I love Zephyr, so I hope it doesn’t take off! Would not have thought it to have a broad appeal. Balthazar is another favourite, and another I wouldn’t imagine would have a large appeal

Cato and Stellan are right on, for sure.

Whirligig Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 11:53 am

Not keen on any except Cato and Gray but probably wouldn’t use them.

Flick Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I don’t see Balthazar rising in the near future lol! It simply does not have the wide appeal. Stellan, maybe.

MorganaLeFaye Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 12:28 pm

maggiemary, a presenter called Julia Bradbury has a son called Zephyr 🙂

AmandaRhiannon Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I doubt that Nero will ever be popular. There are only negative connations that go with it. I do like Gray/Grey on a boy or a girl. I think that the boy name Graydon may become more popular soon. It has a lot of the trendy elements (long -a, ends in -n, rhymes with Aidan). Graydon Carter is the editor of Vanity Fair magazine, so that may help the name seem a little more “classy” than some of the other Aidan names (Jayden, Brayden, etc.).

AvieGrace Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Although I am pleased to hear, Maerad, that Nero had some good in him, we learned in my roman history course that Nero also raped random women off the streets and burned early Christians alive at his dinner parties for some “inventive lighting”. Nero is a cute name but I have a problem seeing it on people. On I lighter note, I love the name Stellan!

LadyCap Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 7:15 pm

I’ve had my eye on Lucius and Stellan for awhile. Guess I’m not the only one!

BrittanyM Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Nero is outrageously offensive. Can we just burn that name off this list? Otherwise solid choices. Love Stellan and can’t believe it’s so hidden. That one will pop for sure — I just hope it stays off the girls lists!

RubySophia Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Awww, I love Stellan too! I really hope it doesn’t rise in popularity for boys or girls. I also like Breccan and Zephyr and would prefer them to remain off the radar.

auroradawn Says:

September 27th, 2012 at 9:48 pm

I’ll be surprised if Balthazar makes it into Top 50 territory; also Tiberius and Lazarus, at least as first names. But then I’m a sucker for Lazarus and hope it won’t rise too high, though I’d be happy to see it come into the light of common day.

I think Gray/Grey, Stellan, Breccan and probably Cato are definitely set to rise.

I would never consider Nero, cool sound or not, but I can’t make that call for everyone. And I just don’t know about Zephyr. I know of a family with a daughter-in-law named Zephyr. Might Zephyr be the next Rowan? We’ll have to wait and see…

Mara_lyn86 Says:

September 28th, 2012 at 2:18 am

The only name that I have seen used irl on this list is Breccan. I remember the couple said they picked it for it’s uniqueness. I do see it rising in popularity soon.

I also see Cato and Nero possibly rising, with the appealing O ending. I don’t know about Tiberius, though it has an appealing sound.

GrecianErn Says:

September 28th, 2012 at 10:23 am

what a fun list! I know a little girl named Grey Grey Street to be exact! And we had Greyson chosen for a girls name, I wanted to call her Grey, my husband wanted to call her Gracie. It was a boy. 🙂

I sort of like Zephyr… but as the god of the West Wind, it would be an inappropriate name following our son Weston. 😉

I also like Breccan – but this spelling seems a little feminine. I would probably spell it Brecken.

rachelmarie Says:

September 28th, 2012 at 10:48 am

I love the name Gray! 🙁 Don’t let it become popular.

nlpnt Says:

September 28th, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I was going to mention Captain Kirk too.

And in one of the great shout-outs of TV history, James Tiberius Yorke in “Degrassi” (who normally went by his initials).

R_J Says:

September 29th, 2012 at 1:32 pm

I like Cato, but I personally can’t get past Brian “Kato” Kaelin. Glad to see it’s not remembered as much anymore though. Great name!

EmiTheDuckling Says:

October 1st, 2012 at 6:22 pm

The ones I loved:
Gray/Grey (I prefer Grey, sounds softer)
Stellan (But I love Stella more, so I would not use it)
Balthazar (sooooo cool! but my best friend dated a jerk named Balthazar, her went by Balta, so cool!)
Zephyr (I love this one, but I had a friend who was a girl named Zephyr, so I always feel like its girly)

Cool names but not my style:

Not my style at all!
Cato (I now always think of the antagonist in the Hunger Games!)

Hayley88 Says:

October 4th, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I love Stellan,have done for a while! My younger brother has admitted previously that he likes Tiberius too!

tessa Says:

October 9th, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Showing my age here – to me Cato will always be the Pink Panther’s manservant. I’d live in fear of my child jumping out of closets and trying to strangle me!

rukiayuzu Says:

August 26th, 2015 at 1:54 pm

The historian in me can’t escape from the fact that Tiberius was a horrible Emperor, not to mention a pedophile.

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