Boy Names Trendier Than You Think
We've analyzed several years of official name popularity lists to pinpoint the boys' names that are making fast strides up the charts. Some of these names have vaulted into the popularity charts, others are getting ready to break through.
Among the most popular trendy boy names in the US Top 100 are Kai, Leo, Leonardo, Lincoln, Logan, Mateo, Maverick, and Theodore. Boy names with high style but that aren’t used as widely include Copeland, Jericho, Montgomery, and Ridge.
If it surprises you to learn that more boys are named Bodhi and Huxley than Bobby and Harry, you may need a lesson in today’s trendy baby names. Here, some surprisingly trendy baby names for boys.
Meaning:"between two hills"
Description:Arlo has many possible derivations: possibly a shortened form of Italian name Carlo, and in Basque-speaking regions it is the word for area. In English, Arlo was first used by Edmund Spenser in The Faerie Queene and is thought to derive from the Celtic word Aherlow, meaning “between two highlands.”
Description:Atticus derives from the Greek Attikos, meaning "from Attica," the Ancient Greek region that contained Athens. Atticus is a literary name in more ways than one. Before it became synonymous with Atticus Finch, the name Atticus was associated with Titus Pomponius Atticus, a Roman literary figure.
Meaning:"gift of God"
Description:Theodore is a derivative of the Latin Theodorus, a variation of the Greek name Theodōros. The components are from the Greek words theos, meaning "God," and dōron, meaning "gift," giving Theodore the meaning "God-given" or "gift of God." Names with similar origins include Theodora, Dorothy, and Dorothea.
Description:Kai has many origins, but in the US is most commonly referred to as being of Hawaiian derivation, meaning “sea.” In Europe, Kai is largely considered to have Frisian origin as a diminutive of the name Kaimbe, meaning “warrior”, or as a short form of Gerard "brave spear". Kai is also found as an independent name in African, Chinese, Turkish and Native American cultures. Kai is a strong, evocative multi-cultural name that packs a lot of power in its single syllable.
Origin:Scottish and Irish
Meaning:"rowan tree; little redhead"
Description:Rowan – a strong surname and nature name (it's a tree with red berries) – is deservedly growing in popularity. Some scholars identify Rowan as originally a girls’ name, related to Rowena and Rhonwen, while others say Rowan's always been used for both genders. Sharon Stone chose the Roan spelling, which also relates to the reddish color, for her son, while Brooke Shields used Rowan for her daughter. Yet another increasingly popular spelling is Rowen.
Meaning:"bearer of the heavens"
Description:Previously thought too powerful for a baby boy – who would have to be strong enough to carry the world on his shoulders – Atlas has joined the pantheon of Greek and Roman god and goddess names now in the realm of possibility, along with Mars, Zeus and Apollo. It was one of the fast-rising names on the list in recent years in the USA, jumping from oblivion in 2012 into the Top 500 in 2015, and climbing several hundred places higher since then. Anne Heche was one of the first to make this audacious choice, but several celebrity parents have followed suit.
Origin:Diminutive of Theodore
Meaning:"gift of God"
Description:Many modern parents use Theo as the short form for Theodore rather than the dated Ted--including some celebs, such as Dallas Bryce Howard-- but others bypass the Grandpa name Theodore entirely and skip right to the hip nickname Theo. Short and ultra-chic, Theo's a cool, contemporary baby name choice.
Description:One of the most romantic of appellations, as well as being a geographical name of the large salty sea between Asia and Europe that probably inspired C.S. Lewis to use it for the name of the hero of his children's novel, Prince Caspian, part of the Chronicles of Narnia series.
Origin:Italian diminutive of Nicholas, Greek
Meaning:"people of victory"
Description:Nico is one of the great nickname names, full of charm, energy and effortless cool -- a neo Nick.
Description:Leo was derived from the Latin leo, meaning “lion.” Thirteen popes have carried the name, including St. Leo the Great. In Germanic languages, Leo has historically been used as a nickname for names including Leon and Leopold. In Latinate languages, Leonardo is considered a full form for Leo.
Description:Ronan is the compelling legendary name of twelve Irish and Scottish saints that is now drawing some deserved attention; this cousin of the ascending Roman and Rowan was chosen by actor Daniel Day-Lewis and his writer-director wife Rebecca Miller in 1998, and more recently by actress Catherine Bell.
Origin:Italian variation of Henry, also diminutive of Vincenzo and Lorenzo
Description:Enzo originated as the Italian variation of Heinz, a German name derived from Heinrich, related to Henry. It has historically been used as a short form for Italian names such as Vincenzo and Lorenzo. The most famous bearer of the name is Enzo Ferrari, founder of the luxury sports car brand.
Description:Bodhi is a Sanskrit name translated as "enlightenment" or "awakening" which relates to a Buddhist concept, wherein Bodhi is synonymous with the state of nirvana, being freed from hate, greed and ego. The Bodhi tree is a large fig tree under which the founder of Buddhism received enlightenment. Spelling variations include Bodie and Bode.
Origin:Latin, variation of Cassius
Description:Cassian is a saints' and Latin clan name, related to Cassius, that is virtually unused and waiting to be discovered.
Description:Knox is an old Scottish surname that Brad Pitt (whose great-great-grandfather was named Hal Knox Hillhouse) and Angelina Jolie took out of the back cupboard, dusted off, and elevated to coolness--to the point where it entered the popular baby names list in 2009. Knox now ranks among the most influential celebrity baby names.
Description:At the rate it's growing, Maverick soon won't seem like such a maverick anymore. Heard first in a 1950s James Garner western TV series, and then as the Tom Cruise character in Top Gun, Maverick symbolizes an unfettered, free spirit.
Description:Beau suggests someone devilishly handsome, with a large measure of southern charm—a nice image to bestow on your boy. Often solely a nickname in the past, it's now standing firmly on its own. Beau has been on the Social Security list non-stop since 1969.
Meaning:"gift of God"
Description:Mateo is a Latinate form of Matthew, which derived from the Hebrew name Mattiyahu, consisting of the elements mattan, meaning "gift" and yah, which references the Hebrew God. Mateo can also be spelled Matteo, which is the Italian variation. Matheo is an archaic Spanish spelling, although it is used in France as Mathéo.
Origin:Surname or word name
Description:New to the US Top 1000 in 2015, Wilder is on many parents' possibility lists, one of the new generation of bad boy names growing in popularity. Wilder got a big boost in interest through Goldie Hawn's grandson, born in 2007, via son Oliver.
Description:Logan originated as a Scottish surname which was derived from a place of that name in Ayrshire. The place name came from lagan, a Scottish Gaelic diminutive of lag, meaning “hollow.” Alternate spellings include Logon, Logen, and Logyn, which is more common among girls.
Origin:Diminutive of Archibald, Teutonic
Description:Archie made global news as the surprise first name of the newborn royal baby, son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex aka Harry and Meghan. Archie has now officially transcended Archie Bunker and Riverdale's Archie to take the, um, throne as the quintessential retro nickname name.
Description:Ezekiel is derived from the Hebrew name Yechezqel, composed of the elements chazaq, meaning “to strengthen,” and ’el, referring to God. Ezekiel is a prominent prophet in the Old Testament and the author of the Book of Ezekiel, predicting the fall of Jerusalem and eventual rehabilitation of Israel.
Origin:English from Dutch
Description:Rhett has been more tied to Gone with the Wind than even Scarlett, but now we're hearing rumblings of its finding new and independent favor among parents, perhaps emboldened by the growing popularity of Scarlett.
Origin:Dutch form of Jasper, Persian
Meaning:"bringer of treasure"
Description:This ancient name, also spelled Caspar, is finally shedding its ghostly image and moving into the 21st century. Popular in the Netherlands and Scandinavia, where it's sometimes shortened to Cas, Casper could ride the style coattails of cousin Jasper. Casper was one of the Three Magi who brought gifts to the infant Jesus along with Melchior and Balthasar.
Origin:English surname and nature name
Description:One of those simple, straightforward English surnames -- and with a presidential pedigree -- that's easy to translate into a first. It was recently chosen by both Kevin Costner and Jessica Alba for their sons, which can likely be credited for its spike in popularity in the past few years. Surname names and nature names like Hayes, which qualifies on both counts, along with occupational names all make up the new generation of stylish English names for boys that go far beyond Harry and Edward.
Description:Unlike Pearl and Ruby, this is one gem name suited for boys, the final x making it sound strong and virile. Musician Iggy Azalea chose the name Onyx for her son.
Origin:Surname from place name
Description:Wells is a newly-famous baby name thanks to pregnancy guru Rosie Pope, who uses it as the short form of the buttoned-up Wellington, name of her youngest child.
Meaning:"town by the pool"
Description:Lincoln cracked the Top 50 for boys' names for the first time in 2016, more than 150 years after the death of its most famous bearer. This is especially remarkable because, as crazy as it seems now, Lincoln was deeply out of fashion as recently as the late 90s, consistently hovering near the bottom of the Top 1000. This admirable presidential choice with a stylish two-syllable sound projects the tall, rangy, upright, image of Honest Abe. Bill Murray is father to a son named Lincoln, and Kathryn Erbe's boy Carson has Lincoln for his middle name. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard gender-bent it for their daughter.
Description:Though it has a Scandinavian ring, this is an out-of-the-ordinary Irish family name. The hard 'T' at the beginning prevents it from sounding as feminine as, say, Loren. Torin's Passage was an early video game.
Description:Zayn zoomed up the popularity charts thanks to former One Direction member Zayn Malik; it was one of the fastest-rising names of 2016. The name can also be spelled Zain; the feminine version is Zayna or Zaina.
Origin:Diminutive of Augustus, Angus, Gustave, Augustin, Augusten, Augustine, August
Description:Gus is a homey grandpa nickname name that can work as a short form for any of the above or stand on its own as a cutting-edge replacement for Max and Jake--though it was off the Top 1000 from 1978 until 2016, when it squeaked in at Number 999.
Origin:English from German
Description:Ralph has two diametrically different images: there's the suave Ralph Fiennes-type Brit (often pronounced Rafe), and then there's the Jackie Gleason blue-collar, bowling blowhard Ralph Kramden bus driver. It's all in the eye of the beholder, though its hip factor did rise when it was chosen for his son by cool U.K. actor Matthew Macfadyen.
Origin:Diminutive of Alexander, Greek
Description:Xander is a diminutive of Alexander, the Latin variation of the Greek Alexandros. Its meaning, “defending men,” is taken from the Greek roots aléxein, “to defend,” and andros, “men.” Zander, pronounced the same way, is an alternate spelling.
Origin:Nickname for "son"
Description:Sonny is one of the generic boy nickname names making a surprise reappearance, and it was recently used by actor Jason Lee. Another surprise: It's been on the US Top 1000 list every year since 1927, reaching a peak in 1975, when it hit Number 428.
Description:Haunting biblical and Civil War place-name; now unisex—especially after the mega-high-profile Brangelina couple picked it for their daughter. It debuted in the Top 1000 for boys in 2015.
Meaning:"land beside the road"
Description:Country singer Waylon Jennings bestowed a kind of outlaw image on his name. However, for many children of the 1980s and '90s, Waylon will be forever associated with The Simpson's character, Waylon Smithers.
Waylon Jennings' son, also named Waylon, is called Shooter, and Shooter's young son Waylon Albert with actress wife Drea DeMatteo will be addressed as Blackjack. Grandpa Jennings was originally called Wayland, but the name was changed early on by his mother.
Description:Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn put this name in play as a first name, but David Bowie (born with the considerably less marketable moniker of David Robert Jones) dyed it blond and gave it charisma. He changed his surname in 1965 to avoid confusion with the then popular Davy Jones of The Monkees, and especially since his death, his admirers have seen it as an increasingly viable baby name namesake.
Origin:Dutch and German, from first name Hendrik
Description:Hendrix is one of those hip rock and roll names, like Lennon, Jagger and Presley, that have been used by fellow celebs and others, to honor the seminal guitarist/singer/songwriter Jimi. And this one has the trendy 'x' ending, as well, helping to propel it up the charts and into the spotlight.
Description:Shepherd is an occupational surname with a pleasant pastoral feel. It was chosen for their son by the Jerry Seinfelds, which might inspire others to follow their lead.
Meaning:"cool breeze over the mountains"
Description:An evocative name brought from Hawaii to the mainland by Keanu Reeves, who was born in Beirut to a part-Hawaiian, part-Chinese father. It moved into the Top 1000 for the first time in over a decade in 2016.
Description:With Noah taking the Number 1 spot in 2013, Koa is attracting more attention than ever.
Description:Huxley is definitely rising as a surname name, with its X that makes almost any name cooler. It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2015. The modern nicknames Hux and Huck certainly don't hurt.
Origin:English and Irish from French
Description:Bellamy is a surname name with an admirable meaning and upbeat rhythm, similar to jovial choices like Rafferty, Barnaby and Willoughby.
Origin:English word name
Description:Legend joins cousins Story, Saga and Fable in the baby name pantheon of narrative words. Unlike Story and Fable, however, Legend comes with additional weight, being used for fame ("living legend") and to denote a person who is fantastic "what a legend"). Who can live up to that?
Description:A popular name in Denmark, in this country Bo has some cowboy swagger and a lot of substance in its minimal two letters. In Mandarin Chinese, Bo means "wave".
Meaning:"oak wood or clearing"
Description:As sturdy as Oak, with deeper roots. For males, it's been on the rise in recent years.
Origin:Italian and Spanish variation of Leonard, German
Description:For centuries this name was associated primarily with the towering figure of Italian Renaissance painter-scientist-inventor Leonardo da Vinci, and was scarcely used outside the Latin culture. But then along came Leonardo DiCaprio, who was supposedly given the name because his pregnant mother felt her first kick while looking at a da Vinci painting in the Ufizzi Gallery in Florence, and who would make the name young and handsome and multi-cultural.
Leonardo is a popular choice among other attractive Italian and Spanish names for boys, and its cousin Leo is popular as well.
Meaning:"strong and healthy"
Description:Kenzo is a common Japanese name with several creative bearers: the single-named fashion designer, prizewinning architect Kenzo Takada, and painter Kenzo Okada, which makes it internationally recognizable.
Description:Bjorn is one of the most recognizable Scandinavian names, thanks in large part to tennis great Björn Borg, winner of five consecutive Wimbledon singles titles and six French opens and something of a rock star figure.
Origin:English from French
Description:Boone is one of the advancing herd of lean and lanky cowboy names with a laid-back, backwoods, Western feel—and surprising French roots. It's inevitably linked with legendary frontiersman Daniel, and also with the positive connotations of the word boon. It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2015.