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Colonial Names for Boys | 1700s Names

Colonial Names for Boys | 1700s Names

Many Colonial boy names from the 1700s have been out of use for long enough that they’re beginning to sound fresh and cool again. Early Americans used a range of baby names from obscure biblical picks such as Micajah and Zophar, to evocative virtuous word names such as Increase and Prosperity (which honestly wouldn’t sound so out of place today).

Of course, the most common boy name during colonial times was John, closely followed by other very classic boy names such as William and Henry. Along with John and William, other 18th century names for boys in the US Top 200 today include Abraham, Alexander, Christopher, Elias, Isaac, Jacob, Levi, and Nathaniel.

Male names from Colonial times that are rare today include Absalom, Bazel, Eliphalet, and Zadock. Unique colonial-era nicknames for boys include Cuddy, Dobbin, Fate, Hiley, and Quill.

If you like historic baby names but want to move beyond the Victorian and biblical choices we've heard so much of in recent years, consider these names culled from Revolutionary War rolls and eighteenth-century town histories.

Here, our lineup of Colonial names from the 1700s for boys, ordered by their current popularity on Nameberry.

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Colonial Names from the 1700s

Boy Names

  1. OliverHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "olive tree"
    • Description:

      Oliver is an international star, ranking near the top of the charts in the US and throughout the English-speaking world. And a host of European and Latin American countries, from Norway to Chile, Slovenia to Switzerland.
  2. AugustHeart
    • Origin:

      German form of Latin Augustus
    • Meaning:

      "great, magnificent"
    • Description:

      The name August is at its highest point since the 1890s, when it ranked among the Top 100 boy names in the US. And deservedly so, given its great meaning, historic roots, and cool nicknames.
  3. JudeHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin diminutive of Judah
    • Meaning:

      "praised"
    • Description:

      Jude is a modern star, maintaining a steady level of popularity -- but not TOO much popularity -- for more than a decade now. Thank Jude Law and the great Lennon-McCartney song "Hey Jude", double-handedly responsible for propelling Jude up the charts.
  4. CyrusHeart
    • Origin:

      Persian
    • Meaning:

      "sun"
    • Description:

      Cyrus is one of those surprising names that have always ranked among the Top 1000 boy names in the US. On an upward trend since the mid-90s, Cyrus now sits in that comfortable place between too popular and too unusual.
  5. HenryHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "estate ruler"
    • Description:

      Henry is back. The classic Henry climbed back onto the Top 10 in the US in 2021 for the first time in over a century, and now stands at Number 7.
  6. NathanielHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "gift of God"
    • Description:

      Nathaniel was derived from the Hebrew name Netan’el, meaning "gift of God," composed of the elements natan, meaning "to give," and ’el, in reference to God. The name is featured several times in the Old and New Testaments, typically spelled Nathanael. In the New Testament, Nathanael is also known by his other name, Bartholomew.
  7. AlexanderHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "defending men"
    • Description:

      Alexander is derived from the Greek name Aléxandros, composed of the elements aléxein, meaning "to defend," and aner, meaning "man." According to Greek legend, the first Alexander was Paris, who was given the nickname Alexander by the shepherds whose flocks he defended against robbers. He was followed by Alexander the Great, aka Alexander III, who conquered much of Asia.
  8. IsaacHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "laughter"
    • Description:

      Isaac evolved from the name Yitzchaq, derived from the Hebrew word tzachaq, meaning "to laugh." In the Old Testament, Isaac was the long-awaited son of the elderly Sarah and 100-year-old Abraham, so old that their news provoked laughter, giving the name its meaning. Isaac is used as a given name among Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.
  9. KitHeart
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of Christopher
    • Meaning:

      "bearer of Christ"
    • Description:

      Actor Kit Harington, aka the dreamy Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, has given this nickname-name new style and appeal for boys. Actress Jodie Foster used it for her son.
  10. WilliamHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "resolute protection"
    • Description:

      William is one of the most enduring of classic names for boys. It's also among the most popular boys' names, as American parents see it as being ideally conservative yet contemporary, and hands-down the most popular baby name beginning with W of all time.
  11. EliasHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek variation of Elijah, Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "Yahweh is God"
    • Description:

      Elias, strong and charismatic, is following in the path of family members Elijah and Eli, and is also moving on up in popularity.
  12. ArchieHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Archibald, Teutonic
    • Meaning:

      "truly brave"
    • 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.
  13. LeviHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "joined, attached"
    • Description:

      In the Old Testament, Levi was the third son of Leah and Jacob, from whom the priestly tribe of Levites descended; in the New Testament, Levi was Matthew's given name before he became an apostle. It is suspected that Levi derives from the Hebrew word yillaweh, meaning "he will join."
  14. ElijahHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "Yahweh is God"
    • Description:

      Elijah is derived from the Hebrew name Eliyahu, composed of the elements ’el and yah, both of which refer to God. In the Old Testament, Elijah was the prophet who went to heaven in a chariot of fire. Elias is the related, Greek variation of Elijah.
  15. MalachiHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "my messenger"
    • Description:

      An Old Testament name with a Gaelic lilt, Malachi entered the list in 1987.
  16. AmiasHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "loved"
    • Description:

      Amias or Amyas is a unique name with an attractive sound and feel and a lovely meaning. Though it might sound like a Biblical name, it is not, but is a surname that may be related to Amadeus or even be a male version of Amy--which would make it one of the few boys' names to be derived from a girls'.
  17. EliHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "ascended, uplifted, high"
    • Description:

      Eli derives from the Hebrew ’aly, meaning "high." In the Old Testament, Eli was the high priest and last judge of Israel, who trained the prophet Samuel. While Eli is a full name on its own, it can be a shortened form of Elijah, Elias, Eliezer, or even Elliot. Eli is used as a feminine name—most often as a nickname for Elisabet or Elin—in some Scandinavian countries.
  18. AsaHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew; Japanese
    • Meaning:

      "healer; born in the morning"
    • Description:

      A short but strong biblical name with multicultural appeal, Asa is enjoying new visibility thanks to hot young actor Asa Butterfield of Hugo fame.
  19. JacobHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "supplanter"
    • Description:

      Jacob comes from the Latin name Iacobus, which was ultimately derived from the Hebrew name Ya’aqov. In the Old Testament, Jacob was one of the most important patriarchs of the tribes of Israel. He was the youngest son of Isaac and Rebecca and the twin brother of Esau, as well as the husband of both Leah and Rachel. The 12 tribes of Israel evolved from his 12 sons.
  20. LinusHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "flax"
    • Description:

      Can Linus lose its metaphorical security blanket and move from the Peanuts page onto the birth certificate? We think it has enough charm and other positive elements going for it for the answer to be yes.