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Classic Boy Names

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Classic baby names for boys, those that have been well used in the English-speaking world over time, are an elite group. Classic boy names may come from the Bible, be traditional saints' names or royal names, or be names with roots in ancient languages, such as Jacob and Alexander.

Along with Jacob and Alexander, other classic boy names in the US Top 20 include William, James, Benjamin, Michael, Daniel, Matthew, Henry, and Joseph. Some classic names for boys that are not used as often as they used to be include Philip, Francis, Harry, and Hugh.

Most classic boy names have ranked highly for more than a century and have been widely used for hundreds of years. The boy names that rank as classics today include the following.

  • Adam

    Adam -- a primal Old Testament name -- was revived as a 1960s cowboy name. Adam is not as popular as it once was and feels ready for a respite, replaced by newer A names like Aidan/Aiden, Avery... Read More 

  • Alexander

    Alexander has been in the Top 25 since 1991. The noble Alexander has led to the popularity of so many spinoffs, such as Alex, Zander, Xan and Zan -- not to mention all the female versions -- that... Read More 

  • Andrew

    Andrew is among the most appealing classic boys' names, with more character and charm than James or John. And there's a host of Andrew-inspired nicknames: Andy makes it friendlier, while Drew adds... Read More 

  • Anthony

    Anthony, versatile and perennially popular, is comfortable anywhere, from the streets of Little Italy to mainline Philadelphia, though it seems to be in a downswing. It's been declining in... Read More 

  • Arthur

    Arthur, once the shining head of the Knights of the Round Table, is, after decades of neglect, now being polished up and restored by some stylish parents, emerging as a top contender among Read More 

  • Benjamin

    Benjamin is derived from the Hebrew name Binyamin, from the elements ben, meaning “son” and yamin, “right hand.” In the Old Testament, Benjamin was the youngest of the twelve... Read More 

  • Charles

    Charles was derived from the Germanic name Karl, which came from the word karlaz, meaning “free man.” The now-defunct Anglo-Saxon variation of Charles was Ceorl, from which the word... Read More 

  • Christopher

    Christopher is an evergreen classic that dropped from Top 25 status in 2013, in spite of its appealingly strong, sincere, straightforward image, combined with a softer, more modern sound than,... Read More 

  • Daniel

    Daniel was derived from the Hebrew name Daniyyel, from the elements din, meaning “judge,” and ’el, “God.” The Book of Daniel in the Old Testament describes the Jewish prophet’s... Read More 

  • David

    David is a classic with a lot going for it. While no longer in the Top 10, it still ranks second to Daniel among boy names starting with D.... Read More 

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