Country Music Baby Names
Along with Hunter and Maren, other country music baby names in the US Top 1000 include Blake, Brooks, Cash, Darius, Faith, June, Rory, and Wyatt. Country musician surnames are rising for both sexes, including Chesney and Paisley for girls, Hayes and Reeves for boys.
You could even look to modern country bands for baby name inspiration — think Magnolia or Perry or Montgomery. Country music baby names have shaken off their hayseed image. The names of country music stars inspiring parents as baby names today include:
Meaning:"young warrior; well-born"
Description:Owen was derived from two names—the Welsh Owain and the Celtic Eoghan. Each are connected to Eugene, which ultimately came from the Greek word eugenes, comprised of the elements eu, meaning good, and genes, “born.” Owen became a Welsh patronymic surname during the Renaissance. The legendary St. Owen was a Benedictine monk who was a follower of St. Chad.
Description:This spirited Gaelic classic, which became popular in Ireland via the illustrious twelfth century king Rory O'Connor, makes a highly energetic choice, now used for either sex. Rory's gender split is still trending boyward; it's one of the coolest boys' names starting with R.
Meaning:"brave in war"
Description:Wyatt was derived from the Medieval English name Wyot, itself a form of the given name Wigheard, with wig meaning "war" and heard, "brave." Wyot, along with variations Wiot and Gyot, were also used by the Normans as nicknames for names such as William. Wyatt became a patronymic surname later in the Middle Ages.
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.
Description:Blake -- an early unisex option -- dropped out of the Top 100 in 2017 for the first time since 1988, but remains a sophisticated choice. And yes, both conflicting meanings of Blake are accurate. It originated as a surname in England derived from a nickname. Much of its masculine image was influenced by the wealthy, silver-haired character Blake Carrington in the massively popular 80s TV series Dynasty. Rosie O'Donnell has a son named Blake.
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.
Meaning:"one who hunts"
Description:Hunter has been dropping a bit for the past few years but is still one of the leaders of a distinctive band of boys' names that combines macho imagery (Hunter, Austin, Harley) with a softened masculinity. Hunter was for years attached to gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson; Josh Holloway used it for his son.
Origin:Hebrew, diminutive of Jacob
Description:This unpretentious, accessible, and optimistic ("everything's jake" -- meaning OK) short form of the top name Jacob is itself widely used, though more parents these days are opting for the full name Jacob. Jake (born Jacob) Gyllenhall is its most prominent current bearer.
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:Hayden – a formerly obscure name that's risen to huge popularity – has dipped in this year's ratings. Though Hayden is among the most distinctive of the bunch, it gets lost in the crowd of Jaidens, Bradens, Aidans, and endless variations. Associated with Hayden Christensen, of Star Wars fame.
Origin:English, feminine variation of George
Description:Georgia is so rich, lush and luscious, it's almost irresistible. Georgia's now a rising star among the feminizations of George, helped by associations with the southern state (named for British King Geogre II) and painter Georgia O'Keeffe, with the Ray Charles song "Georgia On My Mind" or maybe "Sweet Georgia Brown" playing in the background.
Origin:Diminutive of Raymond
Origin:Latin, month named for goddess Juno
Description:June, a sweetly old-fashioned month name derived from the goddess Juno, was long locked in a time capsule with June Allyson (born Ella) and June Cleaver, but is rising again especially as a middle name.
Description:A name of multiple identities: a somewhat soap-operatic single-syllable surname, a homonym for the biblical bad boy Cain, and, when found in Japan and Hawaii, it transforms into the two syllable KA-neh. Kane also has multiple meanings: in Welsh, it's "beautiful"; in Japanese, "golden"; and in Hawaiian, "man of the Eastern sky."
Origin:English occupational name
Meaning:"transporter of goods by cart"
Description:Carter has been popular for almost two decades, but it only cracked the Top 30 in 2014, leaving the other upscale occupational surname names behind. Having hot characters named Carter on both Gossip Girl and The OC probably didn't hurt, and for fifteen years on ER" Noah Wyle's Dr. John Carter was always called by his last name. Carter also, of course, has presidential cred.
Meaning:"of the brook"
Description:Surname name, nature name, and word name, with a more masculine slant than Brook or Brooklyn. Brooks Robinson was one of the greatest third basemen ever, playing for the Baltimore Orioles from 1955 until 1977. Brooks might be considered one of the new wave of stylish English names for boys.
Meaning:"son of Jack"
Description:Cool name Jackson is one of the celebrisphere's top favorite boy names, having been chosen by, among others, Spike Lee, Poppy Montgomery, Carson Daly, Maria Bello, Natalie Maines, Scott Wolf, Maya Rudolph, and Katey Sagal. After a spectacular rise, this stylish presidential name has been in the Top 25 since 2010, overtaking John as one of the most popular boy names starting with J.
Origin:Word name; also diminutive of Cassius
Description:Whether it's due to its economic connotations, or its link to American legend Johnny Cash, this name is widely used, and has been used by several celebrities including Annabeth Gish and Joshua Morrow.
Description:Landon is a popular surname name; it's been dropping slightly in recent years but has surpassed its once more popular rhyming cousin Brandon. For some it may bring back nostalgic memories of Little House on the Prairie 's understanding Pa, played by Michael Landon.
Description:Maren is one of the many twenty-first-century takes on Mary--but we find the more classic Marin spelling preferable. When spelled Maren, the pronunciation seems more clearly to resemble Mary, with the emphasis on the first syllable. Marin, the spelling also used for the beautiful coastal county north of San Francisco, is often pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable, as in Marie.
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:Persian or Latin from Greek
Description:Darius is a historic name via Emperor Darius the Great, a key figure in ancient Persian history, and several other Persian kings. His name today has an appealingly artistic image, which might well be found on a concert program or gallery announcement.
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:Easton is a stylish Ivy League-ish place and surname name, more modern than Weston, on its way up for both sexes as part of the new direction baby names are taking, as in North and West. Easton was used for her son by Jenna Elfman--and by Elizabeth Rohm for her daughter.
Origin:Flower name, from French surname
Description:Magnolia, a sweet-smelling Southern belle of a name made famous via the iconic Edna Ferber novel and musical Showboat, is one of the latest wave of botanical names, along with unexpected blossoms Azalea and Zinnia. It is named for French botanist Pierre Magnol.
Origin:Diminutive of Tobias
Description:This jaunty unisex nickname name has recently been given a shot of testosterone via actor Tobey Maguire and the gruff, erudite character on West Wing.
Meaning:"son of Harry"
Description:When Harrison is too much, but Harry isn't enough, try this stylish surname name with a touch of British flair. It briefly reentered the US Top 1000 for the first time since 1988 in 2016, but has since dropped just below the radar again.
Origin:English word name; diminutive of Clayton
Description:Clay is a rich, earthy one-syllable name with a southern-inflected handsome-rogue image, featured on soap operas and reality TV. Its longer forms are Clayton and Clayborne.
Origin:English occupational name
Description:Walker is both a Waspy surname name—as in the W in George W. Bush—but it also has a gentle ambling quality and a creative connection to such greats as writer Walker Percy and photographer Walker Evans, whose father was also named Walker.
Description:This image of this distinguished Anglo-Scottish surname, drawn from the French place name of the ancient castle of Saint Foi de Montgomery, is rapidly shifting from fusty and formal to cool. And dashing short form Monty (or Monte) nudges it to cute.
Meaning:"ash trees place"
Description:The recent ascent of this English surname is due to two things: the megapopular Ash beginning and TV/movie hottie Ashton Kutcher. The name peaked at Number 76 in 2004, a year after Ashton Kutcher's (both Christopher Ashton) hit TV show Punk'd made its debut.
Description:Colt is the kind of unconventionally macho name that is so trendy right now, because of or in spite of its association with horses and guns.
Origin:English, diminutive of Dorothy
Meaning:"gift of God"
Description:Hello, Dolly! Okay, we couldn't resist, but be warned: Most people who meet your little Dolly won't be able to either. This nickname-name, rarely heard since whatever decade Dolly Parton was born, is singing a fashionable note again along with sisters Dottie and Dixie; it was chosen for one of their twin girls by Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O'Connell.
Origin:English occupational name
Description:Tucker has more spunk than most last-name-first-names, and also a positive, comforting ("Tuck me in, Mommy") feel.
Meaning:"son of Piers"
Description:Actor Pierce Brosnan brings a strong helping of charm to this name.
Description:For a name related to a Scottish town, a richly patterned Indian fabric, and a country singer named Brad, Paisley has been a remarkable success story. She entered the Top 1000 in 2006, and broke into the Top 50 for the first time in 2015, and is now one of the most popular girl names that start with P.
Description:Upbeat nickname-name that can't help but make you smile, along with its soundalike Sonny.
Origin:Diminutive of Henry, German
Description:Hank is a midcentury guy nickname (which actually dates back to the seventeenth century) of the Al/Hal/Dick school, which has been on recess from the playground for decades. Now it's just beginning to be given on its own again, appreciated for its earthy, sportsguy cool. Hanks Aaron and Greenberg (born Henry) and Hank Williams (born Hiram) Sr and Jr. are worthy namesakes.
Meaning:"mouth of the Roe river"
Description:Monroe is a presidential name which, thanks to the immortal beauty of Marilyn Monroe, is catching on fast for baby girls. Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon chose it for their twin daughter, honoring Marilyn Monroe. Their use of Monroe as a girls’ name did much to revive this Old Man name, a la Sydney, as a newly fashionable choice for girls.
Description:Miranda, a shimmeringly lovely, poetic name that was invented by Shakespeare for the beautiful and admirable young heroine of his play, The Tempest, is still a recommended choice even though its popularity peaked in the 1990's, partially as an antidote to Amanda. But while Amanda now sounds dated, Miranda retains a good measure of its charm.
Origin:English, diminutive of William
Description:Cute kid with freckles, bouncing a Spalding ball. Cool couple Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton put the name Billy Burton on their son's birth certificate. While the classic William, name of the future king of England, may in fact be German, the nickname Billy along with such other classic short forms as Jim and Joe are authentically English names for boys.
Origin:Latin occupational name
Description:A quintessential yuppie name, this surname name reentered the US Top 1000 in 1999 after a forty-year absence and has risen almost every year since.
Description:Faith is one of the most straightforward of the virtue names popularized by the Puritans in the seventeenth century, many parents still choosing it as an indicator of their religious conviction. Faith peaked in 2002 at Number 48.
Origin:Latin or French
Meaning:"I have spoken or tenth"
Description:A saucy showgirl, wisecracking waitress kind of name, Dixie can also be considered a place name, one that has become problematic because of its association with the antebellum South. The Dixie Chicks recently dropped Dixie from their band name because of its association with slavery and white privilege.
Origin:French "king,"; Celtic "red-haired"
Description:We've seen Ray regain his cool, but could this country/cowboy name epitomized by Roy Rogers (born Leonard Slye), Acuff, and Clark, do the same?
Roy came into use in the late nineteenth century, probably influenced by the main character of Sir Walter Scott's novel Rob Roy, in which the historical character Robert M'ac Gregor is nicknamed Roy for his red hair.
There have been lots of notable non-country namesakes, including baseball's Roy Campanella, humorist Roy Blunt, Jr., Walt's brother and partner Roy Disney, singer Roy Orbison and pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. Roy Hobbs was the protagonist of the Malamud novel The Natural, played in the film by Robert Redford.
Meaning:"dweller near a pear tree"
Description:It's a long time now since this casual but suave name was linked to velvet-throated, cardigan-sweatered singer Perry (born Pierino, son of Pietro) Como's day...and this could be the moment for a reassessment.
Origin:Variation of Lucia
Description:Lucinda, an elaboration of Lucia created by Cervantes for his 1605 novel Don Quixote, is a pleasingly pretty alternative to Lucy. It was subsequently used by Moliere in his play The Doctor in Spite of Himself' (1666). More in tune with the times than Linda, Belinda and Melinda, it could be used to honor someone with one of those dated names.
Origin:English variation of Italian Lauretta; diminutive of Laura
Description:Though Loretta has long ago lost its Latin flair, fashionable Sarah Jessica Parker's choice of it as the middle name of one of her twin daughters freshens it up a bit. It's one of several such names, like Anita and Rita that we can envision making a comeback.
Description:Rode two rockets to fame, with actress Winona Ryder and singer Wynonna Judd.