One Syllable Middle Names for Boys
One-syllable middle names for boys have been in popular use as long as middle names have been around, often honoring a father or grandfather or acting as connective tissue between longer first and last names. That explains the pervasive popularity of such classic middle names as James, Lee, Scott, Ray, and John.
But middle names, even short simple ones, are getting more distinctive. Along with James and John, other one-syllable boy names popular in the US include Kai, Beau, Jude, Dean, Ace, Paul, Nash, and Lane. Today it’s fashionable to put quirky, unexpected names in the middle position, such as Bear, Knight, Sid, and Zeus.
Here, some cool single-syllable middle names for boys. You might also want to look at our list of One-Syllable Middle Names for Girls. Or expand your horizons with our major list of more than 900 middle names of every type.
One-Syllable Middle Names for Boys
Description:Kai has many origins and meanings. What does the name Kai mean? That depends on which Kai you're referring to.
Meaning:"fair or white"
Description:Finn is a name with enormous energy and charm, that of the greatest hero of Irish mythology, Finn MacCool (aka Fionn mac Cuumhaill), an intrepid warrior with mystical supernatural powers, noted as well for his wisdom and generosity.
Origin:Latin diminutive of Judah
Description:Jude is an example of a name whose image was turned on its head primarily by one appealing celebrity. So take a bow, Jude Law: You--in collaboration with the Lennon-McCartney song "Hey Jude"--have erased Jude's old connections to the traitorous Judas Iscariot and Thomas Hardy's tragic Jude the Obscure, and inspired a legion of new babies named Jude.
Origin:English variation of Jacob, Hebrew
Description:James is an English derivation of the Hebrew name Jacob. James is biblical (the name of two apostles in the New Testament), royal (kings of both England and Scotland), presidential (with more U.S. Chief Executives named James (six) than any other name), and it is shared by countless great writers and entertainers.
Origin:English and German diminutive of Maximilian or Maxwell
Description:Max was derived from Maximilian, a Latin name that originated from the Roman family name Maximus. The character name Max in the children's classic Where the Wild Things Are had an impact on baby namers. Max is a widely used name internationally.
Origin:English, diminutive of Christopher
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. For girls, it's an updated diminutive of Katherine.
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:Well used in England and Scotland since the fifties, the smooth and sophisticated Graham is catching on here.
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.
Origin:Diminutive of Asher, English
Description:Ash has Southern charm plus the arboreal-nature appeal. Plus your little boy will prize Ash as the name of the hero of the Pokemon cartoons. Ash can also be a dashing short form of Asher, Ashton, or any other "Ash" name.
Origin:Possible variation of John
Meaning:"God is gracious"
Description:Western novelist Zane (born Pearl!) Grey made this name famous. Now, it's in tune with the style of our times, retaining that appealing cowboy image.
Meaning:"swarthy, coal black"
Description:Cole -- a short name that embodies a lot of richness and depth -- has long been associated with the great songwriter Cole Porter. It's quite popular in Scotland.
Description:Iconoclasts though we may be, we like Fred, we like Frank, and we like George, which was among the Top 10 from 1830 to 1950, when the number of little Georges started to decline. Solid, strong, royal and saintly, yet friendly and unpretentious, we think that George is in prime position for a comeback, especially since it was chosen by Britain's royal couple.
Description:Bear has suddenly lumbered onto the baby name landscape. Perhaps inspired by British adventurer Bear Grylls (born Edward Michael), first celebrity chef Jamie Oliver used it as the middle name for his boy Buddy, and more recently Alicia Silverstone called her son Bear Blu., followed by Kate Winslet's Bear Blaize. It's part of a current trend normalizing once aggressive animal names like Wolf and Fox. Bear is now Number 218 on Nameberry and in the Top 900 in England.
Description:The long-neglected name of Adam and Eve's third son after Cain and Abel, Seth is appreciated for its gentle, understated presence -- and strong middle-name potential. It reached a high of Number 63 in the year 2000.
Origin:English from Norse
Description:A strong single-syllable surname with a joyful meaning, Tate is finding a place on more and more birth certificates.
Origin:Diminutive of Rene or Japanese
Meaning:"water lily; lotus"
Description:A very popular name for boys, also used for girls, in Japan, most familiar in the West as half of cartoon's "Ren and Stimpy," and as the hero in both the original and updated versions of "Footloose."
Meaning:"by the ash tree"
Description:Nash is an English surname whose sound puts it right in step with currently trendy names like Cash, Dash and Ash. It first came to prominence via TV character Nash Bridges, portrayed by Don Johnson in the late nineties, and also via mathematician John Nash, played by Russell Crowe in the acclaimed film A Beautiful Mind.
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.
Origin:Herb name and also Latin
Meaning:"wise and knowing"
Description:Fits many criteria sought by modern parents: it's short and strong, with intimations of wisdom as well as fragrant herbal properties. At this point, Sage is given about a third of the time to boys.
Description:No longer tied to the hapless Ace Ventura, this jaunty, high-flying nickname name is starting to take flight among celebrity and other parents, with its countless positive references to doing well in tests and poker games, on the tennis court and golf course, and in the air.
Description:Fox is one animal name backed by a longish tradition, and then popularized via the lead character Fox Mulder on X Files. Fox is simple, sleek, and a little bit wild, and could make an interesting middle name.
Origin:Animal name or diminutive of Wolfgang
Description:Wolf is a name with a split personality. It can be seen as one of the fierce animal names, like Fox and Bear and Puma, with a touch of the werewolf, or it can be viewed as a quieter, Wolf Blitzer kind of name, fairly common in German (where is pronounced Vulf) and Jewish families, sometimes as a short form of Wolfgang.
Origin:Diminutive of Raymond
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.
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.
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.
Origin:Scottish or Irish
Description:In Ireland and Scotland, Mac and Mc mean "son of"; here, Mac is a generic fella, or a short form cooler than either Matt or Max. Mac can be a nickname of any longer Mac or Mc starting name such as McCoy or Macalister. If you want to make it feel more complete, you can always spell it Mack.
Origin:English word name
Description:Crew is yet another word name that was added to the baby name lexicon when this one was chosen by The Young and the Restless star Joshua Morrow for his son. It debuted on the Top 1000 in 2010. We've also heard spelling variations Cru and Crue.
Origin:Scottish from French
Description:One-time beach-boy compadre of Glenn, Greg, and Gary that originated as a nickname for a tall person, Grant has become a no-nonsense, career-oriented grown-up and one that is seeing new appreciation. It was chosen for his son by actor Morris Chestnut. It has cultural cred via artist Grant Wood, whose best known painting is 'American Gothic.'
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:The Reid spelling is the most popular by half, probably because it feels more like a name than Reed, which looks more like a word. It's used occasionally for girls but this name is firmly in the boys' camp.
Description:This concise one-syllable name, has two possible derivations and two positive meanings associated with it. In Hebrew, it means "heart", while in Russian it means "lion". So strong and simple Lev has both a soft and a fierce side.
Description:To the thousands of girls who screamed the name of their favorite Beatle in the 1960s, the boys' name Paul had a thrillingly unique image, but to the rest of the world, then and now, it's a name that's so simple and yet so widely diffuse that it could belong to almost anyone. Paul is an ancient name for boys -- popular in Roman and medieval times -- that's not very fashionable now, which can work in its favor, scarcity balancing simplicity.
Description:King is a name that sends a mixed message. While some might think of it as more fitting for a canine, others see it as a strong name with offbeat style and a full court of rich associations, from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Elvis. King Vidor was an important early Hollywood director; King Camp Gillette invented the safety razor.
Origin:Scandinavian from Latin Laurentius
Meaning:"crowned with laurel"
Description:Lars is a perfect candidate for a cross-cultural passport: it has been heard often enough here to sound familiar and friendly, yet retains the charisma of a charming foreigner.
Description:Dean may sound to some like a retro surfer boy name, but it is once again climbing up the popularity chart in the USA. For decades it was associated with Dean (born Dino) Martin; more recent representatives include Dean Cain, Dean McDermott and Dean Koontz -- not to mention Jared Padalecki's dreamy Dean Forester in Gilmore Girls.
Meaning:"God is gracious"
Description:John is an English derivative of the Hebrew name Yochanan via the Latin name Iohannes, itself coming from the Greek Ioannes. John was a key name in early Christianity, borne by John the Baptist, John the Apostle and John the Evangelist, plus 84 saints and 23 popes, as well as kings and countless other illustrious notables. Contrary to popular belief, the names John and Jonathan are unrelated, the latter being an elaboration of Nathan.
Meaning:"scribe, secretary, cleric, scholar, clerk"
Description:Clark seemed to have been Gone with the Wind, but parents looking for a short, strong boy's name are now beginning to appreciate its cool combination of Gable charm with Superman power.
Meaning:"dweller at the ford"
Description:The long association to the Ford Motor Company doesn't stand in the way of this being a strong, independent, single-syllable name.
Origin:French from German
Meaning:"man, free man"
Description:Charles derives from the Germanic name Karl, meaning "man" or "freeman", and is a royal name in multiple European countries. A famous early bearer is Charlemagne, King of the Franks and Lombards and then Roman Emperor in the 8th-9th centuries. The word for “king” in several languages came from Charles, including Slavic, Russian, and Polish.
Meaning:"one who lives on the hillside or riverbank"
Description:Banks is a topographical surname that refers not to those places where people keep their money but to riverbanks or hillsides, and specifically the people who live on them. Just as Fields is a last name that relates to people who lived in, yes, fields, so Banks was a name originally given to people who dwelled on the banks of a river. Today, used as a first name, Banks is more likely to sound like an upwardly-mobile name related to financial establishments, okay if you're going for the glitter.
Origin:Color name, also diminutive of Grayson
Description:The girls have Violet and Scarlet and Ruby and Rose, but for the boys there's a much more limited palette of color names. Gray (or Grey), is one exception, which could make for a soft and evocative--if slightly somber-- choice, especially in the middle. Kaitlin Olson and Rob McElhenney recently named their son Leo Grey.
Description:Though this feels like a modern invention, Jay has been in use for centuries. Early Jays often were named in honor of founding father John Jay, whose surname derived from the jaybird. A popular mid-century choice, Jay was in the Top 100 from 1956 to 1970. In the last couple of decades he was replaced by such more elaborate forms as Jayden, Jaylen, and Jayce. But Jay could make a comeback in tandem with cousins May, Kay, Fay, and Ray.
Description:The name of several ancient kings and princes of Ireland, Tadhg became so common at one point that it was used to represent a kind of Irish Gaelic everyman, or man in the street, as Paddy and Mick would later. Tadhg has seen a major resurgence in recent years and is also now ranked in England. It is sometimes used as the Irish equivalent of Timothy and is also anglicized as Teague and Thaddeus. Tadleigh and Thad are pet forms.
Origin:English, diminutive of Samuel
Meaning:"told by God"
Description:Sam has long been used on its own for boys, as accepted standing by itself as it is as a short form of Samuel. Straightforward and down-to-earth, Sam is the name of the son of the co-stars of The Americans, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.
Description:After centuries of lagging behind other apostle names Peter and Paul, Mark suddenly caught on in the early 1950s, reaching Number 6 by 1960. It was in the Top 10 from 1955 to 1970 and second only to Michael in popular boy names starting with M.
Meaning:"the heathland dweller"
Description:Actor Heath Ledger's tragic death has cast a pall over this otherwise pleasant and distinctive name. Nonetheless, it remains in the Top 1000.
Origin:Diminutive of Dashiell, meaning unknown
Description:Dash is a nickname that can stand on its own and sounds, well, dashing. Connected these days with Kardashian enterprises.