18 Names to Substitute for Max
Love the name Max but fear it's overused? Consider these alternatives with a similar sound, feel, or flavor.
Origin:Scandinavian from Latin
Description:Magnus is a Latin name, literally meaning “greatest,” that has a Scandinavian feel. It dates back to Charlemagne being called Carolus Magnus, or Charles the Great. Norwegian king Magnus I, named after Charlemagne, introduced it to his culture, and thus Magnus was the name of six early kings of Norway and four of Sweden. It is still a highly popular name in Denmark and Norway.
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.
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 occupational name
Meaning:"worker in stone"
Description:Mason has become mega-popular; it hit as high as the Number 2 spot in 2011 and has stayed near the top of the charts since.
Description:A happy medium between the weighty Maximilian and the laid-back Max, Maxwell is one of the most classic and attractive Scottish names. Early influences on the name's revival include Maxwell Smart of the television show, and then movie, Get Smart, and the Beatles song about Maxwell's Silver Hammer.
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, 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. Sam is one of the most popular names that start with S in the Western world, ranking higher in several European countries than it does in the US, where it's trended downward since the 19th century, though it's always been in the Top 1000.
Origin:Scottish or Irish
Description:Mack, when "formalized" with the final k, makes an engagingly amiable choice, a far more uncommon alternative to the ubiquitous Max and Jack, with a nice, every-guy feel. Mack entered the popularity list in 2009 for the first time since 1989 and continues to climb. However, it's still far from its peak — it was a Top 100 name in 1900.
Origin:Diminutive of Alexander, Alexis
Description:The independent Alex has become a classic in its own right. One of the truest unisex names, Alex is used almost equally for both sexes. Alex is used both on its own and as a short form of formal names of both genders, such as Alexander, Alexandra, and Alexis.
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.
Origin:English rank of nobility
Description:While John Wayne and Duke Ellington are worthy role models, the reason Duke is currently enjoying a revival and returned to the Top 1000 in 2013 as one of the year's fastest-rising boys’ names is more likely due to the name given to high-profile TV couple Giuliana and Bill Rancic. Christened Edward Duke, he has always been called by his middle name, just as Edward Duke Ellington was. Duke is just one of several aristocratic titles being increasingly used by ordinary citizens.
Origin:Diminutive of Dexter
Description:Dex, the nickname for Dexter that is sometimes used on its own, has lots of energy and dynamism. It was chosen by comedian Dana Carvey for his now grown son. With the growing popularity of Dexter, we may be seeing more of Dex.
Origin:Diminutive of Alexander
Description:Cool short form of Alexander, fresher than Alex and less trendy than Xander... for now.
Origin:Modern invented name
Description:Jax is the Dex-Jex-Pax type of x-ending cool -- possibly too cool -- variation of Jack or nickname for Jaxon or Jackson.
Meaning:"son of the beige one"
Description:Although Maguire is such a prominent Irish surname —it ranks in the Top 40 in the Emerald Isle —this lively and cheerful family name has rarely been used as a first, unlike more familiar examples like Ryan, Riley and Reagan. The powerful and distinguished Maguire clan was known for their courage, leadership and resilience. The name's many notable associations include the unionizing Pennsylvania coal miners known as the Molly Maguires, actor Tobey Maguire and Dixie Chick Martie Maguire. Other spellings are McGuire and McGwire; two other handsome Irish surnames to consider are Malone and Magee.
Description:This name may be related to the Latin Maximus, which means "the greatest," or to a British landowner's name, but for most modern parents, it's one of several ways to get to short form Max.
Origin:Short form of Thaddeus or variation of Tad
Description:Thad is a tad too slight to stand alone as a name, though as a short form of the imposing Thaddeus it's as serviceable as Ted or Ed.
Meaning:"son of the fair hero"
Description:New Presidential name, if you're ready to move beyond Lincoln and Jefferson. At the turn of the last century, during the original McKinley's heyday, as a first name it almost reached the Top 100.