Son Baby Names
Along with Allison and Jackson, other son baby names in the US Top 100 include Mason, Madison, Addison, Grayson, Hudson, Carson, Jameson, and Bryson. Fashionable son names that are also well-known celebrity surnames include Branson, Hanson, Olson, and Tomlinson.
Son baby names can make for an original way to honor an ancestor or relative while slightly varying the name. You may find a son name you want to use from your family tree, or take inspiration from these prime examples:
Description:Hudson has risen quickly up the charts after emerging at the bottom of the list in 1995, now solidly in the Top 100.
Meaning:"son of Matthew"
Description:Madison originated as an English surname, a variant of Mathieson, meaning “son of Matthew.” It is occasionally translated as “son of Maud,” as Maddy was historically a nickname for Maud. It was introduced as a feminine given name in the 1984 movie Splash, in which the main character takes her name from New York’s Madison Avenue street sign.
Meaning:"son of Emery"
Description:Emerson is a dignified, somewhat serious name associated with transcendental thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson. Much more popular now for girls since Desperate Housewife Teri Hatcher used it for her daughter, it is definitely still a viable boys name.
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.
Meaning:"son of Harry"
Description:Harrison, a name made viable by Harrison Ford, is increasingly popular with parents who want an H name that's more formal than Harry or Hank but doesn't veer into the stiff Huntington-Harrington territory.
Meaning:"the son of the bailiff"
Description:Grayson, which you might think of as a Jason-Mason substitute, is on the fast track. Though--you may be surprised to know--Grayson has been in the Top 1000 since 1984, it is now more popular than ever, and is rising.
Origin:Irish and Scottish
Meaning:"son of the marsh-dwellers"
Description:Carson is one of the most long-running popular androgynous baby names, with a dash of the Wild West via the legendary Missouri frontiersman Kit Carson. Dating back to when it was the name of Nancy Drew's Dad, Carson is still steadily in the Top 100 baby names.
Current Carsons include TV personalities Carson Daly and Carson Kressley, and Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer. Carson Wells was the bounty hunter character played by Woody Harrelson in No Country for Old Men, and Carson is the name chosen by actress Kathryn Erbe for her son.
Origin:Latin and English
Description:Orson has had in the past a rotund teddy-bear image, a la Orson Welles, who early on dropped his common given name of George in favor of his more distinctive middle one, and who seemed to own it during his lifetime. No longer a single-person signature, it's now an interesting possibility for any parent seeking an unusual yet solid name. It's started to appear to the celeb set--both Paz Vega and Lauren Ambrose have little Orsons.
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.
Meaning:"son of David"
Description:Dawson was scarcely heard as a first name before the debut of Dawson's Creek in 1998, at which point it leaped up more than 550 places in one year. The character Dawson Leery, played by James Van Der Beek, was a teen favorite until the show's demise in 2003.
Description:With the prevailing popularity of Samuel, some parents are considering this more (literally) powerful biblical name, which shares the desirable nickname of Sam.
Meaning:"son of Adam"
Description:Addison, a TV-generated name (Dr. Addison Shephard, Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice) took off in hot pursuit of predecessor Madison, sounding sharper and more modern--at least until its own rapid climb up the ladder. Addison, one of the few patronymics ('son of') names to be totally accepted for girls, is now near the top of the girls' charts and is among the most popular of the popular girl names starting with A.
Origin:Scottish, diminutive of Alice
Description:Widely used here since the fifties, Allison -- a derivative of Alice -- has far surpassed the original in popularity, though now it's eclipsed by Addison. Alice itself is also rising again. Ellison -- another Allison-inspired variant -- is another fresh spin. For more, see Alison.
Meaning:"son of Brice"
Description:A surname name that can transition to first -- it entered the Top 1000 in 1980 and is now firmly in the Top 100. Actress NeNe Leakes chose it for her son. R&B singer Bryson Tiller's popularity may have played a part in accelerating Bryson's rise.
Origin:English and Scottish surname related to Walter
Meaning:"son of Wat"
Description:What with the resurgence of W names like Weston and Walter, the prominence of high profile actress Emma and golfer Bubba, and even the attention paid to Watson, the IBM computer on "Jeopardy" (named for IBM's founder, Thomas Watson) this name could be in line for a revival of its own.
Meaning:"son of Will"
Description:Wilson is a substantive presidential choice far less prevalent than Taylor or Tyler, and with the advantage of being a new route to friendly nickname Will. We see Wilson growing in popularity as an alternative to William; and as a patronymic, it would make a conceivable (if possibly confusing) choice for a son of William.
Meaning:"son of Lawrence"
Description:Appealing way, à la Dawson, to honor an ancestral Lawrence.
Meaning:"son of Adam"
Description:Scottish names that started as surnames are a class unto themselves. This old Scottish surname name debuted on the US Top 1000 in 2016 -- bolstered, no doubt, by the extreme popularity of Easton, just one letter away.
Meaning:"son of Edward"
Description:This rhythmic last-name-first-name projects the creativity and inventiveness of Thomas Edison.
Meaning:"son of Anders"
Description:Anderson shot up quite a bit on the popular names list in the 2000's, no doubt in large part due to the prominence of white-haired cable newsman Anderson Cooper. Perhaps surprisingly though, Anderson was even higher on the list in 1880. Actress Edie Falco named her son Anderson in 2005. Though there haven't been many first-named Anderson namesakes, there have been countless notables bearing the surname, including Hans Christian, Marian, Maxwell, Sherwood, Gillian, Laurie, and Pamela.
Meaning:"son of Ben"
Description:Benson has outgrown its long association with a wisecracking TV butler. Parents may see it as an alternate route to nickname Ben, very different in image than the biblical Benjamin. Benson also carries the patronymic theme made popular by Jackson, Harrison, and Jefferson. More recently, Olivia Benson of Law and Order: SVU has reclaimed this as a surname. On a less salubrious note, Benson is still connected to the cigarette brand Benson and Hedges.
Meaning:"son of brown-haired one"
Description:This surname has a modern yet old New England feel, perhaps because of the association with the transcendental teacher and reformer Bronson (born Amos Bronson) Alcott, father of Louisa May. (One-time sitcom star Bronson Pinchot's full name is Bronson Alcott Pinchot.) A more muscular image comes via tough guy Charles Bronson.
Description:As parents were finding too many Tylers at the neighborhood playground, they began looking to Tyson as an alternative, no longer concerned with possible connections to Mike Tyson or Tyson chicken.
Description:Most known as a popular brand of Western hats, this surname has a brief history as a given name. It charted in the US Top 1000 in 1989 and 1991-95. It has been experiencing renewed interest in the last few years, having reentered the popularity charts in 2013 and now ranking its highest ever at Number 709.
Meaning:"son of Neil"
Description:Nelson is a rather stiff and dated surname name that is sometimes used to honor distinguished South African activist Nelson Mandela, as Celine Dion did for one of her twin boys. Other notable associations are with the British Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, novelist Nelson Algren and movie operetta star Nelson Eddy. It was also the given name of "Rabbit" Angstrom, protagonist of John Updike's series of novels.
Meaning:"son of Ellis"
Description:Updates Allison—which everyone will misunderstand it as. But it's definitely a fresh spin on the Ellie names, and a rising surname name choice for girls. It made its first appearance on the US Top 1000 in 2013.
Meaning:"son of Anne"
Description:Anson has always been rare, though you might think of actor Anson Williams, best known for playing Potsie Weber on 1970s sitcom Happy Days. As a direct result of the show's popularity, Anson charted in the US Top 1000 from 1976 to 1981.
Meaning:"son of Jens"
Description:The surname name Jenson is in the British Top 100 thanks to champion race car driver Jenson Button. Jenson might be an honorific for an ancestral John, the English form of Jens or Johannes, or even Jen.
Meaning:"son of Jordan"
Description:Judson remained in the US Top 1000 every year until it dropped off in 1987. In 2014, the named rejoined the list. With Hudson gaining in popularity, Judson—a possible alternative to Justin—could follow its path.
Description:This name, once considered overly powerful due to the superhuman strength of the biblical figure, is now an option for parents in search of an unusual route to Sam. But you really don't need that p: Samson will do.
Description:Gibson is an undiscovered patronymic surname, with some appealing nicknames. It also brings to mind the popular brand of guitars.
Meaning:"son of Dennis"
Description:Few people would have considered the surname of this famous Victorian poet as a first name until Russell Crowe chose it for his son in 2006. But, as a rhythmic three-syllable patronymic, Tennyson has a lot going for it, not least of all the appealing nickname Tenny; it would make a novel choice for the son of a Dennis.
Meaning:"son of Morris"
Description:Morrison is one of the more uncommon patronymics; it could be used to honor an ancestral Morris, or one of the well-known surnamed Morrisons: Toni, Jim or Van.
Origin:Modern invented name
Description:Jason with a K or Kase with an N or Karson without the R.
Meaning:"son of the raven"
Description:Branson is a fairly recent addition to the Top 1000, first breaking in at Number 988 in 1995. While it may not be a common sighting yet, it fits the trend of more popular cousins Mason, Grayson, Hudson, and Carson.
Description:In the 90s, Michael Jordan inspired thousands of parents around the world to name their babies Jordan. Retired NBA star Allen Iverson hasn't yet had anywhere near that impact, but a respectable 64 baby boys born in 2016 were named Iverson. The "Iv-" beginning does feel distinctive.
Meaning:"son of Jeffrey"
Description:The name of the third U.S. President sounds, like Harrison and Jackson, more modern and stylish now than its root name. Used as a first name long before our surname-crazed era, Jefferson was most famously connected to the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis--and is the middle name of another Prez, William Clinton. Fictional Jeffersons include Jefferson Bricks in Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit and Jefferson Almond in Henry James' Washington Square, the title character in the Frank Capra classic film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," plus others--for better and for worse-- in "Married With Children," "The Dukes of Hazzard" and "Kit Kittridge: An American Girl."
Origin:Variation of Judson
Description:The surname name Jetson may have originated as a variation on Judson, a patronymic related to Jordan, but it is more familiar to most Americans as the last name of the futuristic cartoon family. Jetson may appeal to parents as a proper form leading to the cool boy nickname Jet.
Description:This weapon name, linked to arms manufacturer Smith and Wesson, entered the US Top 1000 for the first time in 2016.
Meaning:"son of Garret"
Description:As Harrison is to Harry, Garrison is to Gary: both of the longer versions sound more modern and appealing. NPR's Prairie Home Companion's Garrison Keillor was born Gary.
Origin:Modern invented name
Description:Also found as Brason, this is one of an army of Jason sound-alikes, which include Cason, Mason, Kaysen, and so on. Stylish, yes; recommended, no.
Meaning:"son of Hans"
Description:More familiar and melodic to the American ear than either Hans or Hansen, and some might attach it to the three-brother pop-rock band called Hanson.
Meaning:"Son of Nicholas"
Description:A mostly undiscovered alternative to the ultra-popular Colton; just 80 baby boys were named Coleson in 2016. It's also a surname name in its own right.
Meaning:"son of the eternal ruler"
Description:Ericson, also spelled Erickson and Erikson (and with -sen endings too), is a Nordic surname that makes a strong choice. Ericson may continue the trend Harrison, Jefferson and Jackson started.
Meaning:"son of Henry"
Description:Bulky surname honoring Grandpa Henry or Saul Bellow's Rain King.
Meaning:"son of James"
Description:Stylish surname way to go if you want to name a girl after a James, and is more substantial than the passé Jamie; it was chosen for their daughter by Chynna Phillips and Billy Baldwin.
Meaning:"son of Tom"
Description:Thompson is not as popular as Jackson or Harrison, but a novel way to circumvent Junior for the son of a Thomas.