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Middle Names for Boys (with Meanings and Popularity)

Middle Names for Boys (with Meanings and Popularity)

Middle names for boys are traditionally family names – father's or grandfather's first name as an honorific, mother's maiden name, or perhaps a first name or surname from further back in the family tree, be it Charles or Lennox.

But increasingly, parents are looking to their son's middle name as a way to honor a hero, symbolize a passion, or indulge a taste for a more unusual name they may not want to put in first place.

Along with Charles and Lennox, other baby boy middle names common as first names in the US Top 1000 include Atlas, Cash, Fox, Henry, Maverick, Orion, River, and Sam. Unique middle names for boys include Bravery, Drummer, Lior, and Yale.

More people are giving their baby boys two middle names, too, so one can be a family name and the other something more personal or fanciful. The names here are typically used as middle names for boys, ordered by their current popularity on Nameberry.

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Middle Names

Boy Names

  1. FinnHeart
    • Origin:

      Irish
    • 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.
  2. KaiHeart
    • Origin:

      Hawaiian
    • Meaning:

      "sea"
    • Description:

      Kai is an internationally flexible name with many possible origins and meanings, growing in popularity in the US and a diverse range of European countries.
  3. OscarHeart
    • Origin:

      English or Irish
    • Meaning:

      "God spear, or deer-lover or champion warrior"
    • Description:

      Oscar is one of the most stylish Old Man Names of our era. While it's softened slightly in popularity over the past 20 years, that may be considered a very good thing.
  4. AtlasHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "bearer of the heavens"
    • Description:

      Atlas is one of those names that was previously thought too powerful for a baby boy, who would have to be strong enough to carry the world on his shoulders. Now Atlas has joined the pantheon of Greek and Roman god and goddess names in the realm of possibility, along with Mars, Zeus and Apollo.
  5. JudeHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin diminutive of Judah
    • Meaning:

      "praised"
    • Description:

      Jude is a modern star, maintaining a steady level of popularity -- but not TOO much popularity -- for more than a decade now. Thank Jude Law and the great Lennon-McCartney song "Hey Jude", double-handedly responsible for propelling Jude up the charts.
  6. JamesHeart
    • Origin:

      English variation of Jacob, Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "supplanter"
    • Description:

      James is one of the classic Anglo-Saxon names, a stalwart through the ages that is more popular—and yes, stylish—than ever today. It recently came out Number 1 in a poll of America's favorite boys' baby names, and is the most common male name, counting people of all ages, in the US.
  7. HenryHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "estate ruler"
    • Description:

      Henry is back. The classic Henry climbed back onto the Top 10 in the US in 2021 for the first time in over a century, and now stands at Number 7.
  8. OrionHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "boundary, limit"
    • Description:

      Orion is a rising star, with both mythical and celestial overtones.
  9. RoyalHeart
    • Origin:

      English word name
    • Meaning:

      "royal"
    • Description:

      Even less subtle than Duke or Earl, this name shot up the popularity charts in 2013, the same year young Prince George was born and the craze for all things royal (and Royal) began. Today, it's a leading boys' name on Nameberry's own popularity charts.
  10. AlexanderHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "defending men"
    • Description:

      Alexander is derived from the Greek name Aléxandros, composed of the elements aléxein, meaning "to defend," and aner, meaning "man." According to Greek legend, the first Alexander was Paris, who was given the nickname Alexander by the shepherds whose flocks he defended against robbers. He was followed by Alexander the Great, aka Alexander III, who conquered much of Asia.
  11. RhysHeart
    • Origin:

      Welsh
    • Meaning:

      "ardor"
    • Description:

      There's Rhys and there's Reese (now more popular for girls) and there's Reece, and we particularly like the traditional Welsh spelling, which entered the list in 2004, possibly influenced by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, of The Tudors, and Welsh-born actor Rhys Ifans.
  12. WilliamHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "resolute protection"
    • Description:

      William is one of the most enduring of classic names for boys. It's also among the most popular boys' names, as American parents see it as being ideally conservative yet contemporary, and hands-down the most popular baby name beginning with W of all time.
  13. LouisHeart
    • Origin:

      German and French
    • Meaning:

      "renowned warrior"
    • Description:

      Kate and William shocked the world when they announced that they'd named their third child Louis -- Prince Louis Arthur Charles, to be more precise. But we've been predicting a comeback for this classic name for a long time.
  14. JackHeart
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of John
    • Meaning:

      "God is gracious"
    • Description:

      Jack is a derivative of John that originated in medieval England. The name went from John to Johnkin to Jankin to Jackin to Jack. The name was so common in the Middle Ages that Jack became a generic term for a man.
  15. ThomasHeart
    • Origin:

      Aramaic
    • Meaning:

      "twin"
    • Description:

      Thomas is the Greek variation of the Aramaic name Ta’oma’. It came about because there were too many apostles named Judas; Jesus renamed one Thomas—meaning "twin"—to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot and the Judas also known as Thaddeus. At first, it was used only for priests.
  16. ApolloHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek mythology name
    • Meaning:

      "destroyer"
    • Description:

      With mythological names rising, the handsome son of Zeus and god of medicine, music, and poetry among many other things might offer an interesting, if high-pressure, option.
  17. BodhiHeart
    • Origin:

      Sanskrit
    • Meaning:

      "awakening, enlightenment"
    • Description:

      Bodhi is a Sanskrit name translated as "enlightenment" or "awakening" which relates to a Buddhist concept, wherein Bodhi is synonymous with the state of nirvana, being freed from hate, greed and ego. The Bodhi tree is a large fig tree under which the founder of Buddhism received enlightenment. Spelling variations include Bodie and Bode.
  18. RiverHeart
    • Origin:

      Nature name
    • Description:

      River shares the tranquil feeling of all the water names, and seems to have pretty much escaped its past strong association with River Phoenix and his unfortunate fate. Actor Joaquin Phoenix named his son with actress Rooney Mara after his brother River.
  19. NicoHeart
    • Origin:

      Italian diminutive of Nicholas, Greek
    • Meaning:

      "people of victory"
    • Description:

      Nico is one of the great nickname names, full of charm, energy and effortless cool -- a neo Nick.
  20. MaxHeart
    • Origin:

      English and German diminutive of Maximilian or Maxwell
    • Meaning:

      "greatest"
    • 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.