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Cool Classic Boy Names — 100+ below the Top 1000

These classic boy names include choices from ancient cultures and the Bible, names sailing out of style along with those heading in. How can a name be cool and classic at the same time? It's deeply rooted in history, but it's also unusual, and these boys' names qualify on both counts.

Along with up-and-coming names such as Adler and Orson, this list features undiscovered gems such as Benno, Inigo, Ludo, Tudor, and Wyclef — each of which were given to fewer than ten baby boys in 2019.

Names outside of the Top 1000 are unique and rare. If you're looking for cool classic names for a baby boy, check out these 100+ options.

Classic Boy Names Below the Top 1000
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CassianHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, variation of Cassius
  • Meaning:

    "hollow"
  • Description:

    Cassian is a saints' and Latin clan name, related to Cassius, that is virtually unused and waiting to be discovered.

LuciusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Lucius is an exotic old Roman clan name that has lots of religious and literary resonance, yet is still vital today. It was the name of three popes, appears in several Shakespeare plays, and, like all the names beginning with 'luc' relates to the Latin word for light.It was one of a limited number of forenames used in ancient Rome.

EvanderHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish; Greek
  • Meaning:

    "bow warrior; strong man"
  • Description:

    Evander is a name that could build on the popularity of shorter form Evan, and could work and play well with schoolmates like Zander and Xander.

EmrysHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh, variation of Ambrose
  • Meaning:

    "immortal"
  • Description:

    If you're looking for a Welsh name less common than Dylan, Griffin, Evan, or Morgan, you might want to consider this offbeat epithet of the wise wizard Merlin.

    Root name Ambrose is an ancient saints' name derived from the Greek ambrosia, the food and drink of the gods that conferred immortality.

PhineasHeart

  • Origin:

    English, Egyptian
  • Meaning:

    "the Nubian"
  • Description:

    Phineas is the English variation of Phinehas, a Hebrew name likely derived from the Egyptian name Pa-nehasi. Pa-nehasi, meaning “the Nubian” can also be translated as “the bronze-colored one.” The Egyptians distinguished themselves from their Nubian neighbors through differences in skin tone.
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CaiusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "rejoice"
  • Description:

    Caius is classical and serious but also has a simple, joyful quality. There was a third century pope named Caius, as well as an early Christian writer, several Shakespearean characters, and a Twilight vampire. We would pronounce the name to rhyme with eye-us though at Cambridge University in England, where it's the name of a college, it's pronounced keys. Caius is currently Number 164 on Nameberry.

CosmoHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian from Greek
  • Meaning:

    "order, beauty"
  • Description:

    We all heard it on "Seinfeld" as the long-concealed first name of Kramer, now some pioneering parents are wondering if this expansive Greek name that seems to embrace the whole cosmos could make a creative and cool choice for their baby.

RufusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "red-head"
  • Description:

    Rufus is a rumpled, redheaded (it was the nickname for red-haired King William) ancient Roman name popular with saints and singers (e.g. Rufus Wainwright); now, Rufus is on the cutting edge of cool.

ValentineHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "strength, health"
  • Description:

    Valentine is an attractive Shakespearean name with romantic associations, but those very ties to the saint and the sentimental holiday have sent it into a decline, one which we think may be about to turn around.

LazarusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latinized Greek variation of Hebrew Eleazar
  • Meaning:

    "God is my helper"
  • Description:

    Lazarus is a name that looks as if it could possibly be raised from the dead, just like its biblical bearer. Look for it in the next wave of Old Testament revivals that transcend their long-bearded images, the way Noah, Moses, and Abraham have for this generation.
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RafeHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Ralph
  • Meaning:

    "wolf-counsel"
  • Description:

    Used almost exclusively in England; would make an equally amiable short form here for Raphael or Rafferty -- and could also stand on its own. If you're looking for boys' names starting with R, this is one of your cooler choices.

AngusHeart

  • Origin:

    Anglicized form of Aonghus, Aonghas, Gaelic
  • Meaning:

    "one strength"
  • Description:

    Angus is a traditional yet stylish choice in the UK, especially in Scotland. And it's a cool choice for US parents too, particularly those whose roots go back to Glasgow. The ancient Celtic form Oenghus has important historical overtones in Scotland, and the Gaelic form Aonghas is associated with two distinguished modern poets. In Irish folklore, Angus Og is a chieftain-lord who used his magical powers for the pleasure and prosperity of mankind--and in Irish myth, Aonghus was the god of love and youth.

RaffertyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "floodtide, abundance, prosperity"
  • Description:

    Jaunty and raffish, Rafferty is one of the most engaging of the Irish surnames, used by Jude Law and Sadie Frost for their son. Fortunately, it doesn't still go by its original form: O'Raighbheartaigh.

CormacHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "charioteer"
  • Description:

    Both offbeat and upbeat, this evocative traditional Irish name that runs through Celtic mythology is known here via award-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy (born Charles). The author's adopted name is related to Cormac Mac Airt, one of the great legendary high kings of Ireland.

LysanderHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "liberator"
  • Description:

    Lysander is a distinctive Greek name that could be thought of as a more creative cousin of Alexander. In ancient history, Lysander was the name of an esteemed Spartan naval commander and his literary cred comes from one of the two star-struck young men in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, as well as one of the twin sons (the other being Lorcan) of Luna Lovegood, whom we learn about in the Harry Potter epilogue.
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RemusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, meaning unknown
  • Description:

    Remus is one of the legendary twins who, with brother Romulus, founded Rome. An unusual yet classic name for the extremely adventurous who can put aside the stereotyped image of Uncle Remus. Though because of that "ream" first syllable, we prefer Romulus.

OrsonHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin and English
  • Meaning:

    "bear cub"
  • 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.

BoazHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "swiftness"
  • Description:

    Now that such Old Testament patriarchs as Elijah and Moses fill the playground, Boaz seems downright baby-friendly, having more pizzazz than many of the others, perhaps as a successor to Noah.

CasperHeart

  • Origin:

    Dutch form of Jasper, Persian
  • Meaning:

    "bringer of treasure"
  • Description:

    This ancient name, also spelled Caspar, is finally shedding its ghostly image and moving into the 21st century. Popular in the Netherlands and Scandinavia, where it's sometimes shortened to Cas, Casper could ride the style coattails of cousin Jasper. Casper was one of the Three Magi who brought gifts to the infant Jesus along with Melchior and Balthasar.

OziasHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "salvation"
  • Description:

    Everyone says they want an unusual name — well, if you truly do, this is one with Biblical cred that fits the bill, with the added attraction of the user-friendly nickname of Oz or Ozzie. Ozias is the name of several minor figures in the Bible. Osias is another spelling.
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LinusHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "flax"
  • Description:

    Can Linus lose its metaphorical security blanket and move from the Peanuts page onto the birth certificate? We think it has enough charm and other positive elements going for it for the answer to be yes.

CatoHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "all-knowing"
  • Description:

    Cato conjures up images of ancient Roman statesmen and southern antebellum retainers; it could have revival potential, with its 'O' ending and the current interest in the names of Greek and Roman antiquity.

LeifHeart

  • Origin:

    Scandinavian
  • Meaning:

    "heir, descendant"
  • Description:

    Leif is one of the most recognizable Scandinavian names, thanks to Icelandic explorer Leif Erikson, and is still one of the best, with a pleasant aural association with the word leaf.

EdmundHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "fortunate protector"
  • Description:

    The sophisticated Edmund and its nearly-identical French twin Edmond are coming out of mothballs now that Edward, inspired by Twilight, is once again a hot name.

RupertHeart

  • Origin:

    German variation of Robert
  • Meaning:

    "bright fame"
  • Description:

    Rupert is a charming-yet-manly name long more popular in Britain (where it's attached to a beloved cartoon bear) than in the U.S. Yet we can see Rupert as a more stylish, modern way to honor an ancestral Robert.
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EamonHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of Edmund
  • Meaning:

    "wealthy protector"
  • Description:

    Eamon is one of the traditional Irish names that has not yet emigrated to the US. This Irish name pronounced ay-mon was popularized by early president of the independent republic Eamon de Valera (birth name George), who was born in the United States to an Irish mother and a Cuban father. Eamon definitely has possibilities as a successor to the epidemically popular Aidan/Aiden.

LeanderHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "lion-man"
  • Description:

    Leander is an almost unknown name with great potential as a possible alternative to the overused Alexander. In Greek legend, Leander was the powerful figure who swam across the Hellespont every night to visit his beloved Hero, a priestess of Venus.

AnselHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "with divine protection"
  • Description:

    Ansel, primarily associated with the great western photographer Ansel Adams, famed for his magnificent photographs of the Yosemite Valley, could make a creative artist-hero choice. For Adams it was a family name – he was named after his uncle, Ansel Easton. And, in turn, Adams was the namesake of young heartthrob Ansel Elgort, son of a photographer.

ChesterHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "fortress, walled town,"
  • Description:

    Chester is a comfortable, little-used teddy-bear of a name that suddenly sounds both quirky and cuddly.

FinnianHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "fair"
  • Description:

    Finnian is a fair jig of a name, energetic and easy on the ear. Finnian (and brother Finian) is also familiar in its alternate spelling through the classic 1968 Broadway musical Finian's Rainbow, later made into a film starring Fred Astaire as Finian McLonergan.
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PercyHeart

  • Origin:

    French surname from place name Perci-en-Auge
  • Description:

    Percy is an adorable old name that is finally shedding its pampered Little Lord Fauntleroy image in this new era of boys with soft yet traditionally male names like Jasper and Elijah. Originating as an aristocratic Norman name, Percy became fairly widespread in England--and to some extent in the US--as an offshoot of the fame of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

DashiellHeart

  • Origin:

    Anglicization of French surname de Chiel, meaning unknown
  • Description:

    Dashiell, though missing from many other name sources, is among the hottest new names, chosen by such celebs as Cate Blanchett and author Helen (Bridget Jones) Fielding. With its great dash and panache, Dashiell is associated with detective writer Dashiell Hammett (born Samuel, as in Sam Spade, Dashiell being his mother's maiden name). Alice Cooper was ahead of the game: He named his son Dashiell in 1985.

CorneliusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "horn"
  • Description:

    Cornelius, the New Testament name of a third century Pope and saint, is one of those venerable Latin names on the edge of consideration, despite the corny nickname alert.

GrayHeart

  • 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.

LevHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew; Russian
  • Meaning:

    "heart; lion"
  • Description:

    This concise one-syllable name, Hebrew for heart or the Russian form of Leo, has definite potential, being more unusual than the increasingly popular Levi.
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IgnatiusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "fiery"
  • Description:

    Ignatius? Good gracious! This is a name making a truly surprising return, sparked by its selection by not one but two celebrities--Cate Blanchett and Julianne Nicholson.

    Ignatius, the name of several saints including the founder of the Catholic Jesuit order, was considered more apt to be borne by churches and schools than babies in the recent past, though it was not unusual from the late nineteenth century to 1930; it ranked as high as Number 602 in 1913.

RoscoeHeart

  • Origin:

    Norse
  • Meaning:

    "deer forest"
  • Description:

    Fairly popular a hundred years ago but out of sight now, the quirky Roscoe deserves a place on every adventurous baby-namer's long list. It joins Rufus, Roman, Remy, Romulus, and Ray as one of the R names that sound fresh again after too many years of Robert, Richard, and Ronald.

OberonHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Auberon
  • Meaning:

    "noble, bearlike"
  • Description:

    The Shakespearean character Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream is King of the Fairies, but the name, with its strong 'O' beginning, projects a far more virile image than that.

WolfgangHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "traveling wolf"
  • Description:

    Chef Wolfgang Puck has helped soften this thunderous Germanic name; music-lovers will appreciate its association with Mozart, though the composer's middle name Amadeus is more appealing.

NiallHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "cloud"
  • Description:

    Niall is pronounced nye-al--something like Neil, but this Irish spelling of the name makes it much more current and cool.
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JethroHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "excellence"
  • Description:

    Jethro, though the biblical father-in-law of Moses, has suffered for a long time from a Beverly Hillbilly image, but some really adventurous parents might consider updating and urbanizing it and transitioning it into the hip o-ending category.

AloysiusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "famous warrior"
  • Description:

    This name is a classic example of an underused golden oldie that ticks so many boxes - unusual yet traditional, heaps of cute nicknames, a statement name that exudes retro cool. Aloysius is the Latin form of many more common names like Louis, Luis, Luigi and the uncommon but symphonically familiar Ludwig.

AbnerHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "father of light."
  • Description:

    This neglected Biblical name--it was the name of the commander of Saul's army and appears twice in the New Testament--is ready to flee Dogpatch. It was regularly used in the nineteenth century, but was pretty much demolished by the long-running hillbilly comic strip L'il Abner, which began in 1934 and ran through 1977. A more respectable namesake is Abner Doubleday, who has been credited with inventing baseball.

EwanHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish form of Gaelic Eoghan
  • Meaning:

    "born of the yew tree"
  • Description:

    This appealing name has a good chance of catching on due to the popularity of Ewan McGregor, and the trend towards Gaelic names in general. Pronunciation is YOO-un.

UlyssesHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin variation of the Greek Odysseus
  • Description:

    Ulysses is one of the few U boys' names anyone knows -- with heavy links to the Homeric hero, eighteenth president Grant, and the James Joyce novel -- all of which makes it both distinguished and kind of weighty for a modern boy. Ulysses was on the US popularity list well into the twenty-first century; it's off now, but Number 684 on Nameberry.
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BarnabyHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Barnabas, Aramaic
  • Meaning:

    "son of consolation"
  • Description:

    Barnaby, a genial and energetic name with an Irish-sounding three-syllable lilt, is an ancient appellation that manages to be both unusual and highly attractive and deserves to be used more than it is. A sweet-spot name that's a real winner.

StellanHeart

  • Origin:

    Swedish, meaning unknown , possibly "calm"
  • Meaning:

    "calm"
  • Description:

    Stellan is a strong, attractive, Scandinavian possible up-and-comer, known through actor Stellan Skarsgard, and his namesake, the son of Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany. Its trendy 'an' ending and the similarity in sound to the popular Kellen/Kellan make it all the more accessible.

JulesHeart

  • Origin:

    French form of Latin Julius
  • Meaning:

    "youthful; soft, downy"
  • Description:

    Though Jules hasn't been on the US popularity list in fifty years, it is a current hit in its native France—where it's currently Number 10—and we can definitely see it making a comeback here, being far more romantic than, say, Jim.

MontyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Montague, Montgomery
  • Description:

    Monty, a name with a World War II feel, is rarely used on its own. But we're hearing rumblings of a comeback and think that Monty, whatever it's short for, is an adorable vintage nickname name of the future.

InigoHeart

  • Origin:

    Basque, medieval Spanish variation of Ignatius
  • Meaning:

    "fiery"
  • Description:

    Inigo, almost unknown in the U.S., is an intriguing choice, with its strong beat, creative and evocative sound, and associations with the great early British architect and stage designer Inigo Jones. The sixteenth-seventeenth century Jones shared his name with his father, a London clockmaker, who received it when Spanish names for boys were fashionable in England, especially among devout Roman Catholics.
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