Cool Classic Boy Names — 100+ below the Top 1000
Description:With parents beginning to show an interest in virtue names for boys, this Puritan favorite just might be revived, for what could be more admirable than nobility in terms of having strength of character, dignity, and high moral ideals?
Description:Truman is an upstanding presidential name that radiates an aura of integrity and moral truth, values any parent would want for a child. It seems definitely headed for a revival.
Origin:Scottish and Irish
Meaning:"oak tree ford"
Description:Adair has flair, the grace of a Fred Astaire. It's a Scottish surname which came from the first name Edgar.
Meaning:"white fire or white bull"
Description:Fintan is an ancient Irish saints' name that in legend is also the name of the only person to survive The Flood. Popular in modern Ireland, Fintan is ripe for export to the US where it is rarely used but could make an excellent long form for the stylish Finn.
Description:A modern-sounding unisex name which belongs to a dragon in Turkish mythology. One notable bearer is American composer Evren Celimli.
Meaning:"mouth of the Roe river"
Description:Monroe is a presidential surname which feels fresher than Jackson, Lincoln and Taylor. Marilyn Monroe is a famous female namesake, but her smart Scottish surname feels equally usable for either sex. Plus, we think old man nickname Moe would sound both cool and adorable on a baby boy today!
Meaning:"elder tree forest"
Description:The "el-" sound is red-hot these days, and a myriad of place names and surnames give this name a wealth of possible namesakes. The main drawback is its kinship to the name of the hero of the Legally Blond series, Elle Woods, though that will fade with time.
Meaning:"settlement by the sea"
Description:Murray, you may be surprised to discover, is a Scottish surname name --that of an ancient noble clan--with a sea-swept meaning, and just could be in the next wave of reevaluated grandpa names. Currently Number 60 for baby boys born in its native Scotland; it was at its highest in the US in 1922, when it reached Number 208, but has been off the list since 1975. Could it be time for a comeback?
Origin:Diminutive of Jonathan
Meaning:"gift of Jehovah"
Description:Jaunty, to say the least, Jonty might be an option if Johnny feels too old school. It has been noticed most often on the playing fields, as in U.K. rugby player Jonty Parkin (born Jonathan) and South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes (Jonathon).
Description:Esau is one of the neglected E-beginning boys' biblical choices--it's been off the popularity lists since 1902! The name of Jacob's twin brother, son of Isaac and Rebecca, Esau could make an ideal twin choice, if you don't mind its meaning and the difficult story in the Bible behind the name, as convoluted and full of drama, tragedy, and reconciliation as any soap opera
Meaning:"row of houses by a wood"
Description:Aside from President Wilson (born Thomas), most Woodrows, including Herman, Guthrie, and Harrelson, have chosen to be known as Woody, which says it all.
Meaning:"of the city"
Description:Urban was not an uncommon name through the 1930s (rising as high as Number 435), having been attached to several saints and early popes, but it has completely disappeared from the landscape--both urban and rural. Yet in this era of word name appreciation and trend for 'an'-ending boys' names, we're thinking it might be ready for a return.
Origin:Hebrew, diminutive of Ebenezer
Meaning:"stone of help"
Description:Though most parents would shy away from Ebenezer, short form Eben is affable and creative and perfectly able to stand alone; nothing Scroogish about it. This also makes a fresh new spin on the very popular Ethan or Evan.
Origin:French occupational name
Description:Mercer is an attractive possibility which is an occupational name that doesn't sound like one. Mercer and its cool, sophisticated short form Merce project a super creative image via their artistic namesakes.
Johnny Mercer was a talented and charming songwriter-singer who wrote the lyrics for more than 1,500 songs, including Moon River. Jazz great Duke Ellington named his son Mercer, and he in turn became a respected musician in his own right. Stone Temple Pilot's Scott Weiland used Mercer as the middle name of his son Noah.
Origin:Latin clan name
Description:The ancient name Horace sounds fustily fuddy-duddy, and yet, with the resurrection of Homer, and the new interest in old Roman names...who knows.
Meaning:"servant of God"
Description:For the seriously audacious biblical baby namer who wants to move beyond Elijah and Josiah, this name has considerable old-fangled charm. Obadiah, who gave his name to one of the shortest books in the Bible, was a rich man who had the gift of prophecy. There are several other men named Obadiah in the Bible, as well as a Saint Obadiah. There have been two prominent U.S. senators named Obadiah.
Meaning:"God will hear"
Description:Ishmael is most familiar through "Call me Ishmael," the opening line spoken by the youthful narrator of Moby-Dick. Few American parents have followed that advice, though the Spanish and Arabic spelling, Ismael, ranks at Number 362. With its warm and pleasant sound, though, we could see Ishmael tagging along behind Isaiah and Isaac.
Description:One of those names that most Americans find just too too tea-sippingly British to consider; its meaning has led to occasional use for Capricorn boys.
Description:Homer is a name that has traveled from the ancient Greek scribe of the great classical epics to Bart Simpson's doltish dad, and has also become the surprise hot celebrity pick of such parents as Richard Gere (his father's name), Bill Murray, and Anne Heche. Simpsons creator Matt Groening has both a father and a son named Homer.