Unique Middle Names for Boys
Unique middle names for boys are become less, well, unique these days, as middle names increasingly become a way to express individuality, honor a relative or signal a value, make any name more one-of-a-kind. Some of the unique middle names we've heard most often for boys include nature names such as Bear and Ocean, spiritual names such as Journey and Justice, and hero names like Lincoln or Lebron. A middle name can also be a way to make your son's gender identity less binary, so if you're using a conventionally masculine first name such as Henry, you might soften that with a gender-neutral middle name like Sage or True.
A select group of unique baby names that work in the middle for boys is here, or you can search further with our master list of more than 900 middle names for boys and girls.
Meaning:"bearer of the heavens"
Description:Previously thought too powerful for a baby boy – who would have to be strong enough to carry the world on his shoulders – Atlas has joined the pantheon of Greek and Roman god and goddess names now in the realm of possibility, along with Mars, Zeus and Apollo. It was one of the fast-rising names on the list in recent years in the USA, jumping from oblivion in 2012 into the Top 500 in 2015, and climbing several hundred places higher since then. Anne Heche was one of the first to make this audacious choice, but several celebrity parents have followed suit.
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. Keri Russell and the Taylor Hansons both have sons named River, Natasha Henstridge used it as the middle name of her boy Tristan, and Jason Schwartzman pluralized it for daughter Marlowe Rivers.
Origin:Greek mythology name
Description:Orion is a rising star, with both mythical and celestial overtones.
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.
Description:If you're looking for a name that's light and breezy, this could be it. A name from mythology: Zephyrus/Zephyr was the Greek god of the west wind-- with many European variations, it's a name that's frequently seen in computer and video games, is a character in the children's book Silverwing, and appears in the Babar books--as a monkey.
Origin:Herb name and also Latin
Meaning:"wise and knowing"
Description:Fits many criteria sought by modern parents: it's short and strong, with intimations of wisdom as well as fragrant herbal properties. At this point, Sage is given about a third of the time to boys.
Description:Bear has suddenly lumbered onto the baby name landscape. Perhaps inspired by British adventurer Bear Grylls (born Edward Michael), first celebrity chef Jamie Oliver used it as the middle name for his boy Buddy, and more recently Alicia Silverstone called her son Bear Blu., followed by Kate Winslet's Bear Blaize. It's part of a current trend normalizing once aggressive animal names like Wolf and Fox. Bear is now Number 218 on Nameberry and in the Top 900 in England.
Origin:Greek mythology name
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. But if Romeo and Venus are now deemed baby-appropriate, why not Apollo? Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno might inspire some parents. And now that it's been chosen by Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, it could take off as their first son's name—Kingston—has.
Description:Fox is one animal name backed by a longish tradition, and then popularized via the lead character Fox Mulder on X Files. Fox is simple, sleek, and a little bit wild, and could make an interesting middle name.
Meaning:"town by the pool"
Description:Lincoln cracked the Top 50 for boys' names for the first time in 2016, more than 150 years after the death of its most famous bearer. This is especially remarkable because, as crazy as it seems now, Lincoln was deeply out of fashion as recently as the late 90s, consistently hovering near the bottom of the Top 1000. This admirable presidential choice with a stylish two-syllable sound projects the tall, rangy, upright, image of Honest Abe. Bill Murray is father to a son named Lincoln, and Kathryn Erbe's boy Carson has Lincoln for his middle name. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard gender-bent it for their daughter.
Origin:Animal name or diminutive of Wolfgang
Description:Wolf is a name with a split personality. It can be seen as one of the fierce animal names, like Fox and Bear and Puma, with a touch of the werewolf, or it can be viewed as a quieter, Wolf Blitzer kind of name, fairly common in German (where is pronounced Vulf) and Jewish families, sometimes as a short form of Wolfgang.
Origin:Word name; also diminutive of Cassius
Description:Whether it's due to its economic connotations, or its link to American legend Johnny Cash, this name is widely used, and has been used by several celebrities including Annabeth Gish and Joshua Morrow.
Description:Long associated with the Churchill family and common in the West Indies, the distinguished Winston has tended to be neglected here. The exception was during the World War II period, when Winston Churchill was a towering figure and his name reached Number 234. It's now enjoying something of a renaissance.
Description:Thor, the powerful name of the Norse god of thunder, strength and rain, would make a bold statement. Long a comic book staple, Thor has now invaded the big screen, and could land on birth certificates as well.
Description:Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn put this name in play as a first name, but David Bowie (born with the considerably less marketable moniker of David Robert Jones) dyed it blond and gave it charisma. He changed his surname in 1965 to avoid confusion with the then popular Davy Jones of The Monkees, and especially since his death, his admirers have seen it as an increasingly viable baby name namesake.
Origin:Dutch and German, from first name Hendrik
Description:Hendrix is one of those hip rock and roll names, like Lennon, Jagger and Presley, that have been used by fellow celebs and others, to honor the seminal guitarist/singer/songwriter Jimi. And this one has the trendy 'x' ending, as well, helping to propel it up the charts and into the spotlight.
Description:King is a name that sends a mixed message. While some might think of it as more fitting for a canine, others see it as a strong name with offbeat style and a full court of rich associations, from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Elvis. King Vidor was an important early Hollywood director; King Camp Gillette invented the safety razor.
Origin:Latin from Greek
Description:Yes, it's the name of the brightest star in the sky, but can't you just hear people saying, "Are you serious?" Singer Erykah Badu used it as a middle name for son Seven.
Origin:English and Irish from French
Description:Bellamy is a surname name with an admirable meaning and upbeat rhythm, similar to jovial choices like Rafferty, Barnaby and Willoughby.
Meaning:"lover of God"
Description:Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's middle name could make an interesting pick for music-loving parents--if only in middle place. Amadeus is the title of a Peter Shaffer play which became an award-winning film in 1984.
Origin:English word name
Description:Crew is yet another word name that was added to the baby name lexicon when this one was chosen by The Young and the Restless star Joshua Morrow for his son. It debuted on the Top 1000 in 2010. We've also heard spelling variations Cru and Crue.
Description:Nature names like Ocean and River are flowing back into favor, especially with nature lovers and green-oriented parents.
Origin:Bird name; or English, diminutive of Robert
Description:Now that it's no longer fashionable for girls, Robin is rising for boys again. Robin Hood, Robin Williams, Christopher Robin, and Robin the Boy Wonder are all male namesakes, after all. It reentered the US Top 1000 boys namesin 2015 for the first time since 1999.
Description:A spiritual word name used by actor Zoe Saldana for her son.
Description:Nova might be a much more commonly used a girls' name, but enough parents saw unisex appeal in it for it to debut on the US Top 1000 for boys in 2017. Nova is an astronomical term for a star that suddenly increases in brightness, then fades.
Description:For a single-syllable Latino surname, this new popular kid on the block packs a lot of energy and charm and is one of the most stylish Spanish names for boys in general use today. Victoria and David Beckham named their third son Cruz, following Brooklyn and Romeo, and it was also picked up on by tennis star Lleyton Hewitt for his son. Other parents may prize its Christian associations.
Origin:English word name
Description:Ever's timeless quality would make this evocative word a positive middle name choice for a boy or girl. Alanis Morissette and Souleye named their son Ever Imre.
Ever also seems to have ties to a Scandinavian name meaning "wild as a boar" and a Hebrew name meaning "beyond,"-- a variation of the name Eber.
Description:Better than Capricorn or Cancer, not as usable as Leo, the name of the Roman god of war becomes more possible as a baby name every day, as mythological names take the place of biblical names.
Description:Though some may find such names rather harsh and severe, increasing numbers of parents are gravitating toward this kind of flinty, steely, stony single-syllable name.
Description:A biblical place name with trumpeting verve and strength.
Description:Sky is an ambigender nature name that was first legitimized as the character of Sky Masterson in the 1950 musical Guys and Dolls, played in the film version by Marlon Brando. It's a name we appreciate for its clear, wide-open feel, less hippyish than others like Rainbow and Starlight, and makes an appealing middle name possibility.
Description:This aristocratic, somewhat formal Germanic route to the popular Leo is a royal name: Queen Victoria used it to honor a favorite uncle, King Leopold of Belgium. Though Leopold sounds as if it might be a leonine name, it's not really a relative of such choices as Leon, and Leonard.
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.
Origin:Greek mythology name
Description:The name of the brave, resourceful hero of Homer's epic saga has almost always been considered too weighty for a child to bear, but at this point, some brave, resourceful parents out there might be willing to take it on.
Origin:Irish, diminutive of Quillan or Quiller; also English word name
Description:Quill is a unique possibility for the child of writers -- even if they do use computers rather than pens; could also serve as a rhyming tribute to an ancestor named Gil, Phil, or Bill (or Jill).
Origin:Roman mythology god of war
Description:The name of the Roman god of war began to sound less intimidating when Erykah Badu gave it to her daughter, and musicians Thomas and Bruno Mars (the latter born Peter Hernandez) have given it a modern edge. Mars actually could make a pleasant, planetary middle name for either sex.
Description:The popular single-named alternative singer (born Bek) has given this cool nature-meets-surname name a new lease of life. Another notable bearer is Beck Weathers, a Texan pathologist who survived the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, which was covered in the book and film Into Thin Air.
Description:Jupiter's partner Juno has entered the mainstream, so it's possible that her divine mate could follow. But not necessarily for boys — Jupiter is over 75% female, thanks to its similarity to Juniper. Actress Ashley Tisdale welcomed a daughter named Jupiter Iris in 2021, which could shift the balance even more towards the girls.
Origin:English word name
Meaning:"dragon; or, male duck"
Description:A simple one-syllable name that has been on the popularity list since the mid-1980s, Drake is most associated today with the single-named rapper (born Aubrey). The name peaked at Number 197 in 2010 and has since been on a slow decline, but it still can be counted among the stylish contemporary boy names starting with D.
Description:Chosen for their daughter by Bruce and Demi (inspired by the To Kill a Mockingbirdcharacter), and for her son by Tai Babilonia, an interesting choice for either sex, with overtones of a "good scout" and the upstanding qualities of a Boy/Girl Scout.
Description:Words are not always easy to translate into baby names, but the implications of being straight and swift lend this one great potential as a name. It also has the popular o-sound ending, which brings it further into the realm of possibility. Rising rock star Aja Volkman pulled a gender switch when she named her daughter Arrow Eve.
Meaning:"hawk, a bird"
Description:Animal names are on the rise, especially more of the aggressive Hawk-Fox-Wolf variety than cute little Bunnys or Robins, and Hawk is a prime example.
Hawk is more commonly heard as a surname, represented by uber-skateboarder Tony Hawk, a pioneer of modern vertical skateboarding. Variations include Hawke, as in actor Ethan, Hawks, as in Golden Age movie director Howard, Hawking, as in scientist Stephen, and Hawkins, as in musicians Coleman, Screamin' Jay and Sophie B, and was recently given to his baby boy by quarterback Tony Romo. There have been characters named or nicknamed Hawk in The Revenant, The Path and Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels. Hawk ranks at Number 699 on Nameberry.
Origin:English word and number name
Description:Only if your preceding children are named One, Two, Three, Four, Five, and Six. Erykah Badu and Andre 3000 broke that rule when naming their son.
Description:Like Sky and Sunshine, this fluffy name from the hippie 1970s has floated back onto the naming radar.
Description:Hart could be the hero of a romantic novel, but on the other hand, it's short, straightforward, and strong sounding. The most famous bearer of the name was tragic poet Hart (born Harold) Crane, but it also has musical cred via Lorenz Hart, of the classic Rodgers & Hart songwriting duo and a literary tie to playwright Moss Hart.
Description:Pax, one of the variations of names meaning peace that are newly popular in these less-than-peaceful times, got a lot of publicity when chosen by Brad & Angelina for their Vietnamese-born son. Parents attracted to Pax may also want to consider Paz, the unisex Spanish version, or Paxton, a growing-in-popularity surname choice that shares that magical X-factor.
Description:One of the fierce new animal names new to name lists, helped by its strong x-ending.
Description:Windswept and dramatic, but perhaps asking for trouble. Quite popular in Denmark and Sweden, where it derives from Stromr, which is a fairly common surname. Storm Thorgerson is a famous bearer of the name - he designed iconic album covers for Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, the Cranberries, Anthrax, and Pink Floyd.
Meaning:"Roman messenger god"
Description:Adventurous parents are starting to look back to names of ancient gods like Mercury, Zeus, and Apollo. This one is also a planet and a metallic element, and has a friendly nickname, Merc. The Roman god Mercury, which derives from the Latin words for trade or wages, is the patron of tradesmen and travelers and the fastest-moving planet in the solar system. Mercury is the planet associated with the sign of Virgo, so this is one of the prime names for Virgo babies.
Origin:Greek mythology name
Description:The supreme Olympian god represents a mighty image for a little fella to live up to, but more and more parents are beginning to consider it seriously. The Roman equivalent Jupiter has also come down to earth. And Zeus wasn't just the supreme god, he was also the god of the sky, thunder, lightning, and fate, among other weighty responsibilities.