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Boy Names That Mean Life

Boy Names That Mean Life
Boy names that mean life are an elite group, but one that includes several excellent choices. None of the boy names that mean life are particularly popular or even well-known, with few exceptions, such as Brooks and Hayden. But you may consider the meaning more important than style or popularity.

Along with Brooks and Hayden, other boy names that mean life in the US Top 1000 include Banks, Bo, Bridger, Dean, Lyle, Moses, Ryland, and Zayd. Among the lively boy names that deserve more attention are Rhodes, Shaw, Barnes, and Hawthorne.

Also included here are many names that refer to the place or the setting where the person lives, as well as names with meanings connected to growth, blood, and breath. Life is a wonderful meaning for a name, one that may inspire and uplift a child of any gender. See our complete collection of boy names that mean life, below.

HaydenHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "fire"
  • Description:

    Hayden – a formerly obscure name that's risen to huge popularity – has dipped in this year's ratings. Though Hayden is among the most distinctive of the bunch, it gets lost in the crowd of Jaidens, Bradens, Aidans, and endless variations. Associated with Hayden Christensen, of Star Wars fame.

AbelHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "breath"
  • Description:

    Abel, the name of Adam and Eve's unfortunate younger son, compensates with positive connotations: capable, competent, ready and willing.

BrooksHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "of the brook"
  • Description:

    Surname name, nature name, and word name, with a more masculine slant than Brook or Brooklyn. Brooks Robinson was one of the greatest third basemen ever, playing for the Baltimore Orioles from 1955 until 1977. Brooks might be considered one of the new wave of stylish English names for boys.

DeanHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "church official"
  • Description:

    Dean may sound to some like a retro surfer boy name, but it is once again climbing up the popularity chart in the USA. For decades it was associated with Dean (born Dino) Martin; more recent representatives include Dean Cain, Dean McDermott and Dean Koontz -- not to mention Jared Padalecki's dreamy Dean Forester in Gilmore Girls.

BoHeart

  • Origin:

    Norse nickname
  • Meaning:

    "to live"
  • Description:

    A popular name in Denmark, in this country Bo has some cowboy swagger and a lot of substance in its minimal two letters. In Mandarin Chinese, Bo means "wave".

BanksHeart

  • Origin:

    English surname
  • Meaning:

    "one who lives on the hillside or riverbank"
  • Description:

    Banks is a topographical surname that refers not to those places where people keep their money but to riverbanks or hillsides, and specifically the people who live on them. Just as Fields is a last name that relates to people who lived in, yes, fields, so Banks was a name originally given to people who dwelled on the banks of a river. Today, used as a first name, Banks is more likely to sound like an upwardly-mobile name related to financial establishments, okay if you're going for the glitter.

RhodesHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "where roses grow"
  • Description:

    A Greek island and a prestigious scholarship make an upper-crusty first name with the uber-stylish S ending. Rhodes was recently chosen by actress Emma Roberts for her son, born in 2020.

VanceHeart

  • Origin:

    English and Irish
  • Meaning:

    "someone who lives near marshland"
  • Description:

    A short but sophisticated, long-neglected name you might want to consider.

CliveHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "lives near a high cliff"
  • Description:

    Clive used to be stereotyped as a clipped British name in a pith helmet and pencil-thin moustache, as in English military hero Clive of India--but this image has been turned on its ear by hunky Clive Owen.

LyleHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish and English from French
  • Meaning:

    "someone who lives on an island"
  • Description:

    Straightforward single-syllable name, but be warned that by the time he's three, any Lyle will be sick of hearing "Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile".

HyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Hyman, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    Hy was once a nickname for Hyman, a Jewish Anglicization of Chaim. Today it has gone extinct, for obvious reasons.

HawthorneHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "lives where hawthorn hedges grow"
  • Description:

    The great American novelist sets this above many other surnames (and nature names, for that matter), but it's still an imposing and adventurous choice. Do nicknames Hawk or Thorne make it more approachable? The timid should stick with Nathaniel.

RipHeart

  • Origin:

    Dutch
  • Meaning:

    "strength, might"
  • Description:

    The name of Rip Van Winkle – and Rip (born Elmore) Torn – will probably never be ready for further consumption, if only because of the implications of R. I. P. It's a short form of names containing the Germanic element rik "strong, mighty".

VitoHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "alive, life"
  • Description:

    Old World Italian name that might become fashionable in a so-far-out-it's-in way, like Enzo and Rocco. Main recommendation: It's among the rare boy names that mean life.

ZaydHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "increase, growth"
  • Description:

    Zayd (or its most common variant Zaid), an old and still well used Arabic name, was a slave whom Muhammad adopted as his son.

VivaanHeart

  • Origin:

    Hindi
  • Meaning:

    "full of life"
  • Description:

    Vivaan is a life-related name from India that has made its way onto the US Top 1000 for the first time in 2014. While unusual, it has a familiar and appealing lively sound and feel. However, be aware that people unfamiliar with the name may misread and mispronounce it as Vivian.

GroverHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "lives near a grove of trees"
  • Description:

    Forget the furry blue Muppet, forget corpulent President Cleveland (not too difficult), and consider this name anew. We think it's spunky, a little funky, and well worth a second look.

BridgerHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "lives near the bridge"
  • Description:

    A recent addition to the Most Popular list, Bridger has the trendy two-syllables and 'er' ending, and a historical reference to Jim Bridger, a foremost nineteenth-century frontiersman, explorer, trapper, scout, and teller of tall tales.

RylandHeart

  • Origin:

    Old English
  • Meaning:

    "place where Rye is grown"
  • Description:

    This name, similar to Ryan and Rylan, dropped out of the Top 500 in 2016 after a six year stint in it. It's the full birth name of legendary musician Ry Cooder.

MosesHeart

  • Origin:

    Egyptian
  • Meaning:

    "delivered from the water"
  • Description:

    Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's choice of this white-bearded Old Testament name helped bring it into the modern age, along with brethren Elijah, Isaiah and Isaac. User-friendly nicknames include Moe and Mose.

VivianHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    Deriving from the Roman cognomen Vivianus, Vivian was originally a masculine name, with Vivien being a feminine soundalike coined by Alfred Lord Tennyson for the Lady of the Lake in his famous poetic adaptation of the legend of King Arthur. It has since become a much more popular choice for girls in the US, but retains a refined British charm which sees it cropping up occasionally for boys in the Telegraph birth announcements.

GaylordHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "brisk, high-spirited"
  • Description:

    Best left on the old southern plantation, sipping his mint julep.

HaleHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "someone who lives in a hollow"
  • Description:

    This name projects a sense of well-being - hale and hearty - is unusual but accessible, with a clear simple sound, and a worthy namesake, Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale, as an added bonus.

ZoltanHeart

  • Origin:

    Hungarian
  • Meaning:

    "sultan"
  • Description:

    Though a common name in Hungary, the relatively rare Z sound is striking to English speakers. Penn Gillette used the Zolten spelling for his son; it was also the name of Dracula's dog, and was also a robotic character in Dude, Where's My Car?. But its main recommending feature is that it's one of the

FujiHeart

  • Origin:

    Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "dweller near the river where wisteria grows"
  • Description:

    To honor the majestic mountain.

CliffordHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "lives near the ford by the cliff"
  • Description:

    Clifford is beginning to overcome a slightly stodgy intellectual image and showing signs of possible revival. Kids might or might not like the association with the big red dog. In England, the Clifford family was a powerful family in the Middle Ages. In this country, it was well used for most of the twentieth century, peaking at Number 57 in 1909, but a Top 100 name through 1950. Most prominent American bearers: playwright Clifford Odets and jazz trumpet great Clifford Brown.

HymanHeart

  • Origin:

    Anglicized variation of Chaim
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    Hyman was commonly used by first-generation Jewish immigrants to Anglicize Chaim, but similarities to terms like heinie and hymen have taken it out of the realm of modern possibility. The original Chaim would be preferable to Hyman.

SonderHeart

  • Origin:

    Invented name
  • Meaning:

    "the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own"
  • Description:

    A neologism coined for the 2012 Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, which aims to come up with new terms for emotions that currently lack words

RushHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "basket weaver"
  • Description:

    Might suggest speed, excitement, even danger, were it not for its best-known bearer, conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh.

BramwellHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "well where the gorse grows"
  • Description:

    The only boy in the Brontë family; the name has a lonely Wuthering Heights/Jane Eyre feel.

ChaimHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    Despite being one of the rare boy names that mean life, Chaim barely survived early Jewish immigration, being watered down to Hyman and Hymie. Today, the original seems like the most promising form of the name, familiar thanks to bestselling author Chaim Potok.

BarclayHeart

  • Origin:

    English and Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "where birches grow"
  • Description:

    Americans may not realize Barclay is the phonetic spelling of the British Berkeley -- though both sound like old-fashioned butler names.

ChaiHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name; Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "tea, alive"
  • Description:

    Pronounced CHY, it's a word name meaning tea in many Eastern languages. The Hebrew name is pronounced without the C as HAI.

ZidaneHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "growth and progress"
  • Description:

    Closely associated with French soccer star Zinedine Zidane, who became the manager of Real Madrid after retiring from play. One of the Arabic names for boys with modern rather than Quranic origins.

BrioHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian
  • Meaning:

    "vivacity, zest"
  • Description:

    Musical term with a lot of energy.

MoeHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Moses
  • Meaning:

    "delivered"
  • Description:

    If Gus and Max have made it, why not Moe? Can it be the lingering Three Stooges effect? We think that Moe, like Joe, is one of the friendliest and most open of regular guy nickname names and should get a little more attention.

VidalHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish from Latin
  • Meaning:

    "life, vital"
  • Description:

    Would be more usable if it wasn't so strongly associated with hairdresser Sassoon and his many hair products.

VitusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    No-no appelation of a child saint and martyr whose name is a term for the nervous condition known as Saint Vitus' Dance. Its one recommending feature is that it's among the elite group Boy names that mean life.

ShawHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "dweller by the wood"
  • Description:

    With the current taste for last names first, this sounds a lot cooler than Shawn; it also has creative connections to the great Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, novelist Irwin Shaw, and Big Band Era clarinetist/bandleader and one-time Ava Gardner husband Artie Shaw.

BerkeleyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "where birches grow"
  • Description:

    The Brits say BARK-lee, but we pronounce it the same as the name of the California college: either way it's quite pretentious and of another era.

HillHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "someone who lives by a hill"
  • Description:

    Simple and down-to-earth, but would probably work best as a middle name.

SpiroHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "I breathe"
  • Description:

    Grandparents are sure to link this to disgraced Nixon vice president Spiro Agnew.

ZooeyHeart

  • Origin:

    Literary name
  • Description:

    The original Zooey, hero of J.D. Salinger's Franny & Zooey, was male, but nowadays the name is more closely associated with actress/singer Zooey Deschanel. With Zoe at number 31 for girls and Zoey in the Top 50, the related Zooey feels more female than ever. But it's distinctively quirky for either sex.

SeligHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "blessed, happy in life"
  • Description:

    Selig comes from the Yiddish vocabulary word meaning 'happy, fortunate, blessed.' Most of us are more familiar with its Woody Allen variation, Zelig.

ZoiloHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish derivation of Greek
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    A male take on the feminine name Zoe, it's hard to give an attractive pronunciation.

KerrHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "someone who lived near wet ground"
  • Description:

    When actress Deborah Kerr entered the scene, there was a great debate over her name's pronunciation. Car or Ker. Your choice.

NnamdiHeart

  • Origin:

    Igbo
  • Meaning:

    "my father is alive"
  • Description:

    In the Igbo culture of Nigeria, the name Nnamdi is given to baby boys who are thought to be reincarnations of their grandfathers. The name is familiar via Nnamdi Asomugha, a former NFL player married to Kerry Washington.

ZhivagoHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian literary name
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    For lovers of Pasternak's great doctor, a lively middle name choice, one made by actress Nia Long.

ZenobiosHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "life of Zeus"
  • Description:

    Zealous and noble, an unusual and strong choice -- and if the original is too much of a mouthful, you can always call him Zen.

BoyceHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish, from French
  • Meaning:

    "lives by the woods"
  • Description:

    CEO name.
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