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Most Common Names for Boys

Most Common Names for Boys
Common names are not the same as popular names: Common names are those most often found among the total population or for a certain period of time, as opposed to those popular for babies born in any one year. These are the 100 most common names for males in the US in the past century, with James at the top of the list, followed by John, Robert, Michael, and William.

Along with James and William, other common boy names that remain in the US Top 50 include Alexander, Benjamin, David, Gabriel, Henry, Jacob, Noah, and Samuel. The common names for boys that have fallen the farthest in popularity include Ralph, Willie, Gerald, and Billy.

Some popular names for boys today, such as Number one Liam, don't yet make it onto the list of the century's most common male names. Over time, older names such as Gary and Eugene will pass away, to be replaced by names such as Aiden and Jackson given to so many baby boys today.
  1. JamesHeart
    • Origin:

      English variation of Jacob, Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "supplanter"
    • Description:

      James is an English derivation of the Hebrew name Jacob. James is biblical (the name of two apostles in the New Testament), royal (kings of both England and Scotland), presidential (with more U.S. Chief Executives named James (six) than any other name), and it is shared by countless great writers and entertainers.
  2. ArthurHeart
    • Origin:

      Celtic
    • Meaning:

      " bear"
    • Description:

      Arthur, once the shining head of the Knights of the Round Table, is, after decades of neglect, now being polished up and restored by some stylish parents, emerging as a top contender among names for the new royal prince.
  3. NoahHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "rest, repose"
    • Description:

      Noah was derived from the Hebrew name Noach, which itself came from the root nuach, meaning "rest." In the bible, Noah was deemed the only righteous man of his time, singled out by God to survive the great flood sent to punish the world. Noa is generally a separate feminine Hebrew name, although it's also found as a variant spelling of the male name Noah.
  4. HenryHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "estate ruler"
    • Description:

      Henry was derived from the French Henri, which ultimately comes from the Germanic name Heimrich, made up of the components heim, meaning "home" or "estate," and rich, meaning "ruler." The most famous wearer is Henry VIII of England, best known for having six wives—two of whom he beheaded for not bearing him sons. It’s been used in the British royal family many times since.
  5. EthanHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "strong, firm"
    • Description:

      Ethan derives from the Hebrew name Eitan. There are several Ethans in the Old Testament, the most prominent of whom, Ethan the Ezrahite, is praised for his wisdom. International variations include Etan and Izan.
  6. 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.
  7. ZacharyHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "the Lord has remembered"
    • Description:

      Zachary is the English variation of Zacharias, which itself is derived from the Hebrew name Zechariah. The name Zachary is attached to eight different people in the Bible, the most prominent being the father of John the Baptist, and it's also presidential, via 12th president Zachary Taylor. Zackery is an alternate spelling, and nicknames include Zack, Zach, Zac, and Zak.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. SamuelHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "told by God"
    • Description:

      Samuel was derived from the Hebrew name Shemu’el, meaning “told by God.” In the Old Testament, Samuel was one of the great judges and prophets of the Israelites, destined for a holy life from birth. He established the Hebrew monarchy, anointing both Saul and David as kings.
  12. VincentHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "conquering"
    • Description:

      Vincent is a name with a complex image. After being quietly used for centuries, it is suddenly seeming stylish, along wih other V names. Even the nickname Vince has been given a reprieve via actor Vince Vaughn and country singer Vince Gill. Vin Diesel was born with the more prosaic name Mark Vincent.
  13. JacobHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "supplanter"
    • Description:

      Jacob comes from the Latin name Iacobus, which was ultimately derived from the Hebrew name Ya’aqov. In the Old Testament, Jacob was one of the most important patriarchs of the tribes of Israel. He was the youngest son of Isaac and Rebecca and the twin brother of Esau, as well as the husband of both Leah and Rachel. The 12 tribes of Israel evolved from his 12 sons.
  14. DylanHeart
    • Origin:

      Welsh
    • Meaning:

      "son of the sea"
    • Description:

      Dylan was derived of the Welsh components dy and llanw, meaning "sea." In Welsh mythology, Dylan was a legendary sea god who prompted all the waters of Britain and Ireland to weep when he died. The name came to prominence via the great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, whose name Bob Dylan adopted in tribute.
  15. WilliamHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "resolute protection"
    • Description:

      William is derived from the Germanic name Wilhelm, composed of the elements wil, "will," and helm, referring to a helmet or protection. The name was introduced to England by William the Conqueror, with William being the Norman variation of the name. In Central and Southern France, it was translated as Guillaume.
  16. LoganHeart
    • Origin:

      Scottish
    • Meaning:

      "small hollow"
    • Description:

      Logan originated as a Scottish surname which was derived from a place of that name in Ayrshire. The place name came from lagan, a Scottish Gaelic diminutive of lag, meaning “hollow.” Alternate spellings include Logon, Logen, and Logyn, which is more common among girls.
  17. GabrielHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "God is my strength"
    • Description:

      Gabriel was derived from the Hebrew name Gavri’el, taken from the elements gever, meaning "strong," and ’el, in reference to God. In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is the archangel who heralded the news of Jesus' birth, and appears in Christian, Jewish and Muslim texts. He presides over Paradise, serving as the angel of mercy, life, joy, judgment, truth and dreams.
  18. BenjaminHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "son of the right hand"
    • Description:

      Benjamin is derived from the Hebrew name Binyamin, from the elements ben, meaning “son” and yamin, “right hand.” In the Old Testament, Benjamin was the youngest of the twelve sons of Jacob and Rachel in the Book of Genesis, and he was one of the founders of the twelve tribes of Israel. Nicknames for Benjamin include Ben, Benny, Benji, and Benno.
  19. AndrewHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "strong and manly"
    • Description:

      Andrew is a variant of the Greek name Andreas, ultimately derived from the element aner, meaning “man.” In the New Testament, Andrew was one of the twelve apostles and the first disciple to be called by Jesus. Although the origins of the name are Greek, Andrew is the patron saint of both Scotland and Russia, as well as Greece. It has associations with two of America's most famous artists, Wyeth and Warhol.
  20. LawrenceHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "from Laurentium"
    • Description:

      Lawrence has survived from Roman times, when Laurentium was a city noted for its laurel trees (the laurel is a symbol of wisdom and achievement). It was in the Top 50 from the 1890s through the 1950s and the Top 100 for decades longer, always among the most popular boys' names starting with L, but Lawrence is now used less for babies than Landon or Lorenzo. Nickname Lauro perks it up while Larry feels terminally dated. The Laurence spelling was popularized by Sir Laurence Olivier and is also attached to fellow actor Laurence Fishburne.