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Cool Boy Names—Rare, Unique and Unusual

Cool boys’ names can have deep roots or be modern inventions but work best when they relate to other stylish names while remaining relatively undiscovered. The best 2020 unique names for boys are rare and rooted in history but fit in with current styles.

To make this list, these cool names for boys had to be used for 25 or fewer baby boys, guaranteeing they are considered unique baby names across the US.

Many of the surname-names for boys on this list won’t stay unique for long. Choices such as Fielding, Halston, Langdon, and Maguire are one celebrity baby or TV character away from becoming smash hits.

This list of cool unique boys’ names features some of our favorite possibilities. For more, take a look at our collections of boys’ names and unusual names.

Cool Unique Boy Names

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.

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.

HamishHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish variation of James
  • Meaning:

    "supplanter"
  • Description:

    Just as Seamus/Seumus is Irish for James, Hamish is the Scottish form — one that's not often used here, but still redolent of Olde Scotland. If you're ready to go further than Duncan and Malcolm, out to Laird and Ewan territory, this may be worth consideration. It also sounds just like the Yiddish word for homey.

LorcanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little, fierce"
  • Description:

    Lorcan is a name rich in Irish history as belonging to several kings, including the grandfather of the most famous high king of Ireland, Brian Boru. Lorcan O'Toole, known in English as Laurence O'Toole, is the patron saint of Dublin, so it's not too surprising that Irish-born actor Peter O'Toole named his son Lorcan.

IvoHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "yew wood, archer"
  • Description:

    Ivo is an unusual, catchy name with the energetic impact of all names ending in 'o'. Hardly heard in the U.S., it is used a bit more frequently in England, as is the related Ivor, a favorite of such novelists as Evelyn Waugh and P.G. Wodehouse. Ivo is currently most popular in the Netherlands.

AlbieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Albert, Alban or Albus
  • Description:

    This cute masculine nickname -- with connections to princes, Hogwarts headmasters and the Manzo family of "Real Housewives of New Jersey" -- almost has enough heft to stand on its own. But all of its precursor names have merit.

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.

FlorianHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "flowering"
  • Description:

    If Flora and Florence have returned full force, Florian, with its trendy Latinate ending, could also have a chance. Popular in Germany, Austria and Switzerland -- he was the venerated patron saint of those in danger from water and of firefighters -- might sound a tad feminine and floral to English speakers. But as a middle name, Florian could be a great way to honor grandma Florence (or any other flower name).

WilfredHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "desires peace"
  • Description:

    Wilfred is one of those Old Man Names that still sounds fusty in the US but is fashionable in the UK. It comes with readymade short forms Will or Fred and might make an adventurous alternative to the ubiquitous William. The central character of Walter Scott's Ivanhoe is the knight Wilfred of Ivanhoe. Wilfred Owens was a well-known British poet.

PeregrineHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "traveler, pilgrim"
  • Description:

    Peregrine is considered to be an elegantly aristocratic name in England, but has never made it to the U.S., where it has been seen as extravagantly eccentric. In the new naming climate, though, it's not beyond consideration — in fact it's already been chosen by at least one Berry.

BalthazarHeart

  • Origin:

    Phoenician
  • Meaning:

    "Baal protects the King"
  • Description:

    This evocative name of one of the Three Wise Men of the Orient, also spelled Balthasar, may finally be ready for prime time. Balthazar, Melchior and Caspar were the Magi who brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus, though their names were not mentioned in the Bible.

YvesHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "yew wood"
  • Description:

    On paper, with its stylish ties to fashion legend Yves Saint-Laurent (born Henri), Yves looks great, but the pronunciation--EVE-- could lead to gender confusion. German variation Ivo might be cooler and clear up the issue.

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.

FergusHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish and Irish
  • Meaning:

    "man of force"
  • Description:

    In Celtic lore, Fergus was the ideal of manly courage; Fergus is a charming, slightly quirky Scottish and Irish favorite.

NedHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Edward
  • Meaning:

    "wealthy guardian"
  • Description:

    Ned is a gently old-fashioned Nancy Drew-Bobbsey Twins-era short form for Edward that sounds cooler than Ed and is enjoying a small style renaissance.

IggyHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, diminutive of Ignatius
  • Meaning:

    "fiery"
  • Description:

    Iggy is the quintessential pop star name, though it's the nickname Cate Blanchett uses for son Ignatius. Iggy does bring any grander-sounding name down to earth.

MossHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "descendant of Moses"
  • Description:

    This evocative green nature name, heard much more frequently as a surname, is associated with playwright Moss Hart (born Robert), who co-wrote (with George S. Kaufman) such enduring Broadway comedies as The Man Who Came to Dinner and You Can't Take it With You.

CrispinHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "curly-haired"
  • Description:

    Crispin, which was introduced into the mainstream by actor Crispin Glover and which means "curly-haired" in Latin, has an image very much like its first syllable: crisp, autumnal, and colorful.

MiroHeart

  • Origin:

    Slavic
  • Meaning:

    "peace, world"
  • Description:

    Miro comes from the Slavic root word mir meaning "peace, world". Sometimes Miro is used as a diminutive of longer names like Miroslav or Vladimir, but it can also be given as a name in its own right. Miro has a wonderful meaning and fits right in with trendy names Arlo and Milo, as well as being an artistic honor name for Spanish painter and sculptor Joan Miró.

LlewellynHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh, variation of Llywelyn
  • Meaning:

    "leader's image"
  • Description:

    Llewellyn/Llywelyn is a common patriotic first name in Wales, with its distinctive Welsh double LL's; in the U.S. Llewellyn would make a daring choice, though with the chance that some might find the ellen sound slightly feminine.

IsidoreHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "gift of Isis"
  • Description:

    Isabel and Isadora are back: could it now be time for a more widespread revival of Isidore? In 2014, both Isidore and Isadore were on the list of fastest-rising names in the US.

CastorHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "pious one"
  • Description:

    Forget the oil. It's one of the twins that make up the constellation Gemini, and a mythological name on the cutting-edge of fashion; used by Metallica's James Hetfield.

RomulusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "citizen of Rome"
  • Description:

    He was the original Roman, Remus's twin and a founder of Rome. But parents attracted to this name are advised to read the legend first. Romulus does have some less than savory characteristics, including killing his twin brother and making Rome in his own image, and is later deified as Quinnius. Romy and Quinn might make good twin names.

MercuryHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • 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.

HumphreyHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "peaceful warrior"
  • Description:

    Humphrey is an old name that might have faded completely were it not for that Bogie flair. A royal name in Britain, where it's used somewhat more frequently, Humphrey might just have some life beyond Bogart here, especially with the recent interest in the names of Golden Age Hollywood stars. His first name was the maiden name of his mother, Maud Humphrey, a well-known illustrator who used baby H. as a model.

TheloniousHeart

  • Origin:

    Latinized variation of German Tillman, “one who plows the earth”
  • Description:

    One of the coolest of names, thanks to legendary jazz pianist Thelonious Sphere Monk, who inherited this Latin-sounding German name from his father. It has been used very sparingly since the 1960's, with just a sprinkling of baby boys receiving the name each year, though it's one of the unique baby names we predict will get much less unique as more parents embrace its quirky charms.

EeroHeart

  • Origin:

    Finnish variation of Eric
  • Meaning:

    "eternal ruler"
  • Description:

    Creative gem perfect for an architect's son, in tribute to modern Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen.

HoratioHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Latin Horatius
  • Meaning:

    "hour, time"
  • Description:

    Like Horace, Horatio is a variation on the Latin Horatius, but its Shakespearean and optimistic Horatio Alger pedigree makes it an attractive up-and-comer, especially with its cool final o. A modern reference is the charismatic TV character Horatio Caine played by David Caruso in CSI: Miami.

WinslowHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "friend's hill or burial mound"
  • Description:

    Winslow, despite its creative connection to the distinguished American painter Winslow Homer, does still retain remnants of the image of a Victorian boy in a sailor suit, making Winston or even just Win a preferable modern choice.

GaiusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "to rejoice"
  • Description:

    Stately Gaius (pronounced GUY-us) was in the name of many ancient Romans, including Julius Caesar. Little-used before the year 2000, it now feels like a fresh possibility in the revival of Latin boys' names like Atticus and Cassius. Caius and derivatives like Caio come from the same root. You could also see Gaius as a male version of the earth-goddess name Gaia.

AnselmHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "with divine protection"
  • Description:

    A somewhat solemn appellation, Anselm is a saint's name, connected to the twelfth century archbishop of Canterbury, and in modern times tied to the German neo-expressionist painter Anselm Kiefer.

XerxesHeart

  • Origin:

    Persian
  • Meaning:

    "hero among heroes"
  • Description:

    The two X's may be a challenge for even the most intrepid baby namer. Xerxes was the name of two early kings of Persia and the Handel opera Serse or Xerxes is loosely based on Xerxes I.

FintanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • 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.

CosimoHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian variation of Cosmo
  • Meaning:

    "universe"
  • Description:

    Dramatic and worldly, Cosimo was chosen by singer Beck and his wife, Marissa Ribisi, for their son. Now that Cosima has emerged as a starbaby favorite, twin brother Cosimo could join her.

BuddyHeart

  • Origin:

    English, nickname name
  • Description:

    Until recently it was rarely used as a proper name; Buddy Holly, for example, was christened Charles, and Salinger's Buddy Glass was born Webb. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver did name his fourth child Buddy Bear Maurice--a fittingly named brother to Poppy Honey Rosie, Daisy Boo Pamela and Petal Blossom Rainbow, and singer Tom Fletcher has a double-nicknamed Buddy Bob.

HawthornHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Hawthorne
  • Description:

    The version with the e at the end relates to novelist Nathaniel, so that may be the one most parents attracted to this unusual name would choose. Hawthorn nudges it toward the nature category: Hawthorn is a type of hedge.

IvesHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Yves
  • Meaning:

    "yew wood"
  • Description:

    Smooth and sleek one-syllable name, sometimes suggested for Sagittarius boys.

ColmHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of Latin Columba
  • Meaning:

    "dove"
  • Description:

    Colm is a popular Irish name for boys that could immigrate, especially with its peaceful meaning. Colm Toibin is a contemporary Irish novelist and critic, author of The Master and Brooklyn; Colm Meaney is an Irish actor. Pronunciation is two syllables instead of one, like Colin with an 'm' at the end. Colm is related to Columba, Colom, Colum, Callum, and Malcolm.

RolloHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin form of Rolf
  • Meaning:

    "wolf"
  • Description:

    Rollo is a livelier, roly-poly, o-ending version of Roland.

SachaHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Sasha
  • Meaning:

    "defending warrior"
  • Description:

    Sasha in all its forms -- which include Sacha and Sascha -- is rising in popularity for both boys and girls. Its most prominent current bearer is Sacha Baron Cohen.

CyprianHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "man of Cyprus"
  • Description:

    With a long and noble history -- Cyprian was one of the great Christian Latin writers -- this could make a highly unusual but meaningful choice.

RaoulHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Ralph
  • Meaning:

    "wolf-counsel"
  • Description:

    Raoul, with its unique three-vowel middle, rolls off the tongue in an appealing way. Raoul is one of the French names that sounds infinitely more romantic and attractive than the somewhat harsh English version Ralph.

ZaleHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "sea-strength"
  • Description:

    Appealing sound and meaning, but there is that discount-store association.

SilverHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Description:

    This shimmery Age of Aquarius unisex flower child name is making a comeback, along with metal and gem names like Steel, Jade, and Ruby.

FranzHeart

  • Origin:

    German variation of Francis, Latin
  • Meaning:

    "Frenchman or free man"
  • Description:

    Franz is the German equivalent to Francis, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a Franz outside of countries with Germanic origins. In America the name is often associated with celebrated author Franz Kafka, who was born in Prague.

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.

FerdinandHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "bold voyager"
  • Description:

    Ferdinand, a traditional name in the royal families of Spain and a handsome young prince shipwrecked on Prosper's island in Shakespeare's The Tempest has, unfortunately, to the American ear a somewhat heavy and clumsy feel – most likely because of the bull connection. In the 1880's it was in the 200's on the US pop list, but has been off completely since 1986.

LeithHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish river name
  • Meaning:

    "wet"
  • Description:

    This is an unusual surname and geographical name of medieval Scottish origin that might serve as a possible alternative to the aging Keith, though it's a bit tough on the tongue. More popularly spelt Laith in Scotland itself, which happens to correspond to an Arabic name meaning 'lion'.

EnnisHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "from the island"
  • Description:

    An appealing Irish placename with a unisex feel, Ennis would be a fresh alternative to Dennis and Ellis. It's little-used for boys and even rarer for girls, but since Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons used it for their son, it could be one to watch.

BirchHeart

  • Origin:

    Tree name
  • Description:

    Birch is a rarely used nature name that calls to mind the lovely image of the tall, strong but graceful white-barked tree.
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