Boy Names That Peaked in 2018
These boy names were at their highest point ever on the official US popularity list in 2018. That may mean, of course, that they're at their lifetime peak and it's all downhill from here. Or it might mean they're hot and will only get hotter. A name that's been very popular for a long time, like Liam or Oliver, is more likely to soften than one that's been motoring up the charts, like Maverick or Weston. Maverick and Weston's true peak most likely lies several years ahead. The only thing this list tells you for sure is that these names are finding widespread favor, whether they're already in the Top 10 or lie much further down the list.
Origin:Irish or English
Meaning:"between two hills"
Description:Arlo has many possible derivations: possibly a shortened form of Italian name Carlo, and in Basque-speaking regions it is the word for area. In English, Arlo was first used by Edmund Spenser in The Faerie Queene and is thought to derive from the Celtic word Aherlow, meaning “between two highlands.”
Description:Atticus derives from the Greek Attikos, meaning "from Attica," the Ancient Greek region that contained Athens. Atticus is a literary name in more ways than one. Before it became synonymous with Atticus Finch, the name Atticus was associated with Titus Pomponius Atticus, a Roman literary figure.
Origin:Danish and Norwegian variation of Severus
Description:This gentle Scandinavian name, soft and sensitive, is being discovered in a major way by parents in the US. It's most closely identified with the nineteenth century philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, but there have been modern fictional Sorens as well, in The Matrix Reloaded and the book series Guardians of Ga'Hook, Charlie and Lola, and Underworld.
Origin:Latin and Old German
Meaning:"soldier or merciful"
Description:Milo is most commonly considered to be Germanic name derived from the Latin word miles, meaning "soldier." However, there is evidence to suggest it also may have independently spawned from the Slavic root milu, meaning "merciful." Milo predates brother name Miles, a variation that evolved when the name immigrated to the British Isles in the Middle Ages. Mylo is an alternate spelling.
Meaning:"fair or white"
Description:Finn is a name with enormous energy and charm, that of the greatest hero of Irish mythology, Finn MacCool (aka Fionn mac Cuumhaill), an intrepid warrior with mystical supernatural powers, noted as well for his wisdom and generosity.
Origin:English from Latin
Description:Silas is based on the name Silvanus, and the two are used interchangeably in the Bible. In the New Testament, St. Silas was a leading member of the early Christian community who accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey. Sylvanus was the Roman god of trees and his name was originally bestowed on people who lived in wooded areas or who worked with wood.
Description:Kai has many origins, but in the US is most commonly referred to as being of Hawaiian derivation, meaning “sea.” In Europe, Kai is largely considered to have Frisian origin as a diminutive of the name Kaimbe, meaning “warrior”, or as a short form of Gerard "brave spear". Kai is also found as an independent name in African, Chinese, Turkish and Native American cultures. Kai is a strong, evocative multi-cultural name that packs a lot of power in its single syllable.
Description:Ezra is potentially an abbreviation for the Hebrew phrase Azaryahu, meaning “Yah helps.” In the Bible, Ezra led a group of fifteen hundred Israelites out of slavery in Babylon and back to Jerusalem. The Latin name Esdras derives from Ezra.
Origin:Scottish and Irish
Meaning:"rowan tree; little redhead"
Description:Rowan – a strong surname and nature name (it's a tree with red berries) – is deservedly growing in popularity. Some scholars identify Rowan as originally a girls’ name, related to Rowena and Rhonwen, while others say Rowan's always been used for both genders. Sharon Stone chose the Roan spelling, which also relates to the reddish color, for her son, while Brooke Shields used Rowan for her daughter. Yet another increasingly popular spelling is Rowen.
Meaning:"fortunate, blessed, happy one"
Description:In the Bible, Asher was one of Jacob's twelve sons who gave their names to the tribes of Israel. Asher is derived from the Hebrew word osher, which means "happiness." Rabbinical scholars claim that the Asherites lived up to this meaning, as they had the most oil, wisdom, and male children compared to the other tribes.
Origin:Diminutive of Theodore
Meaning:"gift of God"
Description:Many modern parents use Theo as the short form for Theodore rather than the dated Ted--including some celebs, such as Dallas Bryce Howard-- but others bypass the Grandpa name Theodore entirely and skip right to the hip nickname Theo. Short and ultra-chic, Theo's a cool, contemporary baby name choice.
Description:Oliver derives from Olivier, the Norman French variation of the Ancient Germanic name Alfihar ("elf army") or the Old Norse Áleifr ("ancestor's relic"), from which comes Olaf. Olivier emerged as the dominant spelling for its associations with the Latin word oliva, meaning "olive tree." Oliver was used as a given name in medieval England after the spread of the French epic poem ‘La Chanson de Roland,’ which features a character named Olivier.
Origin:Italian diminutive of Nicholas, Greek
Meaning:"people of victory"
Description:Nico is one of the great nickname names, full of charm, energy and effortless cool -- a neo Nick.
Origin:English form of Milo
Meaning:"soldier or merciful"
Description:Miles, which took on a permanent veneer of cool thanks to jazz great Miles Davis, is a confident and polished boy name starting with M that has been appreciated in particular by celebrity baby namers, including Elisabeth Shue, Mayim Bialik, Larenz Tate, Joan Cusack and Lionel Ritchie.
Origin:English masculine variation of Emma, German
Description:Emmett, honest and sincere, laid-back and creative, is on the rise as a male cognate of the megapopular Emma and Emily, not to mention being a character in the popular Twilight series.
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:Italian variation of Luke and Lucas
Meaning:"man from Lucania"
Description:If there was once a bias against this charming and venerable Italian name for possibly sounding too feminine, consider it gone. Since Luca entered the boys’ names U.S. popularity list in 2000, it has shot up in popularity. It's one of the top Italian baby names in the US and a popular choice throughout Europe as well.
Origin:Latin from Greek
Meaning:"person from ancient city of Sebastia"
Description:Sebastian is derived from the Greek Sebastianos, meaning “from Sebastia.” Sebastia was a city in Asia Minor—modern day Sivas, Turkey. Sebastian is a name with a substantial history, first as the third-century martyr whose sufferings were a favorite subject of medieval artists, then as the name of memorable characters in such varied works as Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and The Tempest and Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited.
Description:In the Old Testament, Levi was the third son of Leah and Jacob, from whom the priestly tribe of Levites descended; in the New Testament, Levi was Matthew's given name before he became an apostle. It is suspected that Levi derives from the Hebrew word yillaweh, meaning “he will join.”
Origin:Arizona place-name and Greek
Description:Phoenix rolls a lot of cool trends into one: it's a place-name and a bird name, it ends in the oh-so-hip letter x, and as the mythic bird that rose from the ashes, it's a symbol of immortality. It's also got celebrity chops, via the acting family that includes Joaquin and the late River, and as the child of an ex-Spice Girl.
Description:Archer is an Anglo-Saxon surname that feels more modern than most because of its on-target occupational and Hunger Games associations. And it's a nice way to bypass the clunky Archibald to get to the cool nickname Archie.
Description:Ronan is the compelling legendary name of twelve Irish and Scottish saints that is now drawing some deserved attention; this cousin of the ascending Roman and Rowan was chosen by actor Daniel Day-Lewis and his writer-director wife Rebecca Miller in 1998, and more recently by actress Catherine Bell.
Origin:Greek mythology name
Description:Orion is a rising star, with both mythical and celestial overtones.
Origin:Latin form of Luke
Meaning:"man from Lucania"
Description:Lucas is the Latin derivation of the Greek name Loukas. The meaning of the name references Lucania, an ancient territory in Southern Italy. Lucas is related to the names Luke and Luca; however, Lucius and Lucian derive from a different root and have a different meaning.
Origin:Italian variation of Henry, also diminutive of Vincenzo and Lorenzo
Description:Enzo originated as the Italian variation of Heinz, a German name derived from Heinrich, related to Henry. It has historically been used as a short form for Italian names such as Vincenzo and Lorenzo. The most famous bearer of the name is Enzo Ferrari, founder of the luxury sports car brand.
Origin:Greek variation of Elijah, Hebrew
Meaning:"Yahweh is God"
Description:Elias, strong and charismatic, is following in the path of family members Elijah and Eli, and is also moving on up in popularity.
Origin:Scottish form of Columba, Latin
Description:Callum was derived from Latin Columba, a unisex given name meaning "dove." Callum was popular among early Christians because the dove was a symbol of purity, peace and the Holy Spirit. St. Columba was one of the most influential of the early Celtic saints.
Origin:English from Latin, variation of Julius
Meaning:"youthful, downy-bearded, or sky father"
Description:Julian was derived from Iulianus, which in turn came from Julius, a Roman family name. Its origin is shrouded in history, but possible roots include Latin iuvenis, meaning "youthfu"; Greek ioulos, meaning “downy-bearded”; or Jovis, a form of Jupiter, which means "sky father".
,br/>Julian was a 4th century Roman emperor, and St. Julian the Hospitaller is the patron saint of travelers. In Medieval England, Julian was considered a unisex name, eventually giving rise to the feminine given name Gillian.
Origin:Irish short form of William
Description:Liam originated as a nickname for Uilliam, the Irish variation of William. William is an English name from Germanic roots that was brought to Ireland when the British fled England following the Norman Conquest. The Irish began using English names, including William, which led to the development of Uilliam and its short form, Liam.
Origin:Scandinavian variation of Absalom
Meaning:"father of peace"
Description:A classic in its native Scandinavia, Axel has a cool rock 'n' roll flavor in the US, thanks to Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose (born William). Axel is a popular Scandinavian form of the Biblical Absalom, who was a son of King David, and is the name of the title character of William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom.
Description:There's Rhys and there's Reese (now more popular for girls) and there's Reece, and we particularly like the traditional Welsh spelling, which entered the list in 2004, possibly influenced by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, of The Tudors, and Welsh-born actor Rhys Ifans.
Origin:Diminutive of Ariel, Hebrew
Meaning:"lion of God"
Description:Ari, the short form of Ariel (or any other Ari- beginning name, such as Aristotle) stands up better as a boys’ name than its progenitor does. It is also short for Aristotle, as in Onassis, and is a prominent character on TV's Entourage -- the uberagent Ari Gold.
Origin:Irish, meaning unknown, possible "man of prayer"
Meaning:"man of prayer"
Description:Declan is the Anglicized form of the Irish name Deaglán. St. Declan was one of the first missionaries to bring Christianity to Ireland, preceding St. Patrick. Originally from Wales, he founded the monastery of Ardmore in Ireland.
Description:Hudson has risen quickly up the charts after emerging at the bottom of the list in 1995, now solidly in the Top 100.
Meaning:"who is like the Lord"
Description:Micah is a biblical name that growing numbers of parents are looking at as a more unusual alternative to Michael, projecting a shinier, more lively image.
Origin:Possible variation of John
Meaning:"God is gracious"
Description:Western novelist Zane (born Pearl!) Grey made this name famous. Now, it's in tune with the style of our times, retaining that appealing cowboy image.
Description:Knox is an old Scottish surname that Brad Pitt (whose great-great-grandfather was named Hal Knox Hillhouse) and Angelina Jolie took out of the back cupboard, dusted off, and elevated to coolness--to the point where it entered the popular baby names list in 2009. Knox now ranks among the most influential celebrity baby names.
Description:At the rate it's growing, Maverick soon won't seem like such a maverick anymore. Heard first in a 1950s James Garner western TV series, and then as the Tom Cruise character in Top Gun, Maverick symbolizes an unfettered, free spirit.
Description:Beau suggests someone devilishly handsome, with a large measure of southern charm—a nice image to bestow on your boy. Often solely a nickname in the past, it's now standing firmly on its own. Beau has been on the Social Security list non-stop since 1969.
Meaning:"citizen of Rome"
Description:Roman -- a surprise hit name of recent years -- owes much of its popularity to Cate Blanchett and Debra Messing, who almost simultaneously chose Roman for their sons, as Molly Ringwald did later.
In fact, several relatives of Roman are also newly stylish, from Romy to Romilly to Romeo. Definitely a romantic name, however you use it.
Meaning:"gift of God"
Description:Mateo is a Latinate form of Matthew, which derived from the Hebrew name Mattiyahu, consisting of the elements mattan, meaning "gift" and yah, which references the Hebrew God. Mateo can also be spelled Matteo, which is the Italian variation. Matheo is an archaic Spanish spelling, although it is used in France as Mathéo.
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.
Origin:English from Dutch
Description:Rhett has been more tied to Gone with the Wind than even Scarlett, but now we're hearing rumblings of its finding new and independent favor among parents, perhaps emboldened by the growing popularity of Scarlett.
Origin:English, medieval form of Benedict
Description:Bennett is Ben with a bow tie, kind of a cross between Benjamin and Beckett. It's been trending up on the popularity charts in recent years, and its choice by The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's Jane Krakowski could shoot it even higher.
Origin:English surname and nature name
Description:One of those simple, straightforward English surnames -- and with a presidential pedigree -- that's easy to translate into a first. It was recently chosen by both Kevin Costner and Jessica Alba for their sons, which can likely be credited for its spike in popularity in the past few years. Surname names and nature names like Hayes, which qualifies on both counts, along with occupational names all make up the new generation of stylish English names for boys that go far beyond Harry and Edward.
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:As a stylish name, Ryker has three big things going for it: its Ry beginning (as in Riley, Ryder, and Rylan), its two-syllable rhythm, and its er ending. A nice surprise for many is it's "rich" meaning. While this may not be a factor beyond New York City, there is an infamous prison there called Riker's Island. Ryker is one of the trendiest German names for boys in the US.
Origin:Variation of Óðinn, Old Norse
Meaning:"god of frenzy; poetic fury"
Description:Odin is the name of the supreme Norse god of art, culture, wisdom, and law — who was handsome, charming, and eloquent into the bargain. The name projects a good measure of strength and power and has excellent assimilation potential.
Meaning:"by the ash tree"
Description:Nash is an English surname whose sound puts it right in step with currently trendy names like Cash, Dash and Ash. It first came to prominence via TV character Nash Bridges, portrayed by Don Johnson in the late nineties, and also via mathematician John Nash, played by Russell Crowe in the acclaimed film A Beautiful Mind.
Description:Holden is a classic case of a name that jumped out of a book and onto birth certificates--though it took quite a while. Parents who loved J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye are flocking to the name of its hero, Holden Caulfield -- not coincidentally in tune with the Hudson-Hayden-Colton field of names. (Trivia note: Salinger supposedly came up with the name while looking at a movie poster promoting a film starring William Holden and Joan Caulfield, though other sources say he was named after Salinger's friend Holden Bowler.) Another impetus was provided by a soap opera character introduced in 1985.