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Dad Names

Dad Names were the coolest names through the 1980s and 1990s, so they're now synonymous with men in their 20s, 30s and 40s: new dads. They encompass the start of trends that are still hot today: there are occupational names like Taylor and Tyler, and cowboy names like Austin and Casey. They also have their own unique style with a love for names starting with D, and -ell endings. Many are still appealing today, but trends have moved on and they're no longer the cutting edge of cool they once were.
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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.

NathanielHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "gift of God"
  • Description:

    Nathaniel was derived from the Hebrew name Netan’el, meaning “gift of God,” composed of the elements natan, meaning “to give,” and ’el, in reference to God. The name is featured several times in the Old and New Testaments, typically spelled Nathanael. In the New Testament, Nathanael is also known by his other name, Bartholomew.

DanielHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "God is my judge"
  • Description:

    Daniel was derived from the Hebrew name Daniyyel, from the elements din, meaning “judge,” and ’el, “God.” The Book of Daniel in the Old Testament describes the Jewish prophet’s life of captivity in Babylon and visions of the last days of Earth. Dan and Danny are common short forms of Daniel.

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.

AustinHeart

  • Origin:

    English, shortened form of Augustine
  • Meaning:

    "great, magnificent"
  • Description:

    Austin is one of the most attractive city names for babies, with an attractive southwestern feel, place-name panache and the solid base of having long been an Anglo-Saxon surname and a first name since medieval times. Austin reached the Top 10 in the 1990s, but has been gradually slipping down the list.
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TristanHeart

  • Origin:

    Celtic
  • Meaning:

    "noise or sorrowful"
  • Description:

    Tristan -- known through medieval legend and Wagnerian opera -- has a slightly wistful, touching air. This, combined with the name's popular "an" ending, makes Tristan very appealing to parents seeking a more original alternative to Christian.

RyanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little king"
  • Description:

    Ryan’s use as a given name was inspired by the surname Ryan, a variation of the Irish O’Riain meaning “son of Rían.” Rían is composed of the Irish-Gaelic elements , meaning “king” and an, a diminutive suffix. Ryan is considered a unisex name in the US, where variant spellings Ryann and Ryanne are also valid for girls.

BrandonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "broom-covered hill"
  • Description:

    Brandon, a forebear of the Braden-Caden pack, had a great run of popularity over several decades, being in the Top 10 from 1992 to 1998, one of its inspirations being hearthrob Brandon Walsh played by Jason Priestley on the original Beverly Hills 90210--and it was aso the name of several soap opera characters.

CodyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "helpful, pillow"
  • Description:

    In the early 1990s, Cody was in the Top 25 most popular boys' names in the USA; but it has been in decline since then. It retains a greater degree of popularity in the UK, however. Cody might be short for Dakota but despite its nickname feeling, it's a name of its own.

DanteHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin diminutive of Durant
  • Meaning:

    "enduring"
  • Description:

    Though closely associated with the great medieval Florentine poet Dante Alighieri -- who's so famous most people skip the last name -- it's not as much of a one-man name as you might think. Heck, it's not even a one-poet name, thanks to British pre-Rapahaelite Dante Gabriel Rosetti. Though especially well used in the Italian-American community, it would make a striking name for any little boy.
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NicholasHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "people of victory"
  • Description:

    Nicholas is derived from the Greek Nikolaos, a name that evolved from the components nikē, meaning “victory”, and laos, “people.” It shares origins with Nike, the name of the Greek goddess of victory. Nicholas is also a New Testament name that is well-used in literature, such as in Dickens's Nicholas Nickleby.

AaronHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "high mountain; exalted, enlightened"
  • Description:

    The origin of the name Aaron is debated—some say it was derived from Hebrew, while others claim it originated in Ancient Egypt. In the Old Testament, Aaron, the older brother of Moses who was appointed by God to be his brother's spokesman, was the first High Priest of the Israelites. The Hebrew version is Aharon—in Yiddish it can be Aaran—and the name appears in Arabic as Haroun or Harun.

RaphaelHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "God has healed"
  • Description:

    Raphael is a romantic archangel name that sounds both artistic and powerful. Raphael is also a great cross-cultural choice, with significance for people with both Latinate and Jewish roots, plus plenty of grounding in the English-speaking world.

JaredHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "he descends"
  • Description:

    Jared is an Old Testament name that has been popular for decades--it was revived in the sixties via TV westerns-- and is still an appealing option.

DimitriHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian from Greek Demetrius
  • Meaning:

    "follower of Demeter"
  • Description:

    Dimitri is a Slavic variation of the Russian Dmitriy, a name that comes from the Greek Demetrius. Demetrius was derived from Demeter, the name of the Greek goddess of fertility and farming. Among the possible spelling variations are Dmitri, Dmitrii, Dmitriy, and Dmitry.
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ChristopherHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek and Latin
  • Meaning:

    "bearer of Christ"
  • Description:

    Christopher derived from the Greek Christophoros, which is composed of the elements Christos, referring to Christ, and phero, meaning “to bear.” The name was originally used figuratively, to represent the bearing of Christ in one’s heart. Later it became used to honor Saint Christopher, a third century martyr who became the protective saint of travelers, reflecting the legend of Christopher being the giant who carried the Christ Child over a river.

AdamHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "son of the red earth"
  • Description:

    Adam -- a primal Old Testament name -- was revived as a 1960s cowboy name. Adam is not as popular as it once was and feels ready for a respite, replaced by newer A names like Aidan/Aiden, Avery and Axel. Its most prominent current bearers include Adams Sandler, Levine, Brody and Driver -- who plays a character named Adam on Girls.

CarlosHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish variation of Charles
  • Meaning:

    "free man"
  • Description:

    Notable namesakes include musician Santana, writers Fuentes and Castaneda, and numerous athletes. Carlos Irwin Estevez is the birth name of Charlie Sheen.

SpencerHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "house steward, dispenser of provisions"
  • Description:

    Spencer is a name that has everything: it's both distinguished sounding and accessible, dignified but Spencer Tracy-like friendly. Picked by several celebrities (a couple of times even for a girl), adding up to an enthusiastically recommended choice.

MarcoHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian and Spanish form of Mark
  • Meaning:

    "warlike"
  • Description:

    Simple and universal, Marco is a Latin classic that would make a much livelier namesake for an Uncle Mark. It was used for her son by actress Jill Hennessy and goes well with surnames of any nationality.
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AlecHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Alexander, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "defending men"
  • Description:

    Alec, though an old nickname for Alexander, is much fresher sounding than Alex, with the additional advantage, at least to some parents, of being distinctly male (there are as many girl Alexes these days as there are boys). While Alec has a clipped British image, it's actually one of the classic Greek names for boys, by way of father name Alexander.

SamHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Samuel
  • Meaning:

    "told by God"
  • Description:

    Sam has long been used on its own for boys, as accepted standing by itself as it is as a short form of Samuel. Straightforward and down-to-earth, Sam is the name of the son of the co-stars of The Americans, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.

JonathanHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "gift of Jehovah"
  • Description:

    Jonathan was derived from the Hebrew name Yehonatan, eventually contracted to the modern Yonatan, meaning “gift of Jehovah.” It comes from the elements yeho, in reference to God, and natan, meaning “to give.” In the Old Testament, Jonathan was the valiant eldest son of King Saul, and it was his friendship with brother-in-law David that gave rise to the expression "Jonathan and David" to describe devoted, steadfast friends.

MarcusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "warlike"
  • Description:

    Though ancient, Marcus now sounds more current than Mark, in tune with today's trend towards us-ending Latinate names.

GrantHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish from French
  • Meaning:

    "large"
  • Description:

    One-time beach-boy compadre of Glenn, Greg, and Gary that originated as a nickname for a tall person, Grant has become a no-nonsense, career-oriented grown-up and one that is seeing new appreciation. It was chosen for his son by actor Morris Chestnut. It has cultural cred via artist Grant Wood, whose best known painting is 'American Gothic.'
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JoelHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "Jehovah is his God"
  • Description:

    In the Old Testament, Joel was one of King David's 'mighty men' and the name was taken up by the Puritans of the sixteenth century. In the mid 1960s, Joel entered the Top 100, and stayed there for about twenty years, as parents tried to jazz up and formalize old standby Joe by reviving this biblical name.

RubenHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Reuben
  • Meaning:

    "behold, a son"
  • Description:

    Variation of Reuben that is actually much more popular than the original.

DesmondHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "one from south Munster"
  • Description:

    Desmond is a sophisticated and debonair name, with noble ties to 1984 Nobel Peace Prize-winning Bishop Desmond Tutu, and with some great nicknames: Des/Dez, Desi/Dezi.

JordanHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "flowing down"
  • Description:

    Jordan became one of the top unisex baby names in the heyday of basketball's Michael Jordan, and is still among the most popular unisex names starting with J. The name was originally given to those baptized in holy water brought back by Crusaders from the River Jordan, the only river in Palestine, and the one in which Christ was baptized by John the Baptist.

DawsonHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "son of David"
  • Description:

    Dawson was scarcely heard as a first name before the debut of Dawson's Creek in 1998, at which point it leaped up more than 550 places in one year. The character Dawson Leery, played by James Van Der Beek, was a teen favorite until the show's demise in 2003.
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TylerHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "maker of tiles"
  • Description:

    The presidential Tyler rocketed up popularity charts in the late 1980s and early 1990s (it ranked Number 9 for that entire decade), along with cousin Taylor, becoming almost pandemic across the land-- and to make matters more confusing, both (especially Taylor) have been used for girls as well.

MitchellHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Michael
  • Meaning:

    "who is like God"
  • Description:

    Mitchell has had something of a roller coaster ride, showing some panache in the forties and fifties, when it was seen as a sharper alternative to Michael with its cool Mitch nickname, slipping a bit, then resurfacing in the 90s when it reached as high as Number 71. Mitchell Pritchett is one of the leading characters on the TV sitcom Modern Family.

BryanHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Brian, Irish
  • Meaning:

    "strong, virtuous, and honorable"
  • Description:

    An alternate spelling of Brian, Bryan's one of the most enduring of Irish imports. Bryan is now slightly more popular than the original, with associations to Bryan Cranston, Bryan Ferry and Bryan Brown.

DenzelHeart

  • Origin:

    Cornish
  • Meaning:

    "from the high stronghold"
  • Description:

    This old Cornish name took on a whole new identity via Denzel Washington, who has inspired several thousand namesakes. The actor was named after his father, who was named for a Dr. Denzel, who delivered him.

DarioHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian variation of Darius
  • Meaning:

    "kingly or possess well"
  • Description:

    More creative and classier than Mario. It has regularly ranked near the bottom of the US Top 1000 over the last four decades. It does much better across the pond, and is especially popular in Italy, Spain, and Switzerland.
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DrewHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Andrew
  • Meaning:

    "strong and manly"
  • Description:

    Drew, which projects a polished, somewhat intellectual impression, is rapidly becoming the Andrew nickname of choice, replacing the past favorite, Andy. It is fully capable of standing on its own, which it has for many decades, non-stop since 1942.

KeanuHeart

  • Origin:

    Hawaiian
  • Meaning:

    "cool breeze over the mountains"
  • Description:

    An evocatively exotic name brought from Hawaii to the mainland by Keanu Reeves, who was born in Beirut to a part-Hawaiian, part-Chinese father. It moved into the Top 1000 for the first time in over a decade in 2016.

DuncanHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "dark warrior"
  • Description:

    Duncan is jaunty, confident, and open, a Scottish royal name that's brimming with friendly charm and makes it into our golden circle of names that are neither too popular nor too strange. Popularity aside, Duncan is one of the most classic Scottish names for boys.

StoneHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • 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.

DerekHeart

  • Origin:

    English from German form of THEODORIC
  • Meaning:

    "the people's ruler"
  • Description:

    Derek started out as a sophisticated Brit, but the name became so common over the last decades of the twentieth century that it lost much of its English accent, along with its stylish edge. Derek was a Top 100 name in the U.S. for 25 years, from 1970 to 1995.
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MorganHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "sea-born, sea-song or sea-circle"
  • Description:

    Morgan, once split evenly between the sexes, is a strong and attractive Welsh favorite, still a common boys’ name in Wales. Morgan is now more often a girls' name in the U.S. – about 2000 girls were given the name in one recent year, vs. 362 boys – though it's one of the most traditional unisex choices. Morgan was actually a Top 200 pick for boys in Victorian Britain!

CullenHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "holly tree"
  • Description:

    Cullen is an appealing Irish surname name that upped its cool factor considerably when it became the Twilight family name of Edward et al. It's considerably less popular than it was at its peak in 2010, but is still widely used.

MalikHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic; Greenlandic
  • Meaning:

    "king; wave"
  • Description:

    A name popular among African-American parents, with many spelling variations, including Malek and Maliq.

ChristianHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "follower of Christ"
  • Description:

    Christian has fallen a bit from its 90's and 00's heights, but it's still quite popular. Once considered overly pious, Christian is now seen as making a bold statement of faith by some, while also having secular appeal for others, perhaps influenced by such celebrities as Christian Slater and Christian Bale, not to mention the fashion world's Dior, Lacroix, Louboutin and Audigier.

JustinHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "fair, righteous"
  • Description:

    Justin has been widely popular since the 1980s, when parents were seeking a fresher 'J' boys’ name to replace Jason, Jeremy and Jonathan. It's been dipping in popularity a bit in recent years but it reached as high as Number 9 in 1990. At this point it's Justin that is suffering from overexposure.
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FranciscoHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish and Portuguese variation of Francis
  • Meaning:

    "Frenchman or free man"
  • Description:

    Francisco is one of the more popular Spanish names for boys in the US, which is unsurprising given its popularity back in Spain and Portugal as well as Latin America, coupled with its classic status. It also has a cool hipster vibe to it, given the reputation of the city of San Francisco.

ClaytonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "place with good clay"
  • Description:

    Almost fits into the wildly popular Jaden-Caden-Braden family -- but not quite; a possibility for parents who want a similar but more traditional name.

TrevorHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "from the large village"
  • Description:

    Trevor, a British standard, took a long time to cross the Atlantic, but finally began its rise here in the 1980s. It is now a thoroughly naturalized citizen, though it still retains a touch of Anglo class.

DemetriusHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "follower of Demeter"
  • Description:

    Classical and Shakespearean name that may appeal if you like your names long, flowing and multicultural.

TaylorHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "tailor"
  • Description:

    Taylor was much more popular throughout the 1990s for both genders than it is today. Close to the Top 50 boys' names in the mid-1990s, Taylor recently fell out of the Top 500 for boys and out of the Top 100 for girls, and is predicted to continue on a downward trajectory for both genders. Similar but more stylish baby names today include Sawyer, Sayer and Thayer.
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