Baby Boy Names That Start With R
Baby boy names that start with R are led today by modern classics Ryan and Roman, which along with classic Robert rank in the Top 100 baby names for boys in the US.
Along with Ryan and Roman, R-starting names for boys which make the Top 250 include Ryker, Ryder, Rowan, River, Remington, Riley and Rhett.
And across the pond, the Brits are crazy for baby boy names starting with R! The England and Wales Top 200 names for boys includes a wealth of unique R-starting boy names, such as Reuben, Reggie, Rory, Ronnie, Ralph, Rupert, Rex, Rocco and Rhys.
In France, Raphaël, Robin and Rayan all rank in the Top 100, while in Finland Rasmus and Roope are both in the Top 50.
Famous R-starting couple Rose Byrne and Robert "Bobby" Cannavale recently chose a second rollicking R name for baby boy #2: Rafa, a brother for Rocco. And filmmaker Robert Rodriguez passed his R initial down to all four of his sons: Rocket, Racer, Rebel, and Rogue.
Read our full menu of boy names beginning with R here. The top names below rank among the Nameberry's current Top 1000 Baby Names and are ordered by popularity. Unique names rank below our Top 1000 and are listed alphabetically.
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.
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:French from Latin
Description:The name of a fifth century saint and one of a new generation of French names being discovered in the US, Remy sounds particularly modern and attractive. The name Remy is being revived for both boys and girls, sometimes as Remi. It entered the popularity list in 2009 and has quickly become one of the fastest-rising names on the list.
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.
Description:This spirited Gaelic classic, which became popular in Ireland via the illustrious twelfth century king Rory O'Connor, makes a highly energetic choice, now used for either sex. Rory's gender split is still trending boyward; it's one of the coolest boys' names starting with R.
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.
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:"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.
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.
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 rí, 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.
Meaning:"behold, a son"
Description:Reuben is derived from the Hebrew words ra’a, meaning "to see, to understand," and ben, "son." As a phrase it translates to "behold, a son." In the Bible, Reuben is Jacob's first-born son by Leah and the founder of one of the tribes of Israel.
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:Diminutive of Raymond
Description:The Reid spelling is the most popular by half, probably because it feels more like a name than Reed, which looks more like a word. It's used occasionally for girls but this name is firmly in the boys' camp.
Meaning:"pilgrim to Rome, Roman"
Description:It wasn't so long ago that Romeo was considered as outre for an American baby as Casanova or Cupid. But that really changed when David and Victoria Beckham chose it for their second son in 2002, a path followed by Jon Bon Jovi.
Description:Ryder, one of the current favorite er-ending boys’ names, has been in the spotlight since Kate Hudson and her rocker husband Chris Robinson chose it for their son in 2004. Very popular in several provinces of Canada, Ryder was chosen by John Leguzamo for his son and adorns Boy Meets World star Ryder Strong.
Description:Now that many dogs are named Max, it's safe to use this sleek, solid, regal name again for your child. And with the charm of its final x, its regal meaning, and its offbeat simplicity, Rex is definitely one to consider.
Origin:Spanish variation of Raphael
Meaning:"God has healed"
Description:Rafael is perhaps the ultimate romantic Latino name, not a bad gift to give your son. The Raphael spelling is the original Hebrew version.
Description:A slim, elegant, silvery surname, Reed could be a banker or a sculptor, and therein lies the appeal of this simple yet distinctive name. The versatile Reed can be seen as a grass-like nature name and a musical name.
Meaning:"place on a riverbank"
Description:Remington Steele was the perfect name for an upper-crust action hero on 1980s television. Now, Remington is catching fire along with a new generation of predatory baby boy names such as Hunter, Gunner, and Colt. Or you might consider it a unisex namewith a buttoned-up British feel and the friendly short form Rem or Remy.
Origin:German, diminutive of Rudolph
Description:Rudy has a bit of style currency, thanks to the fact that Jude Law used it for his son. It has been consistently in the Top 1000 for as long as Social Security records have been tallied, as opposed to parent name Rudolph, which, perhaps due to the reindeer, hasn't been heard from in some time.
Description:Riley -- one of the most popular unisex names -- is rising faster now for girls than boys. Still, there are lots of athletes and other notable real-life namesakes for a boy named Riley, as well as fictional ones in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight: Eclipse.
Description:Now that the show has gone into reruns, does anybody still love Raymond? Though it's been long dormant, some parents -- including Jack Nicholson -- are finding its cool name component, largely through the nickname Ray.
Origin:English and Irish
Description:Parents seeking alternatives to the overexposed Ryan have flocked to this soundalike name, which peaked at #146 in 2011.
Meaning:"famous throughout the land"
Description:Roland is a chivalrous old name made famous by the supposedly eight-foot-tall romantic hero and nephew of Charlemagne, celebrated in medieval poetry and song. It is more widely heard in the US now in its Spanish form, Rolando. You might want to consider rollicking short form Rollo, either on its own or as an abbreviation of Roland. Orlando is the graceful Italian form.
Origin:Bird name; or English, diminutive of Robert
Description:Now that it's no longer fashionable for girls, Robin is rising for boys again. Robin Hood, Robin Williams, Christopher Robin, and Robin the Boy Wonder are all male namesakes, after all. It reentered the US Top 1000 boys namesin 2015 for the first time since 1999.
Description:A classic old Norman name popular for a thousand years and favored for kings (Richard Nixon was named for Richard the Lionhearted), as well as the hoi polloi (as in every Tom, Dick and Harry), Richard was the sixth most popular US boys’ name in 1925, and was still Number 8 in 1950, but is now much less popular.
Meaning:"thunder and lightning"
Description:The name of the Japanese god of thunder makes an assertive choice, very much at home in the Western world. Because of the name's similarity to popular baby names Aiden and Jayden, most people will pronounce it RAY-den, but it's more properly RYE-den.
Description:Rio is a reductive ranchero place-name with an attractive Tex-Mex lilt. No Doubt's Tom Dumont has a son named Rio Atticus.
Description:One of many R- boys’ names that started as a nickname for a redhead, Russell had a measure of popularity from the early twentieth century through the 1950s. But it's now lost much of its color -- except for a few dynamic bearers, actors Russell Crowe and Russell Brand and sports stars Russell Westbrook and Russell Wilson.
Origin:French, variation of Remy
Description:Makes the jaunty REMY a little more nicknamey and feminine.
Meaning:"behold, a son"
Description:International variant of Reuben that is actually much more popular than the original in the US.
Origin:English from German
Description:Robert was derived from the ancient Germanic name Hrodebert, from the elements hrod, meaning "fame" and bertha, "bright." Robert was the name of three kings of Scotland, including Robert the Bruce, who freed Scotland from English rule. The name was brought to England by the Normans.
Origin:Italian from German
Description:Madonna did much to polish up the image of this old-neighborhood Italian choice when she picked it for her son with British director Guy Ritchie, and several years later it was also used by Rose Byrne and Bobby Canavale for their son. It now feels much more mainstream than many celebrity baby names, sharing the quirky appeal of some other so-far-out-they're-in baby names as Bruno and Hugo.
Origin:English word name
Description:Even less subtle than Duke or Earl, this name is leaping up the popularity charts, probably due in part to a boost from the hit Lorde song "Royals."
Description:In the World War II era, Roger had nothing but the most positive associations, actually used by military personnel to mean 'Received and understood'--or A-OK, and though it is now on extended furlough, it does have a long and distinguished history. Introduced to England after the Norman Conquest of 1066, Roger soon became very popular there, with nicknames Hodge and Dodge, and had a long run later in the U.S, remaining in the Top 100 for 55 years.
Origin:Spelling variation of Ronan
Description:In the USA, both spellings of this old Celtic name rose significantly. However, Ronan outpaced this version in the lasts, and we, too, prefer the original, though history and movie buffs may appreciate this version's association with renegade samurai in Feudal Japan. Ronin is a character in the Marvel Universe.
Description:Now seen as the chap in the smoking jacket in a 1930s drawing-room comedy, Reginald has actually been on the US popularity list every year since 1880.
Origin:Spelling variation of Rowan or Hindi
Description:From India, but feels like an Irish surname (and can in fact be a variation of Rowan), so a possible cross-cultural choice.
Origin:French "king,"; Celtic "red-haired"
Description:We've seen Ray regain his cool, but could this country/cowboy name epitomized by Roy Rogers (born Leonard Slye), Acuff, and Clark, do the same?
Roy came into use in the late nineteenth century, probably influenced by the main character of Sir Walter Scott's novel Rob Roy, in which the historical character Robert M'ac Gregor is nicknamed Roy for his red hair.
There have been lots of notable non-country namesakes, including baseball's Roy Campanella, humorist Roy Blunt, Jr., Walt's brother and partner Roy Disney, singer Roy Orbison and pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. Roy Hobbs was the protagonist of the Malamud novel The Natural, played in the film by Robert Redford.
Description:Reign is one of a new, ahem, kingdom of word names that suggest a high-born child, joining Royal, Lorde, Titan, Saint, King, Princess, and Noble. We predicted this kind of defining name to be the Number 1 baby name trend of 2015...two weeks before Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick named their third child, a boy, Reign.
Origin:English word name
Description:Ridge may be the quintessential daytime drama name, but it's still better than most. This is one word name rising rapidly through the ranks, reentering the US Top 1000 in 2015 for the first time since 1989.
Meaning:"son of the king"
Description:It may seem like an indecisive cross between Roy and Reece, but Royce was fairly popular in the 1930s and '40s. It has seen a resurgence in recent years, helped by some well-known athlete bearers. The Latin pop singer Prince Royce also has brought renown to the name. And some aspirational parents may see the name as a way to associate with the Rolls-Royce brand.
Origin:Spanish variation of Ralph
Description:Raul and French brother Raoul are much more appealing than flat-footed daddy Ralph. Puerto Rican actor Raul Julia, who starred in the Addams Family movies, brought fame to the name before his death in 1994.
Description:Given that Rome is arguably the most important city in European history, it has been used as a first name remarkably little. However, Roman is now in the Top 100, so it was only a matter of time before parents started looking toward the city's actual name.
Description:To many people, Ronald is off playing shuffleboard with Donald, though others aren't swayed by its old man image. In the Top 10 in the late 1930s through the mid-1940s, the name later came to be strongly associated with President Reagan, along with his nicknames, Ron and Ronnie—as well as with the McDonald franchise mascot. A more youthful bearer is the likable character Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter series. In the early days of Hollywood, Ronald Colman was a dashing matinee idol.
Origin:Spelling variation of Rhys
Description:This is the second most common boys' version of this attractive name, after the Welsh original Rhys.
Meaning:"island near the clearing"
Description:Rodney peaked at Number 33 in 1965 and has been on a steady decline ever since. As its popularity history indicates, this name is more fitting for someone born in the mid-twentieth century instead of the twenty-first century. It's likely this name will continue trending downward for another generation or two before it has its chance to turn back around.
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.
Origin:Spelling variation of Rhys
Description:An Anglicized spelling of the Welsh Rhys, this traditional boys' name got a big boost for girls in the early 2000s, thanks to the high-profile Ms. Witherspoon (who was actually born Laura Jeanne Reese, her second middle being her mother's maiden name). This spelling has been on the decline for boys since 2003, possibly for the same reason, but remains a strong, simple choice which might pose fewer spelling and pronunciation issues outside of the UK than the Welsh original.