Top Contenders (Boys)

  1. Abram
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "father of multitudes"
    • Description:

      Abram was Abraham's original name in the Bible; it's more user-friendly but with a bit less gravitas. And it does offer that cool nickname Bram, as well as the friendly Abe. After some early American usage, in 1936 Abram completely disappeared for nearly forty years, until its return in the 1970s.
  2. Callum
    • Origin:

      Scottish form of Columba, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "dove"
    • Description:

      Callum, a charming Scottish name high on the list in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, is rising through the ranks in the US now too. And it comes complete with the easy nickname Cal.
  3. Cyrus
    • Origin:

      Persian
    • Meaning:

      "sun"
    • Description:

      Cyrus is one of those surprising names that have always ranked among the Top 1000 boy names in the US. On an upward trend since the mid-90s, Cyrus now sits in that comfortable place between too popular and too unusual.
  4. Davis
    • Origin:

      Surname derived from David, Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "beloved"
    • Description:

      Davis is a fresh way to say David. Some sources define it as "son of David," but we see it as a surname spin on the original. While David is an everyman name, Davis has some creative edge -- and still gets you to the classic guy nickname Dave.
  5. Dexter
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "dyer, right-handed"
    • Description:

      The jazzy, ultra-cool Dexter, like most names with an "x," has a lot of energy and dynamism. Over the years, it's been attached to a number of diverse real and fictional personalities—C. K. Dexter Haven, the witty Cary Grant character in The Philadelphia Story; Dexter Green, the protagonist of the F. Scott Fitzgerald story "Winter Dreams"; great jazz tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon; the boy-genius protagonist of cartoon Dexter's Laboratory; and the most recent TV series Dexter based on the books by Jeff Lindsay, whose lead happens to be a genial but sociopathic serial killer.
  6. Everett
    • Origin:

      English variation of the German Eberhard
    • Meaning:

      "brave as a wild boar"
    • Description:

      Everett is a preppy but outdoorsy name, with wintery New England vibes. In the last decade, it’s had a leap in popularity, perhaps because of its similarity to trendy girls’ names like Ava and Scarlett, or perhaps because it offers a fresh alternative to 90’s style Evan and Brett.
  7. Gideon
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "hewer; or, having a stump for a hand"
    • Description:

      Gideon is a no-longer neglected Old Testament name, but still makes an excellent choice for parents looking to move beyond such overused biblicals as Benjamin and Jacob. In the Old Testament, Gideon was a judge called on by God to rescue the Jews from the Midianites, and the name was popular among the Puritans.
  8. Gus
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Augustus, Angus, Gustave, Augustin, Augusten, Augustine, August
    • Description:

      Gus is a homey grandpa nickname name that can work as a short form for any of the above or stand on its own as a cutting-edge replacement for Max and Jake--though it was off the Top 1000 from 1978 until 2016, when it squeaked in at Number 999.
  9. Guthrie
    • Origin:

      Scottish
    • Meaning:

      "windy place"
    • Description:

      Guthrie, one of the most attractive Scottish names that's also a surname, has a particularly romantic, windswept aura, with a touch of the buckaroo thrown in.
  10. Ike
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Isaac
    • Description:

      Ike, once the quirky one-person nickname of President Dwight Eisenhower, has morphed into a cool kid nickname of the early 21st century.
  11. Jasper
    • Origin:

      Persian
    • Meaning:

      "bringer of treasure"
    • Description:

      Jasper originated as a variation of the Latin Gaspar, which ultimately derived from the Persian word ganzabara, meaning "bringer of treasure." As a given name, Jasper’s etymology is unrelated to that of the gemstone, which comes from a Semitic word meaning "speckled stone." Jasper is the usual English form for one of the Three Wise Men who brought gifts to the infant Christ according to medieval tradition and appears in the Bible as a reference to the stone itself in Revelations 4:3.
  12. Langston
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "tall man's town"
    • Description:

      The great African-American Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes put this one on the map; actor Laurence Fishburne adopted it for his now grown son, born in 1987. Despite these popular associations, the name didn't make it into the US Top 1000 until 2013. This name is even less used in England or Wales, where as recently as 2014 no births were registered using this name.
  13. Leo
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "lion"
    • Description:

      Leo is a strong-yet-friendly name that was common among the Romans, used for thirteen popes, and is now at its highest point ever in the US thanks in part to Leonardo "Leo" DiCaprio.
  14. Linc
    • Mack
      • Origin:

        Scottish or Irish
      • Meaning:

        "son of"
      • Description:

        Mack, when "formalized" with the final k, makes an engagingly amiable choice, a far more uncommon alternative to the ubiquitous Max and Jack, with a nice, every-guy feel. Mack entered the popularity list in 2009 for the first time since 1989 and continues to climb. However, it's still far from its peak — it was a Top 100 name in 1900.
    • Raleigh
      • Origin:

        English
      • Meaning:

        "meadow of roe deer"
      • Description:

        Attractive North Carolina place-name and surname of explorer Sir Walter Raleigh. Distinctive, classy-but-approachable choice for either sex.
    • Silas
      • Origin:

        Aramaic, Latin, Greek
      • Meaning:

        "of the forest; or prayed for"
      • Description:

        Sleek and smart, with a hint of mystique about it, Silas is a recent addition to the US Top 100. Both mythological and Biblical in origin, Silas joins the ranks of Isaiah, Atlas, Elias, and Sebastian: polished and contemporary feeling names with plenty of history.
    • Tobin
      • Origin:

        English surname derived from Tobias
      • Meaning:

        "God is good"
      • Description:

        Tobias-related name that makes an attractive and modern-sounding form of the biblical original. It was recently chosen by Karolina Kurkova for her son.
    • Zeb
      • Origin:

        Diminutive of Zebediah or Zebulon
      • Description:

        Short and to-the-point, it turns an ancient biblical name into a friendly cowboy.