Boys

  1. Adam
    • 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.
  2. Amos
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "carried by God"
    • Description:

      Amos is a robust biblical name that's being discovered by a new generation of parents in a major way.
  3. Arthur
    • Origin:

      Celtic
    • Meaning:

      " bear"
    • Description:

      Arthur, once the shining head of the Knights of the Round Table, is, after decades of neglect, now being polished up and restored by stylish parents, inspired perhaps by the new generation of royals. Arthur has led the list of possible names for the young British princes, chosen as a middle name for Prince Louis, son of William and Catherine, Prince and Princess of Wales.
  4. Benson
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "son of Ben"
    • Description:

      Benson has outgrown its long association with a wisecracking TV butler. Parents may see it as an alternate route to nickname Ben, very different in image than the biblical Benjamin. Benson also carries the patronymic theme made popular by Jackson, Harrison, and Jefferson. More recently, Olivia Benson of Law and Order: SVU has reclaimed this as a surname. On a less salubrious note, Benson is still connected to the cigarette brand Benson and Hedges.
  5. Carver
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "wood carver"
    • Description:

      Carver is an occupational name with an artistic bent, as is the newly arrived Painter, which has a fresher feel than the 1990's Carter. It also has eminent last-name links to botanist and educator George Washington Carver and short story master Raymond Carver.
  6. Clark
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "scribe, secretary, cleric, scholar, clerk"
    • Description:

      Clark seemed to have been Gone with the Wind, but parents looking for a short, strong boy's name are now beginning to appreciate its cool combination of Gable charm with Superman power.
  7. Daniel
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "God is my judge"
    • Description:

      Daniel is one of only a handful of male names that sounds both classic and modern, strong yet approachable, and popular but not cliched. It also has a solid Old Testament pedigree. The only real downside: There are about 10,000 Daniels named each year, making it a less than distinctive choice.
  8. Dawson
    • Origin:

      English
    • 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.
  9. Elliott
    • Origin:

      Variation of Elliot
    • Meaning:

      "Jehovah is God"
    • Description:

      One of the four perfectly proper spellings of this name ranging from the spare (but poetic) Eliot to the full-blown Elliott. Elliott and Elliot are the two most popular, and they have given to almost the same number of baby boys in recent years. Elliott has that "-tt" ending that is so popular among parents today, with popular picks like Everett and Emmett, Beckett and Bennett. "El" names for both boys and girls have been trending in recent years, with Eli, Elijah, and Elias at the top of the charts for boys. Elliott has always been on the charts in the US, but is currently at its highest point ever. Elliott is also gaining in the UK, currently at number 107 in England. Elliott was the name of the dragon in the classic Disney film, Pete's Dragon.
  10. Ernest
    • Origin:

      English from German
    • Meaning:

      "serious, resolute"
    • Description:

      Ernest is one of those sober, so-far-out-they're-beginning-to-be-reconsidered Great Uncle names. Ernest recently received a big style boost when Britain's Princess Eugenie chose it for her second son.
  11. Felix
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "happy, fortunate"
    • Description:

      Felix is one of those ancient but nontraditional names for boys that have come into favor over the past few decades, a favorite of parents who want a masculine name with history and heft that breaks ranks with the standard Franks and Freds. Felix is also an international darling, ranking in the Top 100 in several European and English-speaking countries.
  12. Foster
    • Origin:

      English occupational name
    • Meaning:

      "forester"
    • Description:

      Foster is one commonly heard last name that makes a fine first. The word foster means "to nourish" — as in "fostering hope", or "fostering a relationship". The only problem with Foster might be its association with "foster child."
  13. Graham
    • Origin:

      Scottish
    • Meaning:

      "gravelly homestead"
    • Description:

      Well used in England and Scotland since the fifties, the smooth and sophisticated Graham is catching on here.
  14. Jay
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "jaybird"
    • Description:

      Though this feels like a modern invention, Jay has been in use for centuries. Early Jays often were named in honor of founding father John Jay, whose surname derived from the jaybird. A popular mid-century choice, Jay was in the Top 100 from 1956 to 1970. In the last couple of decades he was replaced by such more elaborate forms as Jayden, Jaylen, and Jayce. But Jay could make a comeback in tandem with cousins May, Kay, Fay, and Ray.
  15. Jensen
    • Origin:

      Spelling variation of Jenson and Danish surname
    • Meaning:

      "son of Jens"
    • Description:

      A variation of Jenson, which is actually more popular than the original in the United States. This spelling also holds the distinction of being the most common surname in Denmark.
  16. Jethro
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "excellence"
    • Description:

      Jethro, though the biblical father-in-law of Moses, has suffered for a long time from a Beverly Hillbilly image, but some really adventurous parents might consider updating and urbanizing it and transitioning it into the hip o-ending category.
  17. Jobe
    • Origin:

      Igede, Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "give thanks; persecuted"
    • Description:

      Depending on its origin, this cool single-syllable name has either a wonderful meaning ("give thanks" in Igede) or a terrible one ("persecuted", as a variant of the Hebrew name Job).
  18. John
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "God is gracious"
    • Description:

      John reigned as the most popular of all boys' Christian names for 400 years, from the time the first Crusaders carried it back to Britain until the 1950s. Then American baby namers finally seemed to tire of this straight-arrow, almost anonymous John Doe of names, replacing it with fancier forms like Jonathan and the imported Sean and Ian.
  19. Lewis
    • Origin:

      English variation of Louis
    • Meaning:

      "renowned warrior"
    • Description:

      Lewis is the best spelling to choose if you want this pronounced with the S. Lewis has been in the Top 5 in Scotland since 2000, and is one that parents in the U.S. are just beginning to rethink.
  20. Matthias
    • Origin:

      Aramaic variation of Matthew
    • Meaning:

      "gift of God"
    • Description:

      With Matthew sounding somewhat exhausted, and ancient endings sounding new again, this New Testament apostolic name makes an appealing and recommended choice. Both Mathias and Matias are well used in the Hispanic community, and throughout Europe. Will Ferrell and his Swedish wife chose Matias for their second son.