Finding out they’re expecting a boy is an exciting discovery for any couple. However, choosing a name can be a tricky matter and often feels like a big responsibility. Some prefer to choose a classic moniker that never goes out of style, while others search for a name that’s a little more unique. When searching through boy names, a great place to start is by finding out which names are popular with other new moms and dads.
Liam is a shortened variant of the popular Irish name Uilliam, which is said to mean ‘helmet of will’. It’s also frequently used as a shortening of the name William. Liam could be the perfect name for a brave and determined little boy, as it means ‘determined warrior and protector’. Liam is a name with Hollywood connotations, as it’s the given name of several famous leading men. Famous A-listers called Liam include Liam Neeson and Liam Hemsworth.
Noah is a classic name with biblical roots. It is Hebrew in origin and first became popular as a first name following the Protestant Reformation. In the Bible, Noah was chosen by God to build the great ark that saved two of each animal from the floods. Once the flood was over, God sent him a rainbow to signify a new covenant.
Oliver is a Latin name derived from the popular French name Olivier. It also has links to the Latin word ‘olivarius,’ which means olive tree. The name first became popular in Europe in the Middle Ages and remained popular until the 17th century. Oliver enjoyed a revival in the 19th century and has remained popular ever since. This is probably thanks to Charles Dickens, who chose the moniker for the main character in his 1838 novel ‘Oliver Twist’.
Until recently, Mason has been used as a last name. However, it has become popular as a given name in recent years. The name is derived from a French surname with Germanic origins thought to mean ‘to make’. In the Middle Ages, the name Mason was bestowed upon skilled stone workers. Mason could be a good choice for sporty boys, as several high-profile sports stars share the name. These include American basketball player Mason Plumlee and Mason Crosby, placekicker for the Green Bay Packers.
Lucas is another classic boys’ name with biblical origins. It is derived from the English name Luke, which was derived from the Greek Loukas meaning ‘from Luciana’, a region in Southern Italy. In the Bible, Luke was a doctor who kept company with the apostle Paul and wrote the third Gospel. For this reason, variations of Luke such as Lucas have endured in popularity across the Christian world.
This ancient Hebrew name is traditionally a popular name for Jewish boys and means ‘Yahweh is God’. In the Old Testament, Elijah was a prophet who worked miracles. He appears in the two Books of Kings and then reappears in the New Testament alongside Jesus as he is transfigured. Many countries have a popular variation of Elijah, including Elias and Elis. In the USA, Elijah has soared in popularity as a given name since the 1990s.
Although the name Logan is unisex, it’s more commonly given to boys. The moniker comes from a word in Scottish Gaelic that means ‘little hollow’. Logan has traditionally been used as a surname but has rocketed in popularity as a given name in recent years. Famous Logans include the X-Men character Wolverine.
The popular name Ethan is derived from the Hebrew name Eitan. It means ‘strong’ and ‘firm.’ Ethan appears in the Bible as the name given to a wise man from Ezrahite, who is thought to have written Psalm 89. Ethan first became reasonably common in America because of the well-known revolutionary Ethan Allen (1738-1789). However, it didn’t become popular until the 20th century.
James originates from the Hebrew name Jacob and means ‘one who follows’. It’s also the given name of two of Christ’s apostles in the Bible. The name has royal connections and was given to several kings in Scotland. There have also been six presidents of the USA with the given name James. Other famous bearers include Captain James Cook and the British fictional spy James Bond.
This Irish boys’ name derives from the name of the Celtic sun god. It means ‘fiery.’ It originated as the name Aodhan and has several modern spellings including Aden, Aidan and Ayden. Although Aiden is most commonly used as a boys’ name, it is sometimes given to girls. The name became popular in America in the late 20th century.
This noble name that means “defender of mankind” in Greek has defended its spot in the US top 20 names for boys since the year 2000. In 2019, Alexander hit the eleventh spot in the charts, up two places from the previous year. Since ancient times, Scottish, Polish and Yugoslavian kings, Russian emperors, and a total of eight popes have borne this majestic moniker — not to mention many inventors, explorers, and poets. Alexander has no shortage of spinoffs to suit any style — Alex, Alec, Lex, Al, Sandy, Xander, and Zan — which undoubtedly adds to its enduring appeal. In Scotland, the grandiose-sounding Gaelic version, Alasdair, is often used.
Though Jack actually started out as a nickname for John, these days most folks would agree it holds its own just fine. The jaunty English classic, which means “God is gracious,” is a regular feature in fairytales and nursery rhymes — Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack Spratt, Little Jack Horner, and Jack and Jill, just to name a few. The designation has been wildly popular throughout the English-speaking world in the past decade and is rapidly climbing the ranks Stateside. If parents feel the name Jack is lacking something, trendy twists include Jaxx, Jackman, and Jackson. International varieties of the name include the French Jacques and the Scottish Jock.
This traditional biblical name meaning “son of the right hand” might have only broken the US top ten in 2015, but it has been a popular boys’ name in North America and Europe since the Protestant Reformation. Benjamin has held its number six spot in the charts since 2016. Just as sturdy as it is stylish, it has a host of friendly nicknames to choose from, including Ben, Benny, and Benji. Among the most famous bearers of the name is statesman, inventor, scientist, and philosopher Benjamin Franklin.
This sophisticated moniker, meaning “person from the ancient city of Sebastia,” is soaring in popularity worldwide, topping charts everywhere from Chile to the Czech Republic. It’s now in the US top 20 and rising. Sebastian, which comes from the Greek word for “venerable”, was the name of a town in Asia Minor — now Sivas in modern-day Turkey. Though the name has historically been linked to martyred saints and literary characters, these days most people associate it with the singing crab in the Little Mermaid. Nicknames include Baz and Seb.
Though it sounds trendy with its two-syllable, vowel-heavy sound, this resonant Celtic name is thoroughly traditional. It’s derived from the Welsh Owain, which is connected with the Greek Eugene, meaning “well-born.” Owen was the 25th most popular baby boy name in the US in 2019, up three places from the previous year. Variations include the Irish Eoin or Eoghan, which are pronounced exactly the same as Owen, and the Scottish Ewan.