Tuesday, November 5, 2013

20 Boys' Names Not Nearly Enough People Are Using

I know I'm not alone in thinking that coming up with good boys' names is way harder than coming up with good girls' names. I can list dozens of my favorite girls' names at the drop of a hat, but when it comes to the boys, my list is a lot smaller. As in, it only has three consistent contenders. What makes boys' names so hard, anyway? I think it has something to do with the tendency of parents to want something more conservative and classic for their son...even if they have a daughter named Juniper or Neveah. And not only do they want something more conservative, they want something that will still stand out. Michael? Matthew? James? Lovely names, but they're just so popular. So how do you choose a name that's handsome, strong, classy, and yet underused? It's tricky, but I hope the following list of names I've come up with will help out some future parents out there!

Alistair/Alastair/Alasdair- This elegant English classic is a form of the super-popular Alexander. It's easy to say, has a familiar rhythm, and sounds dignified. Plus, you get the choice of three different spellings. Alastair was the pseudonym of a famous artist (artwork pictured below).

Calvin- Forget Calvin Klein. Think Calvin and Hobbes--pure boyish cuteness and spunk. This vintage classic comes complete with the adorable nickname Cal (or even Vin) and has a long, solid history as a given name. It's not difficult to spell or pronounce. A real winner.

Boaz- With obscure Biblical names having a real heyday, I'm puzzled as to Boaz's continued rarity. It's got pizzazz with that Z ending, it's got the nickname Bo, it has a commendable Biblical namesake. Possible caveat is that people may assume you are very Christian, and if you're not, this may bug you.

Thaddeus- I love this name. It's got such a delightful sound, and it's deliciously antique and fusty-sounding. You'll find plenty of Thaddeus's in Revolutionary War records and the like. Only downside is the rather unattractive nickname Thad. I would just call him Theo.

Finnian- Just like Thaddeus, Finnian has a wonderful galloping rhythm...it's such a jolly name. It comes equipped with the perky nickname Finn and has a distinctly Irish heritage. A great underused choice.

Gideon- Another underused Biblical name, Gideon is one of my personal all-time favorites. It has that three-syllable rhythm that makes it sound happy and energetic, and yet, it's all boy. Strong yet peppy. I definitely recommend this one.

Otto- With O names all the rage, Otto would put you ahead of the curve and yet right on-trend. It's a palindrome, it's easy to spell and pronounce, and it's rare...a trifecta of awesome. Possible drawback? The Simpsons character.

Frederick- I mean, do I even need to defend Frederick? It's kingly, it's vintage, it's familiar, it's distinguished, it's got the adorable nickname Fred or Freddie. And for some reason, no one's using it...I'm baffled. Do the world a favor and pick Frederick.

Matthias- Matthew is ultra-popular, but his cousin Matthias is strangely neglected. Pronounced Ma-TEE-is or Ma-THIGH-us, it's attractive either way and puts a historical, yet updated spin on overused Matthew. A great choice, it was also the name of a character in the Redwall series.

Ewan/Euan- You probably know of Ians and Owens, but unless you're a Brit, I doubt you've met any Euans...and that's a tragedy. It's short, sweet, uncommon, and has that ever-popular "en, an, in" ending.  (Think Aiden, Jaiden, Brayden, etc. etc.) Actor Ewan McGregor gives the name a handsome image.

Louis- I'd put this in the same boat as Frederick--it's so classic and princely, yet has inexplicably slipped down the charts behind trendy usurpers like Henry and Theodore. Only Sandra Bullock has gotten the memo so far on Louis. It deserves to be used! Editor's Note: it's worth mentioning that the Luis version is actually in the top 100, as pointed out by Corey Rodriguez. Thank you! :)

Walter- This may sound too old-man-like for your taste, but think of it this way--Elijah and Sebastian used to be thought of in the same way, and look where they are now (hint--in the top 100). You can use cute nicknames like Walt and Wally, it has the popular 'er' ending like favorites Cooper and Archer, and yet it's a pure vintage classic. Of course, there is the TV villain Walter White...but really, who cares?

Lionel- Lionel deserves a lot more usage. It shares the same sounds as the stalwart classics Samuel, Daniel, and Nathaniel, and it has a cool meaning ("lion"). A very handsome name with a soccer star (Lionel Messi) namesake.

Arlo- If happiness could be embodied in a name, I think it would be Arlo. It's jovial like Milo, without the popularity. Arlo Guthrie is a famous bearer.

Tobias- I was shocked to find Tobias so low on the charts (#516) and yet, there he was. With a built-in nickname as cute as Toby, why aren't more people using this strong Biblical and vintage gem? Unless they're letting the notorious Tobias Funke character from Arrested Development influence their choice.

Ronan- Another great Irish boys' name that has yet to catch on in the States. Love the meaning, "little seal." Ronan Farrow is the son of famous actress Mia Farrow, pictured below.

Asa- With boys' names ending in A making a comeback (think Elijah, Isaiah, and Ezra), the Biblical Asa could fit right in--and it comes with the nickname Ace, which is pretty much the coolest nickname ever. Asa Butterfield is a child star who recently portrayed Ender in the film Ender's Game.

Lucian- It's ancient, it means "light," and you could conceivably use the popular nickname Luke. What's not to like? Lucian is a character in Underworld.

Raphael/Rafael- It's the name of an angel and an attractive tennis star...it could be a great name for your little boy, too.

Samson- Want another way to get to Sam without using the considerably more popular Samuel? Samson's your man.


  1. Great list! Personally I prefer Teddy for Thaddeus though. :)

  2. You're right, it is surprising that some of these don't chart higher, especially Tobias (I love Tobias nn Toby!), Gideon, Ronan and Samson.