When is a baby name back? These traditional boy names show signs of revival, but none have cracked the US Top 100 – yet.

Depending on who you ask, some of them might still read grandpa.

But choose one of these names for your son in 2025 or 2026, and there’s a good chance that you’ll be safely ahead of the curve. These names could be the future Olivers, Theodores, and Henrys, traditional boy names that are very much on trend today.

To make the list, a name had to be:

  • Ranked in the current US Top 1000 as of 2023.
  • Gaining in use between 2022 and 2023 – and preferably a few years more.
  • Traditional, in the sense that they’ve been used in generations past – preferably far enough in the past to feel like they could be somebody’s great-grandfather.
  • Outside of the current US Top 100, because it’s easy enough to choose a classic like William or James!

Let’s look at some traditional boy names ready for revival!

ALAN (#168)

Brief and complete, Alan is a name with history stretching back to the Middle Ages. It might bring to mind the only non-Ken character in 2023 blockbuster Barbie, but that didn’t hurt the name in the rankings. Alan from #194 in 2020 to #168 today. It feels surprisingly timeless, even if the average Alan is probably more likely to be your orthodontist than the new baby on the block – at least for now. Spellings Allan and Allen also rose in use from 2022 to 2023.

ARTHUR (#128)

Not so long ago, Arthur was your grandpa’s name. But in recent years, the name has reclaimed its regal roots. Thanks to our affection for ends-in-r names, Arthur feels on trend. The Camelot connection makes the name legendary and literary.

CONRAD (#539)

1960 musical Bye, Bye Birdie gave this name to an Elvis-esque pop star, headed off to war, just like the real life singer. Germanic Conrad peaked back in the 1930s, meaning that the name was already waning when the musical debuted. Since then, there hadn’t been much love for Conrad – at least until The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy gave the name to a cute boy. And Conrad felt like a legit name for a younger generation again.

CYRUS (#297)

In the sixth century BC, Cyrus the Great ruled the Persian Empire, so this name’s roots are truly ancient. But it feels fresh and new circa 2024, too, a successor to Silas, with easy, built-in nickname Cy. Cyrus has never left the US Top 1000.

GRAHAM (#140)

Scottish surname name Graham fits with current choices like Cameron, but feels nicely traditional and even a little old school, too. Figures like Alexander Graham Bell and Graham Greene center it in the past, even while it sounds like a brother for Everett, a successor to Chase.

HARVEY (#327)

It’s an obvious substitute for Henry. Slightly offbeat Harvey previously attached to an invisible rabbit in a Jimmy Stewart film. After years on the brink, Harvey exited the US Top 1000 entirely after 2000. The name returned in 2011. It stalled for a while, thanks to a hurricane and a high profile criminal, but it’s climbing again, going from #416 in 2020 to #327 in 2023.

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LEON (#148)

A lion of a name, Leon is a close cousin to popular Leo. It’s a brief and complete name with a nicely European energy. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell takes this name in a different direction.

LIONEL (#494)

Traditional boy name Leo has left the retirement home for the local kindergarten. Plenty of Leo names feel fresh and new; now debonair Lionel is following. An earlier generation might have thought Richie. It carries a hint of Old Hollywood, thanks to legendary actor Lionel Barrymore. But Argentine footballer Lionel Messi really gets credit for the name’s resurgence.

LOUIS (#237)

Lewis – typically the surname spelling – is on the rise, too. But it’s Louis that feels slightly more traditional. Credit to everyone from the young British prince to jazz legend Louis Armstrong. Worth noting: Lewis is always pronounced with the S. Louis can sound like Louie or Lewis. Adding the S, of course, brings Louis closer to traditional James, as well as the very current Brooks, Hayes, and Wells.

OTTO (#281)

Once Otto might’ve felt rather sturdy and German. Today, though, it fits right in with so many boys answering to Leo, Theo, Arlo, and Milo. It’s a palindrome – the same letters backward and forward, which is just plain fun. Plus it’s It’s gained over 100 spots in the rankings since 2020 – proof that Otto is twenty-first century ready.

RAPHAEL (#453)

A Renaissance artist and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Raphael is familiar across the generations. But it’s also an underused traditional name that fits right in with fellow-angel Gabriel. Punchy nickname Rafe sounds like a brother for Nate, and the overall sound is smooth, polished, and just slightly surprising. Spanish spelling Rafael is even more popular, ranked #232 as of 2023.

ROBIN (#783)

An old school Robert nickname, Robin has been used for girls in recent generations. But it’s forever tied to storybook boys – gentle Christopher Robin; heroic Robin Hood. And now it’s back for our sons again, gaining nearly 100 spots since 2020.

WARREN (#304)

Kennedy and Carter, Lincoln and Reagan. We do like our presidential names, but does Warren count? Warren Gamaliel Harding was the 29th President of the United States, and he was very popular right up through his death in office in 1923. Scandal erupted after his death, and today his reputation is mixed. So maybe we’re not naming our sons after Harding at all, but instead embracing the surname name afresh.

WINSTON (#398)

Even as World War II fades into the past, the figure of Winston Churchill towers over history, depicted in so many re-tellings. Despite that image – or maybe even because of it – Winston feels like a vintage name with potential for a son today. The -ton ending echoes favorites like Weston; Win is a great nickname option.

What’s your favorite traditional name for a son?

First published in September of 2015, this post was revised and republished on June 10, 2024.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Howard was the only boy’s name that repeated in my son’s Kindergarten grade a couple of years ago! I was surprised. One went by Howard and the other is Howie – who is friends with my Henry – sounds like a very normal name.

    A British friend has a baby Bruce. She is a big Springsteen fan.

    There’s a Julius in my daughter’s 5th grade.

    A lot of these are already more popular in the UK too: Alfred, Lewis, Hugh, Harvey, George.

    I wish George hadn’t suddenly started rising again – thanks Royal family! 😛 I’ve heard of a couple in town already. It makes sense when Henry is so popular and George sounds just like a brother for Henry. Or a name to use when all your friends already used Henry!

  2. I have a 3 year old Conrad, so that my favorite! Reaction to his name is very mixed. People either love it or hate it. I’m thrilled to see Clark, Dean and Harvey on this list–those would have been my finalists for our younger child if she had been a boy. And I’m shocked to see both Harold and Franklin. Those were my grandfather’s first and middle names, and they had been panned as unusable as honor names by pretty much everyone in he family. Now if my other grandfather’s names (Earl and Lester) come back into vogue, you’ll be able to knock me over with a feather! Seeing Leonard, Howard, Conrad, Harold together makes me wonder if -d endings will have a run of popularity, like the -s trend? Could Donald and Ronald come back?

    1. I have an 18 month old Conrad. I had never heard of anyone with the name before we named our son.

      I am planning to use Harold as a second middle honor name for the next boy, if we have one. My grandfather’s name was Harold too. LOL.