But a surprising number of rare O names for boys exist, too. Surnames like Orson and Ogden, imports like Octavio and Oleg, and mythological names from multiple traditions also begin with this bright and energetic letter.
O ranks 17th out of the 26 letters of the alphabet in terms of popularity, putting it well behind A and E, but ahead of I and U.
Of course, it might be Oliver that fuels some of that rank. A staggering 13,891 boys received the name in 2019. It’s wildly popular elsewhere in the English-speaking world, as well as throughout Europe, ranking in the Top 50 – or better – from Sweden to Hungary to Spain, to name just a few.
But O names for boys remain far less popular than boy names starting with A, while retaining much of the same appeal of a vibrant, vowel-forward choice.
MOST POPULAR BOY NAMES STARTING WITH O
A chart-topping favorite across much of the world, Oliver feels traditional, if not quite classic. It’s a playful name, but a sophisticated one, too. With Germanic roots and plenty of historical notables, Oliver is rooted in the past – but has never been more popular.
A Welsh name – and sometimes Irish, too – Owen has become a go-to for parents in our era of boy names ending with n.
Borrowed from Irish myth, Oscar blends a literary vibe (Wilde) with all the innocence of Sesame Street.
Most familiar as an Arabic name, Omar means flourishing. It appears in the Old Testament, too, a Hebrew name meaning speaker.
The constellation of a mythological hunter, Orion is familiar to all stargazers.
Another mythological possibility, we all know the Norse god Odin – father of Thor – thanks to the Avengers movies.
A cool and edgy surname name, Oakley brings to mind oak trees, but also the sunglasses company.
A palindrome name, Otto has been worn by a handful of famous Germans. It feels traditional-ish, but also quirky-cool in the US today.
OVERLOOKED O BOY NAMES
A nature name every bit as wearable as River.
A Scandi import, cousin to Olaf – and likely a little more accessible for Americans.
Likely a Swahili spin on Omar, though other origins are possible.
A gemstone found all over the world, Onyx is associated with its typical inky-black color.
A Hebrew name meaning pine tree.
A Florida place name, borrowed from poets of the Italian Renaissance, as well as Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
Originally a Norman surname meaning bear, Orson brings to mind director Welles and author Scott Card.
The Egyptian god of the underworld, a name at least as wearable as many other mythological gems.
A buttoned-up version of Otto, originally in use as a surname.
An Old Testament name with cool nickname Ozzy built right in.
RARE & UNUSUAL BOY NAMES BEGINNING WITH O
A surname name that takes the best of Oakley and Wells.
Another Old Testament name, an alternative to Isaiah and Elijah.
Shakespeare’s fairy king in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
A romance-language take on ancient Octavius.
The much-traveled hero of Greek legend and Homer’s epic.
A place name-turned-surname, American poet Ogden Nash helps put this on the list of first-name possibilities.
The name of a warrior from Irish legend, Oisin means little deer.
A Russian name meaning blessed, Oleg has never caught on in the US.
An Old Testament name of a wicked king, Omri nonetheless feels ready for redemption now.
Ozias is slightly more common than just-Oz, but in our age of Bo, is Oz any less wearable?