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 14,616 boys received the name in 2021. 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.
TOP 1000 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. Sister name Olivia currently ranks #1 in the US.
A Welsh name – and sometimes Irish, too – Owen has become a go-to for parents in our era of boy names ending with n. The spelling Owain is far more rare.
Borrowed from Irish myth, Oscar blends a literary vibe (Wilde) with all the innocence of Sesame Street. It’s spelled Oskar in German, Polish, and Scandinavian languages.
Most familiar as an Arabic name, Omar means flourishing. It appears in the Old Testament, too, a Hebrew name meaning speaker.
A constellation depicting a hunter from Greek mythology, 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 palindrome name, Otto has been worn by a handful of famous Germans. It feels traditional-ish, but also quirky-cool in the US today.
A cool and edgy surname name, Oakley brings to mind oak trees, but also the sunglasses company.
A gemstone found all over the world, Onyx is associated with its typical inky-black color.
Likely a Swahili spin on Omar, though other origins are possible.
A buttoned-up version of Otto, originally in use as a surname.
A nature name every bit as wearable as River.
Once a heavy metal staple, Ozzy now feels casual, even cuddly. It could be short for surnames like Osborne and Osbourne, as well as rarities like Osric and Ozias, and, of course Oscar. But it’s just Ozzy that seems to be trending.
A Florida place name, borrowed from poets of the Italian Renaissance, as well as Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
The Egyptian god of the underworld, a name at least as wearable as many other mythological gems.
Way back around the year 1299, Osman I became founder of the Ottoman Empire. It’s rising in use among Arabic-speaking parents in the US, as well as in England and elsewhere.
RARE & UNUSUAL BOY NAMES BEGINNING WITH O
A surname name that melds the best of Oakley and Wells into a first name with plenty of potential.
Another Old Testament name fronted by the letter O, an alternative to Isaiah and Elijah.
Shakespeare’s fairy king in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
With baby boy names Julian and Adrian so in favor, why not ancient Octavian?
A romance-language take on ancient Octavius.
Made famous by the NFL’s Odell Beckham, Jr., the name comes from an English place name.
The much-traveled hero of Greek legend and Homer’s epic, The Odyssey.
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 traditional Scandinavian name, Olaf has been worn by five kings of Norway, plus the snowman from Frozen. The spelling Olav is sometimes seen, too. It means “ancestor.”
A Russian name meaning blessed, Oleg has never caught on in the US.
A Scandi import, cousin to Olaf – and likely a little more accessible for Americans.
The French form of Oliver, made famous by legendary actor Sir Laurence Olivier.
Pronounced just like Ollie, Olle is traditional Swedish nickname for any name starting with Ol.
It looks like an Oliver-Alexander smoosh. Ollivander would be a unique boy’s name, inspired by Garrick Ollivander, the wizard who makes wands in Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter books.
An Old Testament name of a wicked king, Omri nonetheless feels ready for redemption now.
A Hebrew name meaning pine tree. Orin may be another spelling, or have different roots.
The Anglicized version of Odhran, the name of an Irish saint.
Originally a Norman surname meaning bear cub, Orson brings to mind director Orson Welles and author Orson Scott Card.
A name made famous by Orville Wright. Along with his brother Wilbur, he invented the first successful airplane in 1903.
A saintly name with Old English and Norse roots, Oswald is known to some as the name of Walt Disney’s first animated creation – a rabbit. The romance language Osvaldo is heard in Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Also spelled Oisin, this name stepped right out of Irish legend. It means “little deer.”
A tragic figure from one of Shakespeare’s dramas, but also an o-ending name with a current sound.
Ozias is slightly more common than just-Oz, but in our age of Bo, is Oz any less wearable? It’s among the truly rare boy names beginning with O on this list.
What are your favorite boy names beginning with O?
First published February 8, 2021, this post was revised on October 18, 2021 and again on November 28, 2022.