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 14,147 boys received the name in 2020. 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.
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 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.
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 buttoned-up version of Otto, originally in use as a surname.
A Florida place name, borrowed from poets of the Italian Renaissance, as well as Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
A nature name every bit as wearable as River.
The Egyptian god of the underworld, a name at least as wearable as many other mythological gems.
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.
A Scandi import, cousin to Olaf – and likely a little more accessible for Americans.
An Old Testament name of a wicked king, Omri nonetheless feels ready for redemption now.
A Hebrew name meaning pine tree.
Originally a Norman surname meaning bear, Orson brings to mind director Welles and author Scott Card.
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?
What are your favorite boy names beginning with O?
First published February 8, 2021, this post was revised on October 18, 2021.