Traditional T names come to mind quickly. A century ago, Thomas and Theodore ranked in the US Top 100. They’re still there today – though Theodore is recently returned.
In terms of frequency, the letter T is about halfway down the list. It’s the twelfth most popular first initial for a boy. You’re far likely to meet a boy called James, Alexander, or Charles … or Mason, Logan, or Jackson. But it’s not a rare initial, by any means, either.
T names for boys tend to be solid citizens. After all, there’s really no way to swap a T for another letter without completely altering the name – not like Kayden and Cayden, or Emmanuel and Immanuel.
A wealth of surnames start with this letter, too, from former Top Ten favorite Tyler to current Top 1000 picks like Thatcher.
Let’s dive in to all of the boy names starting with T.
TOP 500 T NAMES FOR BOYS
A turn-of-the-century favorite, Theodore brings to mind men of accomplishment, from Roosevelt to Dreiser. Plenty of Teds are Theodores, too, but today, Theodore is likely to be Theo – as in Huxtable, from 1980s staple The Cosby Show. (Back then, the name languished in near-obscurity.) Only in the last dozen years has Theodore gone from neglected classic to everybody’s favorite traditional name for a son.
A rock-solid traditional pick for a boy, Thomas has never left the US Top 100. In fact, it’s only occasionally dipped outside of the Top 50. Tom sounds modest and capable, a name equally old-fashioned and at-home in the modern world. Famous Toms include Sawyer and Hanks, Petty and Holland, Brady and Clancy. And, of course, Thomas Paine, Jefferson, and Edison are just a few notables we know best by the formal name.
An occupational surname for someone who made or laid tiles, Tyler became a decade-defining name. It reached the US Top Ten in 1992, peaked at #5, and stayed in the Top Ten through 2000. It’s the very first surname-style name to make the boys’ Top Five in the US.
Thiago comes from Santiago, which is the Spanish for Saint James. It’s a high energy choice, far more surprising than any of the more traditional forms of the name, bolstered by that bright ‘o’ ending. That said, Thiago isn’t quite a crossover choice, the way that Mateo and Leo might be. Thiago is specifically the Brazilian Portuguese form of the name, and seems less likely to be used by families without roots in Latin America.
Before there was Romeo and Juliet, there was Tristan and Isolde, a tale of doomed lovers. She’s a princess betrothed to a king; he’s a knight charged with escorting her to her groom. Only they fall in love anyway. It was a popular medieval romance. And then, in the 1970s, we started to hear it in the US, too.
Not only does Theodore top this list, but just Theo comes in at a pretty popular spot, too. If Leo stands on its own, then it only makes sense that Theo might as well.
Tucker is among the many -r ending surname names to follow Tyler up the popularity charts. A Tucker worked with cloth. It’s a common surname, and it’s been used as a first over the years. But Tucker really started to rise in the late 1970s and 80s. It sounds preppy and polished, but still accessible.
A companion to Saint Paul in the New Testament, Timothy means “honoring God.” But in an age of Elijah, Isaac, and Levi, Timothy feels more like a mainstream favorite than a specifically spiritual name. A Top 20 favorite from the 1950s and 60s, Timothy feels gentle and traditional. While it’s less popular today than it was in the past, that doesn’t change Timothy’s status as a classic among boy names starting with T.
The Old Testament Tobias featured in a popular medieval story. It tells of Tobias driving away a demon. It’s one of those names that everyone recognizes, even though it really never quite catches on. Famous Tobys are more familiar – from the West Wing’s fictional political staffer to the original Spider-Man, actor Tobey Maguire. With Atticus and other s-ending ancients riding high, Tobias might be a great stands-out/fits-in pick.
A working surname name, Tanner feels a little bit colorful, too. It’s a natural substitute for Hunter. Fans of Full House – and the sequel – will recognize it, too, which might make it feel familiar and nostalgic.
An English surname imported to America by way of Texas. William Travis commanded the Texan army at the Battle of the Alamo. It rose in use during the 1960s, when Davy Crockett’s story made Travis a pop culture staple.
Titus appears in the New Testament, features in the name of several Roman emperors, and even leans literary, thanks to Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus.
Preppy and polished Tate makes for a modern choice with just enough history.
A surname name that brings to mind boxer Mike Tyson, model Tyson Beckford, and so many favorite names, from Tyler to all of those -sons.
An English surname with Welsh roots, Trevor feels British. Possible credit to Oscar-nominated actor Trevor Howard. A former Top 100 favorite from the 1980s into the early 2000s, Trevor is fading fast today, but would still wear well.
An ancient city and a 1960s teen heartthrob, Troy topped the charts in the 1960s and 70s. Give this short, strong name a few more decades, and it will probably be back.
Originally a nickname name for a third, Tripp has lately emerged as a stand-alone name, entering the US Top 1000 in 2008.
A surname name cousin to Tate, Tatum made waves when actors Ryan O’Neal and Joanna Moore welcomed daughter Tatum Beatrice in 1963. By 1974, she became the youngest person even to win an Academy Award. But the boys quickly caught up, and Tatum is now properly considered unisex.
T SURNAME NAMES FOR BOYS
A surname with Welsh and Irish roots, Teague can mean handsome. Or it can mean poet. Either way, it’s short and bright, an upbeat surname name that feels rooted in the past but very wearable today.
A literary choice, thanks to the poet, Tennyson means “son of Dennis.” And mild-mannered Dennis traces its roots to Dionysus, the god of revelry.
Originally, a Thatcher was a roofer, working with thatch – straw, rushes, or leaves. Like Reagan, it might have specific associations for some. But it also sounds like a humble, homespun, workingman kind of name.
Thayer is really just another form of Taylor – one who made clothing. But the Th is just slightly different, and it updates this surname name nicely, borrowing a little bit of Theodore’s sound for an unexpected surname choice.
Writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau makes this name richly meaningful.
A surname name – and a literary one, thanks to Our Town author Thornton Wilder.
A saintly Irish surname, Tierney could follow names like Riley and Brady into wider use.
Another s-ending boys’ name, unusual but accessible.
S. Truett Cathy founded the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain, which might make this name familiar. But it’s appealing because of that first syllable – the virtuous True.
An occupational surname name with several possible origins, Turner fits with Hunter and Carter. It also picks up some pop culture sheen thanks to Orlando Bloom’s character in the long-running Pirates of the Caribbean franchise – Will Turner.
RARE T NAMES FOR BOYS
Oscar-winning filmmaker Taika Waiti puts his Maori given name on the list.
The name of a sixth century Welsh poet, Taliesin was immortalized twice – first, as a fictional figure in tales of King Arthur. And second, as the name of iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wisconsin estate.
Two early kings of Rome answered to Tarquinius. The name Tarquin surfaces over the ages, particularly – but not only – in Britain.
Singer Taio Cruz makes it familiar. This spelling is generally considered a Yoruba name meaning “worth joy.”
A place name with Southern style, Tennessee brings to mind the place, as well as playwright Tennessee Williams.
A gentlemanly surname name associated with a poet and a character in cult movie favorite Hocus Pocus.
A Scottish title, familiar to anyone who’s read Macbeth, Thane sounds crisp and appealing.
A Latin form of the German Tielo, Thelonius Monk lends this elaborate name some jazz.
A Greek name meaning hunter, Theron would fit right in with Theodore and so many two-syllable boy names ending with n.
A hero from Greek myth, Theseus defeated the Minotaur.
A nature name straight out of the woodlands.
An active, outdoorsy surname-style option.
Virtuous and strong, Truth might be more wearable than True.
A Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe makes this name nicely familiar – but still seldom heard.
What are your favorite boy names starting with T? Are there names you would add to this list?
First published on October 5, 2020, this post was revised substantially and re-published on October 4, 2021.