It’s an international letter, too. There’s Sanskrit Vivaan and Vihann, Slavic Vassily, Italian Vincenzo and Valentino, and more. Plenty of those rank in the current US Top 1000.
But while V features in chart-toppers from Oliver and Levi to Xavier and Everett, it’s relatively uncommon as a first initial. The letter V ranks just 22nd out of the 26 letters of the alphabet in terms of popularity.
Let’s take a look at the baby boy names beginning with the letter V.
BOY NAMES STARTING WITH V in the US TOP 1000
A storied name, worn by Vincent van Goh and Vince Vaughn, Vincent comes from a Roman name meaning “to conquer.” Nicknames Vinny and Vinnie feel a little dated, but Vin brings to mind action hero Diesel and Vince still retains the movie star good looks of Entourage main character Vincent “Vince” Chase. But it was most likely Saint Vincent de Paul, a seventeenth century French priest known for his devotion to serving the poor, that made the name so broadly popular.
Like Grace or Faith, we’ve known Victor as a given name for so long that it’s possible to overlook its status as word name. Friendly nickname Vic is a logical, unisex short form.
The Italian take on Valentine makes this name inescapably romantic. So does legendary Hollywood icon Rudolph Valentino.
The Italian version of classic Vincent.
And the Spanish form of that classic name.
A Sanskrit name meaning morning, and suggesting optimism and new beginnings.
A Slavic take on Valentine – and Valentino, also heard in French.
A mini name with a half dozen possible origins, including a nickname for Ivan – John.
Surname Vance once referred to someone who lived near a marsh.
RARE & INTRIGUING V BOY NAMES
As in American poet Vachel Lindsay. It looks like Rachel with a V, but the name’s origins are obscure. Lindsay was named for his father.
The wealthy Bademus of Persia lived in the fourth century. He was martyred for his faith and became a saint. Vadim is the Slavic form of his name.
VAIL and VALE
Depending on the spelling, this could be a Colorado place name, a poetic word meaning valley, or even an Irish surname meaning “son of Paul.” It’s brief and complete, and while the numbers give both spellings to the girls, both are used for boys, too.
Actor Val Kilmer, of Top Gun and Willow fame, is named just Val. With choices like Max and Gus standing on their own, Val has potential.
Either a cousin to other Val names, like Valerian, or a Scandi surname from the Old Norse vathill, referring to a place where the water is shallow enough to cross.
An ancient favorite, Valerian is familiar to modern parents thanks to a French science fiction comic strip turned big screen movie, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. With Julian in the Top 100, why not Valerian?
The romance language form of Valerian, it also comes from the Latin name Valerius – to be strong.
A straight-up word name, Valor sounds like so many r-ending favorites for boys. Actor Emile Hirsch named his son Valor in 2013. A decade later, it still fits with unique boy names beginning with the letter V.
Plenty of Dutch surnames include “van der” – from the. So Vander is a little bit of a smoosh, but it’s also a creative Van-Xander mashup that seems perfectly logical.
A traditional Dutch surname with multiple spellings, and an interesting, edgy sound. It first came into using during the 1960s, probably thanks to the rise of Eric, Derek, and company.
A traditional Armenian given name, associated with a saint and a number of historical figures, the name is most familiar in the US thanks to actor Michael Vartan. The Alias and Hawthorne alum is of Armenian descent on his dad’s side.
A modern form of Varuna, a Hindu name borrowed from a god of water and the ocean.
A Slavic form of buttoned-up Basil, Vassily might be a tiny bit tough to pronounce in English. Emphasis is on the second syllable: va SIL ee.
Originally a Welsh surname, Vaughn means little – as in the younger family member with the same name. It’s a bit like junior, but with a polished, handsome appeal.
VEER and VERE
Veer means brave in Hindi, but it’s also a English verb meaning “to change direction” from the French virer. Vere started out as a surname, brought to England by the Normans. It may mean alder, though other origins and meanings are possible. Two spellings, multiple possible origins, and an irresistible sound.
An auspicious Spanish and Italian import, Venturo means luck.
We know it as a place name borrowed from Vermont, the first state to enter the union following the original thirteen United States. The Green Mountain state’s name literally means green mountain in a sort of Franglish. Mont Vert would be the literal translation. It doesn’t sound as name-like as Arizona, but still holds potential.
Sleek, Spanish Vidal comes from the Italian Vitale, which, in turn, is derived from Latin. Vitalis means full of life. The name shares roots with our word vital.
A Scandi import, Viggo was made famous by Oscar-nominated actor Viggo Mortensen.
William gave us Wilson and John, Jackson and Johnson. Vinson, then, comes from Vincent.
The name of a bird, seldom used for children, but rich with potential as a given name.
An ancient poet, author of the Aeneid, Virgil’s towering legacy means that the name has never really fallen out of use. That said, it ranked in the US Top 200 into the 1940s … but hasn’t cracked the Top 1000 for thirty years.
The name Vitus never quite made it to English, but the early saint’s name endures in many European languages. It comes from the Latin word for life.
A Sanskrit name with a worthy meaning: wisdom.
VLADIMIR and VOLODYMYR
A traditional Slavic name, Vladimir dots the history books from the Middle Ages onward. In light of current events, differences in spelling matter – so much so that Namerology declared the Ukrainian Volodymyr the Name of the Year for 2022.
A slimmed-down spelling of Vaughn, or a traditional part of aristocratic German surnames.
What are your favorite boy names beginning with V?
First published on April 5, 2021, this post was revised and re-published on January 10, 2022 and again on February 6, 2023.