When it comes to baby boy names starting with Z, we all get the appeal.

The letter Z feels effortlessly cool. It’s just a little bit different. While it may fall at the very end of the alphabet, there’s something about the letter and the sound that commands our attention.

Zorro used a single Z as his mark. And Z can transform a more expected sound – just ask the parents of Zayden.

Of course, if you’re into classic baby names, there are several that satisfy both requirements – all of the edge of the letter Z, but plenty of roots and tradition, too.

Add it up, and Z names for boys represent some extremes: the invented and trendy, the enduring and deeply rooted.

It’s a shorter list than many letters. A relatively small pool of names means that Z ranks 19th out of 26 on the list of most popular initials for boys’ names. (In other words, not very popular at all.) But maybe that just adds to the appeal.


ZION (#144)

Seldom heard until the late 1990s, Zion can refer to Jerusalem … or heaven.

ZACHARY (#166)

A traditional name amped up by its first initial, Zachary is the typical English version of the Old Testament staple, Zechariah. It means “God remembers.” Respellings like Zachery and Zackary are sometimes seen, and the nickname can be spelled Zach, Zack, Zac, or Zak.

ZAYDEN (#186)

Take Aiden, add a Z, and the result is this twenty-first century name.

ZANE (#258)

Multiple origins and meanings attach to Zane. One familiar reference: legendary author Zane Grey, known for his depictions of the American West.

ZAYN (#275)

Zayn means beauty in Arabic. It owes its popularity to two things: first, the crossover appeal, as it is so close to established English name Zane. But the name’s sharp rise is likely down to singer – and One Direction alum – Zayn Malik.

ZANDER (#310)

Xander comes from the last two syllables of Alexander. Zander makes it a little more phonetic.

ZYAIRE (#371)

The Democratic Republic of Congo was formerly known as Zaire. Voltaire used Zaire as a feminine name; but the country’s former name came from a Portuguese take on a native phrase. The spelling Zyaire is most popular in the US today. It emphasizes the name’s two-syllable pronunciation: zye-air, instead of rhyming with Claire and Blair.

ZAYNE (#416)

A little bit Zayn, a little bit Zane.

ZAIDEN (#487)

Another possible spelling of Zayden.

ZAIRE (#495)

The original, but currently less popular, spelling of Zyaire.


A Zachary name slightly closer to the original Hebrew Zechariah.

ZAIN (#556)

Yet another spelling of Zane on the list.

ZEKE (#610)

Originally short for names like Ezekiel, Zeke fits right in with brisk, bold boy names like Cole.

ZAID (#659)

It looks like Zain meets Reid, but Zaid is an Arabic name meaning “to increase.” It’s more popular than Zayd or Zade.

ZAKAI (#710)

The name of a minor Old Testament character, Zakai – also spelled Zaccai – means pure. Fueled by the Kai sound and spelling, this name continues to gain in use.

ZAYD (#731)

Another spelling for Zaid, possibly influenced by Zayn.

ZYAIR (#733)

Another spelling of Zaire, making this place name more popular than you might guess.

ZAMIR (#833)

Handsome Arabic name meaning “mind” or “heart.” It’s a recent arrival in the US Top 1000.

ZAHIR (#850)

An appealing Arabic name with a strong meaning: supporter.

ZYON (#871)

Another spelling for Zion.

ZEN (#911)

A mini name, rich with meaning, and climbing in use.

ZAVIER (#943)

Xavier is a Top 100 favorite, a traditional name with a cool sound. Zavier offers a streamlined spelling, one that makes the parents’ preferred pronunciation clear

ZEV (#956)

Zev means wolf in Hebrew.


The most old school version of Zachary.

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An unexpected Zac- name, it’s spelled Zacchaeus in the New Testament.


It looks like a creative respelling of Zachary, but in most cases, Zakari is pronounced with a different emphasis.


A brief and complete nickname name associated with all th Zeb- names on this list.


This name is just plain fun to say! It comes from Zebadiah, an Old Testament name.


Jebediah meets the initial Z.


Yet another Z-meets-J possibility.


One of Jacob’s sons in the Old Testament, Zebulon has a long history of use. If you’ve been to Pike’s Peak in Colorado, you might know that it was named after American army officer and explorer Zebulon Pike. Well over a dozen counties and other places are named in his honor, too.


As in Led. It’s rising steadily for boys and girls, possibly thanks to rock star favorites like Lennon and Hendrix.


The west wind in Greek mythology, Zephyr sounds like lots of two-syllable, r-ending boy names popular now … and yet, it’s a little different, too.


An Old Testament name with a great meaning: shining.


The king of the gods in Greek myth, Zeus comes with a cool sound … though it’s a little like being named Thor.


The Latin zoilus means life; Zoilo is the masculine form. It’s a cousin to popular Greek name Zoe for girls.


A traditional Hungarian name, Zoltan might have been derived from the title sultan.


A traditional Slavic name meaning dawn.

What are your favorite boy names starting with Z?

First published on December 28, 2020, this post was revised and updated on February 21, 2022; April 3, 2023; and April 29, 2024.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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  1. My friend has a son named Zuko! It came from a character on the show Avatar. Could also be in reference to Danny Zuko from Grease.