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 conventional 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.
Z NAMES FOR BOYS IN THE US TOP 1000
Seldom heard until the late 1990s, Zion can refer to Jerusalem … or heaven.
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.
Take Aiden, add a Z, and the result is this twenty-first century name.
Multiple origins and meanings attach to Zane. One familiar reference: legendary author Zane Grey, known for his depictions of the American West.
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.
Xander comes from the last two syllables of Alexander. Zander makes it a little more phonetic.
A little bit Zayn, a little bit Zane.
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.
Another possible spelling of Zayden.
The original, but currently less popular, spelling of Zyaire.
A Zachary name slightly closer to the original Hebrew Zechariah.
Yet another spelling of Zane on the list.
Originally short for names like Ezekiel, Zeke fits right in with brisk, bold boy names like Cole.
It looks like Zain meets Reid, but Zaid is an Arabic name meaning “to increase.” It’s more popular than Zayd or Zade.
Another spelling of Zaire, making this place name more popular than you might guess.
The name of a minor Old Testament character, Zakai – also spelled Zaccai – means pure.
Another spelling for Zaid, possibly influenced by Zayn.
An appealing Arabic name with a strong meaning: supporter.
The most old school version of Zachary.
Another spelling for the fast-rising Zion.
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 means wolf in Hebrew.
OVERLOOKED Z NAMES FOR BOYS
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.
A mini name, rich with meaning.
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; Zoila 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 and April 3, 2023.