z6 by TooFarNorth via Flickr

There’s something fascinating about the letter Z. It’s the slashing mark of Zorro, the end of the line. A name that starts there seems exotic, daring, a tiny bit more interesting than one that starts with C or J or R.

Zachary is far and away the most popular, but he’s been in the US Top 100 since 19

Plenty of Z names have been profiled here over the past four years, and it seems like a good moment to stop and review those zippy – and fetching – Z names.

Cruz – The Beckhams put this name on the map. Great for the hero of a romance novel, possibly tough to see on a small boy. But Cruz does have a long history of use, long before the celebrity couple considered the name.

Ezekiel – Possibly the name to watch from this list, Ezekiel has been the preferred formal name for parents who want to call their boy Zeke. Some, of course, are just opting for Zeke on the birth certificate.

Fritz – He’s German and vaguely feline, but if Frederick makes a comeback, he could become an unexpected go-to short form.

Xavier – Sometimes respelled Zavier, he’s a saintly surname with a very modern vibe. Indecisive? Xzavier has been seen, too – though the Xz feels excessive.

Zane – With little cowboys answering to Gage and Cade, no wonder Zane has seen steady use in the last few years. He’s also a possible short form of the oh-so popular Alexander. Alexander’s last two syllables have also given us Xander and Zander in recent years.

Zarek – A Slavic diminutive with a sci-fi vibe, Zarek seems unlikely to catch on – but with his similarity to Derek, he might still be wearable.

Zebedee – A New Testament fisherman, this name is wildly different. And yet, with Elijah and Isaiah in the US Top 1000, he no longer feels outlandish. Short form Zeb feels very cool, too.

Zebulon – Not quite as rare as Zebedee, and just as valid a way to get to Zeb, Zebulon Pike lends this name some mountain-climbing cool. There are a handful of colonial Zebulons, too, making this name right at home with Nathaniel.

Zenas – A New Testament lawyer turned evangelist and eventually a saint, Zenas surfaces from time to time, but seems likely to remain the rarest of the Z names.

Zephyr – A nature name thanks to the Greek god of the west wind, Zephyr shortens to Zef Jeff with a Z. He’s most often use as a name for a train or a car or a motorcycle, but between his zippy z and his -r ending, Zephyr might suit a twenty-first century boy just fine.

Zedekiah – Another Zed name, at home in the colonial era or our modern-day, very Biblical moment.

Zoltan – A Hungarian appellation sometimes worn by animatronic fortune tellers in amusement park machines, Zoltan is one of those names – eye-poppingly strange at first glance, but quickly blending in to the current group of ends-in-n boys’ names.

Are there other Z names that you would consider?

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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What do you think?


  1. Zosimo, Zenith, Zelimir, Zeal, Zakynthos and Zimri are my favourites that haven’t been mentioned, and Zephyr is a huge favourite as well!

    But I forget names containing Z, Alonzo, Aziz, Balthazar, Boaz, Eleazar, Fitzwilliam, Franz (I like it better than Fritz, it’s softer and a family name for me), Horizon, Izambro, Lazarus, Lazslo and Ozias are all names I find very intriguing, although, Lazslo, Franz and Horizon are the ones I’m most likely to actually use 🙂

    1. Oh, Lazslo – love Lazslo!

      Horizon? That’s SO daring. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it suggested before. Love it!

  2. Z names are so cool – Zakkiah is one gaining ground here, the Arabic form of Zachary. I love Zeke and Zane.

    I guess you don’t have the phrase, “On the Fritz”, meaning “not working, useless, ruined” which would render this name a no-no in other places.