Let’s look at the most popular boy names 2017. Not in the world, or even in the US. Instead, let’s review the Baby Name of the Day posts that dominated 2017.
A disclaimer: these look nothing like the current US Top Ten. Some don’t even crack the Top 1000. They’re a quirky bunch, often reflecting pop culture rather than naming trends. And sometimes a post fares well here because a Baby Name of the Day post just plain offers more information on obscure names than many an online database.
But many of these could join their more mainstream brothers on the charts, and maybe soon. That’s because Appellation Mountain readers – and name enthusiasts everywhere – have a knack for knowing the next big thing.
So here are the fifty most popular boy names of the year, thanks to page views at Appellation Mountain. Keep your ears open, because they’re a good chance you’ll soon be hearing many of them on a playground near you.
Most Popular Boy Names 2017: 46 – 50
Aven – Reverse the letters of Evan, and you’ll have this sometimes-surname. It matches up with an Irish feminine name and a small flowering plant, too.
Phoenix – A fast-rising name mixing a cool sound with mythology and meaning. The legendary bird rises from its ashes, making it a symbol that may appeal to many.
Kahlo – The distinctive surname of Mexican artist Frida, Kahlo fits with the ends-in-o trend, an unexpected and artistic choice.
Smith – An anonymous surname feels striking in the first place. Sex and the City fans will remember it as the stage name of Samantha’s boyfriend, Smith Jerrod.
Everest – Popular Everett meets the Earth’s highest mountain.
Most Popular Boy Names 2017: 41 – 45
Zev – Zev combines a cool sound and an edgy meaning – it comes from the Hebrew word for wolf. In the popular YA series based on classic fairytales, Zev is the name of a character loosely based on the Big Bad Wolf.
Auden – A poetic surname, Auden refers to twentieth century writer W.H. Auden. It likely comes from an Old English personal name meaning “old friend.”
Axel – Axel has an edge, but it also claims deep roots. It comes from a Scandinavian form of the Old Testament Absalom.
Ronan – A successor to Ryan and Aidan, the impeccably Irish Ronan has soared in use during the twenty-first century.
Reid – Count handsome, tailored Reid among the next generation of surname names.
Most Popular Boy Names 2017: 36 – 40
Finnian – Another Irish appellation, worn by several saints, Finnian combines the best of Julian and modern staple Finn.
Etienne – A form of Stephen, Etienne feels impeccably French. It’s rare in the US, but instantly familiar to many.
Jasper – Vaguely British and tied to the natural world, Jasper hasn’t been this popular since the nineteenth century – and could soon be even more familiar.
Frederick – Every bit as distinguished as Alexander or Nathaniel, Frederick remains an under-used classic … for now, but makes a great alternative to popular picks like William and Charles.
True – Short, big on sound, and rich with meaning, this straightforward virtue name would have been at home on the Mayflower. But it’s equally wearable today.
Most Popular Boy Names 2017: 31 -35
Otto – The line between fusty and outdated and edgy and cool is ever shifting. Lately, Otto feels like it belongs on the cool side, along with cousins Ottilie, Odette, and Otis.
Linden – Change the spelling, and this is the first name of the 36th President of the United States. But this spelling is shared with a tree, found in the US, Europe, and Japan.
Graeme – A Scottish surname seldom heard in the US, though cousin Graham is a Top 200 staple.
Theodore – Long reserved for a whipsmart chipmunk, Theodore now feels like the kind of underused classic plenty of parents seek for their sons. Proof? It recently returned to the US Top 100 after more than fifty years’ absence.
Eamon – The Irish form of Edmund carries a bright sound and history aplenty. But it’s seldom heard in the US.
Most Popular Boy Names 2017: 26 – 30
Ari – Short and international, Ari feels like a global citizen name. Parents recognize it thanks to Entourage’s Ari Gold.
Cove – A nature name with a sharp sound, Cove is sometimes heard as a surname, and even more occasionally in the first spot.
Rafferty – Cheerful Rafferty belongs with longer surname names for boys, and Irish ones, too. After Jude Law chose the name for a son in 1996, I thought it might take off. It hasn’t happened yet, but now that Law is following in his famous father’s footsteps, it could happen.
Wolf – Fierce and noble, Wolf counts as a Germanic heritage pick, but also fits in nicely with our interest in nature names for boys.
Dashiell – Literary and romantic, Dashiell continues to attract attention. So far, only nickname Dash – as in The Incredibles’ fast-running middle child, Dash Parr – has entered the Top 1000.
Most Popular Boy Names 2017: 21 – 25
Soren – Another Scandi name, this time with ancient roots, Soren brings to mind philosopher Kierkegaard, and fits right in with so many two-syllable, ends-with-n names for boys.
Henry – Henry proves that an impeccable classic can feel every bit as a stylish as a new name.
Everett – A stylish surname option set to join Mason and Jackson near the top of the charts.
Mars – Singer Bruno’s out-of-this-world surname is gaining as a first, too.
Lucian – If Luke and Julian are Top 100 staples, why not Lucian?
Most Popular Boy Names 2017: 16 – 20
Calder – A name with ties to ice hockey and modern art, Calder could follow Carter into wider use.
Yael – A feminine name in the Old Testament and modern Israel, Yael only cracks the US Top 1000 for boys.
Sullivan – A vibrant Irish surname with fun built-in nicknames Sully and Van.
Atlas – Mighty Atlas has gone from seldom-heard mythological moniker to mainstream favorite in recent years.
Emrys – A Welsh heritage pick with history galore, perpetually popular here but rare as a given name.
Most Popular Boy Names 2017: 11 – 15
Endeavour – Rare in real life, but likely popular on the site thanks to the ITV series Endeavour, a prequel to Inspector Morse. It’s the detective’s given name.
Oakley – Another tree-inspired baby name, with that stylish -ley ending. Like Rowan, it charts for boys and girls, but remains slightly more popular for boys.
Rowan – The most popular of nature names for boys, and an overall 21st century favorite.
Huxley – A cool sound tied to a distinguished family, plus Huxley’s insta-nickname Hux picks up on favorites like Jax and Fox.
Gray – Grayson hit the US Top 40 this year, so no surprise straight-up Gray is gaining momentum, too.
Most Popular Boy Names 2017: 6 – 10
Deckard – A little bit Bladerunner, a little bit Fast and the Furious.
Leo – The original short and stylish animal name, and the ends-in-o choice that paved the way for so many others.
Fox – New to the US Top 1000 this past May, short and stylish Fox is attracting tons of attention.
Torin – Another Irish, two-syllable, ends-in-n name, with a great meaning: chief.
Credence – Fantastic Beasts put this virtue name on the radar.
Most Popular Boy Names 2017: 1 – 5
Koa – A Hawaiian name like Kai, and sound-alike to #1 name Noah.
Loxley – A Robin Hood-inspired surname name with that great X sound.
Ayrton – Ayrton is rare in the US, but the late legendary race car driver Ayrton Senna keeps the name in the spotlight.
Arlo – An upbeat, o-ending name with a homespun vibe, Arlo has leapt in use in recent years. Credit to The Good Dinosaur?
Wilder – Fast-rising Wilder entered the US Top 1000 in 2016, and hasn’t slowed down since. This preppy hellraiser name is huge on AppMtn.
What are your favorites from this list? Do you think any of these will be big in 2018?
Arlo is very popular in New Zealand. My toddler has two friends called Arlo and we’ve met a handful more under 2. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the “Jackson” of this generation.
In Australia too. It was #62 in 2016 whereas in the US only #349. I agree about Jackson, I think the ‘o’ endings are the new ‘_aden’ names. (I know babies Milo, Enzo, Arlo, Leo, Theo and Harlow all younger than my 6 year old).
When I was a teenager I really liked girls names that ended in ‘a’, I thought it was very sophisticated. Think Anna over Anne or Julia over Julie. ‘o’ endings for boys sounded very exotic and romance language inspired (like Leonardo Di Caprio playing Romeo). Obviously lots of people my age feel the same! Trends are endlessly fascinating to me.
Rafferty was my top boy choice, though my husband thought it too posh. We live in Europe and it has similarities to the name Raphael, which is very popular and often nicknamed to raphi.