baby name AugustThe baby name August sounds like high summer, but with a grand meaning and history galore, it’s a surprising serious, grounded choice for a son. 

Thanks to Arthur for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.


It’s the very height of summer, the season of cookouts and barefoot walks on the beach.

But the baby name August traces its roots all the way back to the first emperor of mighty Rome, circa 27 BC.

He answered to Octavian. Born the great-nephew of Julius Caesar, his title wasn’t actually emperor. Instead, the Roman Senate proclaimed him Augustus.

It comes from either the Latin augere – to increase, or possibly augur – to see the future.

The meaning is usually given as venerable or grand.

Millennia later, it still projects nobility.

Accomplishment, too. Augustus would reign for four decades, doubling the size of the empire, both by conquest and alliance. By the end of his life, Rome ruled territory from Britain to India. In history books, we refer to him as Emperor Augustus, implying it served as a first name.


Augustus might’ve been the first, but others followed.

The fourth century theologian, Augustine of Hippo, penned Confessions, The City of God, and more works still influential today. He’s not the only saint by the name.

Three kings of Poland make it even more regal. Queen Victoria’s beloved husband was known as Prince Albert, but his birth name was Franz Albert August Karl Emanuel. The baby name August dots many a royal German and Scandinavian family tree.

Speaking of Germany, automobile engineer and entrepreneur August Horch founded Audi in 1910.

Bestselling author Augusten Burroughs, acclaimed playwright and Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson make it literary. Prolific Swedish writer August Strindberg lends it an even more creative, world-changing spirit.

France adds two Augustes to the list: sculptor Rodin and painter Renoir.


The baby name August has appeared in the US Top 1000 every year from 1880 onward.

During the nineteenth century, it regularly appeared in the Top 100. But it slowly faded, hovering near the very edge of the rankings by the 1970s. As of 1983, it reached an all-time low of #930. That represents 90 births – about a quarter of the number of Augusts born fifty years earlier.

The baby name August remained rare into the 1990s, when a slow and steady recovery began.


In small ways, the baby name August began to catch parents’ attention.

August Wilson won a Pulitzer Prize for The Piano Lesson in 1990. Anthony Hopkins starred in a movie titled August in 1996.

But most of the name’s uses lean younger, even storybook.

Actor August Schellenberg played Jesse’s mentor in 1993 family feel-good hit Free Willy. 

In the 2000s we meet:

  • A musical genius love-child of a star-crossed couple. The child’s name – and the 2007 movie’s title – is August Rush.
  • In 2012, the hero of Wonder, though RJ Palacio’s character usually answers to Auggie.
  • Girl Meets World, the next generation sequel to Boy Meets World, featured Cory and Topanga’s kids. Riley was the girl at the center of things, and little brother August, called Auggie.

A long list of celebrities welcomed sons named August during the same era, including Dave Matthews and Mariska Hargitay.

The name inched up the charts, slowly but surely. In 2000, the baby name August stood at #613. By 2010, it reached #427. In 2015, the name reached #195.


As of 2021, the baby name August stood at #121.

It could be headed back to the US Top 100. It’s a summery, seasonal world name, as borrowed from the natural world as River or Kai. But it’s also a name with a long and international history, accomplished and distinguished. Nicknames Auggie and Gus are darling, but in full, August is sophisticated and strong.

A recent boost for the baby name August comes courtesy of the British royal family. Princess Eugenie and  husband Jack Brooksbank welcomed son August Philip Hawke in early 2021. All three names were inspired by family members, including August – from Prince Albert’s middle name. (Albert was Queen Victoria’s husband.)

It’s easy to imagine the baby name August continuing to gain in use, a name with history to spare that’s right at home in the twenty-first century.

What do you think of the baby name August?  

First published on August 14, 2008, this post was revised substantially and re-published on August 4, 2014, again on July 18, 2019, and most recently on February 24, 2021. 

boy name August

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. I am very likely in the minority here, but I love this name for a girl. I also really like Augusta, but there is something about just August on a girl that I just seriously love! (Thanks to a Name Sage post some time ago!)

    And normally I’m not a huge fan of names with extensive male history on girls (or vice versa), though not overly opposed either, but I’m a total hypocrite with August, lol. I’d use Bellamy on a boy in heartbeat too 😉

    1. Bellamy is pretty even between genders. August is far more popular on boys though, but it can be unisex. I think May and June work just fine on boys too.

      1. I wouldn’t be surprised if August started gaining a bit more for girls, but I don’t foresee it ever really taking off. I think Bellamy will start tipping more and more towards girls. But who knows!

        I hadn’t thought about that May or June on a boy, but I agree they would work! Especially cool if they were honor names for women in their lives.

  2. I would love to see this updated in 2018. We’re having a son next summer and planning to name him August… but the rising popularity and use on girls is giving me pause. Is this handsome gem losing its luster?

    1. I mean if you’re that sensitive over your son sharing a name with a girl (highly unlikely since the ratio is like 10:1), then probably skip this one.

      1. This is probably WAY too late, since the original comment was from 2018, but …

        Names that are well-established for boys seldom “go girl.” You’ll meet girls named Ryan and Cameron, but it’s remained firmly Team Blue.

        The names that we think of as “stolen” are typically not being used heavily for boys when they’re discovered for girls. They rise briefly for both genders, but sometimes tip mostly-boy or mostly-girl at some point.

        But lately, even that phenomenon is changing. Peyton was used more heavily for girls, but never really stopped being used for boys. Riley, too.

        So I wouldn’t sweat this one at all.

  3. My spouse & I have always loved the name August & we always knew it would be the name for our first child. Our due date is 01/17 & we do not know the sex, but we like August for a boy or girl. If a boy, we like August California. If a girl, we still love August, but I feel that the middle name should be on the feminine side since August is a strong sounding name. The only problem is I can’t land a girl’s middle name to go with August! I’m drawn to names that are aspirational (places, arts, film). Any suggestions?

  4. I absolutely love Auguste ! it is the perfect name for a baby boy and a man. Here in France this old name is coming back.

  5. August is on my list, I adore it. It’s been in the Top Thousand consistently in the US (it was on Nameberry’s never-off list, actually…) so it’s a nice blend of uncommon-but-not-unheard of or flash-in-the-pan. And it’s the name of a Civil War abolitionist hero of mine, August Bondi, who rode with John Brown.

    I don’t like Auggie or Gus particularly though so I tend to pair it with J middles as I find AJ endearing. (I know how name-nerds generally feel about initial nicknames, so I’ll show myself out…). I rather adore August Judah or August Jethro.

  6. It was one of my favorites, but it’s becoming more common in my area. It’s not really on my list anymore. A good friend loves the name Augustus. It is his favorite and number one choice, should he ever have a boy. Also, a cousin just had a baby boy and named him Logan Augustus. Gus was the father’s nickname, unrelated to his birth name. His father had called him that growing up. I believe it was a Lonesome Dove reference.

    1. I love Augustus in the middle spot! And wow, I like the idea of elaborating on a nickname to find an appealing honor name for a child.

  7. My wife wouldn’t let me name my son August September, so we settled on August Hugh. Also, I never would’ve named him August had been born in that month. Call me contrary….

    1. August is a great name, and I love August Hugh.

      August September, though!? Well, you could’ve wanted to call him August Danger. 😉

    2. I know this is an old thread, but what a great combo! We’ve decided on Hugh Augustine if this baby is a boy 🙂

  8. Thanks Nicole! I found it and it’s ordered, I should be able to wach it sometime next week!

    And definitely hang tough, girl. Josie had a heck of a time with teething herself and I sympathise fully. It does pass, keep your chin up! (hugs) 🙂

  9. Nicole, I’m mostly amused by the fact that we both think Coolio has a traditional spelling. 🙂

    Poor Everett. Hang in there! I’m sending positive baby sleep vibes your way.

  10. Sorry Lola . . . Everett is teething so I’m running on very little sleep and about 10% brain power.

    August Rush. That’s the movie. I have no idea who or what August March is or where I came up with that one.

    LOL about baby E. Koolio! I think I would be most upset that it’s Koolio spelled with a K. I detest non-traditional spellings.