Biblical name Boaz might seem like an unlikely pick – but not to long ago, we might’ve had the same reaction to Isaiah or Malachi.

Thanks to Rocking Fetal for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.

OLD TESTAMENT NAME

Back in the Old Testament, Boaz was Ruth’s husband, an ancient magnate. 

In some tellings, theirs is a December-June romance. Others paint Boaz as rich, young and handsome to boot. Regardless of Boaz’ attributes, he and Ruth had a son, and their son had a son, who had a son of his own – the future King David.

His name also appears in the New Testament, mentioned as an ancestor of Jesus.

THE MEANING OF BOAZ

There’s also a pair of pillars, described as copper, brass, or bronze, in the first temple in Jerusalem. They’re called Boaz and Jachin, typically translated as strong and founding.

Other sources suggest Boaz comes from a Hebrew word meaning swift.

They’re both positive meanings, and straightforward ones, too.

EDGY, DISTINCTIVE SOUND

The baby name Boaz has a distinctive, edgy sound. Even at a time when Noah, Asher, and Ezra are all mainstream, Boaz stands out.

It’s pronounced with two-syllables: BO az

That gives it the same beginning syllable as Bodhi, Boden, Bowen, and, of course, Top 100 Beau.

We love Z, too. Just ask Top 100 Ezra, Ezekiel, and Enzo, as well as names with an S that sounds like Z, like Isaiah.

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While the baby name Boaz has always been known, it’s seldom heard over the centuries.

It’s scarcely in use in the US well into the 1960s and 70s.

Instead, it’s sometimes heard as a surname and a place name. At least four US cities are called Boaz.

One of them, in Wisconsin, has a second claim to fame. It’s the site of an early mastodon fossil find.

Way back in 1897, four brothers were walking near a creek following a storm, and stumbled on the bones. It wasn’t the only mastodon find in the area, and the story is fascinating. But the Boaz mastodon remains on display at the University of Wisconsin, and locally famous.

The baby name Boaz has also had a good run in the Netherlands, where it has ranked in their Top 100 since 2010. It fits right in with names like Siem (Simon), Moos (Moses), and Joah.

It’s also seen steady use in Israel, and a number of athletes and other notables have worn the name.

Not surprisingly, the baby name Boaz has risen steadily in use in the US, from 30 births in the year 2000 to a new high of 234 births in 2023.

That’s enough to put it in the US rankings at #958.

RISING POSSIBILITY

Since the baby name Boaz has debuted in the US rankings – at last! – it might be a good moment to consider this name for a son. It’s a substitute for popular Ezra; a formal name for Bo; and a meaningful choice worn by an admirable figure.

There are lots of reasons to put Boaz on your list of possibilities.

What do you think of the baby name Boaz?

 First published on June 18, 2009, this post was revised on May 17, 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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What do you think?

19 Comments

  1. Boaz is a spunky choice. I went to school with an Ezra and always liked it. It has always had a vibrant vibe to me. I also like the possible nickname option of Bo.

  2. I adore the Silas, Ezra, and Boaz set also! Of that set, Boaz is the only one my husband would consider– Silas with our S-last name would be too much for him and he’d call Ezra “girly” because of the -a ending. I like Boaz, and Bo is a nice nickname– it grows up well from a cute little boy to a strong man in my mind.

    (Regaring Ezra sounding girly to my husband, when my Calypso was younger, we had the same problem in reverse– strangers (when making appointments on the phone and such) assuming that she was a boy because her name ended in -o. As the name is more out there, used on a lot of products and featured in the last Pirates of the Carribean movie, we’re having a lot less of that. Ezra is all boy to me, in any case.)

  3. I don’t care for it, but it is a great way to get to Bo. Still like Beau better, tho’.

  4. Thank you so much for making Boaz NOTD! It’s a name that has really grown on me and is slowly crawling up my (not so) long list.

    Silas, Ezra and Boaz is about my favorite set ever! 😛 I wanted to name my first son Silas, but we went with Lucas instead. Our second son is Ezra. Boaz is a little much next to Ezra for my liking, but maybe I’ll use it down the line.

  5. Call me (Ishmael) crazy, but I really prefer the “boze” pronunciation; it’s just easier and more user-friendly when I try to say it.
    This is a name I’d consider for my own son, but I know without even asking that my husband would cross it off the list immediately. Too “out there” for him. Plus we’d never be able to use a name that had “Bo” as a nn (as much as I love it), because “Bo Bilbo” is just too…Too.

  6. I’m undecided on this one. To me the pronunciation is intuitive, and I don’t mind the sound, but I agree with Emmy Jo’s proposal – he doesn’t sound very much like a name to me, despite Noah sitting at #10 for the boys.

    I’d never use him, but I’d be charmed to hear one!

  7. Boaz is a fun sounding name that I could see appealing to parents with a sense of adventure. It makes me think of Joan Baez just because Boaz and Baez have a similar structure. And while Emmy Jo has a point, there are names like Chaz and Miles (which is the z sound at the end, even if it’s not written as such) and some others, so the final z isn’t too strange… and Noah is an o-a combo, even if that a sounds like an ‘uh’ rather than an ‘aaah’. Didn’t think of the clown/Bozo or the sound system. It seems fairly intuitive to pronounce it properly. It seems pretty wearable to me and the option to go with the nn Bo makes it even more so. Not for me, but definitely for someone else!

  8. Although I live in Seattle, I have crashed my car outside of Boaz, Wisconsin – TWICE. Within a 30-yard stretch.

    I feel like it would be a very bad omen to give that name to any child of mine.

    1. Tau, I agree – unless you crashed your car and then met your future spouse at the service station waiting for a repair … well, Boaz is NOT for you! 😉

  9. Friends of my brother have three sons named Silas, Ezra and Boaz (usually called Bo). A little matchy-match soundwise, but otherwise I always thought they were a rather well named sibling set.

    1. Julie, that is a nice threesome. And I like Bo/Beau, so why not? Though Silas, Ezra and Boaz is tough to say three times fast!

  10. Boaz could be a cool name. I never thought to associate it with Bose speakers (even though my husband has two huge ones right next to our computer) or Bozo the Clown. (Just to clarify, you meant to write “Bozo the Clown” and not “Boaz the Clown,” right? I’ve never heard of a clown called Boaz.)

    The thing that I think has kept it out of the rankings is that it doesn’t sound very similar to English names. Gideon, for example, and even Hiram and Adoniram, have a “name-like feel” in English, if that makes sense. Plenty of boys’ names end in N, and there are even a few popular ones that end in M (which linguistically is similar to N anyway).

    But few names end in Z, and few names have that “o-a” vowel transition — so altogether the name sounds somewhat foreign.

    But if Boaz is to be revived, now seems to be the time. After all, the top-20 Noah has similar vowel sounds and plenty of names that are clearly foreign and biblical are experiencing peaks of popularity (like the Isaiah you mentioned, or Elijah).

    1. Yikes! Yes, Emmy Jo. Bozo. Boaz the Clown … not so much! I’ve changed it – thank you!