Looking for names like Noah?

The Biblical builder of the ark dominates the boys’ Top Ten in the US. From #9 in the year 2009, it rose to #1 from 2013 to 2016. And while it’s fallen since then, it’s only tumbled to #2. It has remained the second most popular name for boys in the US from 2017 through 2022.

That’s almost 100,000 new baby Noahs in the last five years alone. While the name’s Old Testament roots are clear, this ancient name appeals to parents regardless of religion. The idea of Noah and his family saving the animals from the Great Flood is a powerful image, widely known. 

Noa is also rising in use. It’s typically a separate, feminine name but can also be masculine. (Worth noting: in Hebrew, Noah’s final H is pronounced, making the name sound more like Noach.) Noé, another variation, also ranks in the US Top 1000 for boys. These additional forms of the name might make it seem even more common than a Top Ten name already suggests.

International versions also include the Arabic Nuh and Finnish Nooa, but Noah is surprisingly unchanged across languages. It’s a chart-topping favorite from Norway to Italy, Austria to Argentina.

Of course, popularity doesn’t mean you should avoid the baby name Noah. In fact, there are plenty of great reasons to use a Top Ten – or even the #1! – name.

But maybe you already know a Noah or three. Or maybe you’re naming a brother for Noah, and want to match the same style.

Either way, names like Noah should:

  • Combine a modern sound with significant history
  • Feel stylish, short, and nickname-proof
  • Feels appropriately youthful, even while past use promises the name will age well

There’s something romantic about Noah, too. Maybe that’s thanks to The Notebook’s Noah Calhoun, based on a 1996 novel by Nicholas Sparks. 

Plenty of names come close to meeting these requirements. Biblical favorites like Aaron, Caleb, Elijah, Ethan, Ezra, Isaiah, Jacob, Joshua, Luke, and Nathan are popular, but have some potential. Other go-to names for boys, like Ryan or Alex, match Noah’s brief and complete style, but might feel a little different in terms of style.

But these possibilities share enough qualities to be easy substitutes for Noah, or names for Noah’s new brother.

Get new posts sent to your inbox!
Don’t miss out! Subscribe and get all the new posts first.

ASA (#451)

Another Old Testament name, Asa means healer in Hebrew. It sounds like Ace, a modern favorite that mixes references to tennis, World War II heroes, and playing cards.

That makes Asa a traditional pick with a cool, current vibe. And while some might argue that Asa isn’t nickname-proof – hello, Ace? – it still belongs with names like Noah.

Actors like Asa Butterfield make a convincing case that the name wears well. If you love the idea of Noah, but want something far less common, Asa might hit exactly the right mark.

ISAAC (#42)

This Old Testament name is nearly as popular as Noah. But one factor: few names sound anything like Isaac.  

The meaning might appeal to many parents: “he will laugh.” It refers to a specific story, where God tells an elderly Abraham than he and his equally aged wife Sarah will welcome a son. Abraham laughs, but later rejoices when Isaac is born. It’s an appealing image, particularly when paired with a serious name.

JONAH (#135)

For pure sound, Jonah makes a great Noah substitute. Plus, both Biblical figures’ stories tie to the sea. Noah sailed for forty days and forty nights, while Jonah was swallowed by a whale.

While it’s less popular than Noah, most people instantly recognize the name Jonah. It’s easy to spell and pronounce and, at least for now, relatively uncommon.

KOA (#351)

It’s easy to mistake Koa for a trendy spin on Noah. Instead, Koa is Hawaiian, just like current favorite Kai. Like Rowan, it’s borrowed from the name of a tree. Combined, those factors make Koa an obvious choice.

Koa first entered the US Top 1000 in 2017 and has quickly risen in the rankings. It’s a great potential substitute choice for Noah – though it might sometimes be misheard as the more popular name.

LEVI (#18)

Noah built the arc, and Levi built … denim? 

Not quite.

Like Noah, Levi comes from the Old Testament. That Levi founded the Levites, one of the twelve tribes of Israel. While both names claim religious significance, neither feels specifically or exclusively spiritual.

Instead, they sound modern. For Noah, it’s the ‘a’ ending. For Levi, the letter ‘v’ lends style.

German-born entrepreneur Levi Strauss makes this name as American as blue jeans.

While Levi is powerfully popular, it remains less chart-topping than Noah – though not by much. 

If Levi is close, but not quite, Old Testament name Eli might be worth considering.

MAX (#156)

Max sits somewhere midway between the most classic choices, like William and Joseph, and names specific to this generation, like Aiden and Grayson. 

While Max can be short for a longer name, it’s not quite in the same category as Sam/Samuel and Mike/Michael. Max stands on its own. And somehow, the three-letter name feels modest and unassuming, despite its association with superlatives.

MILO (#120)

Nothing says that all names like Noah must come from the Bible. After all, Noah appeals to a broad group of parents, from many faith traditions.

And so Milo makes a logical substitute for the chart-topping name.

Like Noah, Milo feels short and complete. It comes with a long history, dating to the Middle Ages. Milo fits with modern names, a solidly 21st century choice.

Like so many o-ending boy names, Milo has climbed rapidly in use in recent years. But that just makes it a mainstream possibility, rather than a wildly different option. 

Actress Liv Tyler named her eldest Milo 2004, just as the name was starting to trend.

NASH (#251)

Noah and Nash share three of their four letters. Unlike Noah – and Levi and Theo and Milo – Nash debuted relatively recently. If not for a hit 1990s television series, and fictional character Nash Bridges, this name might still be rare.

But Nash doesn’t feel invented or artificial. And as a surname, it boasts centuries of use. And it fits right in with Dash, Cash, and Ash.

It ticks all the boxes: stylish, short, nickname-proof.

If Nash is close, but not quite, other single-syllable names with bold sounds, like Jude and Beau, might be worth a look.

NICO (#236)

Classic, saintly, and regal, Nicholas spent years near the top of the US charts, including a decade in the Top Ten from 1993 through 2002.

But the average Nicholas probably answers to Nick. Only lately has Nico emerged as the Nick name to watch.

Like Nash, Nico barely registered before the 1990s. But Nico borrows the rich history of Nicholas, along with the great meaning: victory of the people.

And like Noah, Nico can potentially be seen as unisex. That’s not a drawback today, but it’s one more reason Nico makes a plausible substitute.

OTIS (#613)

Noah’s strong O sound might be a big reason for the name’s appeal. Owen and Logan and Leo – and all those other ends-in-o names – demonstrate just how stylish a sound it is.

So maybe Otis could serve as a Noah substitute, too. There’s something vintage about the name, but very twenty-first century at the same time.

Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde named their firstborn Otis Alexander. In 2015, Otis re-entered the US Top 1000 for the first time in ages and it’s steadily caught on since then.

SETH (#479)

Fun fact: Seth is a younger son of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis, which makes him the ancestor of Noah.

Despite that Biblical background, it’s more likely to bring to mind figures like American actor Seth Rogan or late night host Seth Meyers. It’s strong, straightforward, and distinctive in sound. And while everyone recognizes the name Seth, it’s surprisingly uncommon.

THEO (#99)

At first glance, Theo seems familiar, but not too common. It’s worth noting, though, that Theodore comes in at #10. And a lot of those little Theodores actually answer to Theo.

Theodore means gift of God. The name claims history galore, dating to the ancient world. Style-wise, it probably edges closer to vintage Milo than Biblical Noah. 

If Theodore fits with longer, traditional choices like Oliver and Benjamin, Theo reads a little different.

Still, just Theo might make a great substitute for Noah – traditional but modern, upbeat but rooted in history.

ZEKE (#610)

As with Theo and Nico, associated names are more popular. Ezekiel ranks #49.

But in an age of Zane and Jax and Reed, Zeke stands alone. It’s also fresher than Zach, now that Zachary is growing up.

The Z lends this name some serious modern style. But Zeke also feels vintage, since it’s clearly related to the Biblical name. In recent years, television gave us a character called Zeek instead – the Braverman family patriarch, played by Craig T. Nelson, on Parenthood.

But Zeke remains the more traditional – and far more popular – spelling for our sons.

What are your favorite names like Noah? 

Originally published on February 14, 2017, this post was revised and republished on November 10, 2021 and March 18, 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.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. I know of twins named Noah and Owen. I always think they sound very similar but inverted … So maybe Owen could work as a substitute?

  2. I love these! Spot on. Maybe I’d add Noel, Finn, Louis, Dean… I keep thinking Thayer for some reason. I can’t think of why it’d be an alternative to Noah but who knows. 🙂