New boy names 2019 borrow from popular sounds, span the globe, and bring back some forgotten classics – it’s a little bit of everything.
In May 2019, the US Social Security Administration released the new popularity data for all children born between January 1st and December 31st of 2018. 45 boys’ names ranked in the US Top 1000 that did not appear in the prior year.
How does this compare to previous tallies?
- Last year, 37 boys’ names appeared in the rankings that were not there a year earlier.
- In May 2017, 42 new names made the list.
- The list published in 2016 worked out to 39 new names
- In May 2015, that number was 38.
- And in the May 2014 data gave us 45.
45 new boy names 2019 seems like a solid number.
It took 207 recorded births for a name to make the boys’ Top 1000 list, though Benton, Coleman, and Markus round out the list with just 206 births each.
Now, on to the new boy names 2019!
Current US popularity rank: #965
The Arabic name Amir comes from the same roots as the title emir – commander, or maybe prince. That puts Amir in the same category as Messiah and King. No surprise it’s a common name across the world. Ahmir – along with Aamir – is simply another spelling option.
I’ve yet to write about Ahmir, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #992
Archie has been a long-time British favorite, along with diminutives like Alfie and Freddie. Now this spunky nickname-name has edged its way into the US Top 1000, following surname-name Archer up the charts. Credit Riverdale for changing parents’ ideas about the name. And maybe Amy Poehler, too. (Archibald, however, is still out in the cold.) Now, of course, this name is all royal baby … and almost certain to catch on even more in the coming years, thanks to Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
Current US popularity rank: #947
Leo is a Top 100 choice, so why this zodiac sign, the equally fiery Aries? It’s the ram to Leo’s lion. It’s a night sky name, too, thanks to the corresponding constellation, which puts this in the company of Orion. As a given name, it was virtually unheard of until the 1970s, and remained quite rare until recent years. It almost feels like a masculine answer to all of those Ari- names for girls, like Aria and Ariana.
I’ve yet to write about Aries, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #712
Baker fits with all sorts of occupational surname names. And yet there’s no question it joins Hunter and Carter and Mason because of a very different job title: NFL quarterback. Baker Mayfield is the Cleveland Browns’ record-setting rookie quarterback. He was drafted in 2018 and played his first games later that year. The name had gained during Mayfield’s time at Oklahoma, including winning the 2017 Heisman Trophy – but it took his professional debut to tip the name into the Top 1000. It shares sounds with long-time favorites like Jacob, but has a fresh, bright appeal all its own, too.
Current US popularity rank: #981
Take a traditional boy name with plenty of history. Layer in a great meaning – blessed. Then turbo charge it with a charismatic Oscar-nominated actor who also saves the world as a member of the Avengers? Yeah, this one belongs in the US Top 1000. It’s a solid alternative to Top Ten favorite Benjamin, but still shortens to friendly Ben.
Current US popularity rank: #880
Benicio is Benedict’s handsome Spanish cousin. It feels like the next Leonardo, a name instantly familiar but still a little on the dramatic side. Actor Benicio del Toro has helped push his given name into the US Top 1000 before, but this time I think it’s here to stay. It helped that 2018 was a great year for the actor – Star Wars: The Last Jedi debuted in late 2017, followed by roles in Sicario: Day of the Soldado and Avengers: Infinity War. That kept the name in the spotlight, just as parents were looking for fresh boy names ending with o. As with Benedict, nickname Ben makes this even more wearable for parents after a stands-out/fits-in choice.
Current US popularity rank: #920
If you want to rhyme this name with road, you’re forgiven. After all, bode is a real word – it means to foretell, as in “this bodes well for our venture.” Okay, so it’s not exactly everyday speech. But 99% of Bodes are probably pronouncing this with two syllables, just like Bodhi (#314) or Bodie (#768). After all, Olympic gold medalist Bode Miller pronounces his name that way.
Current US popularity rank: #949
Boden makes a natural formal name for Bo, and fits with all those two-syllable, ends-with-n boy names that just won’t quit. It also brings to mind a clothing company. British brand Boden has become known for bright patterns, as well as reliable basics. They outfit the whole family, from infants to adults. It’s the surname of entrepreneur Johnnie Boden, and has multiple possible origins and meanings. But my guess is the catalogs are quietly inspiring many parents.
I’ve yet to write about Boden, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #982
Following the 2016 death of legendary singer David Bowie, his surname climbed in use as a baby name. Not only is a tribute to a rock icon, it’s also a cool, current sound – Beau, Bodhi, and Bo are all bounding up the charts, and Bode and Boden both debuted in the Top 1000 this year, too. One of Zoe Saldana’s three sons answers to the name, one of several high profile birth announcements in recent years. With Lennon, Hendrix, and Marley all in the Top 1000, it was only a matter of time before this one joined its fellow Hall-of-Famers.
Current US popularity rank: #962
Creed debuted in the US Top 1000 following the release of the 2015 movie by the name, another installment in the long-running Rocky franchise. This time, the legendary boxer Rocky Balboa is the trainer, to Adonis Creed, son of his formal rival. The movie was a smash hit, but the name faded anyway. Then came Creed II in 2018 – and guess what’s back into the Top 1000? A meaning-rich word name, it comes from the Latin phrase “I believe.” It could have staying power long after this movie is history.
Current US popularity rank: #910
In Shona, a language spoken in Zimbabwe, this name means rejoice. A fitting choice for a child! It’s originally spelled Dakarai, but the slimmed-down version is more common in the US. Dakari Johnson played for the University of Kentucky, then briefly for the Oklahoma City Thunder, before heading to China to continue his career. The rookie was profiled in the New York Times during his stint with the Thunder, but is that enough to explain the name’s spike? It’s got a cool, current sound, so maybe it’s just the right time for this appealing import.
I’ve yet to write about Dakari, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #983
Sometimes a name reappears in the US Top 1000, even though it’s really on the way out – or so I think. Deangelo – and D’angelo – were 1990s and early 2000s hits. It was the heyday of singer-songwriter D’Angelo, and a character on HBO’s The Wire. Still, it’s a long and romantic name with a lot of style – so perhaps it’s ready for a comeback before it’s really gone.
I’ve yet to write about Deangelo, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #919
If Deangelo strikes me as too early for a comeback, then Deshawn certainly belongs in that same category. It’s a 1990s name, popular with African American parents. But it’s also the name of DeShawn Shead, who played for the Seattle Seahawks before being signed to the Detroit Lions in 2018. I’m guessing it was just enough attention to raise the name slightly in the rankings. But if I met a Deshawn today, I’d expect him to be the dad, not the newborn.
I’ve yet to write about Deshawn, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #939
Tesla founder and visionary entrepreneur Elon Musk appears to be the reason this Old Testament name debuted in the US Top 1000. It’s popular in Israel, and it carries a strong meaning: oak tree. Plus the sound is all bright vowels. That might be enough to keep the name in use even if Musk’s reputation sours. (Though it’s always a risk – Harvey dropped more than fifty spots after the Weinstein scandal.)
I’ve yet to write about Elon, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #973
Parents tend to favor Forrest, the surname spelling worn by the fictional Forrest Gump. But lately the straight-up nature name spelling is gaining in use, a brother for River, an alternative to Rowan. At #571, Forrest remains ahead by a few hundred spots – but that could change. One plus to this spelling: it plays down any association with the Confederate general by the name. The double-r spelling feels a little preppier, more like Wilder or Hayes, while Forest seems more clearly tied to all things green and growing.
Current US popularity rank: #984
Gone are the days when a popular name for girls felt unthinkable for boys. Want proof? Despite ranking solidly in the Top 100 for girls, Genesis debuted in the boys’ Top 1000 this year, too.
I’ve yet to write about Genesis, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #994
While Gus is back in the US Top 1000 for the first time since the 1970s, there’s no shortage of boys called Gus. They’re just August – or Augustus or Augustine – on their birth certificates instead. But Max is nearly as popular as Maxwell, Leo outranks Leonardo, and Jack is gaining on John. It’s only fitting that just Gus is rising, too. Plus, while August and company are rather grand and important names, Gus feels homespun and accessible. Doomed YA romance The Fault in Our Stars lends Gus some leading man charisma.
Current US popularity rank: #985
Camden and London rank in the Top 1000. So how ’bout Harlem? It brings to mind the Harlem Renaissance, making it an artistic choice as well as one drawn from the map.
I’ve yet to write about Harlem, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #956
Handsome leading man Idris Elba puts this international name on the list. In the Quran, it’s the name of a prophet, and plenty of leaders from Arab world have answered to Idris. But it’s also a Welsh name with completely separate roots, meaning ardent lord. You’ll find a mountain called Cadair Idris in Wales, also known as Chair of the Giant. Stories abound about the peak, but it’s said that spending a night at its summit will provide creative inspiration – or drive one to madness.
I’ve yet to write about Idris, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #989
With Emmanuel at #159, it makes sense that the Old Testament spelling of the name is also on the rise. The meaning is lovely – God is with us. This spelling has skittered on the edge of the Top 1000 over the last decade, while Emmanuel has mostly gained in use.
I’ve yet to write about Immanuel, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #931
Christians call Mary’s parents Anne and Joachim. But in the Quran, they’re Hannah and Imran. Imran is likely cousin to Amram, the name of Moses’ father in the Old Testament. The Arabic name debuted in the US Top 1000 this year, and it’s been gaining throughout Europe, too. A handful of athletes and other notables answer to the name, and it’s a bad guy in the Call of Duty video game universe, too. But my guess is that Imran is trending mostly with Arabic-speaking parents in the US as an easy crossover name choice.
I’ve yet to write about Imran, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #771
Jackson gave way to Jaxon. Maxwell inspired Maxton. And somewhere in the mix, parents invented Jaxtyn, a mash-up of trendy sounds and spellings. Jaxton came first, and currently ranks #346. As of right now, eight names starting with Jax – including Jax and Jaxx – rank in the Top 1000. Jaxtyn is just one more, right at home with the new boy names 2019.
I’ve yet to write about Jaxtyn, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #959
There’s a tiny trendlet for Biblical place names – think Eden or Canaan. Jericho debuted in the Top 1000 back in 2013, but hasn’t stayed in steadily. But it should, right? The name picks up on generations of Jer- names, like Jeremy, Jerome, and Jeremiah. And it ends with that upbeat o sound, too. Maybe we’re just missing one high profile Jericho to make this name the next big thing.
Current US popularity rank: #979
It’s a formal name for Jesse, a spin on popular Josiah. Or maybe it’s yet another obscure Biblical name; depending on your translation, it does appear in a few versions. A handful of high profile-ish Jesiahs are boosting the name; a Spanish-language Christian singer/podcaster (I think!) might be the most prominent. It’s likely to appeal to the same parents who have helped put Isaiah, Elijah, and Josiah in the Top 100.
I’ve yet to write about Jesiah, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #972
Justice reads like a modern word name, but Justus? It’s been around for ages. At least half a dozen saints bear the name, most from the year 1000 or earlier. It’s been used in Europe, especially in German-speaking countries. And way back in the 1990s, soap opera General Hospital introduced a character by the name. Accordingly, it’s appeared on the edges – and inside – the Top 1000 for years. It left briefly in the prior list, but this time it’s back.
I’ve yet to write about Justus, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #995
Like Ahmir and Imran, Kabir speaks to the influence of parents with roots in the Arab and Indian worlds. This name comes with a particularly compelling meaning: great. A famous fifteenth century poet and mystic answered to the name; it remains read and referenced today.
I’ve yet to write about Kabir, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #799
Camden is a place name, originally a London neighborhood famous for its artistic vibe, and residents from Mary Shelley to Madness. It’s named for Earl Camden. The place name followed Cameron – as well as Caden and Colton – up the popularity charts. The spelling variations inevitably follow: Kamden at #456, Camdyn at #966, and now Kamdyn. They’re all well behind the original, Camden, at #152.
Current US popularity rank: #940
Take everything that I said about spelling variations and apply it to Karsyn as well. Carson feels almost traditional, a surname name with roots. Karsyn is a wild spin on the original, transforming it from a preppy, buttoned-up choice to one born to be wild.
I’ve yet to write about Karsyn, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #873
We do love a good o-ending boy name. Just ask the parents of Leo, Hugo, Milo, and Arlo. Kenzo rhymes with the Italian Enzo, but it’s Japanese. The meaning varies, based on the kanji used the write the name, but I’ve heard wise, humble, and healthy, to name just a few. It’s brand new to the US, but it’s had a good run in France. That’s probably down to luxury brand KENZO, created in Paris by Japanese-born designer Kenzo Takada.
I’ve yet to write about Kenzo, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #996
Corbin feels a little different. At #277, it’s not quite mainstream. But Korbin and now Korbyn take the name even farther away from the familiar. It looks almost Polish – a brother for Kacper and Krzysztof – but maybe not. The name does have deep roots, though – it comes from the Latin corvus – raven – and was used at least as far back as the 700s.
Current US popularity rank: #941
The Fixer Upper baby helped push Crew straight up the popularity charts. Maybe Chip and Joanna should get credit for the rise of Krew, too. It’s up sharply since the 2018 birth of the littlest member of the Gaines family.
As with Karsyn, the decision to spell a name with a K might be aesthetic – parents just plain like the look – or it might be an attempt to push the name in an edgier direction. More Motley, less J.
Current US popularity rank: #865
But he’s a villain, you say! I know. And gauging whether you can use a bad guy name for your baby is a challenge. But parents seem to be willing to overlook this for Kylo. And that’s down to one thing only: we love that sound! It’s a little bit Kyle and Kai, but with -o ending of Milo and Arlo. Plus, this is the era of naming after our favorite characters, even ones painted in shades of gray. I’d draw the line at Lucifer, but I think we can hold out hope that Han and Leia’s son might not be all bad.
Current US popularity rank: #990
I’ve been curious about Lian for a while. It looks like a twist on Liam, but it’s actually more mysterious. It might mean waterfall in Japanese, or maybe it’s a short form of names like Julian. What’s certain is this: it’s never been in the US Top 1000 before, but it’s no overnight sensation. Lian has slowly gained in use over the years.
I’ve yet to write about Lian, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #961
An ancient name, Marcellus comes from an elaboration of Marcus, which probably traces back to the god of war, Mars. It last appeared in the US Top 1000 back in the 1980s. Since then, we’ve had Ving Rhames as Marsellus Wallace in 1994’s Pulp Fiction; NFL player turned sports commentator Marcellus Wiley; and a rise in so many ancient names, from Atticus to Magnus to Thaddeus.
I’ve yet to write about Marcellus, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #792
I’d guess that Mordechai owes its success to parents seeking formal names for Kai. It’s a mismatch, of course – sleek, international Kai is typically associated with the Hawaiian word for the sea. Mordechai is an Old Testament name, weighty with age. In the Bible, he’s foster father to Esther; and he’s credited with saving the Jews, commemorated annually with Purim. While this spelling and the slimmer Mordecai have always seen some use in the US, lately it’s the -chai version that’s rising – all the way to the Top 1000.
I’ve yet to write about Mordechai, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #867
This is one gemstone name that feels meant for the boys, in contrast to Emerald and Ruby and Pearl. We tend to think of it as black, but the name originally comes from the word for a fingernail, because onyx can also come in a pale pink color. Today it fits in perfectly with classics like Alex, vintage revivals like Felix, and modern favorites like Jax.
I’ve yet to write about Onyx, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #951
Pronounce this the European way – Rafe, as in Ralph Fiennes – and the name instantly transforms, from a dated antique to a dashing hero. And yet, I think Ralph-rhymes-with-Alf has potential. It’s the name of Design Mom’s eldest, a 1910s favorite out of favor for so long that it might be ready for revival. (And I think there are good reasons to choose those grandpa names!) Though at the moment, it’s bouncing around the in/out dividing line of the Top 1000, so it’s not quite the next Arthur … yet.
Current US popularity rank: #859
The Kardashian-Wests weren’t the first to choose this bold name for a boy, and they’re certainly not the last. Saint has gained steadily in use over the last few years, enough to debut in the Top 1000 this time around. It’s a big, aspirational choice, but with names like Maverick and Legend, Messiah and King in use, is this really any harder to live up to?
Current US popularity rank: #980
We all know boys named Aidan and Connor. Maybe Finn and Ronan, too. But this Irish name has never been popular in the US, even though it has a strong sound and a great meaning – chief. As parents seek heritage choices beyond the Top 100 and even 1000, Torin has caught their attention. A handful of athletes have answered to the name. On a very different note, there’s a character from Japanese television series Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, too, the seemingly immortal Wise God Torin.
Current US popularity rank: #896
Carter and Hunter have been around for years, and so we’re looking for new options. Turner hits that mark nicely. It’s an occupational surname for someone who worked with a lathe. But in 2019, I tend to hear Turner as a subtle, but meaning-rich name, one that reminds me to everything there is a season, turn, turn, turn …
I’ve yet to write about Turner, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #879
Wallace feels quietly classic, a brother for Malcolm or Graham. But it’s been far less common than you might guess. Wallace last ranked in the US Top 1000 way back in the 1990s.
Current US popularity rank: #711
With so much interest in Sherlock, I’ve been expecting Watson to catch on. In recent years, we’ve seen multiple reboots and re-imaginings of Arthur Conan Doyle’s enduring duo. Plus, Watson fits right in with Mason and Carson and so many ends-with-son boy names. And this isn’t a debut – as late as the 1930s, Watson regularly appeared in the Top 1000. The surname comes from an old nickname for Walter – Wat. So if you’re trying to honor a beloved Walt, but want something just a little fresher, Watson has potential.
Current US popularity rank: #932
Proof that boys can steal from girls: Yael is solidly feminine in the Bible. And not just a bit player, either – she’s a hero, the one who slayed the commander Sisera, saving Israel from the armies of King Jabin. Yael – also spelled Jael – is depicted in art from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Despite all this, Yael has only ever cracked the boys’ Top 1000 in the US.
I’ve yet to write about Yael, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #903
It sounds like Zakai might have been clipped from Hezekiah or invented from Zachariah. Not so. There’s a minor Old Testament figure named Zakai (or Zaccai or Zakkai.) It’s a virtue name, meaning pure. But my guess is that Zakai succeeds mainly on sound, a mash-up of long-time favorite Zach and more recent go-to Kai. The history is just a bonus.
I’ve yet to write about Zakai, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #975
If Zev didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it, a name that fits right in with Jax and Dev. But it’s a Hebrew name meaning wolf. Those high value Scrabble letters combined with a cool, nature name meaning make Zev among the coolest of Top 1000 boy names of our moment.
What are your favorites from the new boy names 2019? Any surprises?