This list of 41 names are either debuting in the US Top 1000 or returning to the rankings after an absence. Some may have been hibernating for decades. Others charted as recently as 2019, but tipped off the list last year.
Data was released by the US Social Security Administration on May 8, 2022. It represents births between January 1st and December 31st of the year 2021.
- 38 new boy names made the list in calendar year 2020.
- The 2019 list gave us 50 new boy names.
- For calendar year 2018, we reviewed 45 newcomers.
- During 2017, 37 boys’ names appeared in the rankings that were not there a year earlier.
- Calendar year 2016 featured, 42 new names appearing on the list.
- The list published for 2015 worked out to 39 new names
- For the 2014 year, that number was 38.
- And in 2013, the data gave us 45.
That makes 41 debuts and returns feel pretty average. (For the past eight years, 41.75 names is the actual average.)
NEW BOY NAMES 2022
Adrien last appeared in the boys’ US Top 1000 in 2019.
The French spelling of Adrian, Adrien has always been less popular than the -ian version.
Agustin last appeared in the boys’ US Top 1000 in 2017.
All of the August names are on the rise, including this Spanish form of Augustine.
Alfonso last appeared in the boys’ US Top 1000 in 2019.
Kings of Portugal and Spanish noblemen embraced this name. It’s also appeared in the US Top 1000 nearly every year since 1880.
Amiri debuted in the boys’ US Top 1000 in 2021.
The name comes from the Arabic Amir, meaning prince. It’s both a surname and a given name, a bold and romantic sound.
Atharv debuted in the boys’ US Top 1000 in 2021.
An import from Hindi, Atharv probably owes its success to The Family Man, an Amazon Prime series about a seemingly ordinary husband and father who actually works for the Indian equivalent of the CIA. We see the dad, Sri, fighting off terrorists, but we also get to know his family, including daughter Driti and son Atharv. The first season premiered in 2019 and the second followed in 2021.
Avyaan debuted in the boys’ US Top 1000 in 2021.
Another Sanskrit name appeared in the US rankings for the first time.
Azael debuted in the boys’ US Top 1000 in 2021.
While Azael sounds like a name, and has been used as such in a handful of places, the exact origin and meaning are elusive.
Azriel debuted in the boys’ US Top 1000 in 2021.
A minor Old Testament name with a cool, scissory sound, Azriel also has a reverent meaning: my help is God.
Benedict last appeared in the boys’ US Top 1000 in 2018.
Take a significant saint and a recent pope, add a Hollywood leading man who plays a superhero and racks up awards and critical acclaim, then factor in an easy, accessible nickname everybody loves. The result is Benedict, a name that ranked in the US Top 1000 until 1968, returned for 2018, and now is back again. This time, signs point to Benedict catching on.
Bowie last appeared in the boys’ US Top 1000 in 2018.
We’re living in the age of Hendrix and Lennon, Jagger and Cash. No surprise that legendary musician David Bowie’s surname is also rising in use. The name first debuted in 2018, following the singer’s 2016 death. But a few years later, with a wave of Beau and Bo names rising, Bowie might be finally ready to climb.
Cassian debuted in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2021.
An ancient Roman name associated with several early saints, Cassian’s rise isn’t about the past. It’s about life in a galaxy far, far away. Diego Luna played the heroic Cassian Andor in the 2018 movie Rogue One, a prequel of sorts to the original Star Wars trilogy. Now a Disney+ series titled Andor is set to debut later in 2022, putting Luna’s character – and the name – in the spotlight again.
Coleson debuted in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2021.
With Colson climbing the charts, Coleson is a logical spelling option, too, one that might clarify nickname Cole.
Dimitri debuted in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2019.
A Slavic take on Demetrius, Dimitri nods to the goddess Demeter. Other spellings are used, but this might be the most accessible to English speakers. It’s ranked in the Top 1000 most years since 1989.
Eliam debuted in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2021.
Parents have turned to the Bible for naming inspiration for generations. Eliam is another discovery, mentioned briefly in the Old Testament Books of Samuel. But it succeeds on sound, too, a mix of all those Eli names with Liam.
Elio debuted in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2021.
Short in letters, long on sound, the Italian Elio feels like a successor for Enzo. A bonus? Elio’s meaning is almost certainly “the sun,” as it comes from Helios or Aelius, older names with that meaning.
Elon last appeared in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2018.
Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk knows how to keep his name in the headlines. That’s almost certainly the inspiration for this name’s return to the US popularity charts. Or maybe it’s the name’s Hebrew roots and appealing meaning: oak tree. Fun fact: North Carolina’s Elon University took its name from a grove of oak trees on the site of the future school, and begins each academic year with a ceremony handing each incoming student an acorn.
Ephraim last appeared in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2019.
Biblical Ephraim has darted in and out of the rankings, but lately tends to be in more often.
Evander appeared in the US boys’ Top 1000 once before, in 1895.
It looks an Evan-Alexander smoosh, but Evander is a separate Greek name with a winning meaning: good man.
Gian debuted in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2021.
Long-time #1 name John has fallen in use, but John names remain a powerful force in American baby naming. There’s Jackson and Jack, and increasingly, the Giovannis. Giovanni is the Italian form of John, via the Latin Iohannes. Giovanni shortens to Gianni, and then Gian – which sounds pretty much like John in Italian. But in American English? This probably ends up pronounced with two syllables, more like Liam or Ian. It’s just Italian enough.
Granger debuted in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2021.
We love a good surname name, one with a distinctive sound maybe and a little bit of dirt on its hands, too. Granger follows Thatcher and Hunter and Bridger, capable sounding names with a mix of polish and strength. The name’s meaning – farmer – is a down-to-earth bonus.
Howard last appeared in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2019.
Once a mighty aristocratic family, Howard has mellowed to an old-school grandpa name, maybe a little on the cuddly side. And while it’s tempting to call this a comeback, that’s probably not the case – yet. Instead this former Top 100 favorite is probably still sliding in use, just balancing on the edge of the current rankings.
Ignacio last appeared in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2019.
The Spanish form of Ignatius has appeared in the US rankings more years than not, so this exit and return isn’t exactly new. Ignacio also has an edgy, fun nickname option: Nacio, or Nacho.
Jakai debuted in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2021.
Take popular sound Kai and go-to first initial for boy names J, and Jakai is a twenty-first century take on Jake and Jack, with a dash of Mekhi.
Jesiah last appeared in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2019.
A Jesse-Josiah mash-up with plenty of modern appeal.
Jiraiya debuted in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2021.
Japanese folklore gave us Jiraiya, a four-syllable name with a cool meaning: young thunder. It was borrowed for anime series Naruto in recent years, where it’s the name of an accomplished ninja. Jiraiya seems extreme at first glance, an elaborate name unlike anything else we’re using for our children. Except it’s not so different from Jeremiah.
Kartier debuted in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2021.
Take runaway hit Carter, change the C to a K, and layer in the luxe appeal of Cartier, and you’ll arrive at this new name. Another reason for Kartier’s rise? It’s the name of a Puerto Rican singer.
Khai debuted in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2021.
A logical alternative spelling of chart-topping favorite Kai.
Koen last appeared in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2014.
Cohen is two things at once: a stylish sound, and a deeply meaningful Jewish surname. The former has pushed it into wider use; the latter gives parents pause. Koen, though, is Dutch, and a completely separate name, related to Conrad.
Kylian last appeared in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2019.
If there’s any downside to upbeat Irish import Killian, it’s that first syllable – and lack of an easy nickname it creates. Spell it Cillian and it’s more authentically Irish, but no easier to shorten. Kylian, though, eases the troubling association and suggests easy short form Ky, rhymes with Ty and Ry. French football star Kylian Mbappé put the name on parents’ lists.
Loyal last appeared in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 1948.
Parents love Royal. Loyal shares the same sound, but with a very different vibe. It’s a straight-up virtue, humble and true. And like many a virtue name, it feels as modern as River or Maverick, but actually boasts decades of use.
Mustafa last appeared in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2019.
A traditional Arabic name, Mustafa means “the chosen one.” It appears in the history books, as the name of Ottoman emperors and many other notables. It’s been on the edge of the US rankings for most of the twenty-first century.
Neo debuted in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2021.
The Matrix debuted in way back in 1999. Two sequels followed, both in 2003. Then came 2021’s The Matrix Reloaded. Keanu Reeves returned to the role of hacker-turned-hero Neo for the first time in nearly two decades. And, for the first time ever, parents sent the character’s name into the US Top 1000.
Osman debuted in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2021.
The Turkish form of a storied Arabic name, Osman is also Uthman, Usman, Othman, and Ousmane, to list just a few of the possibilities.
Ozzy debuted in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2021.
Oswald, Osborne, and other names starting with Os/Oz all shorten logically to Ozzy. But now it’s just Ozzy that appears in the US rankings for the first time ever. It’s cozy and casual, but it’s also a rock star name, thanks to John Michael “Ozzy” Osbourne. Of course, if you know your classic television, you might also think of Oswald “Ozzie” Nelson, of Ozzie and Harriet fame in the 1950s and 60s.
Palmer last appeared in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 1949.
Over the last few years, Palmer has risen in use for our daughters, sparked by a character in 2011 rom com Just Go With It. It was a box office success, plus it’s one of those movies that’s constantly streaming and easy to re-watch. Now Palmer is back for our boys, too. Just like Hunter and Parker, it’s one of those -r ending choices that feels effortlessly unisex.
Turner last appeared in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2019.
Speaking of boy names ending with -r, Turner has a long history of use for our sons, appearing in the US Top 1000 more years than not. In 1989, Tom Hanks co-starred with a canine cop in Turner & Hooch. Disney+ rebooted the series in 2021. And while it wasn’t a hit, that might’ve been enough to put the name on some parents’ radar.
Wylder debuted in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2021.
Fast-rising preppy hellraiser name Wilder leads inevitably to Wylder. It’s an equally valid spelling of outdoorsy, daring Wilder, but this one looks a little more extreme.
Yaakov last appeared in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2015.
The Hebrew form of Jacob, sometimes just popular enough to edge into the rankings.
Yadiel last appeared in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2019.
In Eastern Orthodox tradition, Jegudiel or Jehudiel is an archangel. Yadiel is the Spanish spelling of the name, slightly streamlined and perhaps more accessible, too.
Yisroel last appeared in the US boys’ Top 1000 in 2019.
Israel is sometimes used as a given name, a place name rich with significance. Yisroel is the Yiddish form of the name.
Zyon appeared in the US boys’ Top 1000 once before, in 2019.
Richly meaningful Zion has become a popular and stylish possibility for our sons. The spelling Zyon follows.