Baby naming trends are always fluid. Names come and go from the top names that the Social Security Administration keeps records for each year. The SSA recently released their findings from 2020 and we were shocked to see so many names return to the list after years of inattention. These handsome names are getting a new shine and we couldn’t be more excited!
In 2020, 176 boy names returned to the charts. Some were relatively popular before they fell into disuse, while others are just occasional blips in the data. The longest gap for names for boys was Arvi, which was last recorded in 1921. So, for nearly 100 years this name had essentially fallen off the charts and out of parents’ minds. We’re thrilled to share our newly returned favorites with you! Here are 35 names for boys that made a comeback and we think should keep climbing the popularity charts.
Roric is an ultra-cool sounding name that has German roots and is a form of Roderick. The name hadn’t been used widely since the 1970s and we’re happy to see that both Roric and its alternatively spelled cousin, Rorik gaining popularity again. The name means “famous ruler.”
Milner is a surname that was once often given as a first. The name hadn’t been in the charts since 1922, but it’s making a comeback now! Milner is an English occupational name that referred to someone who worked at a mill.
Like Milner, another name that has fallen from favor since the 1920s is Caruso. This handsome Italian classic means “short-cropped” as in hair. The name was also used in the more general sense as “boy” or ‘”lad” and has been in use since in the Middle Ages. Medieval young men of fashion sometimes wore their hair much shorter than was the prevailing style earning them the nickname.
Archie dropped from the Top 1000 in the US in the late 80s thanks to the character Archie Bunker who parents did not want their little boys associated with. Fortunately, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry brought the name out of obscurity for American parents (the name has been popular in the UK for almost a century). This German name means “truly brave.”
If Archie rubs you the wrong way, you could always go with the far less popular Artie. While most parents prefer to use Artie as a nickname for Arthur, Artie has started to be chosen as a given once more. Artie shares it Celtic roots and meaning with Arthur and it means “truly brave.”
Tyger was a name that enjoyed a short-lived burst of popularity in the early late 1990s before falling off the charts in 2001. It’s back baby! Tyger is a fun variation of Tiger, of course, that was once only considered as a nickname. Thanks to Tiger Woods, parents saw this name as a possibility. We’re happy that Tyger is back in business.
The Italian name Elio is enjoying its moment in the sun in France where it’s a top 250 name. Here, the name has slowly ticked up in recent years. In 2004, the formal form, Eliodoro had a brief showing and now, Elio is the preferred variation of this moniker. The name comes from the Greek sun god, Helios.
Thanks to the return of the name Louis, the English variation of the spelling, Lewie has also returned. Louis is a top 250 name in the US. Lewie hadn’t cracked the charts since the 1970s. We foresee Louis remaining the preferred spelling of the name for the near future. The name has French origins and means “renowned warrior.”
The origins of Nielsen come from Danish by way of Dutch and its both a variation of Nicholas and Cornelius. If you’re after a perfectly Scandi name with a winning touch, you couldn’t do better than Nielsen. The name was last popular in the US in the early 1990s. Now, it’s headed for a comeback. The name means “victory of the people.”
Alphonsus is a Latinized form of a name that’s well used in Italy and Spain. The name is sometimes heard, oddly enough, in Ireland. It’s a form of Alfonso which means “noble and ready.” Like many names on this list, this name was a favorite in the 1970s before it fell from disuse.
An ancient name with saintly and popely implications, Boniface has roots in Latin and means “fortunate” or “of good fate.” This name hadn’t enjoyed play since the 1930s in the US. It’s back and ready to shine once more.
Quill is an English occupational name and a form of an Irish surname. It can be a shortened form of Quillian, Quillan, or Quiller. Quillian had its best showing in the US in 1971. Quill is set to overtake its popularity as parents are seeing at as an attractive gender-neutral option. The name means “scribe” or “cub.”
Anyone up for a name inspired by The Princess Bride? Not just a name for the storybook land, Florin has an old-world charm and it is making waves again after falling off the charts for nearly thirty years. The name has French and Romanian origins and shares the same root as “flower.”
It’s taken a hundred years, but look who’s back! Arvi is a name that’s popular in a number of languages and traditions. An ancient Hebrew word that was used to describe the inhabitants of Arabia, a place-name and given name that means “peace” in India, and a name that means “fresh water” in Nordic countries, Arvi is a worldly choice!
Dermot is riding the Celtic wave of names that’s feeling popular choices like Liam and Connor. Dermot is an Irish form of Diarmaid, a name that means “free from envy.” The name Dermot was borne by several early kings and a number of saints, as well as the mythical king of Tara. Also, the legendary Diarmaid (pronounced DEER-mit), a member of the band of Finn MacCool, had a mark on his face that caused women to fall instantly and madly in love with him. How about that?
Slade is an English name that means “from the valley.” This name entered the top 1000 most recently in 2007 before quickly bowing out of list. Now, the name is on the rise once more. We love this nature-name that evokes images of shady glens.
While you’ll find Matteo, Mateo, and Matias in the top 1000, the Scandi-form of the name, Matheo is just now being rediscovered in the US. Matheo is a top 100 name in France and it comes with the wonderful nickname Theo without the baggage of Theodore. Matheo shares the same root as Matthew and means “gift of God.”
Cornelius was consistently in the top 1000 through 2008. It was a Top 300 name through 1932. The name took over a decade off, but it’s now coming back to life. Cornelius is a venerable Latin name that was used in the New Testament. It belonged to a third-century pope and saint. Cornelius means “horn.”
Stuart is an ancient royal Scottish name that had a brief trend in midcentury America. Now, the name is slowly on the rise once more but has yet to crack the top 1000. This Scottish name means “steward.” Just say “steward” with a Scottish accent and you’ll get it.
Gareth, the name of a modest and brave knight in King Arthur’s court, makes a sensitive, tenderly appealing choice, used more in its native Wales than anywhere else. However, parents in the US are beginning to enjoy its graces as an alternative to Garrett. The Welsh name means “gentle.”
A Hebrew classic, Zev is a short and sweet name that means “wolf.” The name hit a low point in the 1960s but it’s been on a very slow, steady rise ever since then. It’s now more popular in the US than ever before and we expect this name to continue its ascent.
Once restricted to evangelical Protestants honoring the ecclesiastical reformer and theologian Martin Luther, the leader of the Protestant revolution. In more recent times it has been favored by parents wishing to honor civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr. Luther was a Top 100 name at the turn of the last century but fell off the list in the early 1990s. This German name is coming back! It means “army people.”
Oliver was the third most popular name for boys in 2019. Thanks to its ubiquity parents who love the name are looking for alternatives and the French form Olivier is doing the trick! Olivier like its Gallic counterpart, Oliver means “olive tree.” We prefer Olivier.
Ishaan and Ismael made the top 1000 recently and they’re not the only Ish- names getting parents’ attention. The classic Arabic and Spanish form, Ismail is climbing again. In Hebrew, the name means “God will hear.”
Buzz returned to favor for the first time since 1996. This American-invented nickname could see its most popular year ever in the next couple of years.
Constant is enjoying favor once more after falling from fashion in 1995. The name is of French origin and is traditionally given to boys. It means “steadfast.”
Not since 2003 has the name Festus enjoyed so much favor. The name is of Latin origin, of course, and means “joyful” and “festive.”
It’s been over thirty years since Theodoric fell off the map. We’re glad this classic, German name has returned to parents’ wavelengths. The name means “people’s ruler.”
A Biblical word name that either refers to the ship Noah built or the Ark of the Covenant. This name was last on parent’s raiders in 1987. It’s back, baby!
A gentle variation of Hebrew names that brings us, Adam, Adamo means “son of the red earth.” It was last popular in 2000.
Kwami is one of the names to make this list that originated in Ghanaian. The name means “born on Sunday.” It last saw favor in 1996.
Reinhart is a German name that was last popular here in 2005. After taking almost 20 years off, it’s back. The name means “wise army.”
Walsh is a name of Scottish origin that means “foreigner” or “stranger.” It was last cool for kids in 1994. We’re glad this name that’s often heard as a surname has been getting given name play.
A gender-neutral option today that once was only used for girls, Andrel is of Greek origin and means “strong and manly.” It last made the tops list in 2002. Welcome back!
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Fitz had a moment at the turn of the 20th century. It’s the cool shortened form of any number of Scottish surnames including Fitzgerald, Fitzpatrick, Fitzroy, and Fitzwilliam. Like Mac, this name has a simple elegance to it. If the trend holds, this name will be in the top 1000 names in the coming years.
There you go! 35 forgotten baby names for boys that are poised to make a huge comeback. We love these wonderful names and hope they’ve inspired you to think outside the top 1000 to monikers that have been neglected over the last decade.
Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
- 1 Roric
- 2 Milner
- 3 Caruso
- 4 Archie
- 5 Artie
- 6 Tyger
- 7 Elio
- 8 Lewie
- 9 Nielsen
- 10 Alphonsus
- 11 Boniface
- 12 Quill
- 13 Florin
- 14 Arvi
- 15 Dermot
- 16 Slade
- 17 Matheo
- 18 Cornelius
- 19 Stuart
- 20 Gareth
- 21 Zev
- 22 Luther
- 23 Olivier
- 24 Ismail
- 25 Buzz
- 26 Constant
- 27 Festus
- 28 Theodoric
- 29 Ark
- 30 Adamo
- 31 Kwami
- 32 Reinhart
- 33 Walsh
- 34 Andrel
- 35 Fitz
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