There are some very handsome names for boys with very unfortunate meanings. Even the most popular names are not exempt from a possibly sad meaning. For instance, Kennedy and Calvin which are two favorites both have unsavory implications. After learning the origins of a name and what it means, some parents might want to reconsider and go with a moniker with a sunnier disposition.
Would you pass on a baby name if you knew it had a bad meaning or would you simply pretend like that doesn’t matter? We think most parents don’t put too much weight behind the meaning of a name when picking it. But, you might want to reconsider a name that means “devil,” right? Let’s take a look at some wonderful names that don’t have meanings to match. Here are 25 good baby names for boys with very bad meanings.
Kennedy is a classic Irish name that belonged to a President and very political family. What’s wrong with this name? It means “misshapen head.”
Another handsome time-tested name, Cameron started out as a Scottish surname before making the jump to given name territory. This name means “crooked nose.” This name is currently a top 100 name and we imagine not many of the babies with it have unsightly noses.
Calvin is another name that’s belonged to a President. While Calvin sounds cool, it actually means “bald” or “hairless.” There’s nothing inherently bad with baldness, but we thought we’d bring it to your attention.
One of the most beloved names worldwide, James, takes is meaning from the Hebrew name Jacob which means “supplanter” or “usurper.” Clearly, this knowledge is not stopping parents because the name has been in the top 10 in the US since record-keeping began.
Actor Viggo Mortensen certainly has an interesting name. Viggo is a beloved moniker across Scandinavia that dates back to Old Norse and the Vikings. It should come as no surprise then, that this name means “war.”
Tristan is a beloved Celtic name that’s popular for both genders. Although this name sounds romantic its roots can be translated to two meaning and neither one of them is great. Tristan means “sorrow” or “noise.”
Abaddon is an unusual Bible name that can be found in the New Testament. The name was given to an angel and means “destruction” or “ruin.” Maybe those meanings were a step too far for most parents as this name is seldom heard in the US.
Since 2003, Soren has been on these and now sits just outside of the top 500. This handsome-sounding name is the Danish or Norwegian form of the Latin name, Severus. The name means “stern.”
In Greek mythology, Ares was the blood-thirsty god of war and son to Zeus and Hera. Not off to a good start! Ares is one of the fastest-rising names for boys and entered the top of the charts in 2013. Ares means “ruin” or “bane.”
Another new addition to the top 1000 is Blaise. Saint Blaise, an Armenian bishop, is the patron saint of wild animals and those with sore throats. Perhaps that’s where the meaning of this name comes from. Blaise is a French name that means “to stutter” or “stammer.”
Brennan is a winning Irish surname name, more modern than Brian or Brendan, more unusual than Conor and Aidan. However, if you’re not a depressed parent you might want to avoid this one because it means “descendent of the sad one.” Despite that, this name has been popular in the US since the sixties.
Jabez might seem like an exotic name but it was exceedingly popular with colonist Pilgrims in the US. There have been no fewer than four congressman with the name. This jazzy-sounding Hebrew name means “borne in pain.” Not great!
Huxley is an attractive surname name. It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2015. It must not bother many parents that this moniker means “inhospitable place.” We at MU, prefer friendly places!
Casimir, a traditional name of Polish kings, enjoys a robust history in Slavic tradition. However, this handsome name actually means “destroyer of peace.” If you’re a new parent, this might feel appropriate, but you might not want to stick your little man with a name like this forever.
A French classic, Claude was a top 100 name in the U.S. until 1922. It’s very popular in Europe and comes from the Latin name Claudius. While Claude sounds strong, it means “lame.” The same is true for its Italian cousin, Claudio.
Gulliver is an obscure Gaelic surname known almost solely through its literary Travels. However, we don’t see modern parents tripping over themselves to use this name. This name means “glutton.” But that did not stop actors Gary Oldman and Damian (put a pin in this name as well) Lewis from choosing the name for their sons.
In the Old Testament, Gideon was a judge called on by God to rescue the Jews from the Midianites, and the name was popular among the Puritans. Today, this old name is rising once more despite its meaning: “having a stump for a hand.”
Colby has been a favorite name in the US since the sixties. However, this fun-loving name has Old English origins and means “coal town.” Which isn’t so bad! But, we were surprised!
Damian has sidestepped its demonic horror movie overtones, leaving a basically friendly and charming Irish image. However, this name is not Irish! It’s actually Greek and means “to subdue.” That’s not a dealbreaker, but definitely, something to consider.
A unisex Nahuatl name with a strong and stylish sound, but a meaning that some might find off-putting. The name means “blood.” Although this name isn’t very popular in the US, we see new parents picking this name for its appealing sound.
The seventh most common surname in Scotland, once associated only with soup, is now being considered as a last-name-first choice. This Scottish gem actually means “crooked mouth.” A lot of crooked stuff from the Scots, apparently.
Sloan is an old Irish favorite that once was primarily used for boys, but now, the name is being given more often to girls. We think the name is suitable for any baby, but it does mean “raider.”
Originally an old Roman family name, borne by Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the assassins of Julius Caesar, who spoke those famous dying words to him, “Et tu.” Not only does this name sound brutal, it also has a meaning to match. Brutus means “heavy” or “dull.”
Though we usually think a name’s image in contemporary culture supersedes its ancient meaning, this is a case where the definition could undermine a child’s self-esteem. Hamill is an English name that means “scarred.”
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In Arthurian legend, Lancelot was one of the most dashing of the Knights of the Round Table who eventually had an affair with Queen Guinevere. It’s considered far “too much” for most parents who instead choose the shortened form Lance. Lance was not only a medieval weapon, it’s also a French name that means “servant.” This name has been in the top 1000 for the last 120 years.
There you go! 25 names for boys that sound great but you might rethink after kicking the tires a bit. Ultimately, if you love a name on this list, go with your gut. A name’s meaning is not a child’s destiny.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 25. Kennedy
- 2 24. Cameron
- 3 23. Calvin
- 4 22. James
- 5 21. Viggo
- 6 20. Tristan
- 7 19. Abaddon
- 8 18. Soren
- 9 17. Ares
- 10 16. Blaise
- 11 15. Brennan
- 12 14. Jabez
- 13 13. Huxley
- 14 12. Casimir
- 15 11. Claude
- 16 10. Gulliver
- 17 9. Gideon
- 18 8. Colby
- 19 7. Damian
- 20 6. Eztli
- 21 5. Campbell
- 22 4. Sloan
- 23 3. Brutus
- 24 2. Hamill
- 25 1. Lance
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