Choosing a name for your baby boy is one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy and with a new year, thankfully, arriving in the coming days, there is an opportunity to impart a sense of fresh excitement for your child with a thoroughly modern baby name! While old standards hold their own vintage charm, names that bring modern sensibilities connote progressive hopes and appeal to parents who want to celebrate the promise the future holds.
When we use the term “modern,” we do so loosely as it can mean all kinds of things. For our purposes, we’re after names that stray from the likes of Daniel, John, and James and instead veer into a more exotic lane. Secular names for baby boys are on the rise as well as names adopted from languages and traditions previously unexplored. Names inspired by nature are also a huge hit and we’ll be sure to check all of those boxes in this list! Here are 25 modern baby names for boys born in the new year. Ring in the new!
Ephram is a handsome Hebrew classic that’s an alternative form of Ephraim. The name means “fruitful, fertile, productive.” This easygoing name sounds so beautiful and hasn’t been popular in the US since the nineteenth century. Time to bring it back for a modern baby!
Ivor is the Scottish variation of the Welsh name Ifor. The name entered the top 1000 in the US for one year, 1902. We think the name was way ahead of its time and parents today should consider it for their sons. The name means “yew.”
If you like Adrian or Hayden but want something with a bit more oomph, consider the old Roman name Hadrian as it sounds fresh these days. This Latin name means “dark-haired.”
Celebrate artist Frida Kahlo by choosing this extraordinary name for a boy. Kahlo has German origins and means “bald.” Don’t expect this name to stay secret for long as expecting parents are driving traffic in droves to the name on naming databases like Nameberry. There, the name has seen a 1000% increase in popularity this year.
Niles hasn’t been at the front of American parents minds since the fifties. The Scandinavian mainstay means “son of Neil.” You can also spell the name Nyles and we couldn’t pick a favorite of the two if we had to!
Kit or Kitt is a huge name in the UK but it hasn’t enjoyed the same robust use in the US. It’s a pet form of Christopher but sounds way more fun! This English name means “follower of Christ.”
Armin has scarcely been heard in the US since records of names began. It had a moment in the early twentieth century but has never got the attention it deserves. Armin has German origins and can mean “whole, universal, or soldier.”
We chose this name as a top pick for girls in 2021 as well. It’s a one-syllable wonder that works because it’s similar to Slade. Slate is a subtle nature name that your son will love forever.
According to the Social Security Administration, Cosmo did make the top 1000 in 1921, but it has been a rarity since then. How cute and playful is the name Cosmo? Cosmo has Greek origins and means “order or beauty.”
Cato is as old as the Roman Empire but it hasn’t made the rounds in the since the nineteenth century in the US. Cato has a breezy appeal to it and doesn’t sound as serious as other Roman favorites like Marius or Romulus. Cato means “all-knowing.”
Wilder has been climbing the charts for the last five years and it’s easy to see why! Wilder embraces nature and sounds distinct. We adore this modern name for boys. This is one of the fastest rising names for boys in the US, so jump on this train before it leaves the station.
Savion is another name that’s emerged as a modern possibility thanks to the incredible tap dancer Savion Glover. There’s no agreement on where the name actually came from, but many think it’s an alternative to Xavier (which is also wonderful). Xavier means “new house or bright.”
Cormac is well-known in Ireland as the name belonged to one of its legendary kings. However, American parents have never embraced this very strong name. We think that should change as we prefer Cormac to similar names like Cory. Cormac means “charioteer.”
Elio is already popular among hip parents in France where the name has exploded in recent years. This name has huge cross-cultural appeal as its found in Italian, Spanish, and Hebrew traditions. This gorgeous name means “Yahweh is God.”
Park was a favorite name in the US in the early twentieth century and with a new crop of nature names currently in fashion, we believe this one would fit right in! Park is an English name and it means exactly what you think it does.
A handsome Irish name for boys, very popular in that country, but in the US this traditional spelling might cause pronunciation problems. Still, whether Cian or Kian, it’s simple and straightforward enough for the initiated. Cian means “ancient.”
While you’ll find the French name Burke on popularity charts decades ago, it’s since declined in popularity. We prefer offbeat spelling Birk. The name means “from the fortress.” And, we must say that is one strange meaning!
You’re probably more familiar with this name as a surname to some famous sisters, but it’s a given name in Scandinavia as well. Olsen sounds put-together without pretense. The name means “Olaf’s son.”
Gable is a boy’s name of French origin meaning “triangular feature in architecture.” The name may remind you of the golden age of Hollywood star, Clark Gable. Gable would be an excellent given name for a baby boy and we’re surprised we haven’t heard more of it.
Can we please bring good old Gus back? This can be a diminutive of a whole bunch of names including Augustus, Angus, Gustave, Augustin, Augusten, Augustine, and August. We like the casual nature of this excellent Irish name that means “one strength.”
Another beautiful name for boys is Jules. It hasn’t been popular in the US since the sixties which is a crying shame. Jules is the French form of Julius and thus means “youthful.” You’ll also have a nature name baked!
Timo is the preferred variation of Timothy across Europe and it’s currently most popular in Germany. Timo sounds playful and balances. This winner means “honoring God.”
Langston has only been in the top 1000 since 2013 which seems impossible. However, the currently popularity of this name can keep growing! This beautiful English name means “tall man’s town.”
With the popularity of Milo and Arlo skyrocketing right now, we wanted to make sure and bring a few alternatives that also end in “O.” Ludo is one such name that fits and we think it’s so adventurous. Ludo is an Old German name that comes from Ludovic and means “famous.”
With the surprise popularity of the name Kai, parents have begun naming their sons Zakai instead. Zakai comes from the Hebrew name Zaccai which means “pure.” Jakai and Makai are other up-and-coming names along the same lines. Zakai’s the winner for us!
There you go! We hope you enjoyed these 25 modern names for baby boys and feel inspired to add some possibilities to your list. We love each one of these names for boys and we think they would be perfect for your baby born in 2021.
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.
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