The Best Middle Names for Boys

Giving your baby boy both a first name and middle name is a good idea, as it offers your child some options as to which name to go by later on in life, and because you can include more of your favourite names. Here’s a list of some unique, cool, and most popular middle names for boys to help you find the best one.

Tips for Choosing a Middle Name for Your Baby Boy

Middle names have an interesting history. In Roman times, having more names indicated you had a higher social status. In the Middle Ages, Christian families often couldn’t decide between naming a child after a saint or a family member, so they went with both. And much later, a trend of using the mother’s maiden name as a middle name came about. In certain cultures, the concept of a middle name is rare or nonexistent. Middle names aren’t used in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. In Spanish-speaking nations, a child will be given a compound first name like Juan José. In Africa, a child may be given multiple first names, each with a dedicated meaning such as birth order and even the specific day of birth. In China, children get a first name made up of two syllables, but there are no middle names. Middle names are much more popular in North America, where there aren’t such strict naming traditions. However, not all parents choose a middle name for their children. If you decide upon a middle name for your child, luckily, you can pick one for any reason you like without adhering to any cultural norm. Just as with your baby’s first name, you can be as creative as you like with the middle name. Here are some tips for choosing a great middle name:

  • Honor a beloved family member

  • Match the middle name somehow with the first name

  • Consider the length; if the first name is very long you may like to select a shorter middle name

  • Pick a name that sounds good when your child’s first, middle, and surnames are said altogether

  • Think about mixing it up a bit. If you’ve chosen a traditional first name for your son, you might like a cool or unique middle name.


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Rare and Unique Middle Names for Boys

Here are some cool and unique middle names for boys:

  1. Akirou. This Japanese boy name means autumn son. What a great name, especially if your son is born in the fall.

  2. Alfonso. Derived from a German name meaning “noble” and “ready,” Alfonso is the Spanish and Italian version of the name. Other variants include Alonso or Alonzo, or the French spelling, Alfonse.

  3. Andrés. This is the Spanish and Icelandic form of the name Andrew, a name with Greek origins that means “manly.” A pretty good meaning for a little boy.

  4. Asher. In Hebrew, this name means “blessed.” The name also appears in the Old Testament. Despite its ancient history, Asher sounds like a unique and modern middle name for a boy.

  5. Avrum. This is the Yiddish form of the biblical name Abraham. Even though its history is quite ancient, the name has a very modern ring to it.

  6. Atticus. The Latin version of the Greek name that means “from Attica,” this name was used by Harper Lee in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

  7. Callum. Also spelled Calum, this name is a derivation of Columba, a Latin name that means “dove.” The most notable bearer was an Irish monk who brought Christianity to Scotland. What a peaceful and serene name.

  8. Cochise. In the Apache language, this name means “oak” or “wood,” which connotes strength. It was the name of a nineteenth century chieftain who became famous for leading an uprising that ended in the signing of a peace treaty.

  9. Cyrus. A Greek name that derives from a Persian name meaning either “far-sighted” or “young,” Cyrus was used by ancient Persian kings; much later the Puritans popularized the name. For such an ancient name, it sounds powerful yet modern.

  10. Damon. Meaning “to tame” in Greek, this name is rooted in Greek mythology. Despite its long history the name has a modern sound.

  11. Donovan. Derived from an Irish surname that meant “descendant of Donndubhán,” Donovan as a given name hit peak popularity in the early 2000s. It's a unique middle name for a boy that has a sly ring to it.

  12. Emery. The Norman form of the German name Emmerich, Emery was never that popular until modern times, when it was also used as a female name.

  13. Emmett. This is the masculine form of the female name Emma. It was originally derived from a surname. The name connotes strength and wholesomeness.

  14. Horacio. For a unique boys’ middle name, choose this Spanish version of Horatius, which means “hour” or “time” in Latin. Other versions of the name include Horatio and Horace.

  15. Helios. Meaning sun in Greek, Helios was the name of the Greek sun god, who rode in a chariot in the sky to bring up the sun each day. That’s a nice image to have for your son, who will bring brightness every day.

  16. Imani. In the Swahili language, this name means “faith.” The name is of Arabic extraction, and it’s also a popular African-American unisex name.

  17. Ignacio. This is the Spanish form of the name Ignatius, which is probably of Etruscan origin. Although the meaning of the name isn’t quite known, many saints bore the name.

  18. Jamal. In Arabic this popular African-American name means “beauty,” a great meaning for your beautiful baby boy. It can also be spelled Jamaal.

  19. Jax. The short form of Jackson, a surname meaning “son of Jack,” Jax makes a unique and punchy middle name.

  20. Jayce. As the short form of Jason, a Greek name that means “healer,” Jayce makes a unique middle name.

  21. Nikhil. This Sanskrit name means “whole” or “entire.” It would make a unique-sounding middle name for your little one with a great meaning since your boy will be your entire world.

  22. Orlando. This is the Italian form of the name Roland. Fans of English literature will recognize the name from William Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando.

  23. Perry. This name may derive from either an English or Welsh surname that means “pear tree.” It peaked in popularity in the 1960s. This name is one of those names that sounds both traditional and modern at once.

  24. Ramsay. Also spelled Ramsey, this given name comes from a surname meaning “wild-garlic island.” Despite the unusual meaning, the name sounds cool and noble.

  25. Randall. This spelling of the name Randall was used as a surname, but as a given name it was originally spelled Randel, a diminutive of Randolf. The name has a classy ring to it.

  26. Silas. This name may have two origins. It may stem from the Latin name Silvanus, which means “forest,” or it may stem from the Greek form of the Hebrew name Saul, which means “prayed for.” Whichever meaning you prefer, the name sounds stoic.

  27. Stone. From the Old English word stan, Stone only came into popularity in the mid-1990s. In Scandinavian countries it’s spelled Sten. It makes a rather rugged name for a boy and could be a good choice if you are a nature lover.

  28. Sunil. In Hindi, as well as other languages in India, this name means “very dark blue.” It would make a unique middle name for a little boy, whose favourite colour may end up being dark blue.

  29. Tariq. In Arabic this name means “he who knocks at the door.” Quite an interesting meaning, but what makes it all the more special is that this is also the Arabic name for the morning star. Variant spellings include Tarek and Tarik.

  30. Thando. In the southern African languages of Xhosa, Zulu, and Ndebele, this name means “to love.” Could there be a better meaning for the little one you’ll love?

  31. Trace. This is the masculine form of the unisex name Tracy. There are plenty of other unisex name options for your baby if this isn’t quite the one you’re looking for.

  32. Vidal. This is the Spanish form of the Latin name Vitalis, which means “of life.” In Italian the name is spelled Vitale. Either option is a unique middle name for a baby boy with a meaning that is spot on.

  33. Xander. This short and more modern form of Alexander was made popular after a character in the 1990s hit TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There’s nothing wrong with giving your child a middle name after a favourite TV character!

Check out our list of unique baby boy names for even more ideas that will ensure your boy has a name that stands out.


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Short Middle Names for Boys

If your child’s first and surnames are particularly long, you may decide that a short middle name is the best match. Here are some ideas for short middle names for boys:

  1. Alon. In Hebrew, this name simply means “oak tree,” the perfect name for a boy you hope will grow up to be as mighty as an oak.

  2. Beau. In French this name means “beautiful” and has been used as a common given name since the middle of the twentieth century. Even though the form is masculine in French grammar, the name may also be used for girls. It’s the perfect middle name for a beautiful baby of either gender.

  3. Blake. Originally derived from an Old English surname that meant “black,” the name is now a common given name. You may consider this name for a boy born with a full head of dark hair!

  4. Brock. Derived from an Old English surname that means “badger,” Brock is now a common given name, often associated with power and strength.

  5. Cade. Also derived from an Old English surname, Cade means “round.” Not necessarily the most interesting meaning, but a good-sounding middle name for boys nonetheless.

  6. Chad. From an Old English word meaning “battle,” the name Chad was also the name of a saint. It was a very rare name until the 1960s, but for some reason it suits that era perfectly and you could bring it back as your boy’s middle name if you like the sound of it.

  7. Chase. Literally meaning “chase” or “hunt” in Middle English, the name Chase was originally a nickname for a hunter. If you or your partner love the sport, you might consider this middle name for your baby boy.

  8. Clark. Originally an English surname that means “cleric,” in Old English the name means priest. Clark is a super name for a super boy!

  9. Cole. Derived from a surname that was originally spelled Cola, Cole is an Old English word that means “charcoal.” It’s sometimes used as a nickname for Nicholas.

  10. Dion. This is the short form for the Greek name Dionysos, or Dionysus, who was the god of wine. It means “of Zeus,” who was the greatest of the Greek gods. The name is also a popular African-American name and is often spelled Deon or Deion.

  11. Grant. From a Scottish and English surname that originates from the Norman French word great, Grant became a common given name after President Ulysses S. Grant. Literally a great name for your boy!

  12. Jeong. In Korean, this unisex name means “quiet, still, and gentle” or “virtuous, chaste, and loyal,” depending on the characters used. It’s pronounced like chung. In Korean culture it’s combined with another character to create a two syllable name, but it makes a great name on its own as well.

  13. Jude. This name is a variation on the biblical name Judas, who was the second apostle who betrayed Jesus. The name Jude has been poplar in modern times—just think of the Beatles’ “Hey Jude.”

  14. Kurt. The short form for the German name Conrad, which means “brave counsel,” the name can also be spelled Curt. However, Curt derives from the name Curtis, which means “courteous” in French. You can't go wrong with either meaning.

  15. Ross. A long time ago, someone with the surname Ross was from a place called Ross in northern Scotland. The name means “headland” in Gaelic. It’s a great choice if you’re considering a name inspired by nature.

  16. Tad. The short form for Thaddeus, Tad derives from a Greek or Aramaic word possibly meaning “heart.” It couldn’t be a better name for your new little boy who you hope will have a lot of heart.

  17. Tripp. Meaning “third” in Latin, the name Tripp would make a great middle name for your third child. Why not? It’ll make a fun story when people ask why you chose the name.

  18. Uri. In Hebrew the name Uri means “my light.” The name also appears in the Old Testament. What a great name for a child that will be the light in your life.

  19. Van. This name is often used as a short form for the names Vance and Ivan. In Old English Vance means “marsh” and Ivan is the Slavic name for John. Choose this short form as a middle name for something different.

  20. Yūki. In Japanese this short unisex name can mean “excellence,” “superiority,” “gentleness,” “permanence,” “brightness,” or “hope.” What a great meaning for your little boy.

  21. Zane. Interestingly, the name Zane was introduced by popular American Western author Zane Grey, whose middle name was actually Zane after his mother’s maiden name, proving that the tradition of naming a child with a mother’s maiden name still happens.

  22. Zeke. This is the short form of Ezekiel, which is a Hebrew name meaning “God will strengthen.” Ezekiel was an important prophet in the Old Testament. This short version sounds more modern, though!

Top Middle Names for Boys

Here’s a list of some of the most common and popular names for boys in North America. Any of these options would make a good middle name for boys:

  1. Aiden. As an alternative spelling of Aidan, this name comes from Aodhán or Áedán. It means “little fire” and was famous in Irish mythology. It’s the ideal name for a little fiery guy!

  2. Alexander. This is the Latin form of the Greek name, which means “defending men.” Alexander the Great was one of the most famous bearers of this name. Many kings, emperors, and popes have also had this name. Add your boy to that auspicious list!

  3. Benjamin. This Hebrew name means “son of the south” or “son of the right hand.” In the Old Testament, Benjamin was the youngest son of Jacob as well as one of the founders of the Hebrew tribes. A noble name for sure!

  4. Daniel. Meaning “God is my judge” in Hebrew, Daniel was a prophet and interpreter of dreams in the Old Testament.

  5. Elijah. This name originates from a Hebrew name that means “my God is Yahweh.” Elijah was a prophet and miracle worker in the Old Testament. The Latin form of this name is Elias, which was also used by saints.

  6. Ethan. A Hebrew name that means “solid,” “firm,” or “enduring,” it appeared in the Old Testament but didn’t become popular until the twentieth century. In this way, the name straddles both the traditional and modern.

  7. Henry. From a German name meaning “home ruler,” the name was popular among German kings and later became popular in France and England too. The most famous royal with this name is King Henry VIII. The nickname for Henry is Harry, another middle name possibility.

  8. Jack. Actually a nickname for John, Jack may be related to the French name Jacques. American president John F. Kennedy was famously called Jack.

  9. Jackson. This name stems from the name Jack and literally means Jack’s son. It was originally a surname but as a given name it has a modern ring to it.

  10. Jacob. This name has Hebrew, Latin, and Greek origins. Interestingly, James and Jacob come from the same source. In the Middle Ages, Jacob was considered the Jewish version and James the Christian version. Religion aside, the name Jacob is pretty popular and can be shortened to Jake.

  11. James. Of Latin and Hebrew origin, James was the name of two apostles in the New Testament. It was also the name of many English and Scottish kings. Don’t forget the famous fictional character James Bond. Your boy will be in good company with this middle name!

  12. Liam. This is the Irish short form of William. It rose to popularity in England in the 1980s before becoming the most popular boy’s name in North America in 2017.

  13. Logan. A surname derived from a Scottish place, Logan means little hollow in Gaelic. It’s an adorable meaning and a stately name.

  14. Lucas. The Latin form of the Greek name Luke, Lucas meant “someone from Lucania,” a region in southern Italy. The name Luke also appears in the New Testament.

  15. Mason. A surname meaning “stoneworker,” Mason has Germanic origins, becoming a popular given name in North America starting in the 80s.

  16. Michael. In Hebrew Michael translates to the rhetorical question “Who is like God?” In the Bible he is an archangel and is considered the patron saint of soldiers. It was a popular name among Byzantine and Russian emperors, too.

  17. Noah. In Hebrew, Noah means “rest.” In the Bible, Noah built an ark in which he saved his family and animals from the Great Flood. The name became popular among Puritans. If you think about it, it’s a middle name your son can be proud of.

  18. Oliver. The English version of the French name Olivier, the German name Alfher, and the Nordic name Olaf, the name Oliver also has origins in the Latin word for olive tree. The name became popular in the 19th century after the Dickens novel Oliver Twist.

  19. Sebastian. From a Latin name that meant “someone from Sebasate,” a town in present-day Turkey, or from the Greek name that means venerable, Sebastian was the name of a popular saint who was persecuted for being a Christian. Despite that history the name is both classic and modern.

  20. William. From a German name that means “desire” and “helmet,” William was a common name among Normans, eventually becoming popular in England after William the Conqueror. English and Prussian kings have had the name. It’s been in the top 20 list of boys’ names in North America since 1880, so consider it a good option for a middle name.

The Bottom Line

Picking a middle name for your baby boy may not be as nerve-racking as choosing the first name, and you might even have a little fun with it. Some parents decide to go with an unusual or unique middle name while others choose a name inspired by a beloved family member. Before making your final choice, think about how the name pairs with the first name, and how the full name sounds altogether. We've given you a few options in this article, but for even more check out these baby boy names, any of which could make a great middle name as well. You can also use our Baby Name Generator that lets you sort names by theme, starting letter, and more!

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