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The Most Popular Baby Boy Names For 2021

11 min read

By Katherine George

There are many important decisions that have to be made when a couple is expecting a child, particularly if it’s their first. One of the biggest decisions is what to call your baby. We know it isn’t an easy task to choose just one name, so we’ve decided to make the process a little easier.

Are you expecting a little man in the family in 2021? If so, check out this list containing some of the most popular names for you to consider!

25. Arlo (ARE-low)

Arlo is rapidly rising in popularity for both girls and boys which is why it made Nameberry’s list of top boy names to watch for. It’s of Spanish origin and is considered a place name, literary name, and short form for the Italian name, Carlo. 

Arlo was a favorite for parents in the first half of the twentieth century, but is now experiencing a major revival, particularly in the UK and New Zealand. It’s rise in popularity in the U.S. during the past decade has been a surprise, but one that was partially inspired by the character Arlo Givens on TV’s Justified.

24. Asher (ash-er)

Asher could be viewed as a very soft and sensitive name, but also one that’s strong in the traditional sense. It’s of Hebrew origin meaning “fortunate, blessed, happy one.” There’s no wonder parents will be choosing this name after 2020! It’s considered a biblical favorite by Nameberry and ranked in the Top 50 names in 2019 sitting at #43. 

The recent success of this name is quite impressive considering it never even made the Top 1000 baby boy names in the past hundred years! Last seen in the 1890s, it recently appeared in the 1990s, and has been one of the Top 100 names in the US ever since.

23. Atticus (at-i-kəs)

You don’t hear this name often, but it’s on the rise for 2021. Atticus is of Greek and Latin origin, meaning “from Attica.” The name is most widely recognized as the main character, Atticus Finch, in the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Since then, it has been a popular choice for expecting parents. Just like the book, it’s a classic name that will never go out of  style.

It’s the name of Daniel Baldwin and Isabella Hoffman’s son who was born in 1996. It was also chosen by Jennifer Love Hewitt and Casey Afflick. You might also recognize the name from the popular British television series Downton Abbey. This name can be shortened to “Atti” or try a different spelling like Attikus or Aticus.

22. Benjamin (ben-JA-min)

Benjamin is a long time favorite for many parents. It’s a timeless choice that has been around for decades thanks to its biblical background. This name is of Hebrew origin meaning “son of the right hand.”

We’re here to tell you, this name isn’t going out of style anytime soon! According to the Official Social Security website, it’s been among the Top 10 boy names in the U.S. since 2015. In fact, in 2019 it landed in the #7 spot overall.

21. Elijah (eh-lai-JUH)

Elijah has only been among the Top 10 boy names in the U.S. since 2016 and it’s become quite comfortable there as it shows no signs of moving down! As of 2019’s data collected by the Official Social Security website, Elijah was the fifth most popular boy name in the U.S. This is up two spots from 2018. Precisely why we expect it’s reign to continue into 2021.

It’s of Hebrew origin meaning “Yahweh is God.” While it’s used plenty by those who aren’t necessarily religious, Elijah has a religious background as a prophet who went to heaven in a chariot of fire.

20. Ezra (EH-zuh-raw)

Another name of Hebrew origin, Ezra means “helps.” It’s also another name with a biblical legacy. In 2019, it ranked at #49 overall which is pretty impressive!

Despite it’s quirky sound and unusual spelling, Ezra is a strong name that has a long standing history as a traditional choice for parents. There are many different namesakes with this name from founders, to musicians, and even poets. It’s a great choice for any parent seeking a fresh and interesting biblical name.

19. Felix (fee-liks)

You might not see this name very often right now, but we promise it’s about to make a major comeback in 2021! Parents love the fact that this name means “happy, fortunate” or “lucky” and “successful.” All things we need after 2020.

Of Latin origin, for a long time Felix was only really popular in upscale London. However, that’s about to change. It’s now seen as a very strong and friendly name for parents all over the world. Celebrities like Hugh Grant, Gillian Anderson, and Elizabeth Banks have all chosen it as the name for their baby boys.

18. Finn (FINN)

Finn is a name of Irish origin meaning “fair or white.” A name with good energy and charm, Finn was popularized thanks to the greatest hero of Irish mythology, Finn McCool (also known as Finn Mac Cummhaill). This hero was an intrepid warrior with supernatural powers, as well as great wisdom and generosity.

While I’d never thought of this name as a unisex name, a friend of mine just named their daughter Finnleigh which I thought was super adorable and unique! Other popular spellings of this name are Finlay, Finley, Finian and Finnian, Finnegan, as well as the German spelling, Fynn.

17. Henry (HEHN-ree)

Similar to names like Benjamin and Charlie, Henry is a staple name that might go out of style here and there, but at the end of the day it’s considered a timeless classic. Today, it’s becoming more trendy now that old fashioned names are a popular choice for new parents. Henry is of German origin meaning “estate ruler.” In 2019 it almost cracked the Top 10 names landing only two spots away at #12. 

This name was no doubt made most famous by Henry VIII of England and his antics, it’s also been used in the British royal family for a long time. Today, we’re seeing this name pop up in upmarket neighborhoods and suburbs as it’s considered a name with lots of history and personality.

16. Jack (jak)

Again, another timeless classic. Jack is of English origin (a diminutive of John which originated in medieval England) meaning “God is gracious.” You likely remember it from childhood favorites like Jack and Jill, Jack and the Beanstalk or Little Jack Horner. It’s also been featured in popular series like 24, Lost, and 30 Rock. Also, we can’t forget Jack from the Titanic

While this name is still considered quite popular, it was the #1 name in England (and widely used in America) until 2011 when it was knocked off by Oliver. It re-entered the Top 100 in America in 1996 and now sits at #19, so clearly it’s been making a major comeback! It’s still considered one of the top names among English-speaking countries, and a favorite in Scotland and Ireland.

15. James (JAYMZ)

James is a very traditional name which is probably why it’s stood the test of time. As of 2019, James is the sixth most popular boy name in America, down two spots from 2018, but still in the Top 10 nonetheless.

While it’s been around for quite some time, in the past five years James has resurfaced as an extremely trendy name. It’s of Hebrew, English origin meaning “supplanter” and is a derivation of the name Jacob.

14. Jasper (jas-per)

Inspired by nature? Jasper is a great name for any outdoor loving couple! In Canada, Jasper is a well known National Park in the Alberta rockies. As a traditional boy name, it comes from Persian origin meaning “bringer of treasure.” As of recently, it’s been climbing the charts in the U.S. thanks to the blockbuster Twilight series. However outside of North America, it’s long been a popular choice for parents in England where the name holds a certain charm and masculinity. 

This name has been used by celebrities like Don Johnson and Brad Paisley and his wife Kimberly Williams. Fans of soap operas will recognize it as the name of the character Jasper Jacks on General Hospital.

13. Kai (kye)

Looking for something super unique? Kai is such a fresh and cute name with Hawaiian origin meaning “sea.” It also has Japanese origins, and in Europe is considered to have Frisian origin as a diminutive of Kaimbe meaning “warrior.” It can also be found in African, Chinese, Maori, Turkish, and Native American cultures. Talk about worldliness! 

While this name is on the most popular boy names for 2021, it can also be used for girls. Donald Trump Jr. has a daughter named Kai Madison. 

12. Leo (lee-oh)

Rawr like a Leo! This fighting name comes from a Latin origin meaning “Lion.” A strong and solid name for many, many years, Leo continues to rank as one of the Top 100 baby boy names and shows no signs of slowing down. It’s an especially popular choice in France where it’s pronounced (lay-o).

11. Levi (lee-vye)

Like a good pair of jeans, this name won’t ever go out of style! Levi is of Hebrew origin meaning “joined, attached.” It’s a safe choice for parents who are looking for a name that is unique and not overused, but also not too unusual. 

Even though it’s considered a biblical name — in the Old Testament, Levi was the third son of Leah and Jacob — it’s much more energetic and modern than others. Obviously this name has been around for quite some time but recently it’s becoming much more trendy. As of 2019, it’s the 25th most popular boy name.

10. Liam (li-am)

According to data collected by Social Security, Liam has been one of the Top 10 boy names in the US since 2012 which is why we suspect this name will continue to be popular in 2020. It’s not only in the Top 10, but Liam is the #1 boy name in America, and has been since 2017.

Liam is an Irish short form of William meaning “resolute protection.” While this name started out as a short form, it’s formed a reputation of its own and is now the fastest rising Irish name in the US. It entered the Top 10 in 2012, and after sitting at #2 for four years, it’s been in the coveted #1 spot for three years.

9. Lucas (LOO-kuhs)

One of the most commonly heard boy names is Lucas. According to data collected by both Nameberry and the Official Social Security website, Lucas is the 8th most popular boy name in the U.S. This name is of Greek, Latin origin meaning “man from Lucania.” 

Lucas is the Latin derivation of the Greek name Loukas and is related to other popular names, Luke and Luca. It’s a common choice for parents who are looking for something traditional, but also a little trendy. Just be wary of how popular this name is right now and has been for several years.

8. Mason (mah-sun)

I personally haven’t come across many people with this name, but according to data collected by Social Security, Mason is a very trendy and popular choice! It’s managed to rank as one of the Top 10 boy names in America consecutively since 2011.

While it was never the #1 name, it came very close. It was in the number two spot in 2011 and as of 2019, Mason is the ninth most commonly used boy name in the US. For a little background knowledge, Mason is an English occupational name meaning “worker in stone.”

7. Milo (miy-lo)

Short and sweet! Milo is both a Latin and old German name that carries the meaning “soldier or merciful.” If you like this name and are looking for something similar, Miles is a name that evolved out of Milo. You could also change the spelling to Mylo. 

When it comes to celebrities, the first person that comes to mind is likely Milo Ventimilgilo, who stars on the hit show This Is Us as the beloved father, Jack Pearson. He’s also well known for his role in Heroes and Gilmore Girls. Other celebrities who’ve used this name for their child are Alyssa Milano, Mel Gibson, and Liv Tyler.

6. Noah (no-ah)

Noah is of Hebrew origin meaning “rest; wandering.” It’s among several other popular biblical names. We all recognize it from the story of Noah’s Ark.

Noah has been one of the Top 10 boy names in the US for the past decade. As of recently, it ranks as the second most popular boy name in America. Prior to 2017, Noah was #1 for three years and was responsible for knocking Jacob out of the Top 10 after a 13 year reign!

5. Oliver (AW-li-ver)

Like many traditional names, Oliver has experienced a bit of a comeback in recent years. It has ranked as one of the Top 10 boy names in the U.S. since 2017, says Social Security. As of 2019 it’s the third most popular boy name in America.

Oliver is of Latin origin meaning “olive tree.” It is derived from Olivier, the Norman French variation of the Ancient Germanic name Alfher (or Aleifr). It’s been a favorite name for quite some time in England, Australia, and New Zealand, but only recently entered the Top 100 baby boy names in the US.

4. Oscar (aws-ker) or (ahs-ker)

I must admit I was surprised to see this name on Nameberry as one of their Top boy names, but it seems people are branching away from the commonplace names like Ben, Lucas, and Liam to look for the next up and coming trendsetter. 

The name Oscar is of English origin meaning “God spear, or deer-lover or champion-warrior.” That’s a whole lot wrapped into one name! While this name is often seen as a harsh-sounding old fashioned name, it’s actually rising in popularity.

According to Nameberry, Oscar is a high ranking name in Sweden, as well as most English-speaking countries including France and Spain.

3. Silas (siy-les)

Silas might be a good choice for any nature loving parents as it’s original English, Latin meaning is “wood, forest.” Another biblical name, Silas is based on the name Silvanus, both of which are used in the Bible. 

This folksy-sounding name is so close to cracking the Top 100 boy names on Nameberry as it sits at #107 (as of 2019). Even though it’s a traditional name, we don’t hear it all that often, but it’s showing progress as it moves up the charts so we think it’ll be a big contender in 2021.

2. Theodore (THEE-e-dohr)

Every baby is a gift, but for parents who choose the name Theodore, they truly think so! This name is of Greek origin meaning “gift of God.” 

The name Theodore is no stranger to the popular crowd. In 1901 when Theodore Roosevelt took office this name was one of the Top 40 boy names. While the name took a bit of a dive not long after that, it seems to have fully recovered, partially thanks to the fact that people seem to love the nickname Theo. 

As of 2019, it’s back in the Top 40 boy names sitting comfortably at #36!

1. William (wil-lee-am)

One of the longest ranking Top 10 names on this list is William which has been a top contender among parents in the US since 2006. It has also enjoyed a long reign as a popular royal name in the U.K.

In 2019, William ranked as the fourth most popular boy name in America. It’s of English origin, meaning “resolute protection.”

This name is such a common choice because it’s a classic name, but not too stuffy and old fashioned-sounding like some other traditional names. There are plenty of William namesakes including William Shakespeare, Bill Gates, and four U.S. presidents.

Senior Managing Editor

Katherine is the Senior Managing Editor of ActiveBeat and Childhood. She is constantly striving to live a more active and healthy life, from eating healthy, exercising, and just spending more time outdoors. She enjoys cooking (with wine), walking her dog, reading, and recently joined a yoga studio!