Fearless Names for Boys
Messiah, Odin, Maverick - what do these grand and gallant names have in common? All three names are the most popular they’ve ever been, indicating a trend among modern parents. Though each comes from a unique tradition, namers are drawn to the heroic sound present in each. Why not choose a name for your little boy that is sure to inspire courage and leadership?
If you’re a fan of this noble style, check out these fifteen fearless names that are currently flying under the radar. From historic warriors to literary giants to contemporary favorites, these choices exude valiance and excellence - and happen to be accessible enough to fit on a birth certificate.
Albion. The original name for the island of Great Britain, the name Albion comes from a combative son of Poseidon in Greek mythology. A few major figures in American history have worn the handsome name, and sweet nickname Albie makes it friendlier for daily use.
Magnus. Magnificent Magnus comes from the Latin for “great,” with dozens of royal leaders throughout history bearing this illustrious moniker. It’s similar to classic names like Maximus or August, but Magnus has a more unique and striking personality.
Zeno. Derived from the name Zeus - the king of the gods in Greek mythology - Zeno is connected to a few philosophers; one of them is possibly the first philosopher to address the idea of infinity. Energetic and masculine, Zeno still feels approachable despite its extraordinary history.
Evander. A name with two origin stories, dashing Evander is associated with both a Trojan War hero and an Old Norse name meaning “bow warrior.” Boxing fans may associate the name with Evander Holyfield, but it also works as a stylistic compromise between kind Evan and kingly Alexander.
Aurelius. While Anglophone parents have embraced Aurelia for girls, the masculine form of the name has yet to inspire such notoriety. Aurelius comes from a Roman family name meaning “golden,” and was worn by a venerated emperor in the second century. Nicknames such as Ari, Leo, or Arlo help this marvelous name feel more usable, too.
Roark. Since 1948, American parents have been naming their children after the infamous character Howard Roark from Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, who is meant to represent strength and integrity in the modern man. This surname choice has a one-of-a-kind sound that’s bound to make an impression - though its controversial connections may raise some eyebrows.
Florian. Though romantic Florian is especially popular in Europe, parents across the pond have yet to adopt this elegant name. A few royal and religious namesakes make Florian particularly compelling - one of whom is the patron saint of firefighters - and its form fits in with trendy picks like Dorian or Adrian.
Xerxes. A thoroughly noble name, Xerxes is actually the Greek form of a Persian name meaning “ruler of heroes.” A few real-life Xerxes’ ruled Persia, but the name has received more attention in recent years, appearing in literature and films. If the two X’s don’t deter you, Xerxes is an especially cool alternative to Xander or Xavier.
Sylvan. Sylvan’s unassuming sound is balanced by its etymological link to a Roman god of the forest, who was also known for his protective abilities. Distinctive Sylvan had a bit of popularity in the beginning of the twentieth century, and could make an excellent vintage choice.
Peregrine. From the Latin for “traveler,” the distinguished name Peregrine was bestowed upon a species of raptor loved by warriors and royalty. The first English baby born in the New World (while the Mayflower was docked offshore) was named Peregrine, and the Lord of the Rings series features a hobbit with the name, called Pippin for short.
Gawain. One of the most gallant knights of the Round Table, Sir Gawain was known for his compassion and chivalry. While Gavin is the more popular variant, beautiful Gawain has adorned prominent musicians, athletes, and politicians throughout the world.
Rafferty. This Irish surname comes from a word meaning “flood tide” or “overabundance,” imbuing this roguish name with a kind of greatness. Darling Rafferty has a spirit all its own, along with an air of mischief - thanks to a few fictional characters - but it remains an accessible and uncommon choice.
Calix. It may appear to be a mix of lively Felix and biblical Caleb, but Calix comes from a much richer background - the name is a version of Callistus, associated with the Latin word for “chalice.” This luxurious option has been used continually in the United States over the past decade, but has never been given to more than 50 boys in a single year.
Theron. Another name with conflicting etymologies - some connect it to a Greek word for “hunt,” while others link it to a Latin word for “height” - bold Theron is one of the oldest names on this list, dating back to the fifth century BCE. This daring choice was fairly common among the American population at the turn of the century, but hasn’t ranked on the top 1000 since 1992.
Warrick. A variant of the English surname Warwick, Warrick fits in with modern Maverick and quirky Merrick - and could work well as an honorific for Warren. “Earl of Warwick” is one of the most prestigious titles in British history, giving this sophisticated name a feeling of power.