Now that everyone knows you're expecting a boy — thanks to the blue balloon or cake or powder explosion at your gender reveal — it's time to get serious about what to call your little guy. And much as you love Noah, you're not going with it. So you need alternative baby names to Noah that sound just as good, but which stand out from the crowd a bit more.
A couple of generations ago, the only time you were likely to hear the name Noah was probably in Sunday school. Your teacher told the story about the ark and the animals going in two-by-two, and you colored a picture of a rainbow to take home to Mom. But the boys in your class were more likely to be named Michael, Christopher, Jason, or Matthew; Noah wasn't what you'd consider a trendy name. Boy, have times changed. Now, Noah is the most popular boy's name of the 2010s, according to the records of the Social Security Administration. On the respected baby-name site Nameberry, Noah is currently #2 in popularity, second only to Liam, which took the top spot last year.
How did that happen? With the new millennium came a newfound interest in reviving names that would have sounded positively antique when we were kids. Although some Biblical boys' names have stood the test of time (John, James, and Joseph have ranked at or near the top of the list since the 1880s), we've been seeing a steady resurgence of the more archaic Old Testament boys' names in the last 20 years. And why not? Their namesakes were respected figures back in the day — patriarchs, prophets, kings, warriors. There's a certain air of dignity and seriousness to these names, too. Just on the name alone, wouldn't you trust the management of your 401(k) to a banker named Noah? The defense rests.
If you're taking Noah off your short list, there are lots of other similar names which aren't quite as overused. Try these on for size, and you might just find a winner.
From the Hebrew meaning "high mountain," Aaron is a nice alternative to Noah if you're partial to the heroes of the Old Testament. Plus, your son will be in the company of such famous names as Aaron Carter, Aaron Burr, Aaron Rogers, and Aaron Paul.
For a boy who will bring joy to your family's life forever, how about this name? As The Bump explained, it means "laughter," and it's been gaining steam as a favorite boy's name over the last decade.
Another short, sweet, and historical name, Luke (from the Latin for "light", per Baby Name Wizard) not only has the traditional vibe going for it, but also the geek-chic factor. Come on — how could you resist dressing up your little guy as a Jedi on Halloween?
Though it means "dove," this name is more commonly associated with a much bigger creature: If you recall your Sunday school lessons, Jonah was the guy who got swallowed by a whale for three days. Nameberry explained that it's becoming popular among parents who want a strong but not too weird choice.
A small name (it literally means "small") that has a big impact. If you're musically minded, or hope your son will be, consider how many musical giants have had this name: Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Paul Stanley of KISS, Paul Williams, Paul Rodgers (of Bad Company, and currently with Queen), Paul Shaffer, Paul Anka, and Noel Paul Stookey, the Paul of Peter, Paul and Mary.
Another cheerful choice, Asher means "happy" in Hebrew, explained The Bump. It's been steadily climbing up the hipness scale for a few years, thanks to its use as a character name on Gossip Girl. Celebs Embeth Davidtz and Campbell Brown named their sons Asher, as did former Bachelorette Desiree Hartsock.
Perfect for nature-loving parents (it means "forest"), Silas is cited by Nameberry as a "hot fave" that's getting a second look by families who want a distinctive but classic name.
If you're also on the fence about the name Ethan because of the popularity factor, consider the original Hebrew version. Rhyming with "PAY-tahn," it means "strength" or "firmness," per Baby Name Wizard, and you can be sure your son will be the only one in the neighborhood who can claim the name.
If you adore the name Noah but not its trendiness, try this similar-sounding name meaning "pleasantness" or "charm." Pronounced "NO-ahm," it's easy to say and spell, and your son will stand apart from the Noahs in his class.
This Hebrew name meaning "high" will resonate with football fans who have hopes their son might one day become as skilled on the gridiron as Mr. Manning.
From the Hebrew for "he who cuts down," Gideon has been ignored for a while in the old-as-new name category, but hopefully, that will change in the years to come. Counting On star Joy-Anna Duggar named her first son Gideon. It's also the name of one of Neil Patrick Harris's twins, and NPH is a rock star in my book.
For a baby boy who's a perfect angel, why not go with the name of a famous archangel? Gabriel is said to have delivered the news to Mary of the birth of Jesus, and his name means "hero of God," according to The Bump.
Zooming up the popularity charts both here and in Europe, according to Nameberry, is this name meaning "given." Nathan has the N initial that appeals to parents who have vetoed Noah, and it can be shortened to the snappy-sounding Nate and Nat.
Meaning "rock," Peter is both classic and friendly, which isn't always the case with older names, explained Nameberry. The friendliness factor rises if you call your son Pete for short. And let's not forget, Peter Parker is the secret identity of Spider-Man. Spider-Man, people. 'Nuff said.
If you're not afraid to go with a more attention-getting choice, think about naming your baby after one of the lesser-known of Jacob's 12 sons. It means "exaltation" or "little dwelling," and it lends itself to the very cool nickname Zeb.