Baby Names

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These Baby Names Are Perfect Alternatives To James

Classic names never go out of style.

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There are three types of parents out there, if you ask me: the ones who like trendy baby names, the ones who like unique baby names, and the ones who like traditional baby names. There’s an argument for each name category, but there are so many great baby names if you like Henry, Jack, James, or another classic name. These are the names that will stand the test of time and never go out of style.

James is an especially stand-out name, because it has basically become a permanent fixture in the list of top baby names for decades. That being said, it’s also been rising in popularity as a girl’s name, but we can partially credit this to Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, who named their daughter James in 2014. Both of these stats are right in line with general baby trends, too, because it seems that the majority of parents are more willing to be adventurous with baby girl names than they are boys, which is perhaps why names like James continue to top popularity charts for boys, and names like Ava stick around for a few years with girls before being replaced with something newer and trendier.

What Does The Name James Mean?

Based on the consistent popularity of the name James, you might assume that it has a deep, important meaning behind it, but compared to the many boy names that mean strength, leadership, love, or passion, James is sort of… dark. It means “supplanter,” which according to the dictionary, means “to supersede (another) especially by force or treachery” or “to take the place of and serve as a substitute for especially by reason of superior excellence or power.” Given this information, it’s safe to assume that the name’s popularity has more to do with tradition than with meaning.

So, if you’re looking for a timeless baby boy name, here are a few options that are just as classic as James.



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The name Bradley is said to mean “wide meadow” or “woodland clearing,” making it a perfect choice for a family who appreciates the great outdoors. But, even if you wouldn’t consider yourself an outdoorsy person, Bradley (or Brad) is still a great classic name.



In terms of popularity, Adam really peaked in the 1980’s (every millennial parent had at least one Adam in their class), but it’s pretty much been around since the beginning of time. It’s a Hebrew name that means “man of earth” or “son of the red earth,” so if you want a tiny king of the world, name your baby boy Adam.



Meaning “black water,” Douglas is a Scottish name that has been around for centuries. Still, even though it’s a classic name, it’s also one that’s good for parents who want something just a smidge different, because it’s popularity has been on a steady decline pretty much since the 1990’s, so chances are high your kiddo will be the only Douglas of his friends.



There have been a lot of peaks and valleys in terms of popularity for the name Timothy, but it still certainly falls into the classic and timeless category. It has Greek origins and means “honoring God,” so it’s a great option for a family with strong faith.



For parents looking for a timeless name with a traditionally masculine meaning, Ethan is for you. It’s a biblical name (so it's been around for centuries) and means “strong,” “firm,” “enduring,” and “solid.”



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Since the year 2000, Thomas, which means “twin”, has ranked somewhere in the top 100 most popular baby names, according to the Social Security Administration. Mostly, though, it’s remained in at least the top 50, so it’s definitely a name that’s here to stay.



For 12 straight years, Jacob, which means “supplanter,” has held the number one spot in the Social Security Administration’s most popular names, and it’s remained in the top 15 over the last seven years. In fact, the name goes all the way back to the Old Testament, so it clearly isn’t going anywhere in terms of longevity.



Either Max or Maxwell, which means “spring or stream”, would make for a great baby name. It’s timeless without being too traditional and has just enough of an edge that it doesn’t seem like an old-man name.



Oliver is a Latin name, meaning “olive tree”, which isn’t exactly inspirational, but somehow the name has stuck for generations.



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Nathaniel, Nathan, or Nate are all classic boy names that aren’t too old-fashioned. Nathaniel is a Hebrew name that means “gift from God” and has been consistently popular for the last 20 years.



You probably know more than one Charles, so it’s definitely a name that’s stayed strong over the years, making it a fantastic baby name. It means “great man” and, if you name your baby Charles, has the cutest nickname, Charlie.



The name Zachary means “God remembers”, and it has been a fixture on the list of most popular baby names for more than two decades. It’s currently declining in popularity, according to the Social Security Administration, but in 2020 it was still ranked in the top 150 names.



For the last 19 years, Luke has ranked in the Social Security Administration’s top 50 most popular names. This isn’t overly surprising because the name, which means “light”, has been used all over the world in some form since the 12th century.



Does it get much more classic than John? It means “graced by God” and dates back to the bible’s New Testament. It’s basically been a fixture on the list of most popular names since then, and even in the last 20 years it’s remained in the top 30 most popular names according to the Social Security Administration.



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Vincent is not a name you hear all that often anymore, but it’s surprisingly remained in the top 125 most popular names since 2000. It has been used since the middle ages and it means “to conquer.”



Louis is a French name that means “renowned warrior”, so if you’re looking for a classic name that means strength, this is the one for you.



While it technically means “stone,” Peter also happens to be the first name of Spider-Man himself. That is reason enough to choose this name, but it’s also another fantastic classic name that won’t go out of style.



A Greek name that means “strong and manly,” Andrew has been popular since the middle ages and remained in the Social Security Administrations' top 50 most popular names from 2000 to 2019, only dropping to #52 in 2020.



Another boy name that has more than withstood the test of time, Benjamin is somehow traditional without feeling old-timey and means “son of the right hand.”



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It probably comes as no surprise that Michael has been in the Social Security Administration’s top 15 most popular names over the last 20 years. The name means “who is like God” and will not be going out of style in the foreseeable future.



Unlike a name like Hank or Marvin, you can probably both picture your grandfather and a cute little toddler with the name William. It means “protection” and has remained popular since the 11th century.



Between the year 2000 and 2020, Leo, which means “lion,” has jumped from #389 to #36 in popularity according to the Social Security Administration.



Matthew is a name that means “gift of God,” so that’s already a good reason to choose it for your little miracle. He’d be among a lot of other gifts, too, because Matthew has been popular since the middle ages.



Personally, I get some serious Twilight nostalgia when I think about the name Edward. However, it was a classic long before Stephenie Meyer’s books. It means “wealth” and “fortune” and has been used all over the world for centuries.



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Oscar has been around for centuries, and even today it doesn’t feel too old-fashioned. It means “deer friend” and it has a little edge, no thanks to Oscar the Grouch, of course.



Alexander, which means “defender,” is another name that has remained popular for centuries. In fact, it’s remained in the Social Security Administration’s top 20 most popular names since 2000.



A name that means “beloved,” David has remained popular since the middle ages and has ranked within the top 30 most popular names since 2000, according to the Social Security Administration.



If you want your baby to be loved by many, name him Anthony which means “praiseworthy.” It has been a popular name since the 4th century, so it’s obviously not going out of style any time soon.



Chances are high that you know a Daniel, Dan, or Danny because it’s remained a popular baby name since the middle ages. It means “beloved,” it’s not too old-timey, and obviously has some serious staying power.



Samuel, or Sam, means “heard by God” and is a name that somehow feels both classic and contemporary at the same time. This is because it has been a popular English name since the 1600s and has even remained within the Social Security Administration’s top 30 most popular names over the last 20 years.

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