I'm always a sucker for playing the name game, but my susceptibility to it skyrockets when I'm actually pregnant. As someone who has always wanted a big family, that has turned out to be pretty often. This year when I found out I was growing our fourth child, I knew I had better start
looking at boy names. Sure enough, my gut was right: Our fourth boy will join the chaos soon. And since I have spent many collective hours going through baby name lists, I humbly offer you 30 of my favorite boy names that start with A.
Why start with the letter A? Whether you have a name preference in mind (one that relates to your family perhaps) or you're unsure of where to start, beginning with the first letter in the alphabet can help. From Aaron to Azad, there's an A name for everyone, and this list could be the jumping off point you need to choose
a sweet moniker for your little guy.
My personal naming preferences lean a bit to the eccentric, so you'll find a lot of
unique and perhaps unfamiliar names on this list. But I also really dig the choices of my friends who have more traditional taste; especially when they have multiple children whose names are total style matches to one another, like my friend with an Emma and a Henry. Swoon! So while I may prefer more rarely heard names for my own shorties, I was intentional about including a wide variety here to be sure there's a little something for everybody. Let the boy name party commence. 1 Aaron Jasonfang/E+/Getty Images
This classic name, which means “high mountain” in Hebrew, elicits images of a strong and reliable man, but also doesn't feel like too much for a mischievous little 3-year-old. Aaron is a great choice for parents looking for a traditional name that is also downright cute.
Traditionally a Middle Eastern name, Amir is coming into Western popularity as our world cultures become more intertwined. In Arabic, it means “ruler.” It's short, adorable, and unique — a total winner.
There are lots of ways to spin the symbolism behind this name (it literally is Latin for “bowman”), as associations could run from a brave warrior to a visionary with a keen eye. Archer has grown in popularity in recent years and is a charming choice for parents looking for something unique but not unheard of.
Does it get any cuter than Ari? For parents looking to keep it short and sweet, this Hebrew name, which means “lion,” should be a heavy frontrunner.
Finnish names are underused in the United States because, although usually easy to pronounce, they feel quite foreign to our ears. But Aapo (meaning “father of many”) is similar in style to a lot of popular names these days, such as Finn, Pip, and Nico, and would make a darling choice for a cutting-edge family.
6 Arnold Tatiana Maksimova/Moment/Getty Images
Grandpa names for babies are all the rage right now (think: George, Henry, Jasper, Rufus) and Arnold (with German roots meaning “strong as an eagle”) is a strong contender in that category. Plus, the opportunities for nicknames abound with this one (Arnie?!).
Chalk another one up to the grandpa category, but Abner (of Hebrew origins, meaning “father of light”) is so full of character I can't help but love it. For religious families, the meaning behind the name may feel particularly significant.
The name Alden conjures up feelings of someone kind and likable, so it’s no surprise that the meaning conveys exactly that: It’s an English name with roots meaning “wise friend.” This name is the perfect balance between familiar and unique.
This is a variant on Alexander, and there are as many ways to use it as there are cultures in the world. Brits have Alistair, Russians have Alexey or Alyosha, Peruvians have Alejandro; whichever way you spin it, you really can't lose. All of them mean “defender of humanity.”
Abe is typically short for Abraham (of Hebrew origin), but it can certainly stand on its own as well. The name brings to mind some great men of history, including President Lincoln and the Biblical patriarch. Plus, let's face it, it's just plain cute.
11 Ajax MoMo Productions/DigitalVision/Getty Images
definitely a bit unusual, but it’s really not a far cry from the wildly popular Jack or Jaxson. It makes an edgy statement without compromising an element of childhood whimsy. It’s a moniker of Greek origin and a name most often associated with the strong and courageous Greek hero in Homer's “Iliad.” 12 Augustine
This is an example of a name perfectly representing its meaning, because Augustine is about as dignified a moniker as they come (it has German roots meaning “majestive dignity”). If you're put off by the formality, consider the immeasurable cuteness that is "Gus" as a nickname. It may just push you over the edge.
Irish for “fiery”) has been at the top of the boy name charts for years now, and with its combination of innocence and strength, it's easy to see why. 14 Aric
The unusual spelling on
this Norse name that more often starts with the letter E could be the right amount of twist that you're looking for. The sound of it is still traditional, but seeing it spelled out adds just a little bit of oomph. 15 Azad
The name Azad is a Persian name that means “liberty” and “free.” To be free is a beautiful ideal, and this name lives up to the beauty that it represents. Another traditionally Middle Eastern name, I think it's time we brought this strong and masculine name to Western culture, too.
16 Apollo Antonio Hugo Photo/Moment/Getty Images
This nod to Greek mythology feels both ancient and completely fresh. You're not likely to find another Apollo in your son's kindergarten class, but you wouldn't have to deal with mispronunciation either, since most people are at least nominally familiar with Zeus' son.
Short and sweet, the name Ace calls to mind a spunky, fun-loving kid who just might be the star of the sports team.
Single-syllable names are skyrocketing in popularity, but so far this name, Latin for “unity,” is an underused gem. 18 Arlo
Arlo, a name of Celtic origin, is an adorable name for a baby boy, and yet is one that could realistically grow with him through childhood and into adulthood. Chalk another one up to the three- and four-letter moniker craze; these names are only getting more trendy.
It's appropriate that this Greek origin name means “strong,” because who doesn't know a consistent and reliable Andrew? Bonus points for parents: a plethora of nickname choices at your disposal, from Andy to Drew to Andre.
Derived from the word “angel,” this name is ethereal. Whether used in
homage to Italian roots or simply because you like it, the name Angelo commands attention. (Just ask Adele, who chose it for her sweet son.) 21 Atlas
Another nod to Greek mythology that is fitting right in to trends, Atlas is both darling and epic. This name would be a perfect complement to a family who thinks outside the box.
Similar in style to Archer, this name evokes feelings of childhood adventure and strength. A little boy bearing this title is sure to be a bundle of curiosity and bravery.
Once considered fringe, the name Asher (meaning “happy” in Hebrew roots) has been climbing the baby name charts for the past 10 years. The fact that this name's popularity is unique to our generation of children makes it feel nontraditional yet accessible at the same time.
Best known from the book
To Kill a Mockingbird, the name Atticus is a Latin name practically synonymous with integrity. If you're hoping your little one will fight for justice (and maybe turn out to be a literary hound to boot), this name might be for you. 25 Abbott
Traditionally an English word used to connote a religious position, this classy little name is getting a modern update. And can we just take moment to appreciate the unbearable cuteness of a nickname like Abb?
26 Antoine NickyLloyd/E+/Getty Images
Adapted from the Roman clan name, Antonius, meaning “highly praise-worthy,” Antoine is a stylish
French name. If you like the name Anthony but want something slightly more unique, this name is a winner. 27 Alastair
The anglicized form of the
Scottish Gaelic name, Alasdair (meaning “defender of men”), this boy name has a quirky yet refined ring to it. Plus, there are a ton of different spellings, including the aforementioned, as well as Alister, Allister, and Alyster. 28 Andre
Andre (or André) is a name of French and Portuguese origins. Derived from the Greek name Andreas, it means “man” and “warrior,” just like the English variant, Andrew. I guess this name is so popular that it can be found in many different forms!
The name Asa is an interesting one, because it appears in a few different cultures all of independent origin. The most well-known stems from Hebrew origin, after the Biblical King Asa in the Old Testament. However, it’s also a Japanese name meaning “born at dawn” and an old Norse name (Åsa, pronounced “o-sa”) meaning “god.”
Derived from the Greek Aléxios (and then Latin Alexander), meaning “defender,” Alexei is
a Russian and Bulgarian name. And it’s another great one for spelling variations: Alexey, Alexie, Aleksei, and Aleksey are other forms of the strong name.
There’s no shortage of inspiration for boy names that start with A. Whether you want something classic or something a little bit more unique, there are endless options to choose from for your incoming little one.
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This article was originally published on
Oct. 12, 2017