What do President Ulysses S. Grant, musical artist Usher, and the sprinter Usain Bolt have in common? Well, not much, other than being some of the few famous people whose names start with “U.” If you’re looking for a name that really stands out from the crowd, picking a boy name that starts with “U” is a good way to do it. Baby names that start with “U” don’t even show up on lists of
rare and unusual names for boys. “U” can feel like the forgotten vowel, amidst the more popular O names and, if we’re talking consonants, “U” names don’t even come close to the popularity of some other letters. For example, the ever-popular “J” names. T he name “James” was the fifth most popular name in 2021, with Jack, Jackson, and Jacob close behind. While there might be Jack B., Jack M., and Jack L. in a classroom, your little Uriah or Uzel is likely to have his name all to himself.
On the Social Security Administration’s list of the top thousand boy names from 2021, only 2 “U” names make the cut—Uriel comes in at number 498, and Uriah at number 697. So while “U” names might not be very big in the United States, there’s actually plenty of “U” names around the globe that have a lovely ring and will fit your little boy, who is sure to be a unique bundle of joy.
Though it cracked the top thousand most popular boys’ names in 2021, Uriah is still rare — it has only been in the top thousand for 24 of the last 122 years, and even then it’s never been in the top 500. It’s a biblical name and comes from the Hebrew word meaning “flame of God.”
Like Uriah, Uziel is a Hebrew name meaning “God is my strength.” With both a “U” and a “Z,” this name has an extra cool factor. It’s pronounced “oo-zee-el.”
Ubayd is pronounced like the phrase “you-bed.” This “U” names appears in the Koran and means “worshipper” or “servant of God.” It could also be spelled “Ubaid” for a slightly different twist.
4 Uriel Lesley Magno/Moment/Getty Images
Russian Orthodox Christians consider Uriel to be an archangel, along with Raphael, Michael and Gabriel. Like Uriah, this name comes from the Hebrew words meaning “light of God” or “fire of God.”
Urban is a super-cool choice for a city boy. The Latin word “urbus” means “city” which is why we refer to cities as “urban areas” today. This “U” name has been held by everyone from a popes — yes, there has been more than one Pope Urban — to a rock musician.
Umaid is pronounced exactly as it look — “you-made.” It means “leader” and “God’s loving one.” The name has a regal and noble sound to it, and might perfectly fit a little guy who has big plans.
Upton is “U” name most famously held by the prolific writer Upton Sinclair, whose book
The Jungle led to a crucial overhaul in food safety that still impacts us today. It’s an English name that means “upper town.” One of Upton Sinclair’s quotes is perfect for a little baby who is going to shake things up: “You don't have to be satisfied with America as you find it. You can change it. I didn't like the way I found America some sixty years ago, and I've been trying to change it ever since." 8 Utah Maskot/Maskot/Getty Images
Utah often tops the list of the most gorgeous states, and if you have a special connection to this state, this name might fit perfectly. You’ll have to get a visit to Zion or Arches National Park on your vacation list as soon as he’s old enough to appreciate it!
Like Utah, Utica is a “place name” name. Utica was an ancient Phoenician city and is a modern-day city in numerous states, including New York, Kansas, Kentucky, and Illinois. If you have a connection to those cities you could choose this name. But, even if you’ve never set foot in any of them, it has an edgy and cool vibe.
In the Twi language, which is primarily spoken in Ghana, Ulan means “firstborn twin” — so keep this in your back pocket if you find out you’re expecting more than one new addition to your family.
11 Udell Witthaya Prasongsin/Moment/Getty Images
Pronounced “ooo-dell,” this English name has the evocative meaning “from the yew tree valley.” Plus, “Dell” is a really cute nickname.
Whether you’re a James Joyce fan or love Homer’s ancient tale of Odysseus, the name Ulysses has a powerful place in both ancient and modern literature. It fell off the top thousand names in 2005, so is still pretty rare in the United States.
The most famous Umberto is surely Umberto Eco, the famous Italian author and critic who died in 2016. The name means “renowned warrior.” If the full name is too much of a mouthful, you could always shorten it to the cute name “Berto.”
Pronounced “um-bree-el,” this “U” name would be perfect for a family that
loves outer space. If you choose this name, you may have an astronomer on your hands, since Umbriel is also the name of one of Uranus’s many moons. It comes from the Latin word “umbra” meaning “shade” or “shadow.” 15 Usain Atipati Netiniyom / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images
Strap on your running shoes as soon as your little Usain starts to walk, in case your little one takes after the famous sprinter with the same name. Usain (pronounced “you-sane”) means “beautiful” or “good” in Arabic.
There are two people names Uri in the Old Testament, and the name is particularly popular in Israel. It also has a gorgeous meaning: “My light” or “my flame.”
Stand aside, Hugh Jackman, there’s a new human-wolf hybrid in town. Pronounced “oooh-fay,” this cool name means “wolf man” and has Danish roots and origins in Old Norse.
In Igbo (the national language of Nigeria) the name Udo means “
peace,” something our world could use more of these days. It’s unusual, but also short and sweet. 19 Ulster
Those with Irish roots may want to consider this name, since Ulster is one of four Irish provinces. It’s also both a city and county in New York. Whether you have a special connection to either of those places, or just like how this name sounds, it could be a great choice.
This Arabic name means “wise” and “intuitive”, and who wouldn’t want their little guy to be both of those things? If you like this name you might also consider the “U” name “Usman,” which is considered a variant of Uthman.
This German name sounds like it belongs to a king, or at least a nobleman. More commonly used as a last name, Ulbrecht means “illustrious,” and is pronounced “al-brict.”
22 Union Westend61/Westend61/Getty Images
Union is another name that’s more commonly seen as a last name. It comes from a Welsh word meaning “anvil” and conveys to stability and fortitude.
Pronounced “ooo-ball-doh,” Ubaldo means “bold mind” in Italian. It’s been held by everyone from a saint to a major league baseball pitcher.
Saint Utlan was an Irish monk in the 7th century and yet his name still feels fresh and modern. It means “man from Ulster.”
If you’re positive that you want a name that stands out from the crowd, deciding that you’re going to go with a name that starts with “U” is a good way to make sure that your baby boy will have a truly unparalleled moniker. Any of these ultra-cool names will fit the bill.