baby names and then there are timeless baby names. Neither category is wrong or right, they’re just different. And you may select one over the other for specific reasons. Perhaps you want to go wild with your baby boy’s first name, but keep choose a classic boy name for the middle. Then again, you might prefer a more traditional name in honor of a grandfather or great uncle who had the same moniker. Whatever the case, the thing to know is that there are more classic baby boy names than you might realize. Meaning you have plenty to choose from.
First, one need only look in the Bible to find a host of favorite boy names. Just think of the Apostles and you’ve got your list started. From there, a good place to look is names that have variations in other languages, for instance Michael. In English it’s Michael. In French it’s Mikael and in Russian it’s Mikhail. How’s that for a classic baby boy name? Same could be said for Alexander. Check this out: Aleksander in Czech, Alexandre in French, Alexandros in Greek, Alsander in Irish, Alessandro in Italian, Aleksandr in Russian, Alasdair in Gaelic, Alejandro in Spanish, and, finally, Alastair in Scottish. As far as a name that works around the world, that’s it. And these are too.
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From the Hebrew meaning “gift of God,” or “gift from God,” Matthew was also the name of one of the 12 disciples of Jesus. Since then, it’s been a steadily popular name, with a spot in the top 50 most popular names in the U.S. for nearly six decades. Matt makes a classic, easygoing nickname.
While there are differing opinions on what the name Arthur means, some options include “bear,” “strong as a bear,” “Thor,” and “stone,” so one might say the overall theme is something along the lines of strength. Plus, Arthur immediately conjures images of kings and knights and a certain round table, which is pretty classic.
From the Greek meaning “bearer of Christ,” Christopher is a name that’s remained somewhat popular throughout the years. Though the nickname “Chris” is most commonly used, the nickname “Topher” has gained some traction more recently.
Derived from the Hebrew, David means “beloved” (and it doesn’t really get better than that when it comes to name meanings). Insofar as the name being a classic, chances are you’ve known at least several Davids or “Daves” throughout your life (think about it for a minute).
From the Greek, Thomas means “twin” — but you don’t need to have twins to use this evergreen name. With the nicknames “Tom” or “Tommy,” this name is actually pretty versatile (perhaps one of the reasons why it’s been a mainstay for decades).
The Hebrew name Yohanan, which means “graced by God,” is where we get the name John. In the Bible, John is one of the 12 disciples and goes on to ostensibly write the Gospel of John, a biography of Jesus’ life, so you know, he’s kind of a big deal in the Christian world. He’s also the reason why we have so many Johns today. It’s a classic classic name.
James is another Biblical name that means supplanter. And, of course it spun off numerous famous James. Consider King James, James Earl Jones, President James Buchanan, James Taylor, James Stewart. The list goes on and on. And, it’s almost like two or three names in one. You can nickname your James Jim or Jimmy. Or Jimmy Jam when you’re feeling extra fun.
Andrew in Greek means “strong and manly.” Encourage your little one to be strong with this name. In the process, you can also connect the dots to Greece, Scotland, and Russia, all places where Saint Andrew is the patron saint.
We have to go back to ancient Rome to find the origins of the name Anthony. It comes from Antonius (a fun nickname for your child when you want to get their attention, no?). It’s said to mean “priceless one,” which is just as timeless a feeling for your child as the name Anthony itself.
“Son of the right hand” is what the name Benjamin means. At least that’s what the book of Genesis says. Whether you like that meaning or not, Benjamin is a great classic boy name that’s been a favorite throughout many cultures including French, English, and Hungarian.
Steven comes from the Greek name Stephanos which means crown. Want your kid to be king? Make him feel like one when he finds out that his name can be spelled in all different ways: Steven, Stephen, Stephon, Stefan. It goes on and on.
One of the best reasons to name a boy Daniel is so you can tell him the ol’ Daniel in the lion’s den tale. Even if you’re not big on the Bible, this is still a fun story. Daniel was so committed to praying to his God, he was willing to break the law. So Daniel was put in the lion’s den as punishment. But, because Daniel was so faithful, the lion did not hurt him.
Yep, another disciple. But Mark is actually older than that. It comes from the Latin name Mart-kos, which means “consecrated to the god Mars.” The Biblical meaning is “polite or shining.”
The third Gospel, Luke comes from the Roman name Lucas which means light. Of course, you don’t have to pick it because of that. You might just love Luke Skywalker, which is an equally good reason to choose this classic boy name for your child.
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He’s the heir to the English throne. He’s the guy who popularized the theory of evolution. He’s the man who wrote “A Christmas Carol.” Who is he? He’s Charles, of course. One of the great male names ever.
Did you know that George means “farmer or earthworker”? How’s that for setting your child on the path to becoming an environmentalist?
Joseph may seem obvious enough; it’s the name of a starring character in the New Testament. But, as it turns out, it actually shows up in the Old Testament as well, and means “he will add” in Hebrew.
Exalted or strong are meanings typically attributed to the Hebrew name Aaron. A lesser known meaning, however, is teacher. What parent wouldn’t want their son to be a patient and thoughtful person who is a natural teacher?
As mentioned in the intro, Michael is one of those internationally popular names you can find in many cultures. That’s probably because it has such a great meaning. Michael means “who is like God.” No pressure, baby Mikey.
Simple and one syllable, there’s a solidness to the name Max. Of course, that’s deceptive. Max comes from Maximilian which means, of course, the greatest.
Peter means rock. And what does a rock signify? Solid, sturdy, unflappable. Those are all traits you might want your child to embody and you can do that with this classic boy name.
In the Bible (that old thing again? Yep), Saul became Paul, a Jewish Roman citizen who converted to Christianity out of a revelation that he should preach to gentiles. Paul has been a common boy’s name ever since, and means humble in Latin.
The name William is a timeless title that has English roots after it evolved from its German of Wilhelm. It means strong-willed warrior, a name any boy could be proud of.
In Hebrew, the name Simon means “listen” or “God has heard.” Either concept could be appealing, especially as a means to teach your child the importance of paying attention and really listening to others.
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With two spelling choices you have options when you go for the name Louis. If you choose to name your son Louis, you can wow him with the fact that he shares a title with 14 kinds of France! Plus his name means “famous warrior.”
Robert, Bob, Bobby, Bert, Robbie. You can have a lot of fun with nicknames if you name your child Robert. You can also look at them lovingly knowing their name means “bright fame.”
Have a ginger boy? Want to celebrate his carrot top? Name him Russell. From Old Norse, Russell means "red-haired or red-skinned.”
With these classic boy names your son will carry on a proud tradition of timeless titles. Now you just need to decide which one to pick.
This article was originally published on
Oct. 23, 2021