Baby Names

close up of cute baby boy, short middle names for boys
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27 Short Middle Names For Your Baby Boy

Try on these snappy monikers to emphasize and accent the great first name you’ve picked out.

Middle names haven’t always been part of our lives in American society — only six of the first 20 U.S. presidents had a middle name at all. But nowadays, many parents give their sons a first, middle, and last name. Some families even go with two middle names, just as the British royals do. This is useful when you wish to avoid slighting either side of the family but you want to give your son their grandfather’s name — why not give him both grandfathers’ names? Names carry so much meaning and significance now, so to express your intentions or hopes for your baby boy, a first name might not be enough. Luckily there are so many choices for short middle names for boys that can add punch and additional meaning to whatever first name you go with and complements many longer boy names, too.

If you’re not sure how a middle name will sound, you can always try it out by announcing it aloud (and the winner of the Nobel Prize is...Alexander John Smith) or by yelling it (Alexander John Smith, you clean your room right this instant)! Here’s a list of short middle names for boys from which you will find something that will go beautifully with any first name you are considering.




Troy is a name that walks that line of being slightly but not too unusual. And your little one will probably be assigned to read The Odyssey at some point in school so he’ll have a head start on knowing about the ancient city. It sounds really good with a lot of popular first-name choices: what about Benjamin Troy, or, if you want to lean into the classical vibe, Alexander Troy?



This nickname for the classic name Abraham (meaning “father of multitudes”) is a great standalone name in its own right. Abraham, its longer counterpart, has been in the top 200 most popular names for most of the last century. But Abe, on its own, is due for a comeback! What about Jonathan Abe or Peter Abe?



This slightly edgy and cool name means “water” — so this baby boy may never want to get out of the bath. This name had a brief run in the ’70s, but then fell off the charts again. It came back in 2007 and has been growing in popularity since. It’s still an unusual choice that makes anything it goes with sounds cool. Peter Dax or Liam Dax sound like boys who would be unstoppable.



A more traditional -ax name that still has a cool factor, Max used to be a nickname only for Maxwell or Maximilian, but it’s now much more popular just on its own. And, unsurprisingly, it means “greatest,” which your new little guy is sure to be.



Maybe it’s just the association with the famous actor Clark Gable, but something about this name just exudes elegance. It means “scribe” and might be a great choice for a family that loves to read and write. Michael Clark or Christopher Clark both sound classy and powerful.



This name has lots of spunk and energy, and a strong association to a legendary U.S. president, John F. Kennedy, who was nicknamed Jack. It means “God is gracious” and sounds great paired with classic and traditional first names like Richard or William. Or lean into the alliteration: James Jack or Joseph Jack both sound great.



Jude is a name of Greek origin that has the lovely meaning “praised.” Whether you’re inspired by that meaning, or by the Beatles song, it really sounds good with everything. It has definitely become more popular lately (it didn’t crack the top 1,000 most-popular names until 1954, but has been in the top 200 in the past decade.)



This traditional, biblical saint name will never go out of style. It has Latin origins and means “small” and “humble,” but the impact of Saint Paul himself is large. He is a revered and important figure in the Christian religion. Many popes have taken the name Paul. What about Andrew Paul or Nicholas Paul?



This name means “tall” and “big” but is a really nice choice for a young man of any size or height. The name has a lot of range, and pairs beautifully with a more traditional name (George Grant) or a more modern one (Jackson Grant).



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This adorable choice has really exploded as a first name in recent years — it first cracked the Social Security Administration’s top 1,000 in the year 2000 and has been on a meteoric rise in popularity ever since. Appropriately, it’s a Finnish name that means “fair” — so particularly appropriate choice for a blond little boy.



This lovely Irish name means “God is gracious” and would sound especially appropriate with an Irish first name: Patrick Shane or Aidan Shane just go together perfectly.



Zane feels super on-trend and modern, but it’s actually been in the top 1,000 most-popular names for most of the past century. No matter what first name you pair it with, it suddenly sounds like you’re talking to a superhero: Daniel Zane, Jonathan Zane (or lean into the Z and go with Zachary Zane). Any which way, it sounds awesome.



Another extremely cool name, Zeb (or Zebb, if you want) is begging for a comeback. It was last in the top 1,000 most-popular names in the 1900s. Meaning “dwelling of honor,” this traditionally Hebrew name would go great with other names from that tradition: Aaron Zeb or Noah Zeb sound perfect. Or maybe you want to represent Jewish heritage in a multicultural family: Charles Zeb or Graham Zeb have a nice balance.



This rich, resonant name is best known as the middle name of the composer Ralph Vaughn Williams. (And doesn’t that sound more majestic than just Ralph Williams?) A Welsh name meaning “little” this handsome-sounding name would go great with an English or Irish first name; what about Arthur Vaughn or Harry Vaughn?



This name never goes out style. Think of Cleopatra’s love, the Roman general and Julius Caesar’s friend, Mark Antony. Since biblical times, people have been using this name that has a multiplicity of meanings, including both “polite” and “warlike.” Toddlers can be plenty of both of those things in the same hour, so it will probably fit!



Another biblical choice, this name has a gorgeous meaning: “light giving.” Though it is a nickname for lots of great names, including Lucian and Lucas, it works beautifully on its own. What about Gabriel Luke or Joshua Luke?



This stalwart name has Germanic origins and means “counselor” or “adviser.” It also has Turkish roots, and comes from the word meaning “Wolf.” It can also be spelled “Curt” if you prefer, and would go wonderfully with a first name that starts with a vowel: What about Elijah Curt or Ivan Curt?



Like Vaughn, there’s something noble about Dane. It has multiple meanings in different languages and faith traditions, including the literal (“from Denmark”) and the more metaphorical (“God will judge”). It adds a slight edginess to a more traditional name: what about Samuel Dane or Jonathan Dane?



Your little man is sure to be the king of your household, so why not name him something royal? This name has a classic feel and was much more popular in the early part of the 1900s than it is now — so you might have an Uncle Roy or a Great-Grandpa Roy with this name that you could pay homage to as well.



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Sean Connery, Sean Penn, Sean Bean — your little boy will share his name with lots of actors, and maybe he’ll have a flair for the dramatic. This name is Gaelic and Irish and has the same meaning as Shane (“God is Gracious”). It sounds really good with anything: Oliver Sean or Dylan Sean are strong names.



This name has never been quite as popular as the full name, “Samuel,” but has absolutely been standing its ground as its own name since the 1900s. Sam has the beautiful meaning “God hears” or “bright sun” in Hebrew. It would sound really nice with nearly any multi-syllable first name: Damian Sam or Jeremiah Sam.



Just like Sam and Samuel, Ben has stepped out from the shadow of its longer predecessor and definitely become its own name: since the year 2000, it’s cracked the top thousand names all on its own. Meaning “son of the right hand,” it has Old Testament roots but can go with first names that are both modern and more traditional.



This is a strong and regal-sounding name meaning “victorious people.” Between Cole Porter and Nat King Cole, a little one with this middle name might have some serious musical chops. It sounds great with other C names: Christopher Cole or Connor Cole have a nice ring.




Dean is such a great middle name that lots of well-known people use it professionally: the author Walter Dean Myers and the actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan are just two of many. Not to mention the association with the perennially cool James Dean. The name means “from the valley.”



While “Max” has rocketed up in popularity in recent years, this slightly less common variant is a strong choice with a similar feel. You could spell it with a “k” at the end too! It is Scottish in origin and has a simple and straightforward meaning: “son.”



Jacob was the most popular boy’s name for 12 years straight between 2000 and 2012, and choosing Jake as a middle name could be a great choice for parents who love the name but do not want their little one to have the same first name as lots of other boys in their class. The name means “supplanter” and has Hebrew origins.



Hank is an adorable nickname for Henry, and means “house ruler.” The name sounds excellent with nearly any length of first name: John Hank or Zachariah Hank both sound awesome.

Naming a kid is a funny thing — it can cause so much agony and angst during the decision process and then, once you’ve finally decided on one, the name seems inevitable. Whether you go with a short and sweet middle name or multiple middle names to keep all the grandparents happy, soon it will seem impossible that your little boy could be called anything else.