Looking to take baby’s name up a level? From cute boy middle names to cool ones for girls (and weird ones in between), good baby middle names come from surprising places!
Ah, the middle name – the most neglected and misunderstood of titles.
Most are left on the sidelines, called on only for airplane tickets, official documents, or when mama is no longer messing around.
And those kept in the center are often shortened to a mysterious initial.
But if chosen well, middle names add a certain gravitas. ✨
They can be a beautiful tribute to a beloved friend or a way of honoring both parents.
And the best part is they’re totally optional for the bearer to use and adapt.
You can drop it, shorten it, or turn it into an endearing nickname – what’s not to love?
We’re celebrating the return of the middle moniker with 220 suggestions for good middle names for boys and girls.
And while we can give you ideas, ultimately the choice is yours!
In this article: 📝
- Do middle names matter?
- What is a great middle name?
- What are good middle names for boys?
- What are cute boy middle names?
- What’s a good middle name for a girl?
- Can you have a surname as a middle name?
- What are some cool middle names?
- What are the top middle names?
- What is a rare middle name?
- What are weird middle names?
- What are beautiful middle names?
- What are short middle names?
- What is the best middle name?
Do middle names matter?
Once upon a time (in the West anyway), middle names weren’t so common.
George Washington was just George Washington.
Mary Wollstonecraft was just Mary Wollstonecraft.
But then, sometime in the 19th century, everything changed, and you ended up with Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso (or Picasso, as he was better known).
So why do middle names exist exactly?
It all started in Ancient Rome, where boys would be given three names – a personal name, a family name, and a cognomen for the branch of the family they were from.
The more names you had, the higher your social status was (so feel free to get generous with your middle names).
But it’s not all about the boys’ middle names.
The tradition of Western middle names is rooted in the Medieval era when parents couldn’t decide between the family name or a saint name.
Baptismal names became the easy solution and the tradition was born.
And while many cultures no longer have middle names, plenty of other cultures still do.
From Latin America to Russia, there are so many traditions you can lean into when choosing a middle name.
Too much choice?
Don’t worry, we’ve narrowed it down and categorized to help you find the one.
What is a great middle name?
If you don’t feel bound to any one middle name tradition, you may be wondering how you want to approach picking one.
Asking these questions could help:
- Do you want to honor someone? You can use a middle name to recognize a beloved relation, ancestor, or friend. A recent study found that most parents choose middle names as a commemoration. But it’s up to you.
- Do you want to celebrate your heritage? A middle name can be a good way to acknowledge the place you or your family are from.
- Do you want to try something different? If you’d like to try a name that’s a bit more unusual, but don’t want to use it every day, it can work well as a middle name.
- Can’t agree? Arguing over different names? You wouldn’t be the first. Making use of middle names can be an excellent compromise.
- Is one enough? With middle names, the sky’s the limit. If you feel that two or three middle names flow better than one, go for it.
- How do the names fit together? If you have a middle name in mind, play around with it before you commit. Write the full name down, repeat it out loud, and pay attention to the initials. This way you’ll notice anything awkward before it’s too late.
What are good middle names for boys?
So, what are some cool middle names?
With this question in mind, let’s take a look at some good middle names for boys and girls.
While we’ve divided them up by gender, there’s no rule to say you have to stick to these conventions!
First names to use as middle names for boys
But if a classic isn’t your style, a great place to look for middle name inspiration is a list of popular first names.
Here are some to start with (and check out Peanut’s big list of boy names for more):
- Liam: Meaning “helmet of will”.
- Fred: Meaning “peaceful ruler”. ✌️
- Noah: Meaning “rest” or “repose”.
- Oliver: Meaning “olive tree”. 🫒
- Elijah: Meaning “Yahweh is my God”.
- Benjamin: A biblical name meaning “son of my right hand”.
- Lucas: Meaning “bringer of light”.
- Henry: A regal middle name from the Old German Haimirich meaning “home ruler”.
- Mason: From the Old French word masson meaning “stone-worker”.
- Gilles: Meaning “servant of Jesus”.
- Ethan: Of Hebrew origin, Ethan is a strong middle name that means “firm”, “enduring”, and long-lived”.
- Jacob: Meaning “supplanter”, Jacob is an interesting pick for a middle name.
- Logan: This Scottish name means “little hollow”.
- Jackson: Meaning “son of Jack”, this Old English middle name is a great pick if you want to honor your partner.
- Sebastian: Meaning “venerable” or “revered”.
- Jack: Meaning “God is gracious”.
- Owen: A Welsh name meaning “well-born” or “young warrior”.
- Theodore: Meaning “gift of God”.
- Aiden: An Irish name meaning “little fire”.
- Samuel: Meaning “God has heard”.
- Matthew: Meaning “gift of God”.
- Luke: A popular short form of the Latin Lucas meaning “bringer of light”.
- Carter: Meaning “transporter of goods by cart”.
- Julian: A Greek gender-neutral middle name meaning “youthful”.
- Grayson: This distinguishing middle name means “son of a steward”. Anyone else getting major Game of Thrones vibes?
- Jayden: Meaning “thankful”. 🙏
- Gabriel: Inspired by a certain archangel, Gabriel means “God is my strength”.
- Lincoln: Meaning “lake colony”, Lincoln is one of the more widely recognized boy middle names. A little seed of inspiration for baby perhaps?
What are cute boy middle names?
Feel like one cute name is just not enough to capture your sentiments for your lovable baby boy?
We’ve got you:
- Levi: Named for the son of Jacob and Leah in the Old Testament, Levi means “joined in harmony”. As cute boy middle names go, this one is a clear winner if you happen to share the parent’s names. What are the chances?
- Asher: A cute Jewish name meaning “happiness”.
- Myles: Meaning “soldier” Milo is an adorable alternative.
- Mateo: The Spanish form of Matthew meaning “gift from God”.
- Leo: Meaning “lion-hearted”. 🦁
- Isaac: A sweet middle name meaning “one who laughs”.
- Nuno: A Portuguese name meaning either “grandfather” from the Latin nunnus or “ninth” from the Latin nonus. We love it as an adorable homage to a favorite grandfather.
- Pim: A cute Dutch variation of William meaning “resolute protection”.
- Teo: An adorable short form of Theodore meaning “gift from God”.
- Cam: Meaning “crooked nose”, there is something quite endearing about this little name.
- Felix: Meaning “fortunate”.
- Herb: A short form of Herbert meaning “bright ruler”.
What’s a good middle name for a girl?
With boys taken care of, let’s move on to some great girl middle names.
Remember, though: whatever the gender, if the name feels right, it’s right.
Let’s start with the most common middle names for girls:
First names that make good middle names for girls
Just as with boys, one of the best places to look for cool middle names for girls is among first names.
Here are some of the most popular:
- Addison: Meaning “son of Adam”.
- Amy: From the Latin word amare, Amy means “beloved”. ❤️
- Beth: As a short form of Bethany, Beth means “house of figs”.
- Olivia: Meaning “peace”.
- Christina: Meaning “a follower of Christ”.
- Emma: A German baby girl’s name meaning “whole” or “universal”.
- Camille: Meaning “helper to the priest”.
- Sophia: A cute name meaning “wisdom”.
- Isabella:: A beautiful Italian name meaning “devoted to God”.
- Charlotte: This elegant French name means “free”.
- Mia: Often associated with the Italian word mia meaning “mine”, Mia is also seen as a variation of the Slavic word mila, which means “beloved”.
- Harper: Meaning “harp player”, this gender-neutral middle name could be the perfect homage for avid lovers of To Kill a Mockingbird.
- Abigail: Meaning “my father’s joy”.
- Emily: Meaning “rival”. That’s one way to inspire healthy competition.
- Ella: Meaning “young girl”.
- Camila: A Portuguese name meaning “priest’s helper”.
- Luna: Meaning “moon”.
- Sofia: A French variation of Sophia meaning “wisdom”. 🦉
- Mila: Rooted in the Spanish word Milagros meaning “miracles”.
- Aria: Literally meaning “air”, this Italian middle name refers to the self-contained solo vocal piece sung in operas. It also means “lioness”. Fearlessness takes many forms!
What are girl middle names from around the world?
For a more international-sounding name – perhaps one that pays homage to your roots or that simply sounds lovely – you could try:
- Francesca: A popular Italian name meaning “free”.
- Martina: Rooted in Roman mythology, this Latin name means “warlike”.
- Eva: A melodic variation of the Hebrew Eve meaning “life”.
- Sara: A chic form of the well-known Sarah meaning “princess](https://www.peanut-app.io/blog/princess-baby-names)”.
- Anja: This unique Russian name comes from the Hebrew Hannah and means “God has favored me”.
- Fernanda: An invigorating Spanish middle name meaning “adventurous” or “bold journey” that will have baby eager to get moving! 🧭
- Luda: This adorable Russian name means “love of the people”.
- Akari: A [Japanese](https://www.peanut-app.io/blog/japanese-baby-names middle name meaning “bright”.
- Mette: Norse in origin, Mette is a unique middle name that means “pearl”.
- Terese: Meaning “harvester”, Terese is a subtle way of attracting abundance baby’s way.
- Mariam: A variation of Miriam meaning “drop of the sea”.
- Basma: Arabic in origin, Basma means “smile”.
- Asha: Another positive Arabic middle name meaning “alive and well”.
Can you have a surname as a middle name?
You can always mix it up a little by trying a last name as a middle name.
It’s common for families to give their child the mother’s maiden name as a middle name (if you’re not going double-barreled) – and this can be a great way to honor both of your families.
Here are some last names that make awesome, unique middle names for boys and girls:
- Anderson: Meaning “son of Andrew”.
- Ashton: Meaning “ash tree town”.
- Beckett: Meaning “beehive”, Beckett is a firm favorite for literature lovers.
- Bond: A British name so smooth, you may be surprised to learn it means “farmer”.
- Brook: A water name meaning “stream”.
- Cooper: Meaning “barrel maker”.
- Davis: Meaning “son of David”.
- Ford: An encouraging name meaning “river crossing”.
- Harvey: Meaning “battle worthy”.
- Huxley: A nature name meaning “Hugh’s meadow”.
- Jarvis: Meaning “servant spear”.
- Keegan: From the Irish clan name Mac Aodhagáin meaning “little flame”.
- Lennox: Meaning “elm grove”.
- Morgan: A nautical name meaning “sea-born” or “sea-song”.
- Percy: One of the sharper boy middle names meaning “one who pierces the valley”.
- Quinn: A gender-neutral Gaelic name meaning “descendant of Conn” or “chief”.
- Riley: There is no shortage of inspo among Irish surnames. From the Gaelic raghalach, Riley means “valiant” or “courageous” and makes an equally appealing gender-neutral first name.
- Sawyer: Another gender-neutral name, Sawyer means “woodcutter”.
- Sullivan: Rooted in the Irish word súildhubhán, meaning “dark eyes”. Broody…
- Watkins: Meaning “little Walter”. Achingly cute name to honor a beloved Walter in the family.
What are some cool middle names?
Want your little one to stand out from the crowd and set the trends?
How about these cool middles names:
What are cool middle names for girls?
From rare gems to warrior titles, these girl middle names are effortlessly cool:
- Amelia: A beautiful name with a gritty soul meaning “industriousness”.
- Amber: Meaning “jewel”. 💎
- Avery: An elvish name with the badass meaning “ruler of the elves”.
- Blaire: From the Gaelic word blár, meaning “battlefield”.
- Blake: Meaning “dark”.
- Blythe: Meaning “cheerful”.
- Britt: A Scandinavian name meaning “exalted one”.
- Cassandra: Meaning “the one who shines and excels over man”. Qute the name for a modern woman!
- Claire: From the Latin word clarus, meaning “bright”.
- Clarissa: Another name meaning “bright”.
- Clothilde: Meaning “famous in battle”, how is this girl’s middle name not cool!
- Dawn: Meaning “daybreak”.
- Drew: Stemming from the Greek word andreios meaning “brave” or “courageous”.
- Eleanor: Meaning “shining light”.
- Imogen: From the Celtic name. Innogen meaning “maiden”.
- Ingrid: Inspired by the Norse god of fertility, Yngvi, Ingrid means “beautiful”.
- Jess: Meaning “gift of God”.
- Jill: Meaning “youthful”.
- Jordana: Meaning “down flowing”.
- June: Inspired by the Roman goddess Juno – the protector of childbirth and marriage – June means “youthful”. So much more than a summer baby name.
- Laura: Meaning “victory”.
- Lillian: Meaning “lily”.
- Megan: Meaning “pearl”.
- Meredith: Meaning “great ruler”.
- Michelle: Meaning “who resembles God”..
- Nell: Meaning “bright, shining one”.
- Paloma: From the Latin word palumbus meaning “dove”.
- Ruth: Meaning “compassionate friend”.
- Sabrina: Meaning “from the name of River Severn”.
- Susanna: From the Egyptian word shoshen meaning “lotus flower”.
- Tabitha: Inspired by the Aramaic word for “gazelle”, Tabitha means “grace”.
- Tatiana: This Shakespearean-inspired name means “queen of the fairies” known best for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
- Ursula: A cute girl’s middle name meaning “little she-bear”.
What are cool boy middle names?
Give your little guy the edge with these cool middle names for boys:
- Charles: Inspire free thinking with these dignified middle name meaning “free man”.
- Egil: A very cool Viking-style middle name for boys meaning “awe” or “terror”.
- Dean: May mean “valley” but Dean is forever associated with *Rebel Without a Cause”.
- Wyatt: A feisty boy’s middle name meaning “brave in war”.
- Flynn: Meaning “son of Flann” or “red complexion”.
- Grey: Meaning “grey-haired”.
- Chance: Meaning “good fortune”. 🥠
- King: If you want to set baby up for greatness why not give them the middle name of a “king”. 👑
- Mark: Meaning “war-like”.
- Rhys: Meaning “passionate” or “ardent”.
- Shea: Meaning “the stately, dauntless one”. Impressive.
- Leonardo: A handsome middle name for boys meaning “lion-hearted”.
- Lucas: Meaning “bringer of light”.
- Casey: From the Gaelic cathasaigh meaning “watchful”.
- Ryder: A gender-neutral middle name meaning “horseman”.
- Oscar: A ultra cool Irish middle name for boys meaning “spear of the Gods”.
- Xavier: Meaning “house”, the temptation to use this as the middle name to Charles is real.
- Wilder: Baby born to be wild? Meaning “untamed”, Wilder is an easy pick for your inhibited child.
- Max: Meaning “the greatest”.
- Nico: A hip Italian take on the Greek Nicholas meaning “victory of the people”.
- Lloyd: From the Welsh word * llwyd* meaning “grey-haired”.
- Seth: Meaning “appointed”.
- Claude: A grounding middle name meaning “strong-willed”.
- George: Meaning “earth worker”.
- Francis: Meaning “free man”.
- Lawrence: Meaning “bright one”.
- Nolan: Sharing the name of the director behind The Dark Knight has to be pretty cool right? What if we told you the name means “champion”?
What are the top middle names?
If you’re keen to know what the most popular middle names are, here are the top 10 for boys and girls:
What are popular middle names for boys?
According to a recent UK survey, the most popular boy middle names are still the classics:
- James: Meaning “supplanter”.
- John: Meaning “God is gracious”.
- William: Meaning “resolute protector”.
- Thomas: From the Hebrew word for “twin”, ta’om.
- David: Meaning “beloved”.
- Robert: Meaning “bright fame”.
- Edward: Meaning “wealthy guard”.
- Peter: Meaning “rock”.
- Lee: Meaning “meadow”.
- Christopher: Meaning “christ-bearer”.
- Alexander: Meaning “defender of men”.
- Michael: Meaning “who is like God”.
- Daniel: Meaning “God is my judge”.
In the US, the top 10 is pretty similar, with the addition of:
- Anthony: Show show irreplaceable baby is with this enduring middle name meaning “priceless one”.
- Allen: Meaning “handsome” and “cheerful”.
- Joseph: Meaning “God will give”.
What are popular girl middle names?
In the UK, the top girl middle names are:
- Louise: Meaning “renowned warrior”.
- Rose: A favorite flower name meaning “rose”.
- Grace: From the Latin word gratia, meaning “grace”.
- Jane: Meaning “God is gracious”.
- Elizabeth: Meaning “God is my oath”.
- Anne/Ann: Meaning “grace”.
- May/Mae: Inspired by the Roman fertility goddess Maia.
- Marie: Meaning “star of the sea”.
- Mary: Meaning “beloved” or “drop of the sea”.
- Amy: A sweet name from the Latin amare meaning “beloved”.
- Catherine: Meaning “pure”.
- Kate: Also meaning “pure”.
- Victoria: A Victorian name meaning “victory”.
And in the US they’re pretty similar, but with three different middle names making a top 10 appearance:
- Faith: A virtue name that wears its heart on its sleeve. Also means “trust” and “devotion”.
- Lynn: Sometimes used as a nickname for Linda meaning “beautiful”. Lynn is best known as a Celtic name for a “lake”, “pool”, or “waterfall”.
- Renee: Meaning “born again”.
What is a rare middle name?
Looking for middle names that no-one else will have?
Your best bet is to seek out the baby names that are uncommon and [unique}(https://www.peanut-app.io/blog/cool-baby-names).
To get you started on your quest for good middle names that have stayed off the radar, we’ve gathered a few of our favorites:
- Atlas: Meaning “bearer of the heavens”, Atlas is steeped in Greek mythology. Instead of carrying the world on their shoulders, this middle name may inspire baby to leave their stamp on it. 🗺️
- Adeline: Going for vintage is always a good move if you want something rare. Meaning “noble”, we think Adeline is a great middle name for a little lady.
- Titus: Meaning “of the giants” this is not a name for the faint of heart.
- Amory: Meaning “home ruler”, this gender-neutral middle name flows off the tongue.
- Ari: This gender-neutral name may be gaining popularity thanks to the esteemed horror director Ari Aster, but we love its meaning of “lion” or “eagle”.
- Poet: If you live and breath poetry, why not share the passion? This middle name literally means “one who writes verse”.
- Griffin: A vintage middle name for boys, Griffin means “strong lord”. 💪
What are weird middle names?
Looking for truly unique middle names?
You could do what a few of our Peanut mamas have done, and choose your pregnancy craving for baby’s middle name, like:
- Pickle: A pregnancy craving classic.
- Ben: After Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Also means “son”, making it a solid middle name for boys.
- Jerry: The other half of the ice cream dynasty, Jerry means “spear”.
- Peanut: Of course we love this one, but it’s also super-cute if you’ve been craving peanut butter. 🥜
- Hershey: If you’ve been craving chocolate, this could be the perfect baby middle name!
- Pepper: If you’ve been feeling spicy during pregnancy, you’ll love this baby middle name. 🌶️
- Apple: If it works as a baby name for Gwyneth, then it could work just as well as a middle name!
- Honey: Feeling sweet?
- Muffin: Kinda cute, right?
What are beautiful middle names?
Want to complement baby’s gorgeous first name?
Any of these beautiful middle names is sure to do baby’s title justice:
- Anastasia: From the Greek word anastasis meaning “ressurection”, Anastasis is both beautiful and badass.
- Belle: A favorite of many a Disney princess fan, Belle means “beautiful”.
- Evelyn: If you’ve been hoping for a little girl, celebrate her arrival with this pretty middle name meaning “wished for”.
- Tristan: From the Celtic legend Tristan and Isolde, this mythical name means “sorrowful”.
39 Cosmo: There’s something very celestial about this old Italian name. Meaning “decency” and “beauty”, it’s rich with inspiration.
- Ava: Meaning “birdike”, Ava will add a soulful melody to any girl’s name. 🎶
- Paige: Meaning “young helper”.
- Willow: One of the more elegant tree baby names meaning “willow tree”.
What are short middle names?
Keep it short and sweet with these svelt middle names for boys and girls:
- Bree: A simple sound with big ideas, Bree means “exalted one”.
- Bea: Meaning “bringer of joy”. Short for Beatrice. Resist the urge to nickname baby ‘honey’.
- Hope: An elegant Puritan name that fits beautifully as a middle name.
- Ray: Meaning “wise protector”.
- Pam: A sweet middle name meaning “honey”.
- Kai: In Māori, Kai means “food” or meal”. In Japanese, Kai also means “shell” or “ocean”.
- Reed: Meaning “red hair”.
- Elle: Deeply connected with the French word elle meaning “she”. Could also be a short form of Eleanor, which means “shining light”.
- Jax: A hip, too-cool-for-school variation of Jackson meaning “son of Jack”.
- Jude: Fans of The Beatles will love this middle name meaning “praised”.
- Rae: Rooted in the Hebrew name Rachel meaning “ewe”. 🐑
What is the best middle name?
Ultimately, the best middle name will be up to you.
It’ll sound good, it could reflect your family, and it will just feel right.
Inspiration can come from the most surprising of places, including our Peanut community.
The perfect middle name’s out there, mama!