We want to name our baby Penelope but we can’t decide on a nickname? Help!
Middle names for boys: AKA words mamas yell when their children are in big, big trouble. So seriously, mama. If you don’t give your child a middle name, how on earth will they know that you are angry with them?
The history of the middle name is a long and complicated one. Ancient Romans, for example, had three names. Cultures all over the world have used an extra name to signify where one sits on a family tree. And the people of Medieval times doled out middle names because they couldn’t decide whether to choose between family names and the names of saints in their naming practices, so they just threw them all in there.
Middle names open up a whole world of naming possibilities. Pay homage to a favorite friend, family member, or mentor, keep a maiden name in the picture, or get the best of both worlds if you can’t decide between two (or more) names.
So the first name is settled, and now you’re going for a middle name. But what are good middle names for boys? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
Peter: This name stands the test of time—and perhaps that’s because of its meaning. The name means rock. So yes, if you have a Peter in your life, they are quite literally your rock. As a middle name, it’s pretty versatile and pairs with just about anything.
John: Pop this on the end of any first name for some added style and complexity. Of Hebrew origin meaning “God is gracious”, John is an old classic of a middle name that’s going nowhere.
Edward: A name meaning prosperity and fortune, the name Edward is a good one to tuck somewhere in your name chain. Shorten it to Ed or Eddie and you’re suddenly in red carpet company—Eddie Murphy, Ed Harris, Ed Norton… the list goes on.
And then there are these great options:
These names aren’t as common as the ones above, but they’re solid choices that will stand the test of time.
Victor: Winner. This name is literally the winner. So there you have it. And making it a middle name rather than a first name allows you to retain some semblance of modesty.
Henry: Henry means ruler of the home. And we’re betting that your little one is up for the task. It’s a name with much clout, from kings to philosophers to automotive mavericks, you don’t have to look far to find a Henry with one heck of a story.
Aiden: Start a little fire in the middle of your baby’s name because that’s exactly what this name means. It’s also just one of those names that play nicely with others, making the perfect middle name.
And here’s the bonus list of classic middle names for boys:
Max: Max has the curious power of sounding really cute and really powerful all at the same time. Derived from Maximillian and Maxwell, Max means the greatest. Simple as that.
Noah: A name that has gone through a surge of popularity as a first name, Noah works just as well as a middle name. With Hebrew origins, the name Noah means rest and comfort—a fabulous idea to promote right there in the heart of your baby’s name. (Rest, little one. Please, please, rest.)
Liam: Strong-willed, that’s what this name means. So yes, not that great an attribute during the terrible twos but a wonderful one when entering the job market one day. Hide it in there as a middle name and bring it out when needed.
And how about these adorable options:
Here are some standout names to give your boy’s birth certificate some edge.
Orion: A mythical hunter, a constellation, a NASA spacecraft, Orion is a name packed with a plethora of interstellar stories. Plus, it sounds cool and works very well as a unique addition to more common first names.
Elliot: Elliot is the Greek version of Elijah. It means brave and strong and true—and who wouldn’t want all those things for their little boy?
Ajax: Ajax was a Greek mythological hero known for his strength, size and bravery. Meaning of the earth, this is a more unusual option that can bring that little something extra to a more vanilla first name.
And these are also pretty amazing:
Bodhi: Meaning awakening or enlightenment, Bodhi has gained in popularity as a first name over the past few decades. With its ties to Buddhist concepts of liberation from feelings of attachment and greed, this name might just ring true to you. (Fun fact: the Bodhi Tree was the tree the Buddha sat underneath when he attained enlightenment.)
Zephyr: With its Greek origins, Zephyr means west wind. Refreshing, yes. And with that unique sound, it’s a wonderful addition to your baby’s name repertoire.
Anakin: Okay, Star Wars fans, sit up and listen. Anakin was a name created by George Lucas for the series. And if your baby is born on May the 4th, seriously—how can you not?
And here are some more unique middle names for boys:
Xavier: Sounds badass and means bright and splendid. Best of both worlds? Plus, pretty cool to have an X as your baby’s middle initial. Nicely done.
Maverick: A name that celebrates independence, Maverick is the perfect name for a mini trailblazer.
Cairo: The capital of Egypt, yes—but it goes deeper. The name Cairo means victorious.
And how about these mighty options:
All the best, mama. Here’s to finding the ideal middle ground.
👶 Find more boys’ baby names:
1000 Popular Baby Boy Names
141 English Names for Boys
137 Cool Baby Boy Names and Their Meanings
A Long List of Short Baby Boy Names