If you’re looking for inspiration in your search for baby names, check out our list of the top baby names for boys, girls, as well as unisex options. Perhaps you’re on the search for short one-syllable names for girls and boys, or maybe nicknames as first names for your little Ace — we got those too.
How is it that with so many wonderful and unique names in circulation, we often still struggle to find the “perfect” baby name for our little ones? There are literally millions of options, which sometimes seems to only confuse us more. We might stick with trends like naming after favorite animals or going with something “indie“-sounding. Maybe you’re a writer, so you want to name your sweet baby boy after your favorite author, like Mark Twain or Hunter S. Thompson. If, however, you’re looking for something a little more personal or traditional, while still straying from the “typical”… how about using a last name as a first name?
If you carry your own hefty last name, this might seem like a strange idea. A six-pound chunk named Sempsrott seems, well, cumbersome. But, some last names as first names are actually already pretty popular. We’ve pulled together a fun list of familiar last names — some you might have already seen as first names while others might feel more original. While you’re welcome to use any old surname as a first name, we strongly encourage you to take a look at your own family tree, too.
If you’re on the hunt for something “all-American” sounding, consider Adler? With German and Yiddish roots, it actually means “eagle.” Does it get any more “American” than that? One famous Adler was psychotherapist Alfred Adler, founder of individual psychology.
Like Anderson Cooper! The name just sounds strong and reliable.
Two prime examples of Carter: Sean Carter (Jay Z) and Jimmy Carter (the president). You can choose it if you’re into Hip Hop or adore the peanut farmer-turned-president. But, it’s cool if you just like the name. Carter has a preppy vibe.
Johnny Carson, anyone? Or, more obviously, Carson Daly. Both men were/are television hosts with strong, charismatic personalities.
Clinton is a name that sounds best with a southern accent, honestly. But, it can be perfect for a little Yankee fan, too. There are tons of famous Clintons, from Bill and Hillary Rodham to George Clinton (Funk musician) to Clinton Kelly, from What Not To Wear.
There’s something so stereotypically “boy” about the name Duncan. It’s not exactly popular, but it’s familiar enough that no one will accuse you of “trying too hard.” Famous Duncans? All we have is Duncan Sheik.
Easton is so close to “Eastwood” that we immediately think of cowboys when we see the name Easton. If you’re hoping to raise a little boot-wearing, horse-riding, fishing pole-toting baby boy this name might just give him the nudge.
“Fin” was an insanely popular nickname for boys in the early aughts. Parents found all kinds of ways to score that much sought after nickname. Finley was no exception. The trend has died down a bit now, which means your Fin could still end up being the only one in his class.
Graham is another fun, preppy option. It sounds like he’ll grow up to be a lawyer… or a television host, like Graham Norton.
Griffin isn’t just a last name. It’s also a mythical creature, sometimes spelled “gryphon.” Depending on how you spell it, you offer up a whole new perspective. Either spelling offers a sort of rugged feeling.
You could also spell this as “Hendricks.” Though, the “x” immediately summons thoughts of Jimi Hendrix. If you’re rockers, this is the perfect option.
Another great name for music lovers? Lennon. As in John Lennon, from The Beatles. When he’s old enough, you can take your precious punkin to John Lennon’s memorial in Central Park.
This name is such a blank slate. When paired with the right middle name, it can evoke all kind of vibes from preppy to rebellious. It’s a solid name with Anglo roots.
There are roughly a million Millers in the world. If your maiden name was Miller, you might have been ready to shake it off for your partner’s slightly less popular name. Now that you’re not just another Miller, you might want to consider using it for your little boy’s first name. It’s been done, but not so much that he’s going to be in a class full of them.
Graham Nash (musician) and Steve Nash (basketball player) are two examples of people with Nash as a last name. There’s also the fictional Nash Bridges who was a bit rugged, full of surprises and went on tons of adventure. Definitely worthy of consideration no matter what angle you come at the name.
Nerds will immediately think of Spider-Man’s real name: Peter Parker. If you were a giant Sex & The City fan, though, you probably thought of Sarah Jessica Parker. Whomever the name makes you think of, they both add a certain spunk to an otherwise straightforward name.
From William Penn to Penn Jillette, our world is full of Penns. Why we like it? It’s strong and simple, but short enough that it’s basically impossible to turn into a nickname.
Want to pay tribute to Mark Twain without using Mark, Twain, Samuel or Clemmons? Sawyer, after Tom Sawyer, might just be a fun option. Several years ago, everyone jumped on his best buddy Huckleberry Finn’s name as a way to capitalize on the “Fin” frenzy. Tom went mostly ignored, though. Maybe now is a good time to give him a little love in a slightly offbeat way.
What kind of kid do you picture when you say “Sullivan?” We see dirty feet and ruddy cheeks Sullivan could have easily been a member of the Weasley family. Plus, we love that it has the letter “v” in it, which is one of the less used letters of our alphabet.
As in Walker Texas Ranger. Need we say more?
One of the most popular last names in English-speaking countries, this last name was often tied to an occupation (think blacksmith) but has also been used as a first name for a boy in pop culture. SATC fans will recognize it immediately as the name of Smith Jerrod, Samantha Jones’ longtime beau in the latter seasons and films.
If you follow sports, reality TV, or both, you’ve probably heard this name in passing. A Celtic surname, Bowen means — ” son of Owen” — was chosen by Football Hall of Famer Drew Brees for his son’s first name. It’s also the last name of Alex Bowen, a 2016 contestant on the reality dating series Love Island. One of the many things to love about this name? You can call your kid “Bo.”
Brady comes from an Irish surname meaning “descendant of Brádach,” although some sources say it means “big-chested.” Either way, it manages to have both Old English appeal and modern flair. Plus, kids name Brady are apparently rather athletic — famous people named Brady include NFL’ers Brady Quinn and Brady Poppinga, and baseball player Brady Anderson.
What’s more classic than the last name of old honest Abe? Derived from the name of a city in England, it means “lake colony.” Bonus: It lends itself to one of the coolest nicknames ever — Linc.
Although this English name means “Will’s son,” it’s pretty perfect for just about anyone’s son. Or, if you’re Tom Hanks, a volleyball. All kidding aside, though, Wilson just sounds like the name of a kid everyone wants to hang out with, right?
You know what we really love about the name Gibbs as a first name for a little boy? You’re unlikely to hear 10 other kids answer to it on the playground. It’s super-unique, even if its meaning — “son of Gibb” — isn’t terribly exciting. And if you’re a fan of NCIS, this name is probably a no-brainer for you thanks to Mark Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs.