Origin: Old English
Looking for a name for your little cub? Try Bear. In Scandinavia, many boys are named Bjorn or “bear.” Alicia Silverstone named her son, Bear Blu, in 2011. Jamie Oliver named his son Buddy Bear Maurice in 2010. Notable namesakes include legendary football coach Bear Bryant and Man vs. Wild star Bear Grylls (whose real first name is Edward).
Hear the call of the wild with representatives from the animal kingdom such as Wolf, Tiger, Fox, Maverick, Colt, Fin, and Falcon. In 2012 Brandon Routh welcomed son, Leo, which means “lion.” Among mythological creatures, there are Phoenix, Griffin, and Draco, or “dragon.”
If you’re looking for an animal name that’s more conventional, try Gavin, which is ranked at #40 and means “little hawk.” Connor, or “lover of hounds,” is ranked at #59. Brock, which means “badger-like,” is ranked at #336.
Meaning: sea water
Kai is one of those elemental pure sounds that can mean “willow tree” in Navajo, “earth” in Scandinavian, or “triumphant” in Chinese. This top-200 name has many translations across languages and cultures, but its most popular American definition hails from Hawaii, where it signifies “big water,” “sea water” or “ocean water.”
Today, Kai is still making waves. Jennifer Connelly named her first son, Kai, in 1997. Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts named their second son, Samuel Kai, in 2008. Other refreshing water names include Ford, Ocean, Sea, Torrent, and River.
The last time Jasper was this popular was in 1919. Jasper is a variety of quartz that comes in many colors. The gemstone can be found in the Bible and is mentioned in Revelations. Currently ranked at #264, this rock steady name has the artistic cache of modernist painter Jasper Johns. It also comes with cool nicknames such as Jazz and Jazzie.
Other hard surfaces and building materials that make ready boys’ names include Clay, Rock, Rocky, Stone, Mica, and Flint.
Origin: Old French
Ranking: #749 (Forrest is ranked: #878)
Tree names can be towering and majestic. Many trees have deep roots and sheltering branches. Actor and director Forest Whitaker has brought distinction to this name, although the double-r spelling of Forrest is more popular. Joaquin Phoenix once performed as a child actor under the name Leaf.
Nearly all tree names are used for males, with the exception of Willow and Ashley. OutKast rapper and producer Big Boi had a son, Bamboo, in 2000. For your son, you might consider Cypress, Joshua, Birch, and Oak. Grover is a surname for someone who lives next to a grove.
After first making a splash in 1994, River has flowed steadily to the top 400 most popular baby names in the past five years. Actor River Phoenix (1970-1993) made the name famous. It’s also a favorite with celebrity parents. Keri Russell named her eldest son, River, in 2007. Taylor Hanson named one of his five children, River, in 2006.
The Spanish variant of River is Rio. Famous Rios in the world include the Rio Grande, which flows through Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas, and Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro. The popular 1982 Duran Duran song claims Rio for the girls, while sports figures such as Rio Ferdinand claim the name for boys. Jordan, a river in the Bible, was considered a sacred place of miracles. It is ranked at #54 for boys, and #222 for girls.
Origin: Old English
Meaning: small stream
Brooks is a surname for a dweller near a brook. While the name Brook has been declining in popularity for girls, the male Brooks has been gaining ground. Brooks & Dunn is a hugely popular country duo. Brooks Brothers is the oldest men’s clothier chain in America that introduced the first “ready to wear” suit. Abraham Lincoln was a customer.
Other “ready to wear” place names for your child include Graham (“gravelly place”), Clifford (“ford by a cliff”), Glen (“narrow valley”), and Gordon (“great hill”).
Thor is the Norse god of war and fertility. He is the god of thunder, lightning, and storms. He is the defender of mankind and he wields a hammer named Mjolnir, which literally means “that which smashes.” Thursday is “Thor’s Day.” This name was born again with the 2012 movie, The Avengers. The name has not visited the popularity charts since 1971.
If you feel inspired by the powerful elements of nature and thrilled by the weather report, consider Storm, Blizzard, Zephyr, Winter, or Gale.
More Names with Natural Meanings:
There are plenty of boys’ names with natural meanings and definitions, such as Hayden, which means “hay valley” in Old English and is ranked at #109. If you’re looking for more nature-themed names, try:
Craig (“crag” or “rocks”)
Clifford (“ford by a cliff”)
Gordon (“great hill”)