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The top 100 middle names for boys

When choosing a middle name for a son, many parents think about overall name rhythm.
Popular middle names for boys include Arthur, Fox, and Wilder.
Popular middle names for boys include Arthur, Fox, and Wilder.Praveenkumar Palanichamy / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Parents follow broad trends when choosing middle names for boys. Traditionally, the middle spot is reserved for a family name for boys; however, as naming a son after his father became less popular, sometimes a dad's name was used as a middle name. 

Today, both traditional and trendy middle names rank high for parents-to-be.

Popular middle names for boys

Pamela Redmond, baby name consultant and founder of Nameberry, told TODAY Parents that a boy’s middle name might also be the name of one — or both — of his grandfathers.

"Mom’s surname is also a contemporary choice as a middle name for boys," Redmond said, adding that word names, nature names and place names also have become more popular as middle names.

"The middle names might be a spot where you can get more adventurous than you do with the first name," Redmond said. "This is true especially for boys, who are still more likely to get one of the more traditional or popular boys’ names as a first name and so parents may feel like they can go a little wilder in second place."

Honor names for boys

Redmond shared that some parents might use the middle spot for an honor name for someone they admire outside the family.

"King, as in Dr. Martin Luther, or Lennon, for Beatle John, are two popular choices," she said.

Two middle names for boys

Redmond said another trend, especially with the spotlight on royal babies, is two middle names.

"For boys, these might be two honor names as in their two grandfathers, or they might be one honor name plus one that’s much more adventurous," she said. "As parents have fewer children, this is a way to wedge in more names you love."

One-syllable middle names for boys

Of course, middle names can still work as connective tissue between the first and the last names, which favors short one-syllable names.

Traditional choices like James, John and Lee are still used as middle names, but there are also new one-syllable favorites such as Blue, Rue and Ren.

Top 5 middle names for boys overall:

1. James

2. Alexander

3. Henry

4. Michael

5. William

Top 5 contemporary middle names for boys:

1. Arthur

2. Theodore

3. Fox

4. Frederick

5. Wilder

Top 100 middle names for boys

Redmond said many parents are interested in middle names in terms of the rhythm of the whole name and how to create a "pleasing" flow.

"In general, the best rhythm is an unequal number of syllables in each name, so if you have a two-syllable last name, you might go with a three-syllable first and one-syllable middle or vice versa," she explained. "The same number of syllables for each name is generally not recommended, though other considerations like family or meaning might be more important."

Here are the overall top middle names for boys, according to Nameberry.com:

  1. Kai
  2. Finn
  3. Jude
  4. Oscar
  5. Atlas
  6. James
  7. Henry
  8. Nico
  9. River
  10. Orion
  11. Rhys
  12. Thomas
  13. Alexander
  14. Louis
  15. Bodhi
  16. Jack
  17. Max
  18. Knox
  19. Xavier
  20. Danger
  21. Flynn
  22. Maverick
  23. Zephyr
  24. Seth
  25. Ash
  26. Wilder
  27. George
  28. William
  29. Hayes
  30. Lennox
  31. Cole
  32. Bear
  33. Tate
  34. Hunter
  35. Apollo
  36. Sage
  37. Ralph
  38. Anthony
  39. Nash
  40. Brooks
  41. Francis
  42. Onyx
  43. Wolf
  44. Fox
  45. Lawrence
  46. Ray
  47. Winston
  48. Leif
  49. Cash
  50. Grant
  51. John
  52. Edward
  53. Charles
  54. Mac
  55. Blaise
  56. Amadeus
  57. Crew
  58. Grey
  59. Easton
  60. Gray
  61. Sirius
  62. Reed
  63. Forest
  64. Hendrix
  65. Arden
  66. David
  67. Joseph
  68. Jay
  69. Bowie
  70. Christian
  71. Valentine
  72. Lennon
  73. Clay
  74. Paul
  75. Rye
  76. Kit
  77. Lane
  78. Cedar
  79. Ocean
  80. Ben
  81. Mark
  82. Raven
  83. Colt
  84. Sky
  85. Robert
  86. Aries
  87. Drew
  88. Sam
  89. Gage
  90. Nova
  91. Zen
  92. Beck
  93. Dash
  94. Huck
  95. Van
  96. Stone
  97. Jericho
  98. Cruz
  99. Art
  100. Ever

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