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100 Popular Middle Names

Updated
These common middle names sound great with anything!

Choosing a middle name for your child is no small feat. You want something that sounds great, is meaningful, and makes your little one’s name sound complete.

Because of this, many parents choose common middle names for their sons and daughters. Popular middle names are timeless, ensuring your baby’s name will be as elegant today as it is ten years from now.

Below, we list 100 of the best middle names for girls and boys over the past several decades. Although some of these middle names aren’t “trendy,” their beauty and strength will keep them relevant for years to come.


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100 Popular Middle Names for Boys and Girls

Keep reading to discover the cutest middle names for your 21st-century babe!

Adam

Adam is a religious choice on our list of middle names for boys, associated with the first man created by God in the Bible. This old-school classic has been in the U.S. top 500 names for boys since the late 1800s. It’s unlikely Adam will fall out of favor anytime soon.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Son of the red earth
  • Namesakes: Adam Sandler, an American actor, comedian, and film producer known for his roles in Happy Gilmore (1996), 50 First Dates (2004), and Grown Ups (2010).
  • Popularity: Adam is a popular choice for U.S. boys, ranked 104th in 2021.
Religious, Strong, Simple

Addison

Addison was initially an English surname. It became a popular girl’s name in modern times, given its similarity to adorable Madison. Addison’s religious undertones make this a sweet middle name for a girl of the Christian faith.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Son of Adam
  • Namesakes: Addison Emery Verrill, an American invertebrate zoologist, museum curator, and university professor.
  • Popularity: Addison is a top choice for U.S. girls, ranked 45th in 2021.
Cute, Popular

Alexander

Strong and bold, Alexander has been in the U.S.’s top 300 names for boys since 1900. This beloved classic is associated with several historical powerhouses, such as Alexander Hamilton and Alexander the Great. Choosing Alexander as a middle name could give your son a sense of power and authority.

  • Origin: Greek, Latin
  • Meaning: Defending men
  • Namesakes: Alexander the Great, an ancient Greecian king who created one of the largest empires in history.
  • Popularity: Alexander is very popular for U.S. boys, ranked 13th in 2021.
Traditional, Strong, Popular

Alice

Alice was one of the most common names in England from the 12th to 15th-centuries. It has a playful, whimsical quality, given its association with the young girl who falls through a rabbit hole in the famous book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Alice could be a perfect middle name for a girl who’s anything but ordinary.

  • Origin: French, Germanic
  • Meaning: Noble type
  • Namesakes: Alice Sophia Eve, a British actress known for her roles in She’s Out of My League, Men in Black 3, and Before We Go.
  • Popularity: Alice was the 64th most popular name for U.S. girls in 2021.
Whimsical, Cute

Allen

Allen is a long-standing favorite for Americans, ranked in the top 1,000 boy names since the 1880s. Allen is also a popular middle name, with famous bearers like singer Robert Allen Zimmerman (AKA Bob Dylan) and Modern Family actor Eric Allen Stonestreet. Allen is simple yet strong, making it the perfect middle name to balance out more creative first names.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Little rock, handsome
  • Variations: Allan, Alan
  • Namesakes: Allen Ezail Iverson, an American former professional basketball player who played 14 seasons in the National Basketball Association.
  • Popularity: Allen was the 529th most popular name for U.S. boys in 2021.
Traditional, Simple, Elegant

Amy

Amy is typical for American girls, ranked in the U.S. top 500 since 1900. Although the name is a bit generic, it’s also classic. Amy could be a safe bet if you enjoy traditional middle names that are beloved by all.

  • Origin: English, French
  • Meaning: Beloved
  • Variations: Aimee
  • Namesakes: Amy Jade Winehouse, an English singer, and songwriter known for her deep, soulful vocals.
  • Popularity: Amy was a top 10 girl’s name in the U.S. from 1969 to 1982.
Cute, Simple

Ann

Ann is an old-school girl’s name prevalent in the U.S. from 1900 to 1970. In the 2020s, it has been replaced by more popular names like Anna and Hannah. As a middle name, Ann’s simplicity ensures it’ll sound great with everything.

  • Origin: English, Manx
  • Meaning: Grace, favor
  • Variations: Anne, Anna
  • Namesakes: Cyndi Ann Lauper, an American singer and songwriter known for her hit songs Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Time After Time, and All Through the Night.
  • Popularity: Ann left the U.S. top 1,000 names for girls in 2019.
Common, Traditional, Simple

Anthony

Anthony comes from the Roman family name Antonius, which is of unknown origin. This ancient name has taken off globally, previously ranked in 14 countries. A few prominent bearers include Roman general Mark Antony, Christian monk Saint Anthony the Great, and Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins. This could be a powerful middle name choice for your future world-changer.

  • Origin: Roman
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Variations: Antony
  • Namesakes: Anthony Michael Bourdain, an American celebrity chef, author, and travel documentarian.
  • Popularity: Anthony has been in the U.S. top 100 names for boys since the early 1800s.
Traditional, Common

Avery

Avery was initially an English surname, derived from the Germanic Alberich (elf ruler) or Old English Alfred (elf counsel). This lovely name is trendy for American girls, ranked in the top 20 since 2011. Avery is bold and whimsical, making it an exciting middle name option for your tiny elf!

  • Origin: English, French
  • Meaning: Elf ruler, elf counsel
  • Variations: Averie
  • Namesakes: Avery Brundage, an American sports administrator who was the fifth president of the International Olympic Committee from 1952 to 1972.
  • Popularity: Avery is more popular for U.S. girls than boys, ranked 19th in 2021.
Cool, Popular

Belle

You’d be hard-pressed to find a name more lovely than Belle, synonymous with the French word for “beautiful.” Belle’s feminine beauty makes it an elegant middle name option for your little flower. The name’s association with the bookish Disney princess adds to its girliness.

  • Origin: Hebrew, French
  • Meaning: My God is my oath, beautiful
  • Variations: Bella
  • Namesakes: Belle Baker, an American singer, and actress who was popular in the 1910s and 1920s.
  • Popularity: Belle left the U.S. top 1,000 names for girls in 2020.
Elegant, Cute, Charming
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Bradley

Bradley was previously an Old English surname, first used as a given name in the mid-1900s. This charming title was ranked in the top 100 names for American boys in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, before cooling off a bit. As a middle name, Bradley is just getting started.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Broad clearing
  • Variations: Bradlee
  • Namesakes: Bradley Cooper, an American actor, and filmmaker who has won the British Academy Film Award and two Grammy Awards.
  • Popularity: Bradley was the 313th most popular name for U.S. boys in 2021.
Cool, Cute, Popular

Brian

Brian ranked in the top 50 names for American boys from 1954 to 2001. In the 2020s, the name’s a bit outdated. Middle names for boys tend to be less original than first names. So, Brian could be a solid option if you want something cute but generic.

  • Origin: Celtic
  • Meaning: High, power
  • Variations: Bryan
  • Namesakes: Brian Douglas Wilson, an American musician, singer, and songwriter who co-founded the Beach Boys.
  • Popularity: Brian was ranked 288th for U.S. boys in 2021.
Charming, Common

Brooke

Brooke is relatively modern, first becoming popular in the 1950s. It has many beautiful bearers, including American socialite Brooke Astor and Blue Lagoon actress Brooke Shields. Brooke’s similarity to Brook (a small stream) could appeal to nature enthusiasts.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Brook
  • Variations: Brook
  • Namesakes: Brooke Shields, an American actress, and model known for her roles in The Blue Lagoon (1980) and Endless Love (1981).
  • Popularity: Brooke was the 259th most popular name for U.S. girls in 2021.
Natural, Cute, Modern

Cameron

Cameron is derived from the Gaelic “cam” (crooked) and “sron” (nose). The name was popular among girls in the 90s, inspired by American actress Cameron Diaz. Cameron is now more prevalent for boys, making this the perfect middle name for gender-neutral name enthusiasts.

  • Origin: Gaelic, English
  • Meaning: Crooked nose
  • Variations: Camron, Camryn, Kameron, Kamryn
  • Namesakes: Cameron Michelle Diaz, an American actress who was the highest-paid Hollywood actress over 40 in 2013.
  • Popularity: Cameron is more popular for U.S. boys than girls, ranked 62nd in 2021.
Cool, Popular

Caroline

Elegant and tasteful, Caroline is the French feminine form of Carolus – the Latin form of Charles (man). Caroline is a favorite in the U.S., ranked in the top 500 girl names since 1880. If you’re searching for popular middle names that are universally beloved, Caroline could be a keeper.

  • Origin: French, Germanic
  • Meaning: Man, warrior
  • Variations: Carlyn, Carolyn, Karolyn, Carolina
  • Namesakes: Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach, a Queen of Great Britain and Ireland as the wife of King George II.
  • Popularity: Caroline was ranked 81st for U.S. girls in 2021.
Elegant

Carter

Carter has evolved from an Old English surname into one of the trendiest middle names for boys, ranked highly since the early 2000s. This is the surname of prominent rapper Lil Wayne, making it a cool middle name option for music enthusiasts.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: One who uses a cart
  • Variations: Karter
  • Namesakes: Carter Godwin Woodson, an American historian, author, journalist, and founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.
  • Popularity: Carter’s popularity for U.S. boys has skyrocketed since the 1980s, ranked 39th in 2021.
Cool

Catherine

Catherine is the French version of Katherine. It’s also used heavily in English-speaking countries like the United States. This is one of the most popular middle names for girls, with famous bearers like American actresses Claire Catherine Danes and Shelley Catherine Hennig. Your friends and family are bound to love this timeless classic.

  • Origin: Greek, English, French
  • Meaning: Pure, each of the two
  • Variations: Catharine, Catherine, Cathryn, Katharyn, Katheryn, Kathryn, Catherin, Catherina, Katharine, Katherina, Katheryne, Katrina
  • Namesakes: Catherine Ann Keener, an American actress who was nominated twice for the Academy Award for her roles in Being John Malkovich (1999) and Capote (2005).
  • Popularity: Catherine received its lowest rating ever of 158th in 2021.
Elegant, Traditional

Charles

Charles is a powerful choice among our middle names for boys, associated with several rulers of England, Sweden, and France. It has been in the U.S. top 50 since the late 1800s. If you’re looking for a timeless middle name that’s fit for a king, Charles could be calling your name.

  • Origin: English, French, Germanic
  • Meaning: Man, warrior
  • Namesakes: Charles Darwin, an English naturalist, geologist, and biologist, known for contributing to the understanding of evolutionary biology.
  • Popularity: Charles was the 50th most popular name for U.S. boys in 2021.
Traditional, Elegant

Christopher

Christopher is a religious option on our list of common middle names, derived from the Greek “Christos” (Christ) combined with “phero” (to bear, to carry). This was initially a metaphorical name for a Christian who always held Christ in his heart. This could be an excellent option if you raise your son in the Christian faith.

  • Origin: Greek, English
  • Meaning: Bearing Christ
  • Pronunciation: KRIS-tah-fer
  • Variations: Kristopher
  • Namesakes: Christopher Walken, a prominent American actor known for his roles in Biloxi Blues (1988), Pulp Fiction (1994), Hairspray (2007), and A Late Quartet (2012).
  • Popularity: Christopher was the 2nd most popular name for U.S. boys from 1979 to 1994.
Strong, Traditional, Religious

Claire

Claire is the elegant French form of Clara – derived from the Late Latin “clarus” (clear, bright, famous). Claire peaked for American girls in 2014 and has remained popular ever since. This is among the best middle names for parents who want something feminine and refined.

  • Origin: French
  • Meaning: Bright
  • Variations: Clare, Klara
  • Namesakes: Claire Danes, an American actress and recipient of three Primetime Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
  • Popularity: Claire was ranked 102nd for U.S. girls in 2021.
Elegant, Beautiful
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Cole

Cole was originally an English surname before becoming a popular given name in the early 1980s. Although Cole is basic, it sounds great with everything. This could be a great middle name option for a little guy with a complex first name or surname.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Victory of the people
  • Variations: Kole
  • Namesakes: Cole Albert Porter, an American composer, and songwriter known for his hit songs Night and Day, Begin the Beguine, and I get a Kick Out of You.
  • Popularity: Cole’s highest ranking for U.S. boys was 67th in 2021.
Cool

Cooper

Cooper was originally an occupational surname derived from the Middle English “couper” (barrel maker). The name skyrocketed in the mid-2000s, often attributed to American actor Bradley Cooper. Cooper is very “hip and now,” making it a perfect middle name option for your future trendsetter.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Barrel maker
  • Namesakes: Cooper Cronk, an Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 2000s and 2010s.
  • Popularity: Cooper’s popularity has risen for U.S. boys since the 1980s, ranked 67th in 2021.
Youthful, Charming, Popular

Daniel

Daniel is an Old Testament name associated with a Hebrew prophet who had many prophetic dreams. Daniel is well-liked, with millions of bearers across the globe. If you want a classic middle name with biblical ties, Daniel could be a strong contender.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: God is my judge
  • Namesakes: Daniel Defoe, an English writer, trader, journalist, and spy, most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe.
  • Popularity: Daniel has been in the U.S. top 50 names for boys since 1921.
Strong, Traditional, Religious

David

David is a classic choice on our list of middle names for boys, associated with the biblical hero who fought against the giant Goliath. Pairing David with a less-traditional first name could be an excellent way to celebrate the old and the new.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Beloved, uncle
  • Namesakes: David Hume, a Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, and economist.
  • Popularity: David has been in the U.S. top 50 names for boys since 1880.
Cute, Traditional, Religious

Dawn

Dawn is one of the best middle names for nature lovers, associated with the early morning hours before the sun rises. This picturesque name received its highest rating for American girls of 14th in 1971. Although Dawn isn’t as prevalent as it once was, its exotic beauty will never truly go out of style.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Dawn
  • Namesakes: Dawn Elberta Wells, an American actress known for her role as Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan’s Island.
  • Popularity: Dawn left the top 1,000 names for U.S. girls in 2000.
Natural, Whimsical

Edward

Handsome and refined, Edward is derived from the Old English “ead” (wealth, fortune) combined with “weard” (guard). This elegant pick is associated with several monarchs, including Edward the Elder, King Edward I of England, and King Edward of Portugal. Choosing this middle name for your son could make him feel like royalty from birth.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Rich guard
  • Namesakes: Sir Edward William Elgar, an English composer whose best-known orchestral works were the Enigma Variations and the Pomp and Circumstance Marches.
  • Popularity: Edward was the 217th most popular name for U.S. boys in 2021.
Elegant, Traditional

Elliot

This bold and exciting boys’ name is on the rise, increasing in popularity every year since 2010. We predict Elliot will make the U.S. top 50 by the end of the 2020s. Choosing Elliot as a middle name for your son now ensures you’ll be ahead of the naming trends.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: My God is Yahweh
  • Pronunciation: EHL-ee-aht
  • Variations: Elliott
  • Namesakes: Elliot Lee Richardson, an American lawyer and public servant who was a cabinet member of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
  • Popularity: Elliot was ranked 160th for U.S. boys in 2021.
Cute, Charming

Eugene

Eugene is a lovable, geeky name associated with the goofy nerd in Grease and Grease 2. Nowadays, being a self-proclaimed “nerd” is pretty cool. If you’re a family of super-intelligent tech geeks or fantasy lovers, choosing Eugene for your son’s middle name celebrates what makes you unique.

  • Origin: English, Greek
  • Meaning: Wellborn
  • Pronunciation: YOO-jeen
  • Namesakes: Eugene Gladstone O’Neill, an American playwright and Nobel laureate in literature.
  • Popularity: Eugene was ranked 845th for U.S. boys in 2021.
Traditional, Old-fashioned

Faith

Faith is a virtuous pick among our adorable middle names for girls, derived from the Latin “fidere” (to trust). This was a popular choice among 17th-century Christians, who often named their children after traits they’d like them to exhibit. Faith could be a sweet middle name if you want your girl to have “faith” in a power greater than herself.

  • Origin: English, Latin
  • Meaning: To trust
  • Namesakes: Audrey Faith McGraw, known professionally as Faith Hill, an American country singer who has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide.
  • Popularity: Faith was ranked 169th for U.S. girls in 2021.
Cute, Youthful

Faye

Faye is a vintage middle name derived from the Middle English “faie” (fairy). It was prominent for girls in the early 20th-century. Faye is slowly rising in the ranks in the 2020s, and we predict it’ll be a favorite in the next five years. Add it to your daughter’s name before it’s too popular!

  • Origin: English, Latin
  • Meaning: Fairy
  • Pronunciation: FAY
  • Variations: Fay, Fae
  • Namesakes: Faye Wong, a Hong Kong singer-songwriter and actress, often referred to as the “Diva of Asia.”
  • Popularity: Faye left the U.S. charts in 1979 but reentered the top 1,000 in 2014.
Old-fashioned, Whimsical, Cool

Florence

Florence was a big hit in the early 1900s, making it one of the best middle names for vintage name enthusiasts. Vintage names are super fashionable, so Florence could also appeal to those who love following the latest naming trends.

  • Origin: Latin, English, French
  • Meaning: Prosperous, flourishing
  • Namesakes: Florence Nightingale, an English social reformer, statistician, and founder of modern nursing.
  • Popularity: Florence’s popularity is rising, ranked 713th in 2021.
Elegant, Old-fashioned, Beautiful

Grace

Want your daughter to be as graceful as a swan? Then, consider Grace, favored among Americans, British, and other English-speaking peoples since the end of the 19th-century. Grace flows nicely with nearly every first name, making it a great middle name option if you want something generic yet beautiful.

  • Origin: Latin, English
  • Meaning: Grace
  • Namesakes: Grace Patricia Kelly, an American actress who, after starring in several films in the 1950s, became Princess of Monaco.
  • Popularity: Grace was the 34th most popular name for U.S. girls in 2021.
Cute, Charming, Youthful

Graham

Graham hails from Scotland, initially used as a surname during the 12th-century. Alexander Graham Bell, the telephone inventor, is the most famous middle name bearer. Graham is very trendy in the 2020s, making this one of the most popular middle names on our list.

  • Origin: Scottish, English
  • Meaning: Gravelly homestead
  • Namesakes: Graham William Walker, better known by his stage name Graham Norton, an Irish actor, author, and comedian.
  • Popularity: Graham was ranked 161st for U.S. boys in 2021.
Classic, Strong, Youthful

Gregory

Gregory is a great middle name for Christians, born by several early saints. It’s derived from the Late Greek “gregoros” (watchful, alert), giving it a cautious air. Vintage names like Gregory are rising in popularity, so it may become a hit in the next few years.

  • Origin: English, Latin, Greek
  • Meaning: Watchful
  • Namesakes: Eldred Gregory Peck, an American actor and popular film star from the 1940s to the 1970s.
  • Popularity: Gregory was most popular in the U.S. from 1947 to 1991.
Traditional, Old-fashioned, Elegant

Grey

Grey is a variation of “gray,” originally chosen for someone with gray hair, features, or clothing. Grey is elegant but also edgy, making it a badass middle name option for a little girl or boy.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Gray
  • Variations: Gray
  • Namesakes: Grey DeLisle, an American voice actress, comedian, and singer-songwriter known for her roles in animated productions and video games.
  • Popularity: Grey is more popular for U.S. boys, ranked 715th in 2021.
Modern, Cool

Harlow

Harlow was initially a place name derived from the Old English “haer” (rock) or “here” (army) combined with “hlaw” (hill). Although technically unisex, it’s far more popular for females, with 1263 American girls receiving the name in 2021. Harlow was chosen by American TV personality Nichole Richie for her daughter. It could be a cool celebrity-worthy middle name for your future star.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Army hill, rock hill
  • Pronunciation: HAHR-lo
  • Namesakes: Harlow Herbert Curtice, an American automotive industry executive who led General Motors from 1953 to 1958.
  • Popularity: Harlow is more popular for U.S. girls, ranked 238th in 2021.
Cool, Old-fashioned, Popular

Harper

Pleasant and melodic, Harper was originally a surname for a person who made harps. Today, the name’s favored for girls, likely inspired by To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee. Harper is lovely enough to work as a first or middle name for your future music maker.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Harp maker
  • Namesakes: Nelle Harper Lee, an American novelist best known for her 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • Popularity: Harper is very popular among U.S. girls, ranked 10th in 2021.
Old-fashioned, Elegant, Popular

Hudson

Hudson is a stylish choice for American and British boys, rising in popularity since the early 2000s. The name has an adventurous past, born by prominent English explorer Henry Hudson after whom the Hudson River was named. Choosing Hudson for your son’s middle name could destine him for a life full of adventure.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Son of Hudde
  • Popularity: Hudson was the 34th most popular name for U.S. boys in 2021.
Cool, Strong, Popular

Hunter

Hunter was originally an occupational surname for someone who hunted animals. The name’s steadily risen in popularity for American boys since the 1970s. Hunter is also on the rise for American girls, ranked 816th in 2021. Hunter could be a bold and adventurous middle name option for a baby of either gender.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Hunter
  • Namesakes: Hunter Doherty “Patch” Adams, an American physician, comedian, social activist, and clown who founded the Gesundheit! Institute in 1971.
  • Popularity: Hunter was ranked 86th for U.S. boys in 2021.
Cool, Strong

Isabella

Beautiful and timeless, Isabella is very popular across the globe. Celebrity middle name bearers are plentiful, including British actress Lenora Isabella Crichlow and American actress Zoë Isabella Kravitz. Isabella’s melodic cadence will make your daughter’s name sound as lovely as a song.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: My God is an oath
  • Variations: Isabel, Isabelle
  • Namesakes: Isabella Rossellini, an Italian actress, author, and model.
  • Popularity: Isabella ranked the 7th most popular name for U.S. girls in 2021.
Beautiful, Elegant, Whimsical

Jack

Jack is simple yet endearing, appealing to parents looking for middle names that aren’t overly complex. Its association with the fairytales Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack Sprat, and Little Jack Horner give it a childish air. Jack could pair nicely with a more mature first name like Theodore or Gregory.

  • Origin: English, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Namesakes: Jack Nicholson, an American actor, and filmmaker widely regarded as one of the greatest actors of the 20th-century.
  • Popularity: Jack is very popular with U.S. boys, ranked 11th in 2021.
Simple, Cute, Charming

James

James is a biblical name associated with two apostles in the New Testament. It was one of the most prevalent male names in the U.S. during the 20th-century. James is basic and traditional, appealing to those who want a standard middle name that isn’t flashy.

  • Origin: English, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Supplanter
  • Variations: Jaymes
  • Namesakes: James Edward Franco, an American actor and filmmaker known for his roles in 127 Hours (2010), Eat, Pray, Love (2010), and The Disaster Artist (2017).
  • Popularity: James is a longstanding favorite in the U.S., ranked in the top 10 since 1880.
Religious, Traditional, Strong

Jane

Jane is the generic feminine form of John and has been popular in the English-speaking world since the 16th-century. Jane could appeal to those who want a classic middle name that’ll stand the test of time.

  • Origin: English, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Variations: Jayne
  • Namesakes: Jane Seymour Fonda, an American actress, activist, and former fashion model.
  • Popularity: Jane is a common name for U.S. girls, ranked 265th in 2021.
Simple, Cute

Jean

Jean was originally a Medieval English variation of Jehanne. It’s typically chosen for girls in America and England and boys in France. Jean’s old-timey sound could add vintage charm to your little one’s name.

  • Origin: English, French, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Pronunciation: GEEN, ZHAHN
  • Namesakes: Jean Harlow, a leading American actress in the early 1930s.
  • Popularity: Jean left the U.S.’s top 1,000 girl names in 1994 and boy names in 2011.
Old-fashioned, Elegant

John

John has been prevalent in English-speaking countries since the 1500s. Although John’s a bit basic, it’s also well-liked, making it a safe choice if you want a middle name the majority of your friends and family will approve of.

  • Origin: English, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Variations: Jon
  • Namesakes: John Fitzgerald Kennedy, often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th president of the United States.
  • Popularity: John has remained in the top 50 names for U.S. boys since 1880.
Simple, Traditional, Religious

Jude

Jude is a variation of Judas – a New Testament name associated with an apostle of Jesus. It has ranked in the U.S. top 1,000 since 1954. Jude sounds hip and fresh despite its old-timey origins, making it a stylish middle name option for your 21st-century babe.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Jewish woman, praise
  • Namesakes: Jude Law, an English actor known for his roles in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Enemy at the Gates (2001), and Road to Perdition (2002).
  • Popularity: Jude was the 150th most popular name for boys in 2021.
Popular, Cool

June

June is the name of a month derived from Juno – the Roman goddess of marriage and women. If you’re looking for a middle name that’s youthful, lively, and fresh, June could be the one.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Young
  • Namesakes: June Carter Cash, an American singer, songwriter, and dancer who was a five-time Grammy award-winner.
  • Popularity: June’s popularity is rising in the U.S., ranked 175th in 2021.
Youthful, Whimsical, Natural

Kate

Kate is a classic short form of Katherine, often used independently. It’s been popular for American and British girls since the mid-1900s. Beautiful bearers aren’t hard to come by, including English actress Kate Winslet and American actress Kate Hudson. Adding Kate to your daughter’s name could make her as beautiful and talented as her predecessors.

  • Origin: English, Greek
  • Meaning: Pure
  • Namesakes: Kate Elizabeth Winslet, an English actress known for portraying headstrong and complicated women in several period pieces.
  • Popularity: Kate was ranked 413th for U.S. girls in 2021.
Cute, Youthful, Classic

Kay

Kay is a short form of Katherine and other girls’ names beginning with “K.” It could be a great middle name option if you want something basic that’ll allow your daughter’s first name to shine.

  • Origin: English, Frisian, German
  • Meaning: Pure, warrior
  • Variations: Kai
  • Namesakes: Kay Bailey Hutchison, an American attorney, politician, and diplomat who was the 22nd United States Permanent Representative to NATO from 2017 until 2021.
  • Popularity: Kay left the U.S.’s top 1,000 names for girls in 1984.
Simple, Cute

Kennedy

Kennedy is a powerful name, often given in honor of American president John F. Kennedy. Its popularity for girls was inspired by Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, who hosted MTV’s program Alternative Nation throughout the 1990s. It could be the perfect middle name for a future world leader.

  • Origin: English, Irish
  • Meaning: Armored head
  • Namesakes: Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, referred to as Kennedy, an American libertarian political commentator.
  • Popularity: Kennedy is more popular for U.S. girls, ranked 70th in 2021.
Cool, Popular, Modern

Laurence

Laurence is an old-timey name most popular for U.S. boys in the mid-1900s. It was a popular girl’s name in France in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, comparable to the English Florence. Although Laurence is old, it’s also strong and refined, making it a powerful addition to your little one’s name.

  • Origin: English, Roman, French
  • Meaning: From Laurentum
  • Variations: Lawrence
  • Namesakes: Laurence John Fishburne III, an American actor who has won three Emmy Awards and a Tony Award.
  • Popularity: Laurence left the U.S. top 1,000 in 1995.
Strong, Traditional, Old-fashioned

Lee

Lee has been among the most common middle names for boys and girls since the late 1800s. This isn’t surprising since it’s one of those names that goes with anything! Lee is simple, vibrant, and cheerful, making it a happy addition to your child’s name.

  • Origin: English, Chinese
  • Meaning: Clearing, reason
  • Variations: Leigh
  • Namesakes: Lee de Forest, an American inventor and early pioneer in electronics.
  • Popularity: Lee was ranked 698th for U.S. boys in 2021.
Cute, Simple, Youthful

Leigh

Leigh is a variation of the surname Lee. Leigh’s ending makes it sound slightly more feminine than its gender-neutral counterpart. Although Leigh isn’t a popular first name, its simplicity gives it great middle name potential.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Clearing
  • Pronunciation: LEE
  • Variations: Lee
  • Namesakes: Leigh Raymond Matthews, a former Australian soccer player, and coach for Collingwood and the Brisbane Lions.
  • Popularity: Leigh is more popular among U.S. girls, receiving its highest ranking of 201st in 1969.
Elegant, Youthful

Leo

Are you searching for a middle name as powerful and bold as a lion? Then, you can’t go wrong with Leo, the Latin word for “lion,” and the name of the lion-shaped constellation in the Northern sky. Leo could be a great middle name for animal lovers, space enthusiasts, or fans of Leonardo DiCaprio.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Lion
  • Namesakes: Leo Tolstoy, a Russian writer regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time.
  • Popularity: Leo was ranked 31st for U.S. boys in 2021.
Cool, Simple, Popular

Lily

The lily is a beautiful white flower symbolizing purity, innocence, and rebirth. This lovely flower name took off for American girls in the 1980s and has since risen in popularity. Lily is among the best middle names if you want something inspired by nature.

  • Origin: English, Latin
  • Meaning: Lily flower
  • Variations: Lilian, Liliana, Lilianna, Lillia, Lillian, Lilliana, Lillie, Lilly
  • Namesakes: Mary Jean “Lily” Tomlin, an American actress, comedian, writer, singer, and producer.
  • Popularity: Lily’s popularity is rising, ranked 31st for U.S. girls in 2021.
Elegant, Natural

Lou

Lou is a short form of Louise of Louis. This old-timey name was popular in the early 20th-century, with bearers like musician Lou Reed and baseball player Lou Gehrig. Lou could be the perfect middle name for an old soul.

  • Origin: English, French
  • Meaning: Famous battle
  • Pronunciation: LOO
  • Namesakes: Lou Gehrig, an American professional baseball player who played 17 seasons for the New York Yankees from 1923 to 1939.
  • Popularity: Lou fell out of the top 1,000 names for U.S. girls in 1971.
Classic, Old-fashioned, Simple

Louise

Louise is the French feminine form of Louis. This adorable name fell out of the U.S. top 1,000 in 1991 but was reentered in 2016. It’s rapidly increased in popularity ever since. We predict Louise will be a big hit in the next five years. So, choosing it as a middle name could keep you ahead of the naming trends.

  • Origin: French
  • Meaning: Famous battle
  • Pronunciation: LWEEZ, loo-EEZ
  • Variations: Louisa
  • Namesakes: Estelle Louise Fletcher, an American actress best known for her role as the antagonist Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975).
  • Popularity: Louise was ranked 643rd for U.S. girls in 2021.
Cute, Youthful, Old-fashioned

Lynn

Lynn was initially an English surname derived from the Welsh “lynn” (lake, waterfall, pond). Initially, it was a common first name for boys in the 1800s. Today, it’s more often used as a middle name or a suffix for female first names, such as Kaitlynn, Madalynn, or Emmalynn.

  • Origin: English, Welsh
  • Meaning: Lake
  • Variations: Lindy, Linnie, Lyn, Lynne, Lyndi, Lynna
  • Namesakes: Lynn Margulis, an American evolutionary biologist who advocated for the significance of symbiosis in evolution.
  • Popularity: Lynn was a popular name for U.S. girls in the 50s and 60s.
Simple, Old-fashioned, Cute

Mackenzie

Mackenzie is an adorable choice on our list of common middle names, initially used as a Scottish surname. In the 2020s, the name’s more popular for boys in Scotland and girls in the United States. Mackenzie’s warm and cheerful sound makes it a happy middle name for a baby of either gender.

  • Origin: English, Scottish
  • Meaning: Handsome, fair
  • Variations: Makenzie, McKenzie
  • Namesakes: Sir Mackenzie Bowell, a Canadian newspaper publisher, and politician who served as the fifth prime minister of Canada.
  • Popularity: Mackenzie is more popular for girls in the U.S., ranked 123rd in 2021.
Charming, Youthful, Modern

Mae

Mae is a variation of May that was popular in the early 1900s. Vintage girl names are all the rage, causing Mae’s popularity to skyrocket in the 2020s. Mae is simple and elegant, elevating your daughter’s name to new heights.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: May
  • Variations: May
  • Namesakes: Mae West, an American stage and film actress, playwright, screenwriter, and singer whose career spanned over seven decades.
  • Popularity: Mae’s popularity is rising in the U.S., ranked 504th in 2021.
Cute, Simple, Old-fashioned

Marie

Marie is a common middle name for girls, born by American singer Selena Marie Gomez, American lawyer Megyn Marie Kelly, and Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna Marie White. Marie could be the perfect middle name for those who want something basic yet elegant.

  • Origin: French, Czech, Latin, Greek
  • Meaning: Beloved
  • Variations: Maria, Mary, Mari
  • Namesakes: Marie Osmond, an American singer, actress, author, and philanthropist who is a member of the show business family The Osmonds.
  • Popularity: Marie was ranked 598th for U.S. girls in 2021.
Beautiful, Traditional, Classic

Mary

Mary was the mother of Jesus in the Bible. Because of this, the name is prevalent throughout the Christian world. Mary is among the best middle names for girls in faith-filled families.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Beloved
  • Variations: Marie, Maria, Mari
  • Namesakes: Mary Steenburgen, an American actress known for her roles in Time After Time (1979), What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), Elf (2003), and The Help (2011).
  • Popularity: Mary was ranked 133rd for U.S. girls in 2021.
Religious, Simple, Traditional

Mason

Boy’s names ending in “son” are trendy, with Jackson, Emerson, and Hudson all ranked in the U.S. top 1,000 in 2021. Mason is no exception, ranked highly among Americans since the 1980s. This could be an excellent middle name for a little guy who loves to build new things.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Stoneworker
  • Namesakes: Mason Adams, an American character actor and voiceover artist from the late 1940s to the 1990s.
  • Popularity: Mason is a popular choice for U.S. boys, ranked 18th in 2021.
Cool, Popular

Max

Max is a short form of Maximilian or Maxwell also used independently. It was traditionally a boys’ name but has seen more female bearers recently, possibly inspired by Max Mayfield from Stranger Things. Max could be a short yet badass middle name for your little rebel in the making.

  • Origin: English, Roman
  • Meaning: Greatest
  • Namesakes: Max von Sydow, a Swedish-French actor in European and American movies, television, and theater.
  • Popularity: Max was ranked 159th for U.S. boys in 2021.
Cool, Simple

Michael

Michael is a powerful middle name for boys, associated with a biblical archangel standing guard over Israel. In 2021, it was ranked highly in England, Australia, Scotland, the U.S., and many other countries. Michael is beloved, ensuring it won’t go out of fashion in your lifetime (or your son’s).

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Who is like God
  • Pronunciation: MIE-kal, MEE-kal
  • Variations: Mikael, Micheal
  • Namesakes: Michael Jackson, an American singer, songwriter, and dancer regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th-century.
  • Popularity: Michael was the 17th most popular name for U.S. boys in 2021.
Traditional, Classic, Popular

Michelle

Michelle is the feminine form of Michel – the French version of Michael. Although its popularity has declined recently, it’s stayed relevant thanks to first lady Michelle Obama. Michelle is a classy middle name option for your future world changer.

  • Origin: French
  • Meaning: Who is like God
  • Variations: Michele
  • Namesakes: Michelle Obama, an American attorney, and author who served as the first lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017.
  • Popularity: Michelle was most popular among U.S. girls in the 1960s and 70s.
Elegant, Beautiful

Morgan

Morgan hails from Wales, derived from the Old Welsh “mor” (sea) combined with “cant” (circle). This traditionally masculine name skyrocketed for American girls in the mid-2000s, declining in popularity since. It may take time for Morgan to reestablish its first name popularity. But Morgan is still an excellent middle name option – especially for a baby born by the sea.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Sea circle
  • Namesakes: Morgan Freeman, an American actor, director, and narrator known for his distinctive deep voice.
  • Popularity: Morgan was ranked 205th for U.S. girls and 612th for U.S. boys in 2021.
Charming, Cool, Cute

Nicole

Nicole is the French feminine form of Nicholas, prevalent in the U.S. since the 1940s. While Nicole isn’t as exciting as newer French exports like Adelina or Clémentine, it’s a classic. We predict it’ll remain among the most popular middle names for girls in the 2020s.

  • Origin: French
  • Meaning: Victory of the people
  • Pronunciation: ni-KOL, NEE-KAWL
  • Variations: Nichole, Nikole
  • Namesakes: Nicole Mary Kidman, an American-Australian actress and producer who is one of the world’s highest-paid actresses.
  • Popularity: Nicole was ranked 340th for U.S. girls in 2021.
Elegant, Classic

Nolan

This stylish boy’s name hails from Ireland, derived from the medieval given name Nuallán. It’s steadily climbed in U.S. popularity since the 1970s, making its way into the top 100 boys’ names in 2011. Nolan could be a great middle name option if you enjoy following the latest trends.

  • Origin: Irish, English
  • Meaning: Famous, loud
  • Namesakes: Lynn Nolan Ryan Jr., nicknamed “the Ryan Express,” an American former professional baseball pitcher.
  • Popularity: Nolan was the 60th most popular name for U.S. boys in 2021.
Cool, Popular, Strong

Oliver

Oliver is very fashionable, topping the charts for American, British, Irish, and Australian boys in 2021. The name’s association with Charles Dickens’s beloved orphan character, Oliver Twist, adds to its charm. Oliver’s could be a great middle name option – especially if you think it’s too overused to earn your son’s first name slot.

  • Origin: English, French, Germanic
  • Meaning: Elf warrior
  • Namesakes: Oliver Cromwell, an English soldier regarded as one of the most important statesmen in English history.
  • Popularity: Oliver is a top pick for U.S. boys, ranked 3rd in 2021.
Popular, Cute, Charming

Parker

Parker was initially an occupational surname for someone who up kept a park. Today, it’s a trendy unisex name, with 3823 boys and 2406 girls receiving the title in 2021. Marvel fans will appreciate the connection to Spiderman (AKA Peter Parker).

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Keeper of the park
  • Namesakes: Parker Gispert, the lead singer of the garage rock band The Whigs.
  • Popularity: Parker was ranked 93rd for U.S. boys and 115th for U.S. girls in 2021.
Cool, Strong

Peter

Peter is a biblical name born by one of the apostles of Jesus in the New Testament. The name also has a whimsical side, associated with several childhood characters like Peter Pan, Peter Rabbit, and Peter Parker. It could be a great middle name for traditionalists and dreamers alike.

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Stone
  • Variations: Peder
  • Namesakes: Peter Kenneth Frampton, an English guitarist, singer, and songwriter previously associated with the rock bands Humble Pie and the Herd.
  • Popularity: Peter was ranked 215th for U.S. boys in 2021.
Religious, Traditional, Classic

Presley

Presley is a groovy choice on our list of popular middle names, often associated with music icon Elvis Presley. Despite this, it’s favored for females, with 1400 girls receiving the title in 2021. You’d be hard “pressed” to find a cooler middle name than Presley!

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Priest clearing
  • Namesakes: Presley Neville, an American military officer and state official during the American Revolutionary War.
  • Popularity: Presley is more popular among U.S. girls, ranked 212th in 2021.
Cool, Old-fashioned

Quinn

Quinn is among the most popular middle names for girls and boys in the U.S., steadily rising in popularity since the 1960s. Quinn is edgy and modern-sounding, appealing to parents who want to break away from tradition.

  • Origin: English, Irish
  • Meaning: Reason, chief
  • Pronunciation: KWIN
  • Variations: Quin
  • Namesakes: Quinn Martin, an American television producer with at least one television series running in prime time for 21 years.
  • Popularity: Quinn is more popular for U.S. girls, ranked 80th in 2021.
Cute, Cool, Popular

Ray

Ray is an old-school classic associated with musician Ray Charles and Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury. Its simplicity is one of its greatest qualities, offering you a short middle name that won’t cause a fuss. Ray’s association with light makes it a happy choice – perfect for your tiny “ray” of sunshine!

  • Origin: Germanic
  • Meaning: Protector of advice
  • Namesakes: Ray Charles Robinson, an American singer, songwriter, and pianist regarded as one of the most iconic and influential singers in history.
  • Popularity: Ray was ranked 839th in the U.S. in 2021.
Old-fashioned, Simple, Strong

Reid

Reid is derived from the Old English “read” (red). It was originally a nickname for someone with red hair or a ruddy complexion. Even if your little one isn’t ginger, Reid could be an exciting middle name that’ll add “color” to your son’s title.

  • Origin: Scottish, English
  • Meaning: Red
  • Variations: Reed
  • Namesakes: Reid Garrett Hoffman, an American internet entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and co-founder of LinkedIn.
  • Popularity: Reid was ranked 299th for U.S. boys in 2021.
Simple, Cool, Elegant

Renee

Lovely and refined, Renee is the English form of the French Renée. This classy title was favored in the 60s, declining in popularity since. Although Renee isn’t as popular as it once was, its elegant sound could add sophistication to your daughter’s name.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Born again
  • Pronunciation: rah-NAY
  • Variations: Rene, Reene, Reenie, Renae, Renée
  • Namesakes: Renée Kathleen Zellweger, an American actress known for her roles in Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001), Chicago (2002), and Cold Mountain (2003).
  • Popularity: Renee’s highest rating for U.S. girls was 62nd in 1967.
Beautiful, Elegant

Richard

Richard is derived from the Germanic “ric” (ruler, mighty) combined with “hard” (brave, hardy). Richard’s first name popularity has significantly declined since the 1950s. But, as a middle name, it adds power and authority.

  • Origin: Germanic
  • Meaning: Brave ruler
  • Variations: Rickard, Rikard
  • Namesakes: Richard Madden, a Scottish actor known for his roles as Robb Stark in Game of Thrones (2011 to 2013) and Prince Kit in Cinderella (2015).
  • Popularity: Richard was ranked 216th for U.S. boys in 2021.
Strong, Traditional, Classic

Riley

Riley was initially an English and Irish surname before becoming a popular given name in the 1980s and 90s. In the 2020s, Riley is more popular for girls in America and boys in England and Australia. Riley could be a simple and attractive middle name for a baby of either gender.

  • Origin: English, Irish
  • Meaning: Rye clearing
  • Variations: Rylee, Ryleigh, Ryley, Rylie
  • Namesakes: Riley Emilia Voelkel, an American-born Canadian actress known for portraying Freya Mikaelson on the TV series The Originals and Legacies.
  • Popularity: Riley is more popular among U.S. girls, ranked 37th in 2021.
Modern, Cute, Charming

Robert

Robert is a gorgeous vintage option among our middle names for boys, ranked in the U.S. top 10 from 1880 to 1989. It’s derived from the Germanic “hrod” (fame) combined with “beraht” (bright). Although Robert isn’t as fashionable as it once was, it’s still a powerful middle name option that emits strength and authority.

  • Origin: Germanic
  • Meaning: Bright fame
  • Namesakes: Robert Anthony De Niro Jr., an American actor and producer known for his nine collaborations with filmmaker Martin Scorsese.
  • Popularity: Robert was ranked 79th for U.S. boys in 2021.
Traditional, Strong, Old-fashioned

Rose

Flowery and fresh, Rose is the name of a fragrant flower associated with love, beauty, and courage. Rose could be a great middle name for a girl who is as beautiful as she is tough.

  • Origin: Germanic
  • Meaning: Famous type, rose
  • Namesakes: Rose McGowan, an American actress known for her roles in The Doom Generation (1995), Scream (1996), and Going All the Way (1997).
  • Popularity: Rose is a long-standing favorite for U.S. girls, ranked in the top 500 since 1880.
Elegant, Natural, Beautiful

Sage

Sage is an English word denoting a type of shrub or a wise person. This middle name is earthy and free-spirited and could be perfect for your little flower child!

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Sage
  • Pronunciation: SAYJ
  • Variations: Saige
  • Namesakes: Sage Marie Steele, an American television anchor and co-host of the 12pm SportsCenter on ESPN.
  • Popularity: Sage is more popular for U.S. girls than boys, ranked 179th in 2021.
Modern, Natural

Sawyer

Are you a classic book lover? Then, you’ll probably adore Sawyer, associated with Mark Twain’s hero in his famous novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). Although Sawyer sounds old, it was rarely used as a given name before the 1980s. Sawyer could be an excellent compromise between a traditional and contemporary middle name.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Sawer of wood
  • Namesakes: Sawyer Storm Sweeten, an American child actor known for playing Geoffrey Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond.
  • Popularity: Sawyer is popular for both genders in the U.S., ranked 114th for boys and 216th for girls in 2021.
Charming, Classic, Modern

Scott

Scott is derived from the Latin “Scoti” (Gael, Gaelic speaker), referring to someone from Scotland who spoke Scottish Gaelic. Scott could be a meaningful middle name for boys with Scottish ancestry.

  • Origin: English, Scottish
  • Meaning: Gaelic speaker
  • Variations: Scot
  • Namesakes: Scott Stewart Bakula, an American actor known as Sam Beckett on Quantum Leap, and Captain Jonathan Archer on Star Trek: Enterprise.
  • Popularity: Scott was popular with U.S. boys in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.
Traditional, Old-fashioned

Sean

Sean was a top choice for U.S. boys from the 1960s to the early 2000s, declining in popularity since the 2010s. This generic boy’s name is simple, attractive, and easy to spell. A fantastic middle name option if you enjoy the simpler things in life.

  • Origin: Irish, English
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Pronunciation: SHAWN
  • Variations: Shaun, Shawn
  • Namesakes: Sean Justin Penn, an American actor and director who won two Academy Awards for his roles in Mystic River (2003) and Milk (2008).
  • Popularity: Sean was ranked 363rd for U.S. boys in 2021.
Cool, Classic

Seth

Seth is an Old Testament name belonging to the third son of Adam and Eve. It’s been popular in the Christian community since the Protestant Reformation. Seth was also the name of the Egyptian god of chaos and the desert. Depending on how you look at it, this middle name could be heavenly or rebellious.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Placed, appointed
  • Namesakes: Seth Aaron Rogan, a Canadian-American actor, comedian, and filmmaker known for roles in Donnie Darko (2001), Knocked Up (2007), and Funny People (2009).
  • Popularity: Seth was ranked 489th for U.S. boys in 2021.
Simple, Cute, Traditional

Simon

Simon is an Old Testament name, born by the second son of Jacob. The name also has many non-biblical associations with Paul Simon from Simon and Garfunkel, and Simon Cowell from X Factor. Any of these awesome Simons can inspire your son’s middle name.

  • Origin: Greek, Hebrew
  • Meaning: He has heard
  • Namesakes: Simon Phillip Cowell, an English television personality, entrepreneur, and record executive who created The X Factor and Got Talent franchises.
  • Popularity: Simon was ranked 247th for U.S. boys in 2021.
Cool, Religious, Traditional

Sophia

Sophia is an elegant girl’s name, popular among European royals during the Middle Ages. Many parents are choosing this sophisticated title for their little princesses, with 12,496 American girls receiving the title in 2021. Sophia is one of those names that goes with anything, making it a perfect middle name option for your tiny empress.

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Wisdom
  • Pronunciation: so-FEE-a
  • Variations: Sophie, Sofia
  • Namesakes: Sophia Loren, an Italian actress regarded as one of the greatest female stars of Classical Hollywood cinema.
  • Popularity: Sophia is a top choice for U.S. girls, ranked 6th in 2021.
Youthful, Popular, Beautiful

Sue

Sue is a retro girl’s name, often used independently or as a short form of Susanna. You’re more likely to meet a mom or a grandma named Sue than a baby. However, when used as a middle name, Sue has a sweet, Southern twang, which could appeal to parents from the South.

  • Origin: English, Hebrew, Greek
  • Meaning: Lily
  • Namesakes: Sue Taylor Grafton, an American author of detective novels.
  • Popularity: Sue left the U.S. top 1,000 names for girls in 1984.
Old-fashioned, Simple, Classic

Sutton

Sutton is trendy, only ranked in the top 1,000 names for U.S. girls since 2013 and boys since 2015. This contemporary middle name will make your little one sound hip and fresh.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: South town
  • Namesakes: Sutton Lenore Foster, an American actress, singer, and dancer known for her work on Broadway.
  • Popularity: Sutton is more popular for U.S. girls, ranked 244th in 2021.
Cool, Modern

Tate

Tate is derived from the Old Norse “teitr” (bright, glad, cheerful). This happy name has been on the U.S. radar since the 1970s. Tate is simple but not basic, appealing to simplistic name lovers who want something more original than Michael or John.

  • Origin: English, Old Norse
  • Meaning: Cheerful
  • Namesakes: Tate Taylor, an American filmmaker, and actor best known for directing The Help, Get on Up, and The Girl on the Train.
  • Popularity: Tate is on the rise for U.S. boys, ranked 305th in 2021.
Cool, Modern

Taylor

Taylor was a common name for boys in the early 1900s. By the 1990s, however, it became more popular among girls, likely inspired by pop singer Taylor Swift. Taylor is still considered unisex, appealing to parents who want to follow gender-neutral naming trends.

  • Origin: English, French
  • Meaning: Tailor
  • Variations: Tayler
  • Namesakes: Taylor Alison Swift, an American singer-songwriter known for her hits Love Story, Shake if Off, and Bad Blood.
  • Popularity: Taylor is more popular among U.S. girls, ranked 192nd in 2021.
Youthful, Cool

Theodore

Classic and timeless, Theodore is derived from the Greek “theos” (God) combined with “doron” (gift). This name has been used since ancient times, born by several early saints, emperors, and popes. In the 2020s, Theodore is on the rise, making this the perfect middle name if you want something trendy yet traditional.

  • Origin: Greek, English
  • Meaning: Gift of God
  • Namesakes: Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States.
  • Popularity: Theodore is a top pick for U.S. boys, ranked 10th in 2021.
Classic, Elegant, Popular

Thomas

Thomas was an apostle in the New Testament. American boys have favored this biblical name for hundreds of years. If you want a timeless middle name for your son, Thomas is certainly one to consider.

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Twin
  • Namesakes: Thomas Jefferson, an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father.
  • Popularity: Thomas is a longtime favorite in the U.S., ranked in the top 100 names for boys since the 1880s.
Religious, Traditional, Popular

Victoria

Victoria is a powerful option on our list of popular middle names for girls associated with the Roman goddess of victory. It was the 43rd most popular name for American females in 2021. Your daughter will feel invincible with such a strong middle name.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Victory
  • Namesakes: Queen Victoria, the famous monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 until her death in 1901.
  • Popularity: Victoria has been in the U.S.’s top 50 names for girls since 1987.
Strong, Elegant

Violet

Violet comes from an English word for the beautiful purple flower. Violet’s represent honesty and wisdom, making this a symbolic middle name choice for your tiny truth seeker.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Violet
  • Namesakes: Violet Constance Jessop, an Argentine ocean liner stewardess and nurse who survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and the Britannic in 1916.
  • Popularity: Violet is on the rise for U.S. girls, ranked 35th in 2021.
Old-fashioned, Natural, Elegant

Wayne

Wayne was originally an occupational surname for a person who made wagons. Prominent Hollywood actor John Wayne likely inspired its popularity. Wayne’s southern charm could make it a perfect middle name for your future cowboy.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Wagon maker
  • Namesakes: Wayne Douglas Gretzky, a former Canadian professional ice hockey player often regarded as the greatest hockey player of all time.
  • Popularity: Wayne’s popularity among U.S. boys has decreased since the 1980s.
Old-fashioned

Wesley

Wesley is derived from the Old English “west” combined with “leah” (woodland, meadow, clearing). Wesley’s popularity is on the rise. We predict it’ll surpass its 1977 rating of 66th in the next few years. Choosing Wesley as your son’s middle name could set you ahead of the naming trends.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: West meadow
  • Namesakes: Wesley Trent Snipes, an American actor and film producer known for his roles in Major League, New Jack City, White Men Can’t Jump, and Passenger 57.
  • Popularity: Wesley was the 84th most popular name for U.S. boys in 2021.
Cute, Popular

William

William is one of the most common middle names for boys, with celebrity bearers like former One Direction singer Louis William Tomlinson and English actor Thomas William Hiddleston. William is classic, timeless, and sounds great with everything, making it a solid choice across the board.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Will helmet
  • Namesakes: William Shakespeare was an English playwright, poet, and actor widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest dramatists.
  • Popularity: William has ranked in the U.S. top 20 names for boys since the 1880s.
Traditional, Strong, Popular

Wren

Wren is very new to the U.S. scene, first entering the top 1,000 girl names in 2013. The name was inspired by a small North American bird, giving it a natural appeal. If you hope your daughter will be as beautiful and free as a bird, Wren could be the middle name for her.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Wren
  • Pronunciation: REHN
  • Popularity: Wren is on the rise for U.S. girls, ranked 251st in 2021.
Modern, Natural, Youthful

Best Middle Names FAQs

Why Do Middle Names Exist?

Middle names were first used in ancient Rome. A male child would receive a praenomen (personal name), a nomen (family name), and a cognomen (branch of the family they were from). The more name’s someone had, the higher their place in society.

The middle name tradition carried over to the Middle Ages when parents couldn’t decide whether to give their children family names or to name them after saints. To solve this dilemma, they gave each child a given name followed by a baptismal name and surname. This is considered the root of modern Western middle name traditions.

Do Kids Need Middle Names?

While middle names are common among Americans, they are not necessary. The U.S. government does not require them. Whether you want your child to have a middle name or not is entirely up to you.

How Do I Choose a Middle Name?

Middle names are highly subjective and are often chosen based on the parent’s preferences. Some parents choose middle names in honor of beloved family members. Others use the mother’s maiden name or pick name’s that flow nicely with the first name. You can choose any name that is meaningful to you.

Can a Baby Have Two Middle Names?

Yes. The United States has no strict rules about how many middle names a baby can have. However, there are character limitations in most states. So, make sure to check your state’s laws to determine how long your child’s name can be.

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About the Author

Chelsea Nelthropp

Chelsea Nelthropp previously worked with special needs children before transitioning to her current passion, freelance writing. She's written on a plethora of topics and enjoys the diversity of her work. In her free time, Chelsea enjoys hiking, creating artwork, reading about true crime, and spending time with her husband and their adorable French Bulldog, Stella.
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