Victorian-era boy names go way beyond the usual suspects of John, William, Charles, George, and James. If you want a Victorian boy name for your baby, but don’t want something common, we’re here to help.
The Victorians were fond of Biblical names, as well as names from literature, history, mythology, royalty, and military heroes. In the U.S., names were also heavily influenced by many immigrants moving to the fledgling country. We’ve done the homework to find 100 great names, so you don’t have to spend your time doing research.
100 Victorian Boy Names and Meanings
Victorian names for boys don’t have to be boring or stodgy — there are plenty of cool ones on our list.
Albion may mean white or hill.
Albion is an ancient, poetic name for Britain. The name is thought to come from the Greek word Albus, meaning white, and in reference to the white cliffs of Dover, or Alb, meaning hill in reference to the undulating countryside.
Algernon was a Norman French nickname, meaning having a mustache.
The novel Flowers for Algernon is about a laboratory mouse named Algernon. Scientists operate to increase his IQ and once they know it’s successful, try the same procedure with a man. But then Algernon acts strangely.
The English name Ambrose means immortal.
Between 1854 and 1952, there have been five different vessels named Lightship Ambrose. Each ship acted as a lighthouse in the Ambrose Channel, the only shipping access for the Port of New York.
The Hebrew name Amos means load, burden.
In 1882, American inventor and physicist Amos Dolbear invented a system for transmitting telegraph signals without wires. He also developed a type of telephone 11 years before Alexander Graham Bell.
Asa may mean healer in Hebrew.
Asa ranked as high as number 198 on the top 1,000 boys’ names in the Victorian era. Despite falling out of fashion for a while, Asa has recently seen an upturn in use. In 2019, Asa was number 510 in the charts.
Aubrey is from the Germanic Alberich, meaning elf ruler.
A popular masculine name in the Middle Ages, Aubrey was revived in the Victorian era. In the 1970s, the band Bread released the song Aubrey about a girl with an unusual name. Consequently, Aubrey became popular for girls.
The Ancient Roman name Augustus means venerable, exalted.
The Victorians drew many of their children’s names from history and embraced this Roman honorific title as a forename. Alternatives include Augustine, Augustin, and August.
A name from Judao-Christian-Islam legends, Balthazar means Lord protects the king.
Another widespread practice in Victorian society was choosing boys’ names from Christian church teachings. Balthazar was the name attributed to one of the three wise men, although their names are never actually used in the Bible.
The English name Barnabus means son of encouragement.
In the comedy How I Met Your Mother, Neil Patrick Harris plays the womanizing Barnabus “Barney” Stinson, proof that Barnabas hasn’t dropped from everyone’s radar.
A Biblical name, Bartholemew means son of Talmai, and Talmai means furrowed.
When he is working as a director, actor Jared Leto uses the pseudonym Bartholemew Cubbins. Leto said the name comes from one of his favorite Dr. Seuss characters (1).
An Old English name, Baxter means baker.
The 19th century saw the first big wave of the surname as a forename trend, and Baxter appeared as one of the popular Victorian male names. Little did they know that a baxter was specifically a female baker.
Bennet is a medieval spelling of Benedict, meaning blessed.
Bennet Cohen is an American businessman better known as the Ben of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The ice cream’s distinct chunky style evolved because Bennet asked for more texture to combat his anosmia or a lack of sense of smell.
Benoni is an Ancient Hebrew name meaning son of my sorrow.
Benoni was sometimes used for boys born in what the Victorians considered sorrowful situations. This ranged from a mother’s death during birth or a family member during pregnancy to the child’s mother being unmarried.
Beresford is an Old English name meaning the beaver’s river crossing.
Located between 81st and 82nd Street in New York City, The Beresford is a luxury Manhattan apartment block on Central Park West. Designed by architect Emery Roth, The Beresford has been home to celebrities such as Jerry Seinfield and Glenn Close.
Bertram is an Ancient Germanic name meaning bright raven.
Bertram Benedict was an American writer, editor, and book reviewer for The New York Times Magazine. His book, The Larger Socialism, suggested that Socialism was unattractive to Americans because its proponents failed to understand rural Americans’ lives.
The English name Bram is short for Abraham, meaning father of many.
Perhaps the most famous Victorian Bram is Irish author Bram Stoker. Stoker is most famous for his gothic horror novel Dracula, one of 13 novels he wrote.
The unlikely root of Caspar is the Persian word ganzabara, meaning treasurer.
American author, journalist, and outdoorsman Caspar Whitney has an extensive and varied resume. One fun nugget is that while working for Harper’s magazine, Whitney invented the concept of the All-American team in college football.
Cecil evolved from the Latin word caecus, which means blind.
Today, most people view Cecil as a masculine name and Cecilia as the female option. However, Cecil is one of the small number of gender-neutral names of the Victorian era.
Originally a surname for someone who came from Chester, England, Chester means fortress, camp.
Chester A. Arthur was the 21st President of the United States. Historians agree that his presidency was unusually sound and free from corruption, especially for the time. However, because Arthur kept a low profile, he is considered unremarkable.
From the Latin word clarensis, Clarence means illustrious.
Victorian England loved all things royal and adopted Clarence as a forename in the 1800s in honor of Queen Victoria’s son, the Earl of Clarence. Across the pond, American businessman Clarence Birdseye was a frozen food pioneer.
Clyde is from the placename Clyde, which may mean cleansing.
In the 1880s in the U.S., 1,177,161 boys were born, and 3,034 of them were named Clyde, the 59th most popular name of the decade (2). In the 1890s, those numbers were 1,231,301 births and 3,625 Clydes.
An ancient Roman family name, Cornelius means horn.
Add Christianity to the list of Victorian obsessions. The Victorians embraced Cornelius as a name in deference to Cornelius the Centurion, considered the first gentile to convert to Christianity.
From Old English, Cuthbert means famous, bright.
The unusual name of Cuthbert was briefly popular in the late 19th century and past the Victorian era into the 1910s. However, in WWI, Cuthbert became slang for someone avoiding military service, especially by taking a government job, and abruptly fell out of use.
From the Roman family name Cyprianus, Cyprian means from Cyprus.
Victorians embraced the name Cyprian as a nod to the 3rd century Bishop of Carthage Thaschus Caecilius Cyprianus, known by the mononym Cyprian. Of Berber descent, Cyprian was an early convert who was beheaded for his refusal to denounce his faith.
The English name Darius means possessing goodness.
During his lifetime, artist Darius Cobb was considered one of America’s best portrait painters. Darius, his twin brother Cyrus, and older brother Cylvanus could be the poster boys for Victorian names.
Eldon began as an Old English surname meaning Ella’s Hill.
Carpenter gothic is the architecture style where small rural American houses were given decorative features from grand Gothic structures. Founded in 1840, Eldon, Iowa, is the location of the carpenter gothic house in the painting American Gothic.
The English name Eli means ascension.
As well as being an English boys’ name, Eli is also an entirely separate Hebrew boys’ name that means my God. The Spanish, Danish, and Norwegian Eli is a girls’ name, meaning torch.
The English name Elmer means noble and famous.
Elmer became a popular Victorian name for boys, given in honor of Ebenezer and Johnathon Elmer, two American doctors who became active and subsequently popular in politics.
Emil is from the Latin aemulus, meaning rival.
We adore this name, especially as it is familiar in multiple languages and cultures. One thing to consider is that Emil can be pronounced as eh-MEEL, eh-Mill, or EHM-il, so be prepared to correct people’s pronunciation on a semi-regular basis.
There are multiple theories about the history and meaning of Emmett.
One possibility is that Emmett came from Emmott Hall, England. This would align with the Victorians’ love of names connected to posh families. It could also be from the Germanic Emmen, meaning whole or universal, or the Hebrew emét, meaning truth.
Enoch is a Biblical Latin name meaning dedicated.
Enoch Wood Perry Jr. was an American painter active during the Victorian era. Perry painted portraits of many prominent Americans, but most of all, he enjoyed painting landscapes, especially in the Yosemite valley.
Ephraim is from the Hebrew name Efrayim, meaning fruitful.
Old Ephraim was a 19th-century term for grizzly bears in general and a specific bear in Idaho. The Old Ephraim award is presented by B Company, 16th Signal Battalion, 3rd Signal Brigade to the soldier who exemplifies the bear’s fighting spirit.
Eugene is from the Greek eugenes, meaning well-born.
Eugene was popular during the Victorian era and beyond. At its peak popularity in 1927, 9,744 boys and 85 girls in the U.S. were named Eugene. It has remained in the charts since then, but with a slow but steady decline.
The English name Everett means brave, hairy wild boar.
The whaleback steamer SS City of Everett was launched in 1894. She was built in Everett, Washington, and was the first U.S. steamship to circumnavigate the globe.
Ezekiel is an English translation of the Hebrew Yechezkel, meaning God will strengthen.
In 1807, Ezekiel Hart, a politician in the British Empire, took his oath of office by swearing on a Hebrew Bible. His opponents had him removed from office because he was unable to swear on the Christian Bible. Hart ran again, was reelected, and fired again.
The Hebrew name Ezra means help.
Ezra spent most of the Victorian era around the rank of number 250 in the top 1,000 boys’ names chart before falling off the radar in the 1960s. However, it has been seen as a cool name in the last decade, and, in 2019, Ezra ranked at number 49.
Fletcher is a Middle English name meaning maker of arrows.
Fletcher Knebel was an American writer who explored politics and society in his novels. He is famous for the line, “Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics.”
The English name Franklin means freeman.
The most famous Franklin born in the Victorian era must be Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is his popularity that gave this name a huge ratings boost in the U.S. between 1932 and 1945.
Garrett is from an English surname, and it means brave spear.
John Work Garrett was a merchant, then banker, then president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. A supporter of the Union, a confidant of President Lincoln, and noted philanthropist, lots of little Victorian Garretts were named after him.
Gideon means feller or hewer in Hebrew.
Gideon is one of the biblical names that was first used during the Protestant Reformation, traveling to the Americas with the Puritans.
The German name Gilbert means bright pledge.
The Gilbert typeface was created in honor of Gilbert Baker, the creator of the LGBT flag. The multicolor sans-serif typeface was designed to reflect inclusion and diversity and was made especially for banners and large displays.
The English name Granville means the guard’s town.
Granville Woods was an American engineer and inventor of the Victorian era. Woods invented a third rail system for underground transit trains and an overhead wire system for trolleybuses. In 2006, he was inducted into the inventor’s hall of fame (3).
An English surname turned forename, Grover means grove of trees.
U.S. presidential history is resplendent with Victorian boys’ names. Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, paved the way for this name to become popular. A modern-day association, however, would be Grover from The Muppets.
Harland is an Old English name meaning land of hares.
Born in September 1890, KFC founder Colonel Harland David Sanders is known to most of the world as The Colonel. However, he was not a military colonel. The Governor of Kentucky awarded him the honorary title.
Harrison means son of Harry.
Two American actors are named Harrison Ford. However, only one of them, Harrison Alan Ford, was a silent movie star born in the Victorian era.
The English name Harvey means battle-worthy.
Victorian boys’ names were also used for Victorian businesses. Founded in 1876, The Harvey House chain of restaurants and hotels sprang up trackside to cater to the growing numbers of railway passengers.
Herbert means bright army.
The Norman-French brought the name Herbert to England in the 11th century, but it quickly fell out of use. However, the Victorians embraced this quirky, old-fashioned boys’ name that can be shortened to Herb or Bertie.
Herman is a German name meaning army man.
A solid, classic name of the Victorian era, we think this would be a cute choice as a boys’ name for a family with a military heritage.
The English name Hiram could be from Hebrew for exalted brother.
The name Hiram was taken to the U.S. by the Puritans in the 17th century. It saw regular use until the mid-1800s, and the later Victorian period saw Hiram falling from favor.
Horace comes from the Latin hora, meaning hour, time, and season.
Horace M. Albright helped to establish the National Parks Service and became its second director. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work with the NPS.
Horatio has the same root as Horace, meaning hour, time, season.
Horatio Nelson died during the reign of Queen Victoria’s father, William IV. Victorian parents enthusiastically embraced the name Horatio in honor of his death while defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
The English version of the German name Hugo, Hughes means heart, mind, spirit.
Hugh is typical of the Victorian boys’ names chosen because of their medieval, religious, or royal connections. Hugh was used frequently by French royalty and religious leaders from the 10th to the 13th centuries.
Ignatius is a Late Roman name meaning fiery.
Ignatius L. Donnelly was an American politician and early supporter of women’s suffrage and freedmen’s education. Donnelly accused the government of corrupt voting, the media of bias and disinformation, and suggested a giant meteorite had destroyed an advanced society before the dinosaurs.
Ira means watchful in Hebrew.
A moderately common Victorian boys’ name, Ira was also used by a small number of parents for their daughters. In 2016, Ira reentered the U.S. top 1,000 names.
Of Germanic origin, Isambard means iron bright or iron ax.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel is considered one of the most significant figures of the Industrial Revolution. Brunel built the first ocean-going propeller-driven iron ship as part of a series of iron ships to connect the U.S. to Great Britain.
Ives is an English name meaning yew.
This English form of the French boys’ name Yves was used for the 9th-century bishop, after whom the town of St. Ives was named.
Jedediah is Hebrew and means God’s friend.
Jedediah Hotchkiss was an educator turned topographer. The detailed maps made by Hotchkiss were instrumental in several Confederate victories during the American Civil War.
An English name, Jefferson means son of Jeffrey.
Jefferson is an unusual name. It has appeared in the U.S. list of the top 1,000 names given to boys every year since records began, but has never risen above number 250.
Jeptha is an English version of the Hebrew name Jephthah, meaning he opens.
Jeptha is typical of the boys’ names chosen by Victorians because they were considered to be more obscure Biblical names.
Josiah is a Hebrew name meaning God supports.
Josiah enjoyed continuous use during the Victorian era but fell out of favor by 1920. However, in 1975, Josiah was rediscovered, and, in 2019, it was ranked number 45 in the top 1,000 U.S. boys’ names.
The American English name Lafayette means plantation of beech trees.
Many Victorian names were given in honor of military heroes. In this case, the name honored the French aristocrat and military officer Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of the American War of Independence.
Larkin is a Medieval English nickname for Laurance.
The Larkin Soap Company was founded in Buffalo, New York, in 1875. They developed the Larkin Idea, a magazine much like today’s Avon catalog, and encouraged neighborhood homemakers to market their products.
Leander is a name from Greek Mythology, meaning lion man.
Popular in English-speaking countries during the Victorian period but more or less disappearing from use by the 1970s, Leander has recently become extremely popular in Norway.
The Germanic name Leopold means bold people.
Leopold became popular in certain sections of Victorian society after the birth of Queen Victoria’s eighth son, Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany.
The English name Lewis means famous battle.
Lewis was so popular during the Victorian era that mathematician and academic Charles Lutwidge Dodgson adopted it as his pen name, Lewis Carroll. Dodgson wrote Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland and other fiction under this name but continued to write his academic volumes under his actual name.
The name Livingstone was the transferred use of the surname.
Livingstone, the surname, is a geographical name meaning Levins town, with levins meaning friend. This saw use as a forename in honor of the explorer David Livingstone.
Llewellyn is a Welsh name meaning lion.
Also written as Llewelyn, Llywelyn, or Llywellyn, this old name was relatively popular for Victorian boys. Its similarity to the modern girls’ name Lou-Ellen is often off-putting today.
Lucian is an English name meaning light.
Pronounced as LOO-she-an, LUCE-ian, or LOO-shan, this English name evolved from the Ancient Roman Lucianus, which came from the Ancient Roman Lucius. Lucius came from the Latin word lux, meaning light.
Ludwig is a Germanic name meaning famous battle.
Ludwig rose and fell in popularity during the Victorian era. It regularly moved between the number 500 spot to out of the charts entirely, and back in again.
Luther is an English name meaning army people.
The Luther Burger is a cheeseburger or beef burger served in either a cut glazed doughnut in place of the bun or with a full glazed doughnut serving as each bun half.
Marion evolved from the name Mary, which is of disputed meaning, but Marion is believed by some to mean star of the sea.
While Marion may seem like a distinctly feminine name today, it was seen as a predominantly masculine name in the Victorian era. The most famous male Marion is probably Marion Robert Morrison, better known as John Wayne.
An English name, Marshall designated someone who was a Marshal.
Marshall came to the forefront as a boys’ name of the Victorian era, but it has remained in regular use ever since. Some famous examples include Marshall Bruce Mathers III, better known as Eminem, actor Marshall Allman, and Marshall in the kids’ show Paw Patrol.
The French name Maurice means dark-skinned.
Maurice began to gain traction during the mid-Victorian period and was still on the upswing of popularity well into the Edwardian era.
Maxwell is from a Scottish surname that means Mack’s stream.
Maxwell Street in Chicago, Illinois, was named after Victorian physician and politician Dr. Phillip Maxwell. Immigrants flocked to the area, famous for its open-air market, and it is renowned as the birthplace of Chicago Blues music.
The English name Melancthon means black earth.
Also spelled Melanchthon, this name was adopted by Victorian protestants in honor of Philipp Melanchthon, an associate of Martin Luther.
Melbourne is Old English for mill stream.
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, was the British Prime Minister during the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign. His title was the inspiration for this fancy Victorian boys’ name.
Merrill is an English name meaning pleasant hill.
U.S.S. Merrill entered service in 1978. The U.S. Navy’s test platform for Tomahawk missiles, Merrill was decommissioned in 1998, used for target practice, and then sunk off Hawaii in 2003.
Merritt means boundary gate in Old English.
Merritt Island in California is an AVA. AVA stands for American Viticultural Area, and these are designated regions where wine grapes are grown in the U.S.
Merriweather is an English name that literally means happy weather.
Merriweather began as a nickname for people with a happy disposition who were said to bring the happy weather with them.
Micaiah means who is like God in Hebrew.
Micaiah, which is also seen written as Micajah, is one of the obscure biblical names that saw a brief period of popularity during the Victorian era.
Montmorency is a French surname meaning from Mount Morency.
The House of Montmorency was one of the most distinguished noble families in France. Dating back to the 10th century, they were also one of the oldest. The Victorians embraced this as a boys’ name when the last of the Montmorency’s died.
Mordecai is Persian for servant of Marduk.
Mordecai Davidson was the owner and sometimes manager of the Louisville Colonels, an AA baseball team. Davidson’s management of the team was so bad that in 1889 the players revolted, and after a special meeting of the AA, Davidson surrendered the team.
Mortimer means still water in Old French.
Depending on which version of the story you believe, Mickey Mouse either was called or was going to be called Mortimer, but Walt Disney’s wife, Lillian, suggested he use Mickey instead.
Mycroft is from Old English elements that mean the mouth of a stream in a small enclosed field.
After Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took the surname Mycroft and used it as a forename for his fictional detective Sherlock Holme’s brother, trendy Victorians began using it for their own sons.
Nimrod is a Hebrew name that may mean rebel.
This popular Victorian name is unlikely to resurface in the U.S. because of Bugs Bunny. In the cartoon, when BB outsmarted Elmer Fudd, the bugs called him Nimrod. In the U.S., this has now come to mean idiot.
The meaning of the Celtic name Ninian is unknown.
Victorians went way back into the 8th century to find the name Ninian. Known only by a single name, Ninian was a missionary said to have been born in Briton and study in Rome. He then went to Scotland to evangelize to the Picts.
The name Orville has no meaning.
The 18th-century writer Fanny Burney made up the name Orville. It’s speculated she may have meant it to mean golden city in French, Ville d’or.
Oscar may mean a friend of the deer.
Oscar was at peak popularity in the U.S. in 1886 when it reached number 26, but it’s never entirely gone out of style. The lowest point for Oscar in the top 1,000 boys’ names was 1962 when it was number 245.
The English name Otis means wealth, fortune.
Otis tarda is the Latin name for a bird called the great bustard. Found in south and central Europe, Morocco, and central and east Asia, it was hunted to extinction in Victorian England in 1832.
Phineas most likely means Nubian.
Phineas Taylor Barnum, better known as P.T. Barnum, was the founder of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. A showman, philanthropist, and hoaxer, Barnum also served in the Connecticut legislature for four terms.
From the Latin name Prosperous, Prospero means fortunate, successful.
This name enjoyed a flair of popularity in Victorian society. This is probably a result of Edgar Allen Poe using Prospero as the name of his main character in the gothic horror story, The Masque of the Red Death.
This English name means the rim of a shield and wolf.
The record holder for the longest surname ever is Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorffwelchevoralternwarengewissenhaftschaferswessenschafewarenwohlgepflegeundsorgfaltigkeitbeschutzenvorangreifendurchihrraubgierigfeindewelchevoralternzwolfhunderttausendjahresvorandieerscheinenvonderersteerdemenschderraumschiffgenachtmittungsteinundsiebeniridiumelektrischmotorsgebrauchlichtalsseinursprungvonkraftgestartseinlangefahrthinzwischensternartigraumaufdersuchennachbarschaftdersternwelchegehabtbewohnbarplanetenkreisedrehensichundwohinderneuerassevonverstandigmenschlichkeitkonntefortpflanzenundsicherfreuenanlebenslanglichfreudeundruhemitnichteinfurchtvorangreifenvorandererintelligentgeschopfsvonhinzwischensternartigraum Sr. He created the name by choosing a forename of each letter of the alphabet and squishing them together in German. The name beginning with R is Randolph.
An English name, Reginald means advice and ruler.
Reginald Lee was one of the two lookouts stationed in the Titanic’s Crow’s Nest the night she hit an iceberg and sank. Ordered to man lifeboat number 13, Lee survived the sinking.
The Hebrew name Reuben means behold, a son.
When Reuben Kulakofsky ordered a beef and pastrami sandwich at the Blackstone Hotel, Nebraska, the cook got creative, and the Reuben sandwich was born.
Roderick is an English name meaning famous ruler.
The name Roderick had all but died out when Sir Walter Scott wrote The Vision of Don Roderick in 1811. The poem celebrated the military successes of the Duke of Wellington, fueling the Victorian’s passion for military hero names.
The English name Roscoe means roebuck forest.
Born at the tail-end of the Victorian era, Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter became the first Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, in 1947. After his retirement, he became a Director of the National Investigations Committee On Aerial Phenomena (NICAP).
Tarquin is from the Roman family name Tarquinius, and the meaning is unknown.
Commonly known as Tarquin the Proud, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was the last king of Rome. His authoritarian rule was said to be instrumental in the overthrow of the monarchy, which makes it a strange choice for the royal-loving Victorians.
Trevelyan is an English name meaning homestead on the hill.
The 1833 novel Trevelyan was written by Lady Caroline Lucy Scott but published anonymously, perhaps because of her religious beliefs. The name intrigued the Victorians who adopted this place name and surname as a first name for boys.
Ulric is an English language spelling of the German name Ulrich, meaning power and prosperity.
When German immigrants to English-speaking countries registered their baby’s name as Ulrich, it was often misspelled by officials who either didn’t know or didn’t care about the correct spelling.
Zadoc is a Hebrew name meaning righteous.
On March 24th, 1868, inventor Zadoc Dederick patented his steam-powered, carriage pulling, humanoid robot. It cost $3,000, or about $35,000 in 2021. A dime novel, The Steam Man of the Prairies, was based on the idea.
The End of an Era
The Victorians were, in some ways, like modern parents. They chose traditional, familiar names, names held by family members, and a healthy dose of more unusual names driven by the fashions and interests of the time.
The Victorian era spanned over 63 years, and in that time, they went through plenty of trends, which is one of the things that makes Victorian boys’ names so interesting.