It can be hard to pick the right name for your baby boy. There are so many names to choose from, and it’s not always easy to tell which ones will best suit your child. Many parents start off by taking a look at some of the more traditional names and move on from there. But if you’re looking for something more exotic, unique, or foreign there are plenty of great options out there to choose from.
We’ve scoured the internet and put together a list of exotic baby boy names that are sure to turn heads. Some are common enough that they may even be considered normal, while others are so rare that they only appear once in a blue moon.
120 Exotic & Foreign Names For Boys
Possibly from a Semitic root meaning “to announce”. This was the name of an Assyrian and Babylonian god of wisdom, letters, and writing.
Means “one who divides goods among his people”, derived from Arabic قسم (qasama) meaning “to share” or “to divide”. This was the name of the son of the Prophet Muhammad who died while young.
Derived from Sanskrit वेन (vena) meaning “yearning”. This is the name of an evil king in Hindu mythology.
Germanic name composed of the elements col, possibly meaning “helmet”, and beraht meaning “bright”.
Possibly from Czech brečet “cry, weep” combined with the Slavic element slava “glory”.
6. Shams ad-Din
Means “sun of the religion”, from Arabic شَمس (shams) meaning “sun” and دين (din) meaning “religion, faith”.
Means “Yahweh has answered” in Hebrew. This is the name of a minor character in the Old Testament.
From the Turkish name of the Euphrates River, which was derived from Old Persian Ufratu, itself derived from Elamite or Sumerian.
Means “not inclined to run away” in Greek. This was the name of a king of Argos in Greek legend.
From the title Genghis (or Chinggis) Khan, meaning “universal ruler”, which was adopted by the Mongol Empire founder Temujin in the late 12th century. Remembered both for his military brilliance and his brutality towards civilians, he went on to conquer huge areas of Asia and Eastern Europe.
Derived from the Germanic elements leud “people” and bald “bold”. The spelling was altered due to association with Latin leo “lion”. This name was common among German royalty, first with the Babenbergs and then the Habsburgs. Saint Leopold was a 12th-century Babenberg margrave of Austria, who is now considered the patron of that country. It was also borne by two Habsburg Holy Roman emperors, as well as three kings of Belgium. Since the 19th century this name has been occasionally used in England, originally in honour of Queen Victoria’s uncle, a king of Belgium, after whom she named one of her sons. It was later used by James Joyce for the main character, Leopold Bloom, in his novel Ulysses (1922).
From an English surname (or vocabulary word) meaning “stoneworker”, derived from an Old French word of Germanic origin (akin to Old English macian “to make”). In the United States, this name began to increase in popularity in the 1980s, likely because of its fashionable sound. It jumped in popularity after 2009 when Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick gave it to their son, as featured on their reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians in 2010. It peaked as the second most popular name for boys in 2011.
Spanish form of Iacobus, the New Testament Latin form of James. The apostles are also commonly denoted Santiago in Spanish.
From an Old Testament place name meaning “heap of witness” in Hebrew. This is a mountainous region east of the Jordan River. Besides being a place name, it is also borne by people in the Bible.
Anglicized form of the Irish name Ruadhán. As an English name, it can also be derived from the surname Rowan, itself derived from the Irish given name. It could also be given in reference to the rowan tree, a word of Old Norse origin (coincidentally sharing the same Indo-European root meaning “red” with the Irish name).
Possibly means “the giving god” in Slavic. He was a Slavic god of the sun and light, a son of Svarog. In some myths he is the ancestor of the Russian people.
Means “smoking mirror” in Nahuatl. In Aztec and other Mesoamerican mythology, he was one of the chief gods, associated with the night sky, winds, war, and the north. Like his rival Quetzalcoatl, he was a creator god.
A variant of Jaden. This spelling continued to rapidly rise in popularity in the United States past 2003, unlike Jaden, which stalled. It peaked at the fourth rank for boys in 2010, showing tremendous growth over only two decades. It has since declined.
Hungarian form of Gerard. Saint Gellért was an 11th-century missionary to Hungary who was martyred by being thrown into the Danube.
From a French surname that was derived from a place name, ultimately from the Gaulish word vern meaning “alder”. It is sometimes associated with the Roman goddess Laverna or the Latin word vernus “of spring”.
From the Greek name Ἀριστοτέλης (Aristoteles) meaning “the best purpose”, derived from ἄριστος (aristos) meaning “best” and τέλος (telos) meaning “purpose, aim”. This was the name of a Greek philosopher of the 4th century BC who made lasting contributions to Western thought, including the fields of logic, metaphysics, ethics and biology.
Means “esteemed” or “loved” in Old French. It was first recorded in Scotland, being borne by the first Duke of Lennox in the 16th century. It is now more common as a feminine name.
The name of a Gaulish hero (Astérix in the original French) in a comic book series of the same name, debuting 1959. His name is a pun based on French astérisque meaning “asterisk, little star” but appears to end with the Gaulish element rix meaning “king” (seen for example in the historical figure Vercingetorix). All male Gauls in the series have humorous names ending with -iks.
Greek form of Zechariah. This form of the name is used in most English versions of the New Testament to refer to the father of John the Baptist. It was also borne by an 8th-century pope (called Zachary in English).
Means “little wolf”, derived from Old Irish fáel “wolf” combined with a diminutive suffix. This was the name of an Irish saint who did missionary work in Scotland.
Anglicized form of the Scottish Gaelic name Donnchadh, derived from Old Irish donn “brown” and cath “battle”. This was the name of two kings of Scotland, including the one who was featured in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth (1606).
From Japanese 雷 (rai) meaning “thunder” and 神 (jin) meaning “god, spirit”. This is the name of the god (or gods) of thunder and storms in the mythology of Japan.
Meaning uncertain, perhaps a derivative of Germanic wela meaning “skilled, artful”. In Germanic mythology, Wieland (called Völundr in Old Norse) was an unequaled smith and craftsman.
From Chinese 冠 (guān) meaning “cap, crown, headgear” combined with 宇 (yǔ) meaning “house, eaves, universe”. Other character combinations are possible.
Short form of Teodoro and other names that begin with Teo. In Georgian, this is a feminine name, a short form of
Catalan, Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian forms of Neilos (and the Nile River). This name was borne by a 15th-century Russian saint, Nil Sorsky. As a Turkish name, it is feminine and comes directly from the Turkish name for the river.
Meaning unknown. In Polynesian mythology, he was the god of the sea, the son of Rangi and Papa. He separated his parents’ embrace, creating the earth and the sky.
Alternate transcription of Arabic شَمس الدين (see Shams ad-Din), as well as the usual Bengali and Malay form.
Old Norse form of Svatopluk. It was borne by the prominent 13th-century Swedish nobleman Svantepolk Knutsson. He may have been named after a relative of his Pomeranian mother.
French form of Julius. A notable bearer of this name was the French novelist Jules Verne (1828-1905), author of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and other works of science fiction.
Means “fortunate, happy” in Persian. This name was borne by the son of the Mughal emperor Jahangir.
From the Late Latin name Emygdius, which was possibly a Latinized form of a Gaulish name (of unknown meaning). Saint Emygdius was a 3rd-century bishop and martyr, the patron saint against earthquakes.
Means “gift of Yahweh” in Hebrew. This was the original name of Zedekiah, a king of Judah, in the Old Testament.
From an English surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning “row of houses by a wood” in Old English. It was borne by the American president Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), who was given his mother’s maiden name as his middle name (his first name was Thomas). During his candidacy and presidency (1912-1921) the name became popular, reaching the 44th rank in 1913, though it quickly declined again after that.
Probably means “Nubian” from the Egyptian name Panhsj, though some believe it means “serpent’s mouth” in Hebrew. In the Old Testament Phinehas is a grandson of Aaron who kills an Israelite because he is intimate with a Midianite woman, thus stopping a plague sent by God. Also in the Bible, this is the son of Eli, killed in battle with the Philistines.
Medieval English form of Pancratius. The relics of the 4th-century saint Pancratius were sent to England by Pope Gregory the Great, leading to the saint’s veneration there.
From Sino-Korean 智 (ji) meaning “wisdom, intellect” or other hanja characters with the same pronunciation. Although it does appear rarely as a single-character name, it is more often used in combination with another character.
From a Norman French form of a Germanic name. The second element is Germanic frid “peace”, but the first element may be either gawia “territory”, walha “foreign” or gisil “hostage”. It is possible that two or more names merged into a single form. In the later Middle Ages Geoffrey was further confused with the distinct name Godfrey…. [
From a surname that was derived from the name of an English town, itself derived from a combination of Old English dic “dyke, ditch” and Old Norse byr “farm, town”.
Scottish Gaelic form of the Old Irish name Ferchar, from fer “man” and carae “friend”. This was the name of early kings of Dál Riata (sometimes as Ferchar).
Russian form of the Old Norse name Yngvarr (see Ingvar). The Varangians brought it with them when they began settling in eastern Europe in the 9th century. It was borne by two grand princes of Kiev, notably Igor I the son of Rurik and the wife of Saint Olga. Other famous bearers include Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), a Russian composer known for The Rite of Spring, and Igor Sikorsky (1889-1972), the Russian-American designer of the first successful helicopter.
Germanic name derived from the element hrok meaning “rest”. This was the name of a 14th-century French saint who nursed victims of the plague but eventually contracted the disease himself. He is the patron saint of the sick.
Malay, Indonesian, Uyghur and Albanian form of Ishmael. It is also an alternate transcription of Arabic إسماعيل (see
From Hebrew צָפַן (tzafan) meaning “to hide” and אֵל (‘el) meaning “God”. This is the name of an angel in medieval Jewish mysticism.
Derived from the Germanic elements hari “army” and beraht “bright”. The Normans introduced this name to England, where it replaced an Old English cognate Herebeorht. In the course of the Middle Ages it became rare, but it was revived in the 19th century.
Perhaps related to Greek ὄρφνη (orphne) meaning “the darkness of night”. In Greek mythology Orpheus was a poet and musician who went to the underworld to retrieve his dead wife Eurydice. He succeeded in charming Hades with his lyre, and he was allowed to lead his wife out of the underworld on the condition that he not look back at her until they reached the surface. Unfortunately, just before they arrived his love for her overcame his will and he glanced back at her, causing her to be drawn back to Hades.
Means “simple, half wise” from Old English sam “half” and wis “wise”. This is the name of a hobbit in J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel The Lord of the Rings (1954). Samwise Gamgee, often called Sam, is the faithful companion of Frodo on his quest to destroy the One Ring. Samwise is an English-like translation of his true hobbit name Banazîr.
Meaning unknown, possibly from Avestan raodha “to grow” and takhma “strong, brave, valiant”. Rostam was a warrior hero in Persian legend. The 10th-century Persian poet Ferdowsi recorded his tale in the Shahnameh.
From an Old Welsh name (Ougein, Eugein and other spellings), which was possibly from the Latin name
From the Roman family name Cassianus, which was derived from Cassius. This was the name of several saints, including a 3rd-century martyr from Tangier who is the patron saint of stenographers and a 5th-century mystic who founded a monastery in Marseille.
Possibly means “preserved” in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of the owner of the hill upon which Samaria was built.
From Týr, the Old Norse form of the name of the Germanic god Tiwaz, related to Indo-European *Dyews.
Derived from Nakh майра (mayra) meaning “husband, brave man” combined with the Turkish military title beg meaning “chieftain, master”.
Means “Yahweh is he” in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a king of Israel. He ruled in the 9th century BC, coming to power by overthrowing Jehoram. This was also the name of a prophet during the reign of the king Baasha.
Probably from Old Irish camm meaning “bent, crooked”. This was the name of a 6th-century Irish saint.
Means “fawn” in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of both a man mentioned in genealogies and a city in Manasseh.
Originally a nickname denoting a person who broke things, from the word bust, a dialectal variant of burst. A famous bearer was the silent movie star Buster Keaton (1895-1966).
Name used by author Anne Rice for a character in her Vampire Chronicles series of novels, first released in 1976, where it belongs to the French vampire Lestat de Lioncourt. Rice possibly intended the name to appear derived from Old French or Occitan l’estat “state, status”, though apparently her husband’s name Stan was inspiration.
From Japanese 実 (minoru) meaning “to bear fruit”, as well as other kanji or kanji combinations with the same pronunciation.
Means “holly” in Welsh. It appears briefly in the Welsh tale Culhwch and Olwen, but was not typically used as a given name until the 20th century.
From a Spanish surname, used as a given name in honour of the Jesuit priest Saint Francis Borja (1510-1572). The surname, also spelled Borgia, is derived from the name of a Spanish town, ultimately from Arabic بُرْج (burj) meaning “tower”.
From a surname that has several different origins. It could be from the Old English given names Cyneric “royal power” or Cenric “bold power”, or from the Welsh name Cynwrig “chief hero”. It can also be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic surname Mac Eanraig meaning “son of Henry”
Latin name that was a derivative of Domnus. This name was borne by several early saints, including the 4th-century martyr Domninus of Fidenza.
From Chinese 白 (bái) meaning “white, pure” and 虎 (hǔ) meaning “tiger”. This is the Chinese name of the White Tiger, associated with the west and the autumn season.
Latinized form of the Greek Κρόνος (Kronos), possibly derived from the Indo-European root *(s)ker- meaning “to cut”. Cronus was the Titan who fathered the Greek gods. As his wife Rhea gave birth to the gods, Cronus swallowed them fearing the prophecy that he would be overthrown by one of his children. However Rhea hid Zeus, her last child, who eventually forced his father to disgorge his siblings. Cronus and the rest of the Titans were then defeated by the gods and exiled.
From Greek πᾶν (pan) meaning “all” (genitive παντός) and ἐλεήμων (eleemon) meaning “compassionate”. This was a name given to Saint Pantaleon.
From the Late Latin name Paschalis, which meant “relating to Easter” from Latin Pascha “Easter”, which was in turn from Hebrew פֶּסַח (pesach) meaning “Passover”. Passover is the ancient Hebrew holiday celebrating the liberation from Egypt. Because it coincided closely with the later Christian holiday of Easter, the same Latin word was used for both. The name Pascal can also function as a surname, as in the case of Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), the French philosopher, mathematician and inventor.
The meaning of this name is not known for certain. It could be derived from Hungarian bél meaning “guts, bowel” or Slavic бѣлъ (belu) meaning “white”. This was the name of four Hungarian kings.
Means “enduring, permanent” in South Slavic. This also coincides with the Macedonian and Serbian form of the Roman emperor’s name Trajan which may also factor into the name’s usage.
Means “god of wealth”, from Chinese 财 (cái) meaning “wealth, riches” and 神 (shén) meaning “god”. This is the name of a Chinese god of wealth.
From the Old Norse name Þórmóðr, which meant “Thor’s mind” from the name of the Norse god Þórr combined with móðr “mind, mood”.
Possibly derived from Greek κοῖος (koios), also spelled ποῖος (poios), a questioning word meaning approximately “of what kind?”. This was the name of a Titan god of intelligence in Greek mythology.
Possibly a Latinized form of a Germanic or Celtic name, possibly Germanic Widogast. This was the name of a 6th-century saint who helped to convert the Frankish king Clovis to Christianity.
Means “one that walks on four claws” in Cree. This was the name of a 19th-century Cree chief.
Spanish, Italian and Portuguese form of the Late Latin name Benignus, which meant “kind, friendly”. This was the name of several saints including a 5th-century disciple of Saint Patrick who later became the chief Bishop of Ireland.
From Tibetan བསྟན་འཛིན (bstan-‘dzin) meaning “upholder of teachings”. This is one of the given names of the current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso (1935-).
Means “ancient, enduring” in Irish. In Irish mythology this was the name of the father of Lugh Lámfada. It was also borne by the mythical ancestor of the Ciannachta and by a son-in-law of Brian Boru.
Derived from Hebrew לָבָן (Lavan) meaning “white”. In the Old Testament, this is the name of the father of Rachel and Leah.
Latinized form of the Greek Κέρβερος (Kerberos), which possibly meant “spotted”. In Greek myth, this was the name of the three-headed dog that guarded the entrance to Hades.
Means “flower” in Sanskrit. This is a transcription of both the feminine form पुष्पा and the masculine form पुष्प. Especially in Nepal, it is frequently masculine.
Russian and Armenian forms of Alexander. This name was borne by the 19th-century Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin.
From the Hebrew name יֹאשִׁיָהוּ (Yoshiyahu) meaning “Yahweh supports”. In the Old Testament, this is the name of a king of Judah famous for his religious reforms. He was killed fighting the Egyptians at Megiddo in the 7th century BC. In England, this name came into use after the Protestant Reformation.
From Welsh bendigaid “blessed” combined with the lenited form of the name Brân. This is another name for Brân the Blessed.
From the English words love and more. This name is most common in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in southern Africa.
From the Roman cognomen Hadrianus, which meant “from Hadria” in Latin. Hadria was the name of two Roman settlements.
Means “whelp, young dog” in Scottish Gaelic. This name was borne by Cailean Mór, a 13th-century Scottish lord and ancestor of Clan Campbell.
Means “great hero” from Sanskrit महा (maha) meaning “great” and वीर (vira) meaning “hero, man”. This was the name of the 6th-century BC founder of Jainism.
Means “beloved by the moon”, derived from Sanskrit चन्द्र (chandra) meaning “moon” and कान्त (kanta) meaning “desired, beloved”. This is another name for the moonstone.
From the Persian byname فردوسی (Ferdosi) meaning “paradisiacal, heavenly”, derived from Arabic فردوس (firdaws), itself of Avestan origin. Ferdowsi was an 10th-century poet and historian, the author of the epic Shahnameh, which tells the history of Persia.
From the Greek Ἀχιλλεύς (Achilleus), which is of unknown meaning, perhaps derived from Greek ἄχος (achos) meaning “pain” or else from the name of the Achelous River.
From the Old Irish name Finn, derived from finn meaning “fair, white”. It occurs frequently in Irish history and legends, the most noteworthy bearer being Fionn mac Cumhaill, the central character of one of the four main cycles of Irish mythology.
From Hebrew קַפצִיאֵל (Qaftzi’el), of uncertain meaning. Suggested meanings include “speed of God” or “cover of God”. This is the name of an angel in medieval Jewish, Christian and Islamic mysticism.
From the name of the precious stone that is often used in carvings. It is derived from Spanish (piedra de la) ijada meaning “(stone of the) flank”, relating to the belief that jade could cure renal colic. As a given name, it came into general use during the 1970s. It was initially unisex, though it is now mostly feminine.
From the Old English elements os “god” and wine “friend”. Saint Oswin was a 7th-century king of Northumbria. After the Norman Conquest this name was used less, and it died out after the 14th century. It was briefly revived in the 19th century.
Means “goodwill” in Italian. This name was used by Shakespeare for a friend of Romeo in his play Romeo and Juliet (1596). The character had been created earlier by the Italian writer Matteo Bandello, whose play Giuletta e Romeo (1554) was one of Shakespeare’s sources.
Derived from the Slavic element dragu meaning “precious” combined with miru meaning “peace, world”.
Bulgarian and Georgian form of Valerius, as well as an alternate transcription of Russian Валерий
Breton and French form of the Old Welsh name Arthmail, which was composed of the elements arth “bear” and mael “prince, chieftain”. This was the name of a 6th-century Welsh saint who founded abbeys in Brittany.
Derived from the Slavic elements krasa “beauty, adornment” and miru “peace, world”.
From Japanese 竜, 龍 (ryū) meaning “dragon” or 隆 (ryū) meaning “noble, prosperous” combined with 二 (ji) meaning “two” or 司 (ji) meaning “officer, boss”. This name can also be formed using other kanji combinations.
Combination of the names of the Hindu gods Rama and Krishna. This name was borne by the Hindu religious teacher Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836-1886).
From the Greek name Ἀρισταῖος (Aristaios), derived from ἄριστος (aristos) meaning “best”. This was the name of a minor Greek god of agriculture, hunting and cattle. He was the son of Apollo and the mortal Cyrene.
From the name of a sacred hill in Andhra Pradesh in southern India. It is the home of the Venkateswara Temple, a pilgrimage site for Hindus.
109. Abd ar-Rashid
Means “servant of the rightly guided” from Arabic عبد (‘abd) meaning “servant” combined with رَشِيد (rashid) meaning “rightly guided”.
Slovene, Croatian and Hungarian form of Wido or Vitus. Saint Vitus, known in Slavic languages as Sveti Vid (or similar), has been conflated with the Slavic god Svetovid.
From a phrase used by members of the Candomblé religion (an African religion that was taken to Brazil by African slaves), which means “good luck”.
From Japanese ピカチュウ (Pikachuu), derived from the onomatopoeic words ピカピカ (pikapika), a sparkly sound, and チュウチュウ (chuuchuu), a mouse sound. This is the name of a Pokémon, a yellow rodent-like creature who can summon electricity, from a series of video games starting 1996. This is technically the name of the species, though it is used as a given name for the creature in some contexts.
From Arabic براق (Buraq), the name of the legendary creature that, according to Islamic tradition, transported the Prophet Muhammad. Its name is derived from Arabic برق (barq) meaning “lightning”.
Derived from Finnish seppä meaning “smith”. Seppo Ilmarinen (“the smith Ilmarinen”) is the name of a master craftsman in the Finnish epic the Kalevala.
From a Norman surname, which was from a French place name, ultimately derived from the Gaulish word vern meaning “alder”.
From Japanese 大 (dai) meaning “big, great” combined with 地 (chi) meaning “earth, land” or 智 (chi) meaning “wisdom, intellect”. Other kanji combinations are possible.
From Chinese 赞 (zàn) meaning “help, support”, as well as other characters with a similar pronunciation.
Probably from Latin catulus meaning “young dog, puppy”. Saint Catellus was a 9th-century bishop of Castellammare, Italy.
Literature Latinized form of Greek Τρωΐλος (Troilos), from the Greek name of the city of Troy Τροία (Troia). In Greek legend this was a son of king Priam killed by Achilles. His story was greatly expanded by medieval European writers such as Boccaccio and Chaucer, who make him the lover of Criseida. Shakespeare based his play Troilus and Cressida (1602) on these tales.
From Sumerian lugal “king” and banda “young, wild, fierce”. This was the name of a legendary king of Uruk who was said to be the father of Gilgamesh in Sumerian mythology.
More Baby Names:
Whatever you choose, keep in mind that your lovely boy is more than his name. Every guy has the capacity to live a long and rich life, and every child is a great gift from God. Choose carefully, yet wisely.
There are many lovely names out there, but the most lovely of them all is the one you love. Most importantly, don’t allow others pressure you into picking a name you don’t like—if you like more traditional baby boy names, that’s fine. There is no right or wrong answer here; any name will suffice as long as you like it.
We hope that this naming guide has aided you in your search for the ideal name for your baby boy.