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Popular Greek Boy Names

Top Greek Derived Names Used in the United States

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Updated February 25, 2013

One way for parents to tip their hat to their heritage is to choose a name that reflects their ancestry. For parents with roots to Greece, these Greek baby boy names certainly highlight the connection to the culture without seeming too unusual or difficult to pronounce.

See also: Popular Greek Girl Names

1. Thomas

On current popular U.S. baby name lists, Thomas is the highest ranking Greek name on the list. I should explain that there are many anglicized versions of Greek names (ie, Alexander for Alexandros, Andrew for Andreas), but Thomas retains its authentic Greek spelling.

However, the English pronunciation is slightly different than the Greek. In English, the emphasis is on the first syllable, TAHM-əs, whereas the Greek pronunciation places emphasis on the second syllable, to-MAHS.

The name Thomas, meaning "twin," is actually the Greek adaptation of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta'oma'). The name of one of the 12 of Apostles, Thomas was accepted in to Christian culture and has been a common name ever since.

2. Elias

It may not be entirely accurate to call Elias a Greek name, but it certainly has connection with Greek culture. Technically, Elias is the Latinized version of the Greek name Ἠλίας which in turn was adapted from the Hebrew name Eliyahu. The name is most notably connected with the Old Testament prophet Elijah.

Today the name Elijah is far more popular and clinches a spot well within the Top 50 Baby Names. However, the name of Elias has been increasing in popularity in recent years. Last year it ranked 139, the highest position the name has ever attained.

3. Alexis

I know, I know, many people would consider this name a feminine name not a masculine one, but the name Alexis was originally a name for boys. (Read more: Boy Names for Girls). The name Alexis (Αλεξις in the Greek form) means "helper" or "defender."

The name is pronounced ə-LEK-sis among English speakers. For boys, recently the name ranked in at 242, but for girls it was much more popular at rank 26.

4. Nikolas

Νικολας, nee-ko-LAS in the Greek, Nikolas means "victory for the people." The name was adapted into other countries and variant (and more common spellings) include Nicholas, Nicholaos, and Nicolas.

The name was borne by the famous Saint Nicholas, a 4th century bishop. As the story goes, he saved the daughters of a peasant from a life of prostitution. Further connection to Greek culture, Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of Greece, not to mention children, sailors, merchants, and Russia. From this historical figure, the fictional character of Santa Claus was based.

The name has been popular in the Christian world. In 2011, nearly 12,000 baby boys were given one of the variant spellings of Nikolas.

5. Demetrius

Demetrius is the latinized spelling of Δημητριος (Demetrios). The name stems from the Greek goddess of agriculture, Demeter. Several Christian saints bore this name, including a 4th century martyr.

Though in use in the United States, at rank 581, it would hardly be thought of as a common name.

6. Matthias

Matthias is a variant spelling of Ματθαιος (Matthaios), more familiar as the popular name Matthew. The Greek version of the name was based upon the Hebrew name, Mattityahu, meaning "gift of YAHWEH (God)."

The name became popular in the Christian culture because the Apostle Matthias was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:12-26) was one of the 12 apostles (different than the Apostle Matthew, the author of the Gospel of that name).

7. Leonidas

Leonidas (Λεωνιδας) comes from the base word leon which means "lion." In 5th century BC, the Spartan King Leonidas gave his life defending Thermopylae from the Persians.

Only since 2008 has this name been making the charts in the United States. A total of 232 boys were born with this name in 2011.

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