Finnish boy names: the best boys’ names from Finland

If you’re looking for a name for your baby boy, why not consider something a little unusual? A Finnish American boy name perhaps? Or something rooted in Finnish mythology and the forests? 

Why not choose a FInnish boys name for your newborn baby?
Pic: Alexey Fedorenko

But what are some good Finnish boy names? And why choose one for your son? We’ve checked out some of the most popular boy names in Finland to give you some inspiration and insight into Finland male names.

Read on to find out what are the most popular Finnish boys’ names, what they mean and where they come from.

Most popular Finnish boy names today

Looking at the top ten most popular Finnish baby boy names for 2020, we can see that unique Finnish boy names are still very popular.

Juhani is the most popular Finnish boys name
LuidmilaKot (CC)

In most of the other Scandinavian countries (including Norway and Sweden), classic international names such as William, Hugo and Noah have all shown up in the baby-naming charts in recent years.

In Finland, however, traditional Finnish names are still popular and the trend for old Finnish boys’ names continues.

So here are the top ten most popular Finnish baby boys’ names, with the number of boys given each name in 2020 in brackets.

  1. Juhani (1276)
  2. Olavi (1247)
  3. Johannes (1184)
  4. Mikael (851)
  5. Oliver (810)
  6. Ilmari (783)
  7. Onni (752)
  8. Elias (641)
  9. Eino (634)
  10. Matias (598)

Finnish baby boy names and their meanings

And, of course, it’s not just about whether a name sounds good or looks like it suits your child, you want to know what each name means too. So, read on to find out all about the top ten Finnish boy names and their meanings.

Juhani

Juhani, and its shortened form Juho, are the Finnish versions of John. The most popular of the Finnish biblical boy names, it means “graced by God”. 

The Finnish boys name Onni means "luck" or "happiness"
janko ferlic (CC)

Olavi

Olavi is the Finnish variation of the Old Norse name Olaf, and means “family descendant”.

Its current popularity today is probably due to the cute snowman Olaf in Disney’s blockbuster Frozen film. 

Johannes

Another variation of the biblical name John, Johannes means “graced by god” or “god is gracious”. This version is more popular in the rest of Scandinavia than the specifically Finnish boy’s name Juhani.

Mikael

The Finnish version of Micheal, Mikael is another Finnish biblical boys name that means “god-like” or a “gift from god”. The name is derived from Hebrew originally.

Well-known Mikaels in Finland include the footballers Mikael Forssell and Mikael Soisalo, and the rapper Mikael Gabriel.

Oliver

One of the few classic international names to enter the Finnish top ten, Oliver has two possible derivations. Its most likely origins are from the Latin meaning “olive tree”. 

Other sources, however, suggest that it may also derive from the Old Norse/Germanic name Áleifr, which means “ancestor’s descendant”.

Ilmari

This name is the shortened, and more popular, version of Ilmarinen. Known as the Eternal Hammerer, Ilmarinen is an immortal blacksmith and inventor god from the Kalevala, a book of epic tales from Finnish mythology.

The name is thought to derive from the Finnish word ilma, meaning “air”.

Onni

Although relatively unknown in English-speaking countries, the name Onni is very popular in Finland – perhaps unsurprisingly, since it means “happiness” or “luck”.

And who wouldn’t want these two things for their newborn baby boy?

Probably the most famous Onni in Finland is Onni Tommila, best-known as a child actor in films such as Big Game and Last Cowboy Standing.

Elias

Another biblical name, Elias comes from the Hebrew Elijah and means “the lord is my god”.

Olavi is the second most popular boys name in Finland

Eino

This traditional Finnish name comes from the Old Norse word einn and means “one” or “alone”. 

Finland’s best known Eino is the poet and journalist Eino Leino, who was a pioneer of Finnish poetry and Finland’s national poet. There’s even a national Eino Leino Day in his honour, on his birthday – 6th July.

Matias

The Finnish version of Matthew, this biblical name is popular throughout Scandinavia and means “gift of god”.

Most common Finnish male names

Of course if we look at the most common male names in Finland overall we get a different picture. Some, like Juhani and Olavi, are classic names that appear at the top of both lists.

Finnish boys names are a popular choice for your newborn baby
Gareth Williams (CC)

Others, like Antero and Tapani, are traditional names that don’t seem to be among the most popular Finnish names for a boy at the moment.

But, of course, people are always looking for unusual and less common names so who knows, some of them may well be ripe for a comeback!

Here are the top ten most common Finnish names for males, with the number of men in Finland called that name in 2021. Below, we’ve given the meanings of those names that don’t appear in the list above.

  • Juhani (281,516)
  • Olavi (140,701)
  • Antero (135,448)
  • Tapani (135,058)
  • Johannes (133,244)
  • Tapio (114,397)
  • Mikael (105,357)
  • Kalevi (91,755)
  • Matti (78,102)
  • Pekka (76,999)

Antero

The Finnish version of Andrew, Antero means “strong” and “manly”. In Finnish mythology, Antero Vipunen is a giant who has valuable spells and knowledge and is buried underground. His story is told in the Finnish epic book of poetry, the Kalevala.

Tapani is a popular Finnish boys name that means "crown" or "garland".
Pic: Irina Schmidt

Tapani

Tapani is the Finnish version of the name Stephen, which means “crown” or “garland”.  Since garlands are traditionally given to the winner, the name has come to mean “the victorious one”.

Tapio

This popular Finnish boy’s name means “god of the forest and animals”. In Finnish mythology, Tapio was the god of hunting and the wood spirits and ruler of the forests. 

Some sources suggest that the name derives from the Estonian word taba, which means “trap”, “lock” or “hunting ground”.

Kalevi

The name Kalevi means “ancestor of the Finns”. Variations of the name include Kalev and Kaleva. According to Finnish mythology, he was an ancient Finnish ruler whose sons also became royalty – hence he was known as the father of the Finns.  

Famous Kalevis include Taisto Kalevi Sorsa, the longest-serving Prime Minister of Finland.

Matti

Meaning a “gift of god”, Matti is a variant of the name Matias, itself the Finnish version of Matthew. A long-standing Finnish boy’s name, it’s also popular for girls too.

Pekka

The Finnish version of the name Peter, Pekka means “stone” or “rock”. Finland’s best-known Pekka is the Green politician and the country’s Foreign Minister, Pekka Olavi Haavisto.

See also:
The most popular Swedish boys names and their meanings
Norwegian boy names: the best male names from Norway
Cool male Viking names and their meanings
Finnish last names and their meanings

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