Icelandic male names: the best boys’ names from Iceland!

Do you want an interesting name for your newborn son? Why not consider an Icelandic boys’ name? 

Why not choose an Icelandic name for your baby boy?
Brian Gratwicke (CC)

Men in Iceland are known for being athletic, respectful and hard-working, and their names are often unique and intriguing.

We’ve compiled a range of Icelandic male names so you can find something that suits your newborn son perfectly.

Most popular newborn male names in Iceland

These were the top ten most popular names for newborn boys in Iceland in 2018 (official source). But where do these names come from? Read on to find out the origins of these names and what they mean.

  • Aron
  • Alexander
  • Emil
  • Kári
  • Viktor
  • Óliver
  • Mikael
  • Jökull
  • Guðmundur
  • Jón

Aron

The most popular name for newborn boys in Iceland, Aron is derived from the Hebrew and biblical name Aaron. With an apt definition for the Icelandic natural environment, it means “mountain”, while another definition is “exalted”.

Icelandic men have an athletic reputation
Icelandic men have an athletic reputation / Светлана Бекетова (CC)

Alexander

Alexander is a popular name in Iceland and across the world. It is the Latin form of the Greek name Alexandros, which means “defender of men”.

Emil

Based on the Roman family name Aemilius, Emil is derived from the Latin word for “rival”. Its variants include Émile and Emilio.

Kári

Kári is the name of the Scandinavian god of wind. It’s the Old Norse form of Kárr, which means ‘curly-haired”, so it’s perfect if ringlets run in your family.

Viktor

The Nordic form of Victor, Viktor is a popular name which means “victor” or “conqueror” in Latin. Perhaps it’s a good choice if you want your son to be a successful sportsman.

Óliver

A slight change from the popular name Oliver, it’s thought in Iceland to come from Áleifr, which means “descendant”. Its spelling was later altered through association with the Latin word for olive tree, oliva, signifying peace.

Mikael

From the Hebrew and biblical name Michael, meaning “who is like God”, Mikael is a popular name. Variants in Iceland including Mikkael and Mikkel.

Jökull

Pronounced yo-cul, Jökull is a handsome and unique Icelandic name. It comes from the Old Norse word for “ice” or “glacier”, so it’s really suitable for Iceland’s impressive natural environment.

Guðmundur

Another Icelandic name, Guðmundur derives from the Old Norse words guð (“god”) and mundr (“protection”). Think of the pronunciation of “ð” as similar to the “th” sound in “weather”.

Jón

The Icelandic form of John, this name evolved from the Hebrew name Yochanan meaning “Yahweh is gracious”. Jón is the most popular name for men in Iceland, so don’t forget that the “J” is pronounced like a “Y” in English!

Traditional Icelandic names for boys

If you want an Icelandic name that’s more traditional, here’s some of the most popular names for men overall in Iceland in 2019, with the number of men in Iceland with that name.

  • Jón (5,177)
  • Sigurður (4,187)
  • Guðmundur (3,927)
  • Gunnar (3,130)
  • Ólafur/Olav (2,776)
  • Einar (2,443)
  • Kristján/Kristian/Christian (2,436)
  • Magnús (2,325)
  • Stefán/Stefan (2,243)
  • Jóhann (2,040)

Modern Icelandic names for boys

Looking for something a bit more up to date? Here are some modern Icelandic boys’ names found on the list of names for newborn boys in Iceland in 2018 

  • Ólafur
  • Ari
  • Oskar
  • Theódór
  • Ýmir
  • Arnar
  • Sölvi

Rare Icelandic names for boys

If you fancy a really unusual Icelandic name, why not consider one of the suggestions below. You won’t find many other children with these names even in Iceland, let alone around the world. 

Iceland boys names can be fun and unusual
Brian Gratwicke (CC)

So, here are some rare Icelandic boys’ names, with the number of boys given this name in Iceland in 2018 listed afterwards.

  • Elmar (15)
  • Atli (12)
  • Elías (12)
  • Leó (12)
  • Bjarni (11)
  • Gabríel (11)
  • Haukur (11)

Unique Icelandic boy names

Since Iceland has a list of approved names that you are allowed to call your newborn child, you might think that there’s limited scope to choose a unique name. That’s not the case. 

Here are some unique Icelandic boy names approved in the last 15 years, with the number of people currently using that name given after.

  • Líus (1)
  • Nóri (3)
  • Tói (2)
  • Nikanor (1)
  • Sæmi (3)
  • Ebbi (4)
  • ​​Hjalmar (3)

Cute Icelandic names for baby boys

Looking for a name that will suit your cute newborn? Checkout these names and their meanings below.

  • Isak
  • Sveinn
  • Bjarki
  • Leifur
  • Sindri
  • Helgi
  • Ígull

Isak

The Icelandic form of Isaac, Isak derives from the Hebrew for “he will laugh”.

Sveinn

The name of past kings of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, Sveinn is taken from the Old Norse word for “young lad”.

Bjarki

Bjarki is an Old Norse pet form of Biǫrn, meaning “bear cub”.

Leifur

The younger form of Leifr, meaning “heir” or “successor”.

Sindri

This name comes from the Old Norse word for “sparkling”.

Helgi

The younger form of the Old Norse name Hailaga, meaning “holy” or “blessed”. 

Ígull

Pronounced ee-gull, Ígull is an unusual name that means “hedgehog” or “sea-urchin”.

Icelandic boy names that use Icelandic letters

The Icelandic alphabet is Latin-based, like English, but has ten extra letters (á, ð, é, í, ó, ú, ý, þ, æ, ö). 

It doesn’t use z, c, q or w ( at least, only in foreign words), so there are 32 letters in total in the Icelandic alphabet. Here are some Icelandic boys’ names using Icelandic letters.

  • Eyþór
  • Óðinn
  • Rökkvi
  • Diðrik
  • Jörvar
  • Tístran
  • Þórður

Icelandic names for male cats

Got a new feline friend? These Icelandic names sound cute and have definitions that would suit male cats.

  • Flóki
  • Púki
  • Foss
  • Brandr
  • Adalward
  • Kolli
  • Holti

Flóki

From the Old Norse for “tuft of hair”.

Púki

Púki is actually derived from an Old English name, Puck, meaning “little devil”.

Foss

Foss means “waterfall” in Icelandic.

The name Foss means waterfall in Icelandic.
Pic: © Amanda Tomlin

Brandr

Has your cat got the sharpest claws in the world? This name meaning “sword” might be a good choice!

Adalward

Adalward is derived from an Old Swedish word meaning “noble guardian”.

Kolli

Have you got a Sphynx cat? This sweet-sounding name is the Icelandic word for “bald”.

Holti

This Old Norse name means “someone from a small forest”.

How many Icelandic male names are there?

There are over 2000 male names that have been approved for use by Iceland’s Personal Names Committee. You can find the full list here.

Why does Iceland have a list of approved names?

Iceland’s Personal Names Committee was established in 1991 in order to preserve the country’s language and historic baby-naming tradition. This ensures that all names fit into the country’s language and culture.

Iceland has a prescribed list of names to choose from
Helgi Halldórsson (CC)

As for surnames, Iceland has a patronymic system, which means that most people take their father’s name as their surname, with the suffix –son (for a boy) or –dottir (for a girl).

For more on the complex system of Icelandic patronymic names, read our guide to Icelandic last names.

What male names are illegal in Iceland?

Iceland’s Personal Names Committee states that potential new names must:

  • be able to have a genitive ending or have been adopted through custom in the Icelandic language
  • be adaptable to the structure of the Icelandic language and spelling conventions
  • not cause the bearer embarrassment.

Examples of male names that have been rejected by the committee and are therefore illegal include:

  • Pedro
  • Noel
  • Franzis
  • Niklas
  • Theophilus
  • Curver
  • Ganagane

Why do a lot of Icelandic given male names end with an ‘r’ ?

The Icelandic language has three genders: masculine, feminine, and neutral. The –r suffix is a common marker for male nouns and is thus present in many male Icelandic names.

Unisex Icelandic names that work for boys and girls

In 2019, Iceland’s Gender Autonomy Act recognised the non-binary gender in law. This meant that personal names were no longer restricted by gender, and specific gender-neutral Icelandic names can now be added to the Personal Names Register.

Some examples that work for boys, girls and non-binary people include:

  • Lauf
  • Aró
  • Skylar
  • Villiblóm
  • Bryn
  • Kaos
  • Norður

See also:
Icelandic girls’ names 
Cool female Viking names and their meanings 
Scandinavian boy names

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