Cool Icelandic boy names and their meanings

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.

Popular Icelandic boys’ names
Rare and unique Icelandic boys names
Famous Icelandic male names
Names using Icelandic letters
Icelandic names for male cats
Icelandic list of approved names
What male names are illegal in Iceland?
Unisex Icelandic names that work for boys and girls
100 Icelandic male names (A-Z)

Whether you’re looking for traditional Icelandic boys names or something more unusual, you’ll want to know about the origins of the name and what it means. 

So here are some popular Icelandic boys and their meanings to help you decide if an Icelandic name is right for your baby son.

Aron

Currently 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”.

Bjarki

Bjarki is an Old Norse pet form of Biǫrn, meaning “bear cub”. We think it’s a very cute name for a cuddly boy!

Eiður 

Eiður is an ancient Icelandic name that first appeared in  the ninth century in the medieval Landnámabók, which describes the settlement of Iceland and is an important source of the country’s sagas. 

The name means “oath” and is not a particularly common name in Iceland, but we felt we had to include in honour of Eiður Guðjohnsen, probably Iceland’s most successful footballer. 

He was a popular player for English premier league team Chelsea and top Spanish team Barcelona, and former captain of the Iceland national team.

Einar 

The name Einar comes from the Old Norse einn meaning “one” and harr, meaning “warrior”. So it has come to mean “one warrior” or “bold soldier who fights alone”. 

Emil

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

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”.

Gunnar

This Old Norse name comes from gunnr, meaning “war” and means “warrior” or “fighter”. If your child’s a feisty figher, this could be a good choice.

Helgi

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

Ígull

We love this cute name! Pronounced ee-gull, Ígull is an unusual name that means “hedgehog” or “sea-urchin”.

Isak

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

Jóhann 

One of the most popular names in Iceland, this is an Icelandic variation of Jon or Johannes and means “God is gracious”.

Jökull

A name that becoming increasingly popular in Iceland,  Jökull means “icicle’ or “glacier”. It may be worth considering if your son is a cool customer!

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!

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.

Leif

This derives from the Old Norse words leifr, meaning “heir” or “successor”. A popular version for young boys is Leifur.

Probably the best-known Leif is Leif Eriksson (son of Erik the Red), the Viking explorer who was the first European to set foot on the American continent.

Magnús 

This popular Scandinavian name actually derives from Latin origins, where it means “the greatest”.

However, some sources suggest that it comes from the Old Norse words magn and hús, meaning powerhouse.

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.

Ólafur

Olafur, and its diminutives Olav or Olaf, is of Icelandic origins and means “ancestors descendent or relic”!

It’s not a particularly inspiring meaning, we think, though most people, will associate it with the cute snowman Olaf from Frozen!

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.

Sigurður 

This popular Icelandic name comes storm the Old Norse words sig and vard, meaning “victory” and “guard”.

So, it’s full meaning “guardian of victory” is surely a pointer to success!

Sindri

This name comes from the Old Norse word for “sparkling”. A good name for a bright, effervescent child!

Sölvi

A popular name for a boy in Iceland, this has Old Norse origins and means “temple of the sun”. 

In Sweden and Norway, it’s regarded as a girl’s name where it’s commonly used as short from of Solveig. So, it’s truly a name for anyone!

Sveinn

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

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.

Rare and unique Icelandic names for boys

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 or unusual name. But that’s not the case. 

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

Here are a few Icelandic boy names, that are so rare and unique that some have only been recently approved.

You won’t find many other children with these names even in Iceland, let alone around the world.

So, if you fancy something really different, why not consider one of the suggestions below. 

  • Atli 
  • Bjarni 
  • Ebbi 
  • Elías 
  • Elmar
  • Gabríel
  • Hjalmar 
  • Haukur
  • Leó
  • Líus 
  • Nóri
  • Nikanor 
  • Sæmi 
  • Tói

Famous Icelandic male names

Probably the most famous Icelandic male is international football player Eiður Guðjohnsen, whose name means “oath”.

Icelandic TV presenter and journalist Magnus Magnusson was best known in the UK as the host of long-running TV quiz Mastermind! 

His full name means “powerhouse, son of powerhouse” or “the greatest, son of the greatest”, depending on which source you go for. Either way, it’s a pretty strong name!

Actor and strongman Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson is known for his role in Game of Thrones.

His name derives from the Old Norse haf (meaning sea or ocean) and þórr (meaning thunder), so means “one who thunders in the ocean” 

An apt name perhaps for one who played the role of “The Mountain”!

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.

So if you want a name that’s a bit different, 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 (from the Old Norse for “tuft of hair”)
  • Púki (derived from an Old English name, Puck, meaning “little devil”!).
  • Foss (it means “waterfall” in Icelandic)
  • Brandr (This name meaning “sword” might be a good choice for a cat with sharp claws!)
  • Adalward (derived from an Old Swedish word meaning “noble guardian”)
  • Kolli (this sweet-sounding name is the Icelandic word for “bald”, so a good choice for a a Sphynx cat maybe?)
  • Holti (an Old Norse name meaning “someone from a small forest”)
The name Foss means waterfall in Icelandic.
Pic: © Amanda Tomlin

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.

And if you want to know which are currently the most popular Icelandic boys name, you can check the official Icelandic government statistics website.

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:

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

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:

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

100 Icelandic male names (A-Z)

And if you still can’t find a name you like, here are 100 inspiring Icelandic names for boys – in alphabetical order.

Ari Arnar Ásgeir
Baldur Benedikt Bjarni
Björn Bríann Dagur
Einar Elías Emil
Erlendur Finnur Friðrik
Geir Gísli Gunnar
Guðmundur Halldór Hannes
Haraldur Helgi Hilmar
Hjörtur Hrafn Ingólfur
Ísak Jóhann Jón
Jónas Karl Kjartan
Kristján Leifur Lúkas
Magnús Már Mikael
Níels Oddur Ólafur
Orri Páll Pétur
Ragnar Rögnvaldur Runólfur
Sigurður Sigurjón Sigvaldi
Snorri Stefán Sveinn
Teitur Þórarinn Þorfinnur
Þorgeir Þorgrímur Þorkell
Þorsteinn Þorvaldur Tómas
Trausti Tryggvi Valdimar
Valgeir Valur Víðir
Viktor Vilhjálmur Vilmar
Ýmir Adam Alex
Benjamin Christian Daniel
David Erik Filip
Gabriel Hannes Henrik
Hugo Ivan Jakob
Jesper Joel Jonathan
Lukas Markus Martin
Matteo Max Milo
Noah Oliver Oscar
Otto Philip Samuel
Sebastian Simon Theo
Tobias Viktor Vincent
William

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

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