Looking for something unusual to call your newborn baby boy? Well, Swedish names are having a bit of a moment. Why not check out a few options that are currently popular in Sweden?
Do you like the sound of a Lars or a Lukas, an Erik or a Matteo? They’re all good names and may even conjure up the old Nordic stereotype of a strong, steady, tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Viking! But what do these names mean? And where do they come from?
We’ve looked at the most popular Swedish boys’ names right now, plus the most common Swedish boys’ names of all-time, and found out the names’ origins and what they mean. So, if you’re thinking of a Nordic name for your son, check out our guide to Swedish baby names for boys.
And if you don’t know your baby’s sex, or are looking for a Swedish baby name for your daughter, have a look at our guide to the most popular Swedish girls’ names too.
Most popular names for newborn Swedish boys
So what are people in Sweden calling their babies right now? We’ve ranked Swedish boys’ names by popularity, according to the 2020 figures from Sweden’s official statistics bureau. So, here are the top ten Swedish boys’ names for newborns.
What do Swedish boys’ names mean?
The origins of the most popular Swedish boys’ names come from a variety of sources, some from ancient Norse, some have biblical origins, some come from Latin or Greek roots and others derive from nature or traditional Nordic cultures.
Many names have been adapted over the years from their original roots or adopted by other languages, so that they may end up with several different meanings in different languages.
So, we’ve done some research and picked the most commonly agreed origins and definitions, so that you know what each name means and where is comes from.
And, of course, if you choose one of these names for your baby, you’ll want to pronounce it in the authentic Swedish way. So, here’s a handy guide to how to pronounce the top ten Swedish boys’ names.
Well, of course the inspiration for this name is the biblical Noah, who built an ark and saved two animals of each species from the flood. But did you know that it actually comes from the the Hebrew name Noach, which means “rest comfortably”? And that sounds to us like a pretty good aspiration for a baby!
A good powerful name, William means “strong-willed warrior” or “resolute protector”. It derives from the Old German Wilhelm, meaning “with gilded helmet” and was introduced into Britain by William the Conqueror.
Famous Williams include the Swedish Prince Wilhelm, Duke of Södermanland – though we suspect that the heir to the British throne Prince William would beat him in a best-known royal William competition! – and the US singer, Will.i.am.
A corruption of the Latin name Hugh, Hugo means “intellect” or “intelligent”, though other sources suggest it’s from the Old German hugu, meaning “mind” or “heart”. Either way, it’s no wonder it’s such a popular choice of name in Sweden!
The name Lucas, or Lukas as it’s commonly spelt in Sweden, comes from the Greek meaning “light”, “bright one” or “bringer of light”.
Liam is the Irish abbreviated version of the name William. Its increase in popularity throughout Europe and the US in recent years could be down to famous music industry Liams, Gallagher (from Oasis) and Payne (from One Direction), or possibly action-star film Liams, Neeson and Hemsworth.
Although it sounds Scandinavian and has royal roots in the region, Oscar originally derives from Gaelic. It comes from the two Irish words os meaning “deer” and car, meaning “loved or friend”, so translates as a friend of the deer.
Its popularity in Sweden may derive from King Oscar I of Sweden, godson of Napoleon Bonaparte, or perhaps from his son King Oscar II of Sweden. Either way, it’s a right royal name in Sweden with a regal heritage.
There are two possible roots for the name Oliver. It could come from the Latin/Old French name Olivier, which means olive tree or grove. Alternatively, it could be a corruption of the Old Norse name Oleifr, commonly shortened to Leif or Olaf in Sweden, which means ancestor or descendent.
Matteo is an Italian variation of the biblical Matthew, which means “gift of god” in Hebrew. A common variation in Sweden is Mats, as in the top Swedish tennis player Mats Wilander.
This popular Swedish boys’ name has biblical origins and is thought to be a corruption of the Hebrew name Elijah. It means “the lord is my god”.
You can’t chose a more suitable boy’s name than Adam – after all, it does derive from the Hebrew word for “man”. Its popularity in Sweden could be down to the most famous Adam of all, the biblical first man on earth, or maybe the US comedian Adam Sandler.
Most common boys’ names in Sweden overall
And if you’re looking for one of the more traditional Swedish names, check out the list below. It ranks the top ten boys’ names in Sweden overall, with Lars coming in first as Sweden’s most popular boys’ name across the entire population.
A good strong Swedish name, Lars means “God of thunder and lightening”. It derives from the Latin Laurentius, meaning “crowned by laurels” and “victor”.
Either way, Lars is not a name for shrinking violets! Swedish singer/songwriter Lars Winnerbäck may be an inspiration for the popularity of this name, or perhaps controversial Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier.
The Swedish version of Micheal, this name derives from Hebrew and means “looks like god”. Inspirational sporty Mikaels include Swedish tennis player Mikael Tillström and Swedish footballer Mikael Nilsson. Less inspirational, perhaps, is the superstrong father of the vampire race, Mikael in the popular books and TV series The Vampire Diaries.
If you want your boy to grow up macho and masculine, why not call him Anders, which means “strong and manly”? It’s the Swedish version of the Greek Andreas or the English Andrew.
It’s been one of the most popular names in Sweden for centuries and gave rise to the surname Andersson, meaning son of Anders, becoming one of Sweden’s most common surnames.
The Swedish version of John and with Hebrew origins, Johan means “god is gracious”. Almost certainly the best-known Johans are the composers Johan Sebastian Bach and Johan Strauss.
However, there’s no shortage of sporty Johans to inspire you too, including Dutch footballer Johan Cruyff, Swedish footballer Johan Elamander and Swedish ice-hockey player Johan Franzén. There’s no doubt that a boy called Johan will share his name with a talented bunch of men!
A short, strong Scandinavia name, Erik means “eternal ruler”. Unsurprisingly, it was the name given to several Swedish kings and princes in the past, including Erik the Victorious, Erik the Holy, and the unappealing Erik XIV, known as “the butcher king”, Sweden’s maddest and cruellest king ever. Perhaps more inspirational was the intrepid Icelandic explorer Erik the Red, who discovered Greenland.
The Swedish version of Peter, Per (pronounced pair) comes from the Greek petros, meaning rock or stone.
Also popular in Sweden, Peter has several variant spellings including Petter and Peder. Famous namesakes include Swedish footballers, Peter Andersson and Petter Augustsson, and the Swedish rapper Petter.
A Swedish variant of the name Charles, Karl is of Germanic origins and means “free man”. Probably the best-known Karls are both German – philosopher and social scientist Karl Marx, and the fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.
The name Thomas (sometime also spelt Tomas in Sweden) comes from Hebrew origins and means “twin”. Two. Of the most famous people named Thomas are American – the inventor of the lightbulb Thomas Edison and US president Thomas Jefferson.
A diminutive of the name Johann. Sweden’s most popular current Jan is probably Jan Andersson, coach of the national football team, who got the Swedes through to the final 16 of the 2021 Euros competition.
Other popular Swedish boys’ names (A–Z)
And if none of the above names grab you, here’s a full list of the top 200 Swedish boys’ names in alphabetical order – from Adam to Yngve!