Boy Names Starting with R: Robert, Rafferty, Rhodes

Looking for boy names starting with R?

From traditional mainstays like Robert and Richard to new favorites like Ryder and Remy, there’s no shortage of R boy names to consider.

In recent years, it’s felt like a number of the hottest names come from this letter – just look at the list of most popular picks, containing names like Remington and Rowan.

Speaking of Rowan, a handful of these names lean unisex. Reese and Riley – and Rowan – all appear in the girls’ Top 1000, too. But that hasn’t taken anything away from these names for our sons. In fact, all of those names are holding steady for our sons and daughters alike.

Read on for the most popular boy names starting with R, from rising River and Rhodes, to new possibilities you may have never considered.


These are the most popular boy names starting with R, based on births in calendar year 2018. (Check the full list for yourself here, at the Social Security Administration’s name site.)

RYAN (#57)

An Irish surname name meaning “little king,” Ryan has ruled the Top 100 since the 1970s.

ROMAN (#77)

A name that sounds when followed by “Empire,” Roman stepped off a soap opera and into the baby names charts beginning in the 1980s.


One of the few non-Biblical boy names to ever hold the top spot in the US, Bob’s your great-uncle these days. But Robbie and Rob keep this name wearable for a new generation.

RYDER (#108)

Ryder started out as an occupational surname. It could mean messenger – or perhaps warrior, someone who rode as part of his profession.

ROWAN (#113)

An Irish surname meaning red, and a tree name, too.

RIVER (#129)

Inspired the tragic death of River Phoenix, this name has slowly gone from the fringe to the mainstream, a noun name for a boy with an appealing image.

RYKER (#148)

Star Trek’s Will Riker spells his name with an ‘i’, but he still gets credit for the rise of Ryker-with-a-y. It may mean wealthy, from a Dutch surname.

RHETT (#159)

Another surname name, but one that we’ve thought as a first thanks to Gone With the Wind’s dashing Rhett Butler.

RICHARD (#208)

Regal and plenty classic with a great meaning “brave ruler,” Richard has a long history of use.


It’s the name of a firearms manufacturer, which could make Remington controversial. But I think this name succeeds because we love longer surname names, like Sullivan and Jameson.

RAFAEL (#247)

A favorite across much of the world, this classic remains relatively rare in the US.

RILEY (#258)

An upbeat Irish surname name, Riley is more popular for girls, but remains in steady use for boys, too.

RONAN (#269)

Less popular than Ryan or Aidan, Ronan is every bit as Irish. It means “little seal.”

RAYMOND (#312)

A name from another era, with a traditional vibe and cool built-in nickname Ray.

RYLAN (#327)

Ryan meets Riley meets Dylan in this appealing modern mash-up.

RORY (#330)

A regal Irish choice with a colorful meaning: “red king.”

RICARDO (#338)

Richard’s romance-language cousin, heard in Spanish and Portuguese.

REMY (#356)

An appealing French possibility, familiar thanks to a Disney-Pixar flick.

RUSSELL (#370)

Like Rory, Russell means red – but it’s French in origin. Philosopher Bertrand Russell makes it sound smart, but Russ is a thoroughly down-to-earth kind of name.

ROMEO (#377)

A romantic hero and a very on-trend sound.


RAY (#724)

The new Gus.

RAYLAN (#615)

A successor to Rylan, which a nod towards Ray.

REIGN (#643)

A name fit for a king – or queen, as Reign is unisex. Reality show royal Kourtney Kardashian used it for her youngest son, but she’s not the only high profile parent to embrace regal names.

REMI (#765)

A take on Remy, or possibly a name with separate Japanese or Yoruba origins.

RHYS (#422)

The most popular spelling of this name for boys at the moment. it looks creative – but instead, it’s authentically Welsh.

RIO (#783)

Leo meets River.

RIGGS (#945)

A surname name with a hardy, capable vibe.

ROCCO (#492)

This name mixes a kind of tough-guy vibe with serious Italian heritage.

ROME (#970)

The eternal city makes a logical name for a son in our age of Rhys and Cole.

RONIN (#388)

It looks a little like Ronan or Rowan, but Ronin is a Japanese title for a type of samurai – and a Marvel character, briefly seen in Avengers Endgame.

ROYAL (#404)

A name in the key of Reign, but with a longer history of use.

RYLAND (#519)

Another surname name, and an elaboration of Rylan.



An upbeat, Irish surname name that shortens to friendly Raf and Rafe.


A strong surname name, Ramsey brings to mind celebrity chef Gordon (who spells it Ramsay) and financial guru Dave.


An active surname name, Ranger might follow Hunter up the charts.


A virtue name in the key of August … or possibly an American one, akin to Hamilton.


A name that feels smart – think of Rhodes scholars – and impressive – think of the Colossus of Rhodes.


Long-time director Ridley Scott puts his unusual given name on our list of possibilities.


An English surname from Norse roots, Rigby refers to a farm by a ridge.


A modern name that signals achievement.


A bird, a chess piece, and a seldom-heard verb meaning to swindle, Rook just plain sounds cool.


Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese in origin, too, this short name is rich with potential.

What are your favorite boy names starting with R?

First published on May 25, 2020, this post was updated with new popularity data on September 14, 2020 and again on June 7, 2021.

boy names starting with R boy names starting with R


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