Category: boys’ nicknames
For generations, there was the name your parents chose, and then there was the name you actually used.
Some names were outgrown, of course. Others held on long after you’d expect them to fade. My great-uncle Flash was once a high school track star, but even as a portly gentleman in his 60s, he still answered to his nickname.
Of course, Billy and Mimi and Flash grew up in an era when lots of kids shared the same names, sometimes in the same family. Flash was really Anthony, as were a few of his cousins. Mimi is one of three Marys on her yearbook page alone.
If a name is in the Top 10, it might be easy, but what if they’re further down the list….and how far is far enough? Judging popular names gets even more difficult when they’re short forms, maybe not so popular at all on their own.
Just how ubiquitous is Lily?, an expectant mom asked recently on our forums. Lily as itself is Number 17 on the official popularity list; up there, for sure, but there are only a third as many Lilys as there are girls who get the number one Isabella. So is Lily really one of those names you’re going to hear coming and going?
Sadly, the answer may be yes, and here’s why.
Lily, along with a handful of other nickname names, is not only popular on its own, but it’s used as a short form for several other popular names: Lillian, Liliana, and so on. The result: Many more Lilys than you might guess.
This phenomenon can be applied to names with many spelling variations: Leila or Michaela or Mackenzie in their rainbow of flavors. But today’s focus is on nicknames gone wild. Sure, these are adorable, but they all come with a warning label: rampant popularity ahead.
Addie – Addie is sweet and old-fashioned and even fresh-feeling, a followup to the now-overused Abby. But Addie is coming up fast thanks to a host of newly-popular mother names, from the trendy Addison to cool classics Adeline and Adelaide, often chosen specifically because they come with cute short form Addie.
Alex – Alex may be the unisex nickname name of the decade, not only a Top 100 name on its own for boys for a short form for boys’ Number 6 Alexander along with a huge contingent of popular girls’ names: Alexis, Alexa, Alexandra et al.
Today’s Question of the Week: What’s your style for naming a son? When it comes to boys’ names, how would you categorize what type you like best?
Traditional classic—as in James?
Ancient classic—as in Augustus?
Old Testament—as in Josiah?
Trendy–as in Hudson?
Powerboy –as in Axel?
Global – as in Enzo?
Nature– as in River?
Nickname—as in Charlie?
Grandpa—as in Arthur?
Great-Grandpa—as in Oscar?
Nouveau –as in Jaxon?
Hipster—as in Ace?
Well, things have changed. Today’s baby namers are putting a tremendous amount of thought into nicknames. Not only are they more willing to put them on the birth certificate (Gracie, Gus), but they are placing almost as much importance on their babies’ everyday/pet names as on their birth certificate appellations, sometime picking the colloquial form first and then finding a formal name that’s fits it.
And in many cases, the connections between the two are way less direct than they used to be, sometimes just sharing a first initial, or playing with a middle or last syllable, such as using Lia for Cecilia or Amelia.
Our own nameberries are especially inventive when it comes to creative nicknaming. Here are some of the recent examples we’ve noticed:
The boys’ names that ranked among the Top 1000 in 1880, the first year for which statistics were kept, include hundreds of choices no longer in use – or at least very rarely heard. Some of the categories of lost names overlap with the now-obscure girls’ names, while others are different.
Nickname-names, for instance, so packed with lost names for girls, include some lost choices for boys, though more of the nickname names in use in the late 19th century are still widely used today: Joe, Jack, Jake, Jim, and so on.
Those nickname names we’re not hearing much of any more but which were popular in 1880 include: