Category: names starting with A
By Aimee Reneau Tafreshi
I was at a 1950’s-style diner with my young daughter Addie when an older waitress asked me what the name was short for. “Adair,” I said, and was shocked when the waitress told me that her grown daughter’s name was also Adair, called “Dare.” I was impressed and also a little envious of this older mom’s ability to come up with not only an original first name but also a unique nickname that maintained the boldness of Adair. And here I was stuck with the ubiquitous Addie.
I took the task of naming my daughter seriously. Some moms comparison shopped for nursery furniture or researched car seats; I test drove baby names. Did I want a baby that was hip like Clementine, well traveled like Esmé, classy like Catherine or happy as a Lark? Or was my future daughter an athletic Billie, a fashion-forward Daphne or an artistic Margot?
Once upon a time, a century ago or so, Al was almost as commonplace a nickname as Joe or Jim, Bill or Bob. Al itself stood independently at Number 298, a casual short form of popular standards Albert (in the Top 20 for 40+ years) and Alfred, which reached as high as 32, and others less common..
Al dropped off the list in 1944, but just because it may not be as appealing a nickname today as, say, Cal or Hal, that’s no reason to dismiss some of the interesting Al-starters availablet: for though Alexander and some of his offshoots have been popular for decades, there’s a whole contingent of other, neglected Al– names worthy of a fresh look.
So even if you haven’t the slightest interest in ever using the nickname Al (though even he is starting to sound plausible again in this era of revived good-guy short forms), here are a dozen semi-vanished members of this family of names worth reevaluating–though we won’t push as far as Algernon or Aloysius, Alcestis or Aladdin, or even Alvin.
ALARIC –This ancient name that goes back to the Kings of the Ostrogoths has a certain quirky charm that helps modernize it. A literary name that’s been used by authors from P. G. Wodehouse to Stephen King, Alaric might be recognized by contemporaries as a history teacher character on The Vampire Diaries.