Nickname Spotlight: Getting to Gus

Nickname Spotlight: Getting to Gus

Love Gus as a short name for a boy, but not a fan of Augustus and related names like August and Augustine?

One option is to simply use Gus on its own. This vintage nickname is charming, no-nonsense, and you’ll never need to spell it out. It was popular in the early 1900s, and is now on the verge of a comeback, ranking just below the US Top 1000 most popular baby names 2021: 167 boys were given the name nationally.

But if you feel like it needs something substantial behind it, here are 15 alternative long names you could use, most of them rare but rooted in culture and history.


An Indian name that is rising fast in the US: in 2021 it was given to 119 boys, the highest number ever. Agastya was a legendary Hindu sage, and is the Indian name for the star Canopus. It doesn’t need a whitewashed short form, but if you love both Agastya and Gus, well, you can have both.


This name from Irish legend is popular in Scotland and Australia but underused everywhere else, making it the perfect blend of rare-but-recognizable. If you’re seeking something even more distinctive, the standard modern Gaelic form is Aonghas, and Aengus, Aonghus, Oenghus and Óengus are all known too.


It may seem a stretch at first, but Gus has often been used in the Greek community as an anglicization of Kostas, a short form of Konstantinos.


Another ancient Irish name that is neglected — unfairly, we think — outside its native Ireland and Scotland. Ferguson is another option with last-name-as-first-name chic.


Sticking with the Irish legend, this rare name belonged to a teacher of the hero Finn McCool and means “blessed poet”. The only difficulty is deciding between Finn and Gus as a nickname.


Casper is starting to rise in popularity in the US, and so it the Spanish version — though it was still only given to 42 boys in 2021.


This name, meaning "rejoice", belonged to many ancient Romans including Julius Caesar — and for everyday use, it telescopes neatly into Gus.


Time to get over the Beauty and the Beast villain: this French classic is having a revival in France, and could make a distinguished multicultural option.


With weather names like Rain and Storm getting more love, why not this breezy word name? It was used regularly in the early twentieth century, but hasn’t been on the charts since the 1980s. If you need another syllable before shortening it to Gus, Gusty is another option.


A Scandinavian classic, also spelled Gustaf, that’s used frequently in the Swedish royal family. Nordic names like Soren and Leif are increasingly popular with American parents, and we could see Gustav joining this cool group too.


Another Scandi classic that more and more parents have been falling in love with, since it entered the US Top 1000 in 2013. While it doesn’t quite have the word “Gus” in it, it doesn’t seem too much of a stretch.


Using Gus as a nickname freshens up this classic Roman name. If you want an even closer connection, the Estonian form is Margus.


Music icon names like Bowie and Lennon are in style, and this tribute to jazz musician Charles Mingus would make a quirky addition to the list.


The Spanish word for “meadows”, and forever associated with the glitz of Las Vegas — and given to a few boys every year.


One for the astrologers, this extremely rare name is the ancient Greek term for the constellation Libra, from the word for a balance beam.

This is adapted from a post written by K. M. Sheard, published in 2014. Read the original version on her site, Nook of Names.

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from names peaking right now to feminist baby names, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. She has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and recently completed an MA dissertation researching names in multilingual families. She lives in England with her husband and son. You can reach her at