Comeback Kid Nicknames for Boys
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Here is Part 2 of our search for fresh vintage nickname names, and this time we’re looking at boys’ names that at one time registered on the Top 1000 list.
Bear in mind, though, that, because of the growth of the overall population we can sometimes be dealing with a vastly different number set between then and now. For example, when Ned peaked in 1907 at Number 291, that figure represented a mere 54 boys, whereas Number 291 in 2014 (Hector) was given to 1,209 boys.
Some of these names have long been completely off the radar, while others will be somewhat more familiar.
Arch—Archie, the familiar form of Archibald, has made a stupendous comeback in England and Wales, now ranking at Number 16, but the shorter form, Arch, is nowhere to be found. On the list for most years from 1880 to 1923, hitting the Top 300 in the 1880s. We think it could make an interesting word name choice for, say, an architect.
Audie—Audie had his moment in the sun via Audie Murphy, a highly decorated World War II hero turned movie star, though it was already on the list in 1895. It has also appeared on the girls’ side, as a diminutive of Audrey. Also: Augie and Alvie.
Bertie—The British Royal nickname for Albert, heard here in the early 20th century, was actually more popular for girls. Associated with the P. G. Wodehouse character Bertie Wooster, it’s currently a Top 500 name in Britain.
Ike—When General Dwight Eisenhower was running for president, there were buttons reading I LIKE IKE! Well, I kind of like Ike, in an Ace–Zeke–Mike kind of way. It was usually a nickname for Isaac, but musician Ike Turner was born Izear.
Lonzo—A number of earlier parents chopped the A off the beginning of Alonzo to give their sons this lively name. It ranked highest in the 1880s, and except for a few skipped years was on the list for half a century.
Loy—In addition to Roy, early 20th century parents also liked Coy, Foy, Floy and Loy, of which Loy seems the most usable today. It was probably a nickname for Aloysius and/or Loyal and was seen regularly on the list until 1953, at its peak in 1903. Several noted athletes and politicians have worn the name.
Ned is a sweet and gentle old-fashioned Edward nickname that’s perfectly able to stand on its own. The full name of the Ned Flanders character on The Simpsons is Nedward. Ned was on the charts until the mid-70s, peaking at Number 291 in 1907.
Nello—The mellow but lively Nello appeared in the lower echelons of the list only three times—in 1914, 1915 and 1921. The impetus probably came from the name of the main character in Ouida’s popular 1872 novel A Dog in Flanders.
Ollie—A unisex nickname for both Oliver and Olive, Ollie was on the pop list for three-quarters of the 20th century. It’s now Number 44 in Northern Ireland, 60 in Scotland, and 80 in England and Wales.
Wilkie—The Scottish Wilkie is one of the plethora of nicknames for William. A one-hit wonder, it was on the list only in 1940, the year Wendell Willkie ran for president. Wilkie Collins was a famous 19th century novelist, Wilkie Twycross is a Harry Potter character, and Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick used Wilkie as the middle name of son James.
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on July 16th, 2015 at 12:20 am
Bertie, Cleve, Lonzo, Ned, and best of all, Wilkie! Great names.
I like that they are cuddly on little boys and yet also sound fine on grown and older men.
Give me a Wilkie or a Ned any day over a Ryder, Striker, or Drover.
on July 16th, 2015 at 1:24 am
Ike! One of my absolute favorites. I can not wait to meet a little Ike. 🙂 I myself, would use it as a nn for Micah.
on July 16th, 2015 at 10:23 pm
Nicknames as legal names is NMS, but some of these are lovely!
My Archer gets Arch (not Archie) – he’s only 3, and we don’t use it at home, but he responds to it at daycare. I think it’s a lot stronger than Archie which has always seemed too “young” for him.
The 13yo next door is Bertie (short for Albert, but I’ve never heard him called that, even when he’s in trouble). His younger siblings all have great, old-fashioned names with vintage nicknames too – it’s lovely!
My 86yo grandfather used to get Ike from his sisters, but his initials are I.K. (and Ian can’t really be turned into a nickname).
I love Ned and Wilkie. Wish I loved Nello (my maiden name is Nelson) – but it just doesn’t work for me.
on July 16th, 2015 at 11:31 pm
I like Harvey. It sounds distinguished and manly too me.
on July 17th, 2015 at 7:52 am
My nephew’s name is Nello! I can never find any information on it; thanks for covering such a great name!
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