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Comeback Kid Nicknames for Boys

July 15, 2015 Linda Rosenkrantz
vintage boys' names

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.

ArchArchie, 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.

AudieAudie 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.

BertieThe 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.

CleveThe smooth, sophisticated short form of Cleveland was on the popularity list until 1960 (the SS list is actually wrong on this.)

DockLooking for a rare word name related to the sea? The un-rediscovered Dock was on the SS list for almost 50 years, sailing into the sunset in 1946.

IkeWhen General Dwight Eisenhower was running for president, there were buttons reading I LIKE IKE! Well, I kind of like Ike, in an AceZekeMike kind of way. It was usually a nickname for Isaac, but musician Ike Turner was born Izear.

LonzoA 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.

LoyIn 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.

NelloThe 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.

NunzioAn Italian nickname associated with Annunziata, it also means ‘messenger’ in Italian. It was the birth name of the Beat poet, Gregory Corso.

OllieA 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.

WilkieThe 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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