Nickname-Proof Boy Names
Their lists are so close – but agreeing on the right name for their son has proven impossible! Can they find a nickname-proof name with a possible built-in nickname? It sounds crazy, but the answer might be yes …
When we decided we were ready for kids, we discussed names and knew Stella was our girl name. Our daughter was born in 2014 and we named her Stella Lucille. Lucille was my grandmother’s name. Now we’re expecting our second, a boy due just in time for Thanksgiving!
I know Stella is growing in popularity, but to me it sounded fresh yet vintage. I would love something with that same feeling for our son. All of the names I see are just okay.
I like Owen August, but my husband doesn’t like it. I also love Bennett. It was my grandmother’s maiden name; however we have a very close friend named Ben, and it comes from the same grandmother that we honored with Stella’s middle name.
Any help you can give would be great!
The Name Sage replies:
You and your husband have very similar taste in names. Usually that’s a good thing, but sometimes – like this time! – you can get stuck with a long list and no obvious frontrunners.
It also sounds like you’re divided on nicknames. Stella is nickname-proof, but many of the names you’ve considered would inevitably be shortened. Nearly every Theodore I know is a Theo – and the rest are Teddys. Maxwell is almost always Max, and I’ve yet to meet a Raymond who isn’t sometimes Ray.
If avoiding a nickname is important, there are a few possible compromises:
Since your husband is pro-nickname and you’d prefer to avoid them, choose a name from his list that just happens to be nickname-proof.
Use a nickname you both like as your child’s formal name.
Or, lastly, choose a name that doesn’t lend itself to a default nickname, but could potentially be shortened by your husband at home. Everywhere else, your son uses his full formal name.
Let’s look at some other possibilities:
Everett – A mix of your husband’s favorite Evan and your beloved Bennett, Everett is a rising favorite, currently ranked #135. It could shorten to Ev or Rett, but I think the average Everett would normally use his name in full.
Julian – Julian has ranked in the US Top 50 for the last few years, but it still seems to hit that familiar-but-not-overused note. If you were so inclined, a Julian might sometimes be called Jude at home.
Declan – Ryan reminds me of Declan. They’re both Irish in origin, and both have become mainstream favorites. There are two differences: first, Ryan has been in the US Top 100 since the 1970s. It’s a modern staple, but that’s not quite what you had in mind. Declan is newer, and your husband might appreciate possible nickname option Dex.
Henry – Henry might feel a little more traditional than you’d planned, but I think it has the same vintage-fresh appeal as Stella. And while there are nicknames galore for Henry, it’s not the kind of name that is automatically shortened – even though he might be Hank at home.
Overall, my favorite is still August. If you don’t mind the idea of August sometimes being Gus at home, and your husband is fine with August always being August out in the world, it seems like an obvious compromise. August’s style is vintage, and it’s impossible to call a name associated with the Roman emperors anything other than strong.