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Great Nicknames Shorten Classic Favorites

October 21, 2020 Abby Sandel
great nicknames for classic boy names

Great nicknames can transform a solid, distinguished classic into a cuddly name for a child – and still leave plenty of room to grow! Kalli and her family have used this strategy to name their daughters. Now let’s help them find an equally great nickname/formal name combination for a son.

Kalli writes:

We are expecting our fourth child and our first boy! He joins three older sisters named Louisa Jane, Emilia Frances, and Georgia Mae.

We tend to use nicknames a lot – Lulu, Millie, and Georgie – so I’d like our son to have a classic, somewhat unique name with great nickname potential. However, I’m finding that with boys, there aren’t that many options! I feel like I know several babies already with each name I am interested in, but maybe we could get over that?

Some names we have considered using are Lawrence, Jameson, and Wesley. We would probably pick Lawrence, but the nickname Larry is just so awful, and other nicknames don’t feel as natural. The other two names we like, but we haven’t fallen in love with them, at least yet.

I love Calvin, Dean, Wesley, and Theodore, but those names have been taken by close friends or family members already.

Our last name ends in an -er, so we’ve avoided any names with that ending as well.

Appreciate any thoughts/insights!

The Name Sage replies:

The more our families grow, it seems, the more children we know – and the more names that are taken!

It’s true that classic boy names are slightly less subject to trends than girls’ names. Even Elizabeth or Katherine fails to rival the staying power of John, Joseph, and James.

Happily, plenty of classic choices for boys are just slightly out of favor now, and ready for revival.

That’s true for Lawrence, which could be perfect with your older kids’ names. I’m tempted to suggest the nickname Ren – but maybe that’s one of those possibilities you’ve already ruled out as too much of a stretch?

Great nicknames for classic boy names abound, though, so let’s look at more options.

AUGUST

August means venerable. It started out as a title given to the emperor of Rome. We tend to hear it now as a summery favorite, but it works nicely year-round. Plus, August shortens to Augie or Gus.

EDWARD

Regal and traditional Edward is surprisingly rare today. But Eddie and Ned make this buttoned-down classic accessible for children. Ned especially feels vintage and spirited with sisters Lulu, Millie, and Georgie.

FRANKLIN

Surname names for boys are having a moment – like Jameson. I wonder if Franklin would appeal? It’s handsome in full, but if you’re looking for great nicknames to shorten classic favorites, then Frankie works.

FREDERICK

Among the most overlooked of traditional names, Frederick is ready for revival. Freddie is the obvious short form, big in the UK, but neglected by American parents – for now.

JONATHAN

Jon is the obvious choice, but Jonathan could also be Jack, Jono, Nate, or Nash. Even though Jonathan remains a Top 100 name in the US, it feels just slightly unexpected.    

PHILIP

Spelled with one L or two, traditional Philip is relatively uncommon these days. But with nickname Pip, it could be the perfect brother for Lulu, Millie, and Georgie.  

MALCOLM

A Scottish favorite, Malcolm shortens to Mac, Mal, Cole, or Colm. Lulu, Millie, Georgie, and Mac is irresistible.

RAYMOND

A long-time Top 100 favorite, Raymond has faded in recent decades. And yet, is there any nickname cooler than Ray?

ROBERT

Robert feels traditional, even over-used. But it’s surprisingly uncommon for children born in recent years. For a child, Bobby is sweet and Robbie is darling. Bo works, too, and, of course, your Robert can easily grow into a Rob.

If none of these feel quite right, you might try working backwards. Cal, for example, might be short for Callum, Callahan, or Caleb, to name just a few. Or you can browse a long list of nicknames, with possible longer versions, here.

My favorites with your girls’ names are either August-called-Gus, or Malcolm-called-Mac. I think they’re traditional, but not too predictable. Plus those nicknames? They make grown-up August or Malcolm feel perfect for your sweet new son.

But I wouldn’t rule out Lawrence just yet. I do think Ren works better than you might guess. And, of course, there’s always the option of calling him Lawrie. After all, it worked for Little Women.

Readers, what would you suggest as a brother for Louisa, Emilia, and GeorgiaLulu, Millie, and Georgie?

About the author

Abby

Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at namesage@nameberry.com.

View all of Abby's articles

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