30 vintage boy names not to be laughed off your list

Ring, Rollo, Roscoe and Rufus

By Linda Rosenkrantz

 Yes, there are still plenty of viable vintage names for boys that remain frozen in the popularity lists of the past. Some aren’t eligible yet for the 100-year-rule, some suffer from IDD (Image Deficit Disorder), and some have simply been forgotten. Here are 30 examples that we don’t think deserve to be dismissed.

 AbnerA neglected Biblical name that got sidetracked into hillbilly country via a popular comic strip.  Off the SS list since the 1930s, its Nameberry rank is 210.

Aldouscould join up with new fave Huxley

ArnoldA once noble name with many distinguished bearers in first and last place, a victim of nerdy stereotype slaps, but could take cousin Arthur as a comeback inspiration.

BarryCould Barry reclaim its Irish roots and follow Harry back onto birth certificates?

CecilSisters Cecily and Cecilia have been welcomed back; Cecil just needs to spend some time at the gym to be ready to join them.

ChaunceyHas the cool traditional nickname of Chance.

ClovisEarly French regal name with an aromatic aroma

CyrilOnetime Top 300 name, common in children’s books, could join climbing Cyrus (the choice of Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy).

EbenYou don’t have to venture into Ebenezer territory to use the handsome Eben on its own.

FerdinandWe’re bullish on this royal Spanish and Shakespearean name once in the US 200s. Latin Fernando adds some romantic appeal.

Floyd –Has an appealingly retro jazzy-cool vibe

Gilespronounced Jiles, a saint’s name with a charming London accent

HoratioA noble Latin and Shakespearean name that seems like a natural, especially with its cool o-ending.

HumphreyTime to let go of that tough-guy Bogey stereotype and reconsider this onetime royal British name. Off the US charts since the 1890s, our berries like it enough to rank it 345, seeing it as a flashback to Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Jabez –A mystery to us why this Biblical rarity with its charming Southern drawl and jazzy z-ending, has been off the Top 1000 since 1880.

Jarvis –Another neglected J-name that hasn’t been heard much in last several decades but which has lots of literary cred. (I just met an adorable toddler-age Jarvis.)

JethroA Biblical name that became a Beverly Hillbilly, but its cool meaning —‘excellence’–pleasant sound and o-ending should be enough to bring it back; Nameberry ranks it at #302

LesterOnce as high as #52, could Lester echo cousin Esther’s revival? Some notable namesakes: jazzman Lester Young, news anchor Lester Holt

MiltonThink distinguished cultural icons like the poet Milton, painter Milton Avery, composer Milton Babbitt, before you dismiss this upscale British surname.

MontgomeryWhen Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen chose this upstanding surname name for their son in 2015, a lot of other namers decided to give it a second look. Long off the national list, Montgomery is #382 on Nameberry and having a comeback in England.

MorrisOne s-ending boy name that hasn’t yet been revived, boasts two major painter namesakes: Morris Graves and Morris Louis, and two cool nicknames, Moe and Moss.

MurrayThough it’s a Scottish/Irish name with a sea swept meaning and a soft sound , Murray has suffered from IDD (image deficit disorder) over the last few decades, but could be reconsidered as a retro water-related name.

MyronIn the past Top 200s for half a century, Myron was the name of a major ancient Greek sculptor and an unlikely saints’ name, but is another sad victim of IDD.

PercyA noble Norman surname associated with the poet Shelley, once as high as #110, and recently both Harry Potter and Heroes of Olympus characters, Percy would make a pleasantly surprising choice for a modern boy—or even a girl.

PhineasA name with a lot of quirky charm and the perfect modern nickname of Finn. Has appeared in literature from Uncle Tom’s Cabin to Harry Potter.

RingFamed Jazz Age writer/journalist Ring Lardner was born Ringgold, but word name Ring, like Bing, has a nice ring to it on its own.

RolloDoesn’t it just roll off your tongue, in a lively roly-poly way? Alternatively, you could take a more formal route to Roland.

RoscoeAn appealing o-ending name that is eligible under the 100-year rule.

RufusScruffy, redheaded, playful, and slightly rambunctious, Rufus is ready to roughhouse; Rufus Scrimgeour has a more serious image as Minister of Magic in Harry Potter.

RupertAlways more popular in the UK than in the US, Rupert became more visible here via Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint. Already has gained a lot of Nameberry love, ranking at #170.

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5 Responses to “30 vintage boy names not to be laughed off your list”

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nuttymussel Says:

June 26th, 2017 at 4:33 am

I’m a big fan of vintage names for girls, and some of these are gorgeous, but others I’m not so keen on. I love Abner, Cecil, Ferdinand, Humphrey, Montgomery, Percy, Phineas, and Roscoe. I quite like Clovis, Floyd, Giles, and Morris. I’m not a fan of Aldous, Barry, Chauncey, Jabez, Jarvis, Myron, Ring, and Rupert.

southern.maple Says:

June 26th, 2017 at 10:26 am

“Percy would make a pleasantly surprising choice for a modern boy—or even a girl.”

Could we please have one post on BOY’S names that does not involve the author slipping in a comment about which name(s) they feel would also work for a girl? I know that Nameberry’s blog posts have more or less devolved into clickbait, but posts on boy’s names are rare enough without the authors using these posts as opportunities to push Nameberry’s weird “post-gender” propaganda. The fact that we never see “X would make a pleasantly surprising choice for a modern girl–or even a boy” in a post on girl’s names proves that we are not “post-gender.”

lee_augusta Says:

June 26th, 2017 at 10:46 am

Roscoe is one of my most enduring favorites. It’s just such a great name.

lawsonhaley Says:

June 26th, 2017 at 6:10 pm

I feel like I’ve seen the same headline for a blog post used on this site about 50 times over now. Can we please get posts on something OTHER than vintage names y’all think should come back?!

jpruitt76 Says:

June 26th, 2017 at 9:17 pm

My son’s middle name is Morris (it was my mom’s maiden name). My grandfather’s name was Rufus, which I love (he was a redhead), but I couldn’t talk my husband into it. He kept imagining kids calling him Rufus the Doofus. *sigh*

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