More Neglected Nicknames for Boys

More Neglected Nicknames for Boys

We finally get to the fourth and final entry in our vanished nickname series. This time it’s nicknames for boys that have never appeared in the Top 1000. And once again, some can be used as short forms for names still in use—or not– while others are able to stand on their own.

Alvy—This was the logical nickname for the one-time Top 100 but now faded Alvin. Alvy Singer was the name Woody Allen gave himself in the iconic Annie Hall.

Augie—The once common pet form of August and Augustus—both of which are making a return—and which now sounds fresher than Gus. The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow is a modern classic.

Baz—This jazzy nickname for Sebastian isn’t heard much in the US, but is associated with Australian director Baz Luhrmann—who actually was christened Mark Anthony and was nicknamed by his dad. There’s also a Baz in Rainbow Rowell’s bestselling Fangirl.

Bing–When Kate Hudson named her son Bingham and announced that he’d be called Bing, it was an instant modernization of the zingy name that had been associated with crooner Crosby (born Harry Lillis) for decades.

Bix—One of the great jazz nicknames, associated with the legendary early cornet player, Bix Beiderbecke, born Leon and having shared his nickname with his father. Bix could easily fit in with other current one-syllable, x-ending names like Max, Dax, Jax, Pax, etc.

Chan—It may sound Asian now, but when Chauncey was a Top 400 name in the 1890s, this was one of his most popular nicknames. These days it would more likely be short for Channing.

Cuddy—It’s hard to imagine a return for Cuthbert, but this pet form is certainly cuddly.

Finney—You might add this Phineas nickname/surname to your list of Finn names, joining Finn, Finlay/Finley and Finnegan.

Hiley—A vintage nickname for vintage name Hiram, possible cousin to Kylie, Miley and Wiley.

Huck—This cute short form of Huckleberry has started to dissociate from the literary Finn and be seen as a possible stand-alone choice: it was given to 67 boys in 2014.

Jem—Another name with literary ties—to the brother of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, born Jeremy—_this was primarily an old-timey alternative to Jim as a nickname for James. It also appears in Anne of Green Gables._

Jonty—A jaunty old nickname for Jonathan.

Larkin—Before Larry seemed to be the only nickname for Lawrence, there was this bird-like, n-ending possibility.

Lauro—And here’s another forgotten pet name for Lawrence, with a bright o-ending.

Llelo and Llew are two Welsh nicknames for Llewelyn, which itself has never ranked on the US list. The double-L’s would be a novelty here.

Lonzo—Lots of past Alonzos dropped the first letter of their name; basketball star Alonzo Mourning shortened it even further—to Zo.

Lye—This was once a fairly common nickname for Elijah—but would the negative aspect of the word get in the way of its usage today?

Obie—This diminutive of Obadiah and Oberon shares its name with the annual Off-Broadway Theater Awards. But is it too Obi-Wan Kenobi now?

Pip—This was the name of the main character in Dickens’s Great Expectations, born Philip Pirrip. If Pippa has come to the fore as a nickname for Philippa, why not a return of Pip? Actress Billie Piper used it as the middle name of her son Eugene, and it is also the nn of basketball legend Scottie Pippen. It currently ranks at Number 194 among the Dutch, who love short, nicknamey names.

Quince—A twofer here: a cute nickname for Quincy and a fruit name as well.

Rafe—Not exactly a nickname, this form of Ralph became common in the 17th century, when that was its most common pronunciation. Americans have become attuned and attracted to it via actor Ralph/Rafe Fiennes. The name of the Ben Affleck character in Pearl Harbor, it now ranks at Number 367 in England and Wales.

Seb—A Sebastian nickname in the Jeb–Zeb tradition, it ranks in the Top 1000 in England.

Tolly—Jolly Tolly, an old nickname for Bartholomew, has a distinctively Dickensian feel. It was also used as a pet name for Tolliver—an alternate for Oliver and Olly.

Ving—When Irving Rhames dropped the first syllable of his given name to create his screen persona, he gave it a huge boost of energy.

Are there any of these names you would either as a nn or in full?

About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.