By Linda Rosenkrantz
Our British cousins have long been nuts for nickname names, and now we’re seeing in the latest Social Security stats the increased use of vintage nicknames on their own in the US as well. No jumps for UK faves Alfie and Archie yet, but here are some others that are moving up, all of which rose at least 20 places, arranged with highest climbers first.
Dash—This dashing nouveau nickname of Dashiell (which, though not on the national Top 1000 is 101 on Nameberry) jumped a remarkable 182 places, moving from 948 to 766. In addition to its energetic image, it comes with pop culture cred via the cute character in the animated film The Incredibles and also its association with the Kardashian Klan.
Mack—Once an early 20th century generic name like Bud or Joe, Mack is back, now as a stand-alone up-and-comer, having advanced 145 places last year to 661 and is 346 on Nameberry. Why the sudden interest? Could it be Mack the truck in Pixar’s Cars? Or as a substitute for the common Jack?
Louie—There’s Lewis, Louis and Louie, and the latter is the one that reentered the Top 1000 in 2015 with a 142-place uptick. It may go even higher via the King Louie big ape character voiced, sung and danced by Christopher Walken in the new updated hit The Jungle Book.
Gwen—Credit the striking singer Gwen Stefani for revived interest in this short form of Gwendolyn (Number 404) for coolating this dated nickname. It came back to the Top 1000 in 2013 after a 30-year hiatus and this year jumped 213 places to 746.
Frankie—Frankie has become a hot nickname name—for girls–moving onto the list with a jump of 162 places. Credit the starbaby factor, to Drew Barrymore in particular who used it in full, while for Amanda Peet it’s the nickname for daughter Frances.
Theo—A cool o-ending nickname name for boys, Theo entered the Top 500 this year after zipping up 101 spots and is 78 on Nameberry (papa Theodore is at 99, 20 on NB). Theo is an international hit—in the Top 40 in England, Germany, Sweden and Norway and likely to move higher here.
Hank—Who woulda thought that this baseballish-country singer nickname would find itself back on the pop charts? Yet he’s on base at Number 534, up 69 places from 2014. Kendra Wilkinson named her son Hank IV; Hank Moody was the lead character on Californication and Hank Schrader appeared on Breaking Bad.
Hattie—A diminutive of Harriet, one of the sweet vintage choices popular at the end of the 19th century that was off the list from 1969 to 2011, after Tori Spelling chose it for her daughter. This year Hattie moved up 102 places, bringing her into the Top 500; it is 310 in England and 373 on Nameberry.
Sonny–Even more generic than Mack, Sonny has made a surprise return, along with others like Buddy, ascending 61 places last year. It was used for their boys by retro namers Jason Lee, Noel Gallagher and Green Day’s Jason White.
Charli/Charlie—This boy nickname has been in use for girls more than their brothers for several years now. Last year Charli gained 58 places, the more popular Charlie was up 22. Will the mega success of Charlotte beget more Charlies?
Penny—As with Charlotte, trendy Penelope (Number 34) has brought back nickname Penny, gaining 55 spots last year, bringing her to 754. Cute and bright as a penny, she was a standard issue little sister name in 1940s movies, now has rebounded partly through the Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother characters and, indirectly, Penny Dreadful.
Zeke–A onetime hillbilly nickname for Ezekiel (Number 148), Zeke is once more standing on his own, up 30 places to 704. On both Parenthood and Sons of Anarchy it’s spelled Zeek, but in the Divergent series and the High School Musical movies, its more traditional Zeke.
Maisie—Sweet Maisie inched up 29 rungs to Number 624. An old-timey Scottish diminutive of Margaret, it’s sounding fresh as a daisy. Long used in literature from Henry James to Harry Potter, we see her as a rising star. Young Maisie Williams (born Margaret) (shown) plays Arya on Game of Thrones. Maisie is already 37 in Scotland, 44 in England, and 63 on Nameberry.