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Quirky Vintage Nicknames for Boys: Huey, Louie and Howie

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By Angela Mastrodonato of Upswing Baby Names

The Victorian nickname trend that’s hot in the U.K. is getting attention in the U.S.—for girls.

The Brits have embraced this genre on both sexes. Alfie and Charlie are in the U.K. top 10. Archie, Freddie, and Harvey round out their top 50.

Believe it or not, these names have potential on modern American boys.

Charlie is an example of a nickname-style name that is steadily becoming more popular in the U.S, although it has yet to capture the success it enjoys across the pond, where it ranked at #4 last year.

In the U.S. Charlie is a comeback name that was fashionable in the late 19th century when it consistently ranked in or near the top 30. Through most of the 20th century, Charlie gradually declined to its lowest rank in the 90’s when it ranked in the 400s. This past decade, Charlie has rebounded. Last year it reached #233.

Here are some other nicknames that share the same boyish charm as Charlie. Many were once popular in the U.S. and have comeback potential.

Alfie – The title character from the 60’s film (remade in 2004) was a bit of a cad, but that hasn’t stopped the English and Welsh from naming almost 5,000 newborn boys Alfie in 2012 (which placed it at #7).

Archie – is well-represented in U.S. pop culture with All in the Family and the infamous comic books. Archie was in the bottom U.S. top 100 during the late 19th century. Contemporary Americans might appreciate Archie more as a nickname (for breakout name Archer) than a given name. The traditional long-form, Archibald, may seem fusty to many Americans, but makes a wonderful choice for those who love off-beat vintage names.

Freddie / Freddy – are famous through Freddy Krueger and Freddie Mercury. And both names are big in the U.K. Freddie was #38 in the U.K. last year, and Freddy was #238. Both spellings are at the bottom of the U.S. top 1000.

Gordie – Made famous by the Canadian hockey player, Gordie Howe, this diminutive of Gordon remains under-the-radar in the U.S. and the U.K.

Harvie / Harvey – This ancient name, brought to England after the Norman conquest, seems nickname-like, but doesn’t have many long-forms. What it does have is at least two style-markers: the similarity to hit-name Henry and the V found in fashionable names like Calvin, Everett, and Oliver. No wonder Harvey is a hot vintage revival name in the U.K. The diminutive Harve is more unusual and makes a concise statement.

Howie – is strongly associated with Howie Mandel, the Canadian comedian and Deal or No Deal host. The name may have aged, but could get a makeover on an adorable toddler.

Hewie / Huey – Forget Donald Duck’s nephew or the 80’s pop star. This diminutive of Hugh might be a tad dorky, but also super cute, and perfect for those who like geek-chic.

Jamie – became predominantly feminine in the 70’s, but has declined on both genders in recent decades. The name could see new life on boys due to charismatic celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

Louie – The phonetic English spelling of Louis was long associated with the oldies hit tune, Louie Louie. Here’s another name in the U.K. top 100 that doesn’t even crack the U.S. top 1000. Louie is charmingly homespun and makes a fashionable choice on its own or as a nickname for Louis.

Marty – is perhaps familiar as the protagonist from the classic Back to the Future movie trilogy. Marty McFly comes into his own, and his name could do the same. Familiar to most, wearable on many, and seldom heard on boys under 5.

Rollie – This diminutive of Roland has become obscure in recent decades. Until the early 50’s, it spent some time in and out of the bottom-top 1000. For parents who can look past the “rollie-pollie” slang term, Rollie is a cute, little-known representation of this genre.

According to American conventional wisdom, the ideal is a formal name for business purposes and a casual nickname for social purposes. But more Americans are beginning to see the homey appeal of these names and could promote them to the birth certificate on both genders.

Angela Mastrodonato created  Upswing Baby Names to celebrate names on the upswing. She is a big-time name watcher, and has a growing list of names she watches by tracking their popularity each year. Sign up here to get your copy of this Watch List.

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upswingbabynames

Angela Mastrodonato created Upswing Baby Names to celebrate names on the upswing. She is a big-time name watcher, and has a growing list of names she watches by tracking their popularity each year. Sign up here to get your copy of this Watch List.
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13 Responses to “Quirky Vintage Nicknames for Boys: Huey, Louie and Howie”

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emekct Says:

September 26th, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Rollie is a def no go for me!

tori101 Says:

September 27th, 2013 at 3:56 am

Have American’s thought of Frankie? This name seems to be rising in popularity here in the UK.

The likes of Alfie, Charlie, Archie, Freddy/Freddie, Harvey, and Louie just seem really boring. They are so over-used in the UK at the moment it would seem that the longer version of the actual name would be more interesting. If I stumbled across a baby Alfred or a baby Frederick it would more refreshing than another Alfie or Freddy/Freddie. Even though the nickname trend is endearing and when it first started it was rather cool it’s now just plain boring which is why I assume people are jumping on Frankie still using the familiar nickname trend but using a fresher choice. But I suppose Frankie will become boring like Charlie.

Guest Blogging News: Quirky Vintage Nicknames for Boys | Upswing Baby Names Says:

September 27th, 2013 at 5:05 am

[…] On Nameberry, I list some more vintage boy nicknames that have US potential. […]

calypsotheoneandonly Says:

September 27th, 2013 at 8:57 am

I’m generally more a fan of nickname names on girls than boys – Callie, Hallie, Molly, Annie. I do like Eddie on a guy, though. But the only name that appeals to me on this blog is Charlie (Charley?)

hermione_vader Says:

September 27th, 2013 at 10:21 am

The only ones I really like are Louie and Marty. I’m surprised Marty and Martin aren’t used more often, but then it’s familiar to me because I have a relative named Martin who goes by Marty. I think Marty would be so cute on a little boy.

Aveline_Bellefleur Says:

September 27th, 2013 at 1:39 pm

I’ve also heard of many Rolands’ go by the nn Rollo….

Aveline_Bellefleur Says:

September 27th, 2013 at 1:43 pm

@tori101- I think Frankie IS used a bit in the U.S, but usually short for Frank?? I wonder how many girls there are in the U.S called Frankie? Now, THAT is too cute!

marypoppins Says:

September 27th, 2013 at 5:16 pm

@tori101 Alfred is at the top of our list if we ever have another boy! Not Alfie, Alfred. We love the old fashioned feel of it, and I think it would go well with Oskar (our son).

upswingbabynames Says:

September 27th, 2013 at 5:31 pm

@hermione_vader: I agree – Marty would be so cute on a little boy. I kind of like Marty on a girl too.

BritishAmerican Says:

September 27th, 2013 at 10:23 pm

There are 2 Howards in my son’s Kindergarten grade. One is in his class and goes by Howie. I’m not sure if the other one does too. I was surprised that Howard was one of the few duplicating names in his grade.

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

September 28th, 2013 at 4:35 am

What about Ollie, short for Oliver? I see that around a fair bit, and might be a bit easier to bear than Rollie (which means a hand-rolled cigarette in some places).

Freddie and Louie are both very cute.

pattyanniee Says:

September 28th, 2013 at 1:29 pm

I have a cousin Gordy, so that name seems unusuable to me, however, I do love Charlie and Jamie, as nicknames for Charles and James, respectively.

wickedjr89 Says:

November 7th, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Charlie and Jamie are girl names for me. Charlie is a female character on Supernatural and just sounds feminine to me, Charles for a boy but Charlie sounds like a girl to me. Jamie is the name of my best, female, friend and she is a little older than me. We’re in our 20s. Alfie was my dad’s nickname when he was growing up, his name is Alfred. I don’t think of Alfie as a name but a nickname, I also don’t like the name Alfred but my dad my have to do with that. My fiance is named Harley and constantly gets called Harvey. Harvey reminds me of Sabrina the teenage witch, which I loved. I like the name Harvey but with Harvey all over the place it annoys my fiance that no one can get a simple “Harley” right, which should be easy considering Harley Davidson and the popular motorcycle association but no…

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