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Traditional Boy Names: Frank, Walter, and George

March 28, 2017 Abby Sandel

They prefer their boy names classic, but not too popular. But have they gone too far in the other direction?

Erin writes:

I am due in three weeks and we still haven’t picked a name for our boy.

We seem to like traditional but not common names such as Frank, Walter, and George. While I do like these three, I keep wondering if there is something better out there. Or maybe these are just too Old Man?

We have a long last name that ends in “key,” so I keep wanting to keep the name short and punchy, but at this point I’m open to anything.

Help!

The Name Sage replies:

We’re looking for a time-tested name that sidesteps any hint of trendiness, without being too moss-covered – or too common, right?

Frank, Walter, and George are instantly familiar to everyone. They’re solid names, with plenty of history and strong, straightforward sounds.

What they’re not: stylish.

At least not right now in the US. There’s reason to believe that all three of those names are readying for a comeback. George and Walter are significantly more popularity on Nameberry than they are in the US. (Frank is about even.) And from Prince George to Elvis Costello’s son, we can think of lots of high profile uses of the names.

Name your son Frank, George, or Walter in 2017, and you might be nicely ahead of the curve. Kind of like all those parents who named their sons Henry and Max in 1997.

Even if that doesn’t happen, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in any of the names. They’re great choices, and would wear over a lifetime.

Let’s look at a few more possibilities:

Adam Adam ranks in the current US Top 100, and it had a good run in the 1970s and 80s, too. Yet it doesn’t feel overused. A bonus? It’s short, simple, and straightforward.

Arthur Regal Arthur spent years in style limbo. Now the name is on the upswing again, but it’s still relatively uncommon.

Calvin – Maybe it’s because of cool nickname Cal, or maybe it’s thanks to the letter v. Whatever the case, Calvin is steadily increasing in use.

Franklin Franklin takes Frank towards a family of stylish surnames, like the equally presidential Lincoln.

Robert Robert remains in the US Top 100, though it continues to fall out of favor. And yet, I think Rob feels timeless. If we’re naming our sons Kai and Beau, why not Robert called Rob?

Theodore – The downside: I think most would agree that Theodore feels fresh and stylish. It’s the new Alexander. And yet Theo and Ted/Teddy make great, punchy short forms.

Thomas – Like Robert, Thomas is still a Top 100 name. And yet, Tom seems underused, especially compared to other traditional favorites, like Ben and Jack.

I think Robert, Thomas, and Adam best hit that traditional, but not fashionable mark. And yet, they’re undeniably more common than Frank, George, or Walter.

From your choices, my favorite is George. There are dozens of positive associations, and it has such a simple, but distinctive sound.

But let’s add a poll to help you narrow down your choice.

Readers, which of Erin’s favorites would you choose? Or do you have other suggestions for the family?

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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