Traditional Boy Names: Frank, Walter, and George
They prefer their boy names classic, but not too popular. But have they gone too far in the other direction?
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.
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?
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.
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:
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?
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on March 28th, 2017 at 11:08 pm
What about Frederick? Lots of nickname potential (Freddie, Fred, Fritz, Rick, Ricky), it’s definitely a classic that everyone knows but not too popular in the US (ranked 517), and it means ‘peaceful ruler’.
on March 28th, 2017 at 11:18 pm
I’m sure it varies by location, but Walter (“Walt”) is very in where I am. It’s definitely within the vintage revival set. Some others to consider:
Abram / Bram
Edward / Edmund
Hugo / Hugh
John – Can’t get more classic than this, but Jack and Jonathan are way more popular at the moment.
Jonah / Jonas
Louis – Lou would be a great nn.
Martin – Marty would be super cute!
Peter – My favorite classic but underused name.
on March 29th, 2017 at 12:41 am
I LOVE Walter, though I agree that it’s beginning to come into vogue, and so may be too popular for your tastes. Like Abby, I would also suggest Arthur and Thomas as options.
Some more traditional but underused names:
Bert (my favorite longform is Bertram, but there’s so many to choose from– Albert, Gilbert, Robert, etc.)
Fred (Alfred, Frederick)
I also really like Murphy– though it’s not exactly traditional, it has that same feel for me.
on March 29th, 2017 at 1:30 am
My one year old is Walter… we love it. It’s extremely uncommon where we live in Australia, and we haven’t had one negative comment on his name
on March 29th, 2017 at 4:00 am
Although all three of these names are amongst my favourites, George would definitely top the three.
on March 29th, 2017 at 6:16 am
My cousin has a 2 year old named Walter. When she chose the name I thought it was a bit old man for my taste. But as soon as he was born, it fit him perfectly. I think it’s been an adorable name for a baby and toddler, and it’ll definitely age well. I love George too. It’s timeless. Frank to me is dated, though I love Franklin, I find it classier. And I love previous poster’s suggestion of Frederick, one of my all time favorites!!! I really find all these names fashionable without being popular. Good luck.
on March 29th, 2017 at 7:34 am
I love Franklin! But I agree that Frank sounds dated. However it could have a comeback very soon. George is very popular right now, maybe too popular. Walter has great nickname wallie. I think Walter is great and will never become too popular.
Harold ( Hal, Rohld)
on March 29th, 2017 at 8:15 am
This is my same predicament! I keep thinking there must be a sturdy, common-ish, not-to-precious-or zietgiest-y name I just haven’t considered. Right now for my baby, I’m leaning towards Tom or Perry. But, I also want to make a case for Frank. I think it’s very fresh and ahead of the curve. This would totally be on my own list except I have a daughter named Frances. One thing I love about my Frances (besides that it fits her so well!) is that the comment I get most is “that was my grandma’s name” said with such love and the twinkle of fond memories. I think Frank could garner a similar reaction and it’s lovely thing to associate with your child. I find George and Walter to be more “idea of what a grandpa is” rather than actual happy grandpa with nice memories associated with it like Frank. I also think Walter and George are trendy. The numbers would suggest otherwise, but I know more Walters than Emmas under 5 y/o. Going by Walt and Wally and Walter. It’s a good name (I especially like the description of Walt in the book The World According to Garp–Garps son is Walt in the book and he describes it as “Walt, like a well hit squash ball.” Love that!) but it is trending up, I think, but still totally wearable and strong and lovely. My husband has been campaigning for Walt since our first baby, but just can’t win me over.
My other suggestions are:
Murphy (though, I think this is an up and comer)
Walker (a nice alternative to Walter)
These are not as common and grandpa-y as Frank, George, and Walter but I think they fit the bill as approachable, familiar, and wearable.
Good luck! And I will totally be following the comments here for my own name hunt!
on March 29th, 2017 at 9:29 am
I wonder if you would like Warren. Similar to Walter but maybe a bit less grandpa-ish.
on March 29th, 2017 at 9:53 am
George, Frank and Walter are all great choices. I think I slightly lean toward George, unless Frank is used as a nickname for Francis; in that case, Francis/Frank would probably have a slight edge.
Other posters have some really great ideas too – my favorites, and a couple of my own additions to the list, being:
Joseph (certainly common, but not trendy and you get to call him Joe)
Timothy (might not work with your last name)
on March 29th, 2017 at 10:59 am
My 32 year old husband’s name is Frank (short for Francis), and he loves it. It hasn’t been common since he’s been alive, but it is a name everyone knows. He also loves that the word “frank” means honest and forthright.
My sister nannied for a family with a little boy named Francis. It was adorable on a little kid.
Beau Jean Said
on March 29th, 2017 at 11:03 am
I LOVE all these Grandpa Names
Francis/Frank- love your thoughts @Jklfp
Roger- great suggestion @dizzy
Whatever you chose is going to be great! Best wishes for a satisfying delivery of your baby boy!
on March 29th, 2017 at 11:12 am
Harvey, Clark, Louis/Lewis and Grant also come to mind.
on March 29th, 2017 at 11:45 am
Am I alone in not seeing the appeal of Walter? It’s not just that it’s old-man, it just doesn’t sound attractive to me. For some reason, I also don’t really like the nickname Frank, but I love Francis and Frankie. I think because Frank is actually a word?
I’d definitely go with George. It’s timeless enough that nobody is going to call you trendy for using it.
I also suggest: Arthur, Albert, Martin, Graham, Harry, Peter, David, Louis, Edmund, and Laurence (the Laurie nickname is a guilty pleasure for a boy).
on March 29th, 2017 at 1:43 pm
So I have a Harry, fav boys name, George was a second choice love it too…
Recently met a Josiah, feels vintage and traditional, don’t think it’s very common and love Joss for a nick name. Its practically perfect in every way : )
on March 29th, 2017 at 7:48 pm
Arthur, Walt, Hank, and Hugh are definitely all on my list if we have another boy! We used Bernard as my first son’s middle name and I LOVE it. A few more grandpa names a little off the beaten track would be Gordon, Wallace, or Ed (I’ve recently met a little Edison who wore the name really well!).
on March 30th, 2017 at 4:31 pm
I love George, it is so handsome. Walter and Frank are also two wonderful choices. I have a soft spot for older names 🙂 Here are some suggestions:
Gilbert (love this one! Especially the association of Anne of Green Gables)
Laurence/Lawrence (I have defintely warmed up to this one and if you love Little Women, it’s a great tie to that)
Lewis or Louis
on March 30th, 2017 at 5:49 pm
I agree with a few others, ROGER and WARREN are terrific choices, and just the sort of feeling you seek.
Here are a few more that no one has mentioned yet.
on March 30th, 2017 at 7:45 pm
I don’t know if it’s just my area, but names like Calvin, Theo/Theodore, and Arthur are pretty popular here.
I don’t think these have been mentioned:
on March 30th, 2017 at 8:40 pm
I like George, and love the suggestions of Peter and Frederick. I agree with Kara above– John is a classic choice and one I rarely hear on kids. I worked at a mid-sized elementary school for years and didn’t once have a boy named John who actually went by John (lots of Jacks and mns).
on March 30th, 2017 at 10:09 pm
I love Frank!
(I strongly dislike Franklin though)
George and Walter are always cute
Fred sometimes nicknamed “Freddie”
on March 31st, 2017 at 8:58 pm
One name I haven’t seen anyone suggest is Howard (nn Howie?). I’m not too keen on names that remind me of older men myself, but that is definitely a name that comes to mind for me and a name I’m certain most people would know.
on March 31st, 2017 at 10:23 pm
I have to say, I really like Frank out of the ones you’ve mentioned. I also think Richard is a great name for a boy, and I haven’t seen it mentioned here although it’s a classic. No Richard goes by Dick these days. Since they’re not common but classic names (and they don’t sound grandpa-ish to me like Walter does), I think Frank or Richard could be a great, strong name for a boy and by the time he grows up, maybe a little more appreciated than they are today since name popularity always ebbs and flows, you gotta be a little ahead of the times 🙂
on April 2nd, 2017 at 4:24 pm
Robert and Thomas are so boring and overused, I totally disagree. And no, siblings named Kai and Beau dont go with Rob at all.
Liz Kent Said
on April 23rd, 2017 at 9:55 am
George will be really popular because of Prince George.
What about Henry, Winston, or Noah?
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