Unique Vintage Names for Boys: Roscoe, Cosmo & Clive
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Continuing our series on you-don’t-have-to-be-youneek-to-be-unique names, here are 25 vintage appellations for boys that are hardly heard today.
Since boy names tend to stay on the popularity lists, these names are quite unusual in that, unlike vintage classics like William and James, most of them were in common use at one time but then slid into obscurity. See which ones you think are ripe for revival.
Alaric—An ancient regal name that sparks with electricity—more quirky and distinctive than Alfred or Frederic, it starred in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series and in The Vampire Diaries. Emeric is a similar possibility.
Art—Sure it’s familiar as a vintage nickname for Arthur, but there’s a lot more to Art. In Ireland it’s the stand-alone name of a pagan High King (probably why Chris O’Dowd chose it for his son), and of course it’s a culture-saturated word name as well.
Cosmo—A name with cosmic breadth and a stylish o-ending; as long as you can banish all thoughts of cocktails and Kramer.
Doyle—This friendly Irish surname, which hasn’t been heard from since 1980, was a well-used choice for about a hundred years, peaking at #195 in 1931. Doyle McCalister was a recurring character on Gilmore Girls—one of his few modern appearances. Could make a cool choice for Sherlock Holmes aficionados.
Giles—The G is pronounced as J in this single-syllable British aristo appellation; another one with lots of literary connections.
Hardy—A name with a solid, strong yet spirited Hardy Boys image, Hardy fell off the list in 1960, but in this era of word names, deserves a new look. British fashion designer Hardy Amies (born Edwin), official dressmaker to the Queen, was its most notable bearer.
Ignatius—The ancient Roman name of several saints, it was used in the US in the early decades of the 20th century, primarily by religious families. Actresses Cate Blanchette and Julianne Nicholson both chose it for their sons; and if you’re wondering about Iggy Pop and Iggy Azalea, he was born with the name James, while she grew up with jewel name Amethyst.
Roscoe –If you’re looking for a forgotten o-sound-ending name, Roscoe may be your boy. It’s got a slightly quirky but warm and friendly feel. Once a Top 200 name, it’s now given to fewer than 75 boys a year.
Teddy—Yes, I know Theo is the current nickname du jour for Theodore, but there’s something so irresistibly warm and cuddly about Teddy. Used on its own in the US until the early 1990s (peaking at 239 in 1933), its one of the enthusiastically revived nicknames in England and Wales—now at #42! And don’t forget those admirable Roosevelt and Kennedy namesakes.
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on March 21st, 2017 at 8:40 am
NB that Ted(dy) Kennedy got his nickname via the given name Edward, which also might appeal to parents who like this style.
on March 21st, 2017 at 9:59 am
I love Roscoe so much.
on March 21st, 2017 at 10:55 am
I think Florian, Guthrie and Roscoe have potential.
I know a Teddy who’s about two. He’s a Theodore, though.
on March 21st, 2017 at 1:03 pm
I love so many of these! Especially Alaric, Ambrose, Cyprian, Crispin, Esmond, and Doyle.
I’d never heard of Edmond before–thanks, nameberry!
on March 21st, 2017 at 1:04 pm
Never heard of *Esmond* before
on March 21st, 2017 at 7:08 pm
Such timing! I’m finishing up Twin Peaks again in preparation for the new season, and I was just thinking how nice Garland sounds. I also really like Ambrose, Cosmo, Eustace, and Green.
on March 23rd, 2017 at 10:51 am
I love Ambrose, Cyprian, and Florian! I’m liking Crispin too, even though I used to dislike the sound. Cosmo is nice but I think I prefer Cosmas.
on March 24th, 2017 at 12:37 am
Wonderful list – love them all!:)
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