Nicknames for Boys
Nicknames for boys are cool again. Not so much the cutesy Jerrys and Larrys, Randys and Andys of the '60s and '70s, but cooler short forms that might be modern or vintage, such as Dash or Theo. These names needn’t any full forms – sorry, Dashiell and Theodore – but that is up to your discretion.
Along with Dash and Theo, other nicknames for boys in the US Top 1000 include Billy, Charlie, Hank, Harry, Jake, Joe, Louie, and Will. Other baby boy nicknames that can stand alone on the birth certificate include Archie, Beck, Lev, and Wally.
This list of nicknames for boys also includes short forms and diminutives. While the terms are commonly used interchangeably, nicknames for boys technically refers to nicknames like Buster and Biff, while short forms are shortened forms of proper names such as Alex from Alexander while diminutives are affectionate and familiar forms of names such as Jim for James or Bill for William.
Since nicknames is the term people use most commonly in conversation, we'll use that to cover all the different types of short forms, diminutives, pet names, and nicknames for boys.
Nicknames: The Ultimate Guide
Origin:Diminutive of Theodore
Meaning:"gift of God"
Description:Many modern parents use Theo as the short form for Theodore rather than the dated Ted--including some celebs, such as Dallas Bryce Howard-- but others bypass the Grandpa name Theodore entirely and skip right to the hip nickname Theo. Short and ultra-chic, Theo's a cool, contemporary baby name choice.
Description:Leo was derived from the Latin leo, meaning “lion.” Thirteen popes have carried the name, including St. Leo the Great. In Germanic languages, Leo has historically been used as a nickname for names including Leon and Leopold. In Latinate languages, Leonardo is considered a full form for Leo.
Origin:French from Latin
Description:The name of a fifth century saint and one of a new generation of French names being discovered in the US, Remy sounds particularly modern and attractive. The name Remy is being revived for both boys and girls, sometimes as Remi. It entered the popularity list in 2009 and has quickly become one of the fastest-rising names on the list.
Origin:Diminutive of Archibald, Teutonic
Description:Archie made global news as the surprise first name of the newborn royal baby, son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex aka Harry and Meghan. Archie has now officially transcended Archie Bunker and Riverdale's Archie to take the, um, throne as the quintessential retro nickname name.
Origin:Italian diminutive of Nicholas, Greek
Meaning:"people of victory"
Description:Nico is one of the great nickname names, full of charm, energy and effortless cool -- a neo Nick.
Origin:English, diminutive of Christopher
Description:Actor Kit Harington, aka the dreamy Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, has given this nickname-name new style and appeal for boys. Actress Jodie Foster used it for her son. For girls, it's an updated diminutive of Katherine. Kit is a fashionable gender-neutral name that is fairly evenly distributed between boys and girls, with just over 100 babies of each gender named Kit in the US in 2021.
Origin:English, diminutive of John
Meaning:"God is gracious"
Description:Jack is a derivative of John that originated in medieval England. The name went from John to Johnkin to Jankin to Jackin to Jack. The name was so common in the Middle Ages that Jack became a generic term for a man.
Origin:English and German diminutive of Maximilian or Maxwell
Description:Max was derived from Maximilian, a Latin name that originated from the Roman family name Maximus. The character name Max in the children's classic Where the Wild Things Are had an impact on baby namers. Max is a widely used name internationally.
Origin:Diminutive of Alexander, Greek
Description:Xander is a diminutive of Alexander, the Latin variation of the Greek Alexandros. Its meaning, “defending men,” is taken from the Greek roots aléxein, “to defend,” and andros, “men.” Zander, pronounced the same way, is an alternate spelling.
Meaning:"by the ash tree"
Description:Nash is an English surname whose sound puts it right in step with currently trendy names like Cash, Dash and Ash. It first came to prominence via TV character Nash Bridges, portrayed by Don Johnson in the late nineties, and also via mathematician John Nash, played by Russell Crowe in the acclaimed film A Beautiful Mind.
Origin:Hebrew, diminutive of Jacob
Description:This unpretentious, accessible, and optimistic ("everything's jake" -- meaning OK) short form of the top name Jacob is itself widely used, though more parents these days are opting for the full name Jacob. Jake (born Jacob) Gyllenhall is its most prominent current bearer.
Origin:English, diminutive of Charles
Description:Charlie derives, of course, from the classic name Charles which, in turn, comes from a German word meaning "free man." Charles became very popular in France during the Middle Ages due to the fame of Charles the Great, also known as Charlemagne. Charley is an alternate spelling.
Description:This concise one-syllable name, has two possible derivations and two positive meanings associated with it. In Hebrew, it means "heart", while in Russian it means "lion". So strong and simple Lev has both a soft and a fierce side.
Origin:Scottish or Irish
Description:In Ireland and Scotland, Mac and Mc mean "son of"; here, Mac is a generic fella, or a short form cooler than either Matt or Max. Mac can be a nickname of any longer Mac or Mc starting name such as McCoy or Macalister. If you want to make it feel more complete, you can always spell it Mack.
Origin:Diminutive of Alfred, English
Description:Alfie is a Top 20 name throughout the British Isles, where retro nickname names are mega-popular, but it hasn't really been picked up in the US yet. Both Alfie and rising star Archie are spunky nickname possibilities with a bit of an English accent.
Origin:Diminutive of Raymond
Description:Ray, still and forever, is one of the all-time hippest boys' names, with its jazzy Ray Charles biopic overtones. It's one of the coolest middle names), but works perfectly fine as a first.
Origin:Diminutive of Francis or Franklin
Meaning:"Frenchman or free man"
Description:A Top 10 name from the 1880s until the 1920s, Frank has fallen from favor but still has a certain warm, friendly real-guy grandpa flavor that could come back into style, like other such choices as Jake and Jack. Maybe thanks to Sinatra, it's become a new hipster favorite with such couples as Diana Krall and Elvis Costello.
Origin:Diminutive of Asher, English
Description:Ash has Southern charm plus the arboreal-nature appeal. Plus your little boy will prize Ash as the name of the hero of the Pokemon cartoons. Ash can also be a dashing short form of Asher, Ashton, or any other "Ash" name.
Origin:Diminutive of Henry
Description:Harry is the medieval English form of Henry, which derived from the Germanic name Heimrich, meaning “estate ruler.” Harry was the nickname of all eight King Henrys; it is also a diminutive of Harold and Harrison.
Origin:Diminutive of Theodore or Edward
Meaning:"gift of God or wealthy guardian"
Description:Teddy is in some ways one of those midcentury boys' nicknames -- like Jimmy or Bobby or Billy -- yet because it was never that popular, it feels timeless too. The preferred short form of Theodore these days may be Theo and of Edward may be....Edward, but Teddy can work adorably for either and grows up to Ted. And of course, let's not forget the inevitable teddy bear.