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Vintage Nicknames for Boys

There's a group of nicknames for boys that were used in distant past and might be worth a fresh look. Some of these vintage nicknames for boys are still heard occasionally: Augie or Cy, for instance. Other vintage nicknames are so antiquated they are not heard at all, such as Con and Fate. And then there are those nicknames you might not want to use for a modern boy: We can't see Ham going over so well on the playground. But if you're tired of the same old Jacks and Sams, you might want to consider these vintage boy nicknames. You may also want to consult the larger list of Nicknames for Boys.
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TheoHeart

  • 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.

KitHeart

  • 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.

NedHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Edward
  • Meaning:

    "wealthy guardian"
  • Description:

    Ned is a gently old-fashioned Nancy Drew-Bobbsey Twins-era short form for Edward that sounds cooler than Ed and is enjoying a small style renaissance.

DashHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Dashiell, meaning unknown
  • Description:

    Dash is a nickname that can stand on its own and sounds, well, dashing. Connected these days with Kardashian enterprises.

BramHeart

  • Origin:

    Dutch variation of Abraham
  • Meaning:

    "father of multitudes"
  • Description:

    Bram has an unusual measure of character and charm for a one-syllable name; it started as a hipper-than-Abe diminutive of the biblical Abraham, but is also an independent Irish and Dutch name, made famous by Irish-born Dracula creator Bram (nee Abraham) Stoker. Bram is currently Number 16 in the Netherlands; Bram Howard was a character on The West Wing.
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CalHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Calvin
  • Description:

    A homey sitting-by-the fire-type nickname name.

HankHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Henry, German
  • Meaning:

    "estate ruler"
  • Description:

    Hank is a midcentury guy nickname (which actually dates back to the seventeenth century) of the Al/Hal/Dick school, which has been on recess from the playground for decades. Now it's just beginning to be given on its own again, appreciated for its earthy, sportsguy cool. Hanks Aaron and Greenberg (born Henry) and Hank Williams (born Hiram) Sr and Jr. are worthy namesakes.

OllieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Oliver
  • Description:

    Down-home nickname name once associated with the friendly dragon on kids' TV.

HalHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Harold and Henry
  • Description:

    Could Hal be the Jack, Max, or Gus of the future? It just might happen in the new nickname environment. Hank Azaria put it on his son's birth certificate.

AugieHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of August and variations
  • Description:

    Augie is an adorable and, at this point, fresher sounding short form than Gus of the rising August and all its variations, from Augustine to Augustus. The Adventures of Augie March is a 1953 novel by Nobel winner Saul Bellow.
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FritzHeart

  • Origin:

    German, diminutive of Friedrich or Frederick
  • Meaning:

    "peaceful ruler"
  • Description:

    Since female cousins Mitzi and Fritzi have entered the realm of possibilities, there's a chance that Cousin Fritz could as well. Fritz is the name of several notables, from early German-born film director Lang to early footballer Fritz (born Frederick) Pollard, the first African-American to play in the Rose Bowl in 1916.

IkeHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Isaac
  • Description:

    Ike, once the quirky one-person nickname of President Dwight Eisenhower, has morphed into a cool kid nickname of the early 21st century. The rise of Isaac and the stylishness of short down-to-earth nicknames like Max and Gus means that many parents like Ike once again. In the Top 200 (!) at the end of the 19th century, Ike fell off the Social Security Top 1000 by the end of Eisenhower's presidency in the late 1950s but may rise again -- though our guess is that more modern parents will put Isaac or Isaiah on the birth certificate.

ZebHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Zebediah or Zebulon
  • Description:

    Short and to-the-point, it turns an ancient biblical name into a friendly cowboy.

OdieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Odell, Otis; English, German
  • Meaning:

    "of the valley; wealthy"
  • Description:

    This old-timey nickname for Otis and Odell is strongly tied to Garfield’s canine companion in the Garfield comic, movie, and TV franchise.

PipHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Philip
  • Meaning:

    "lover of horses"
  • Description:

    The original Pip was the main character in Great Expectations (full name Philip Pirrip). Cute for a tike, problematic for a man.
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JemHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of James or Jeremiah
  • Description:

    This name of the ten-year-old boy in the much loved and acclaimed modern classic To Kill a Mockingbird could find favor along with that of the character's sister, Scout.

NewtHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "a small salamander"
  • Description:

    Rarely used on its own and irrevocably tied to former House Speaker Gingrich -- who was christened Newton.

EbenHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew, diminutive of Ebenezer
  • Meaning:

    "stone of help"
  • Description:

    Though most parents would shy away from Ebenezer, short form Eben is affable and creative and perfectly able to stand alone; nothing Scroogish about it. This also makes a fresh new spin on the very popular Ethan or Evan.

CyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Cyrus
  • Description:

    Where Sam, Max, and Gus may be leading us.

SebHeart

  • Origin:

    Egyptian
  • Meaning:

    "God of the earth"
  • Description:

    This name, more recognized as a short form of Sebastian, is perfectly usable a cool full name, and, in fact, ranks on the UK popularity list. Seb is getting lot of attention as the nickname name of the Ryan Gosling character in the hit film La La Land.
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BazHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Sebastian or Basil; Kurdish
  • Meaning:

    "regal; falcon"
  • Description:

    As Bas, it's a popular name in The Netherlands, but Baz, as in director Luhrmann, has potential for independent life too.

    Curiously, Australian-born Moulin Rouge director Luhrmann was born neither Sebastian nor Basil, but had the name Mark Anthony on his birth certificate; his nickname arose from his supposed resemblance to a British TV fox puppet named Basil Brush.

ClemHeart

  • Origin:

    , English, diminutive of Clement
  • Description:

    Laid-back and humble, with a distinctive down-home charm.

FateHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of Lafayette, French
  • Meaning:

    "faith"
  • Description:

    Seems destined to be the preferred short form of this old French name, with its brief, modern, word name feel.

DezHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Desmond
  • Description:

    More of an abbreviation than a short form that can stand on its own.

KiahHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of Hezekiah, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "God gives strength"
  • Description:

    Drawn from old record books, Kiah is an antiquated nickname that feels perfectly appropriate for modern times -- maybe more so than father name Hezekiah.
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PaddyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, diminutive of Patrick
  • Description:

    Because it's a generic (and often derogatory) term for an Irishman, Paddy fell out of use as a diminutive or given name, though actress Mare Winningham used it not long ago.

RiahHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of Zachariah, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "The Lord has remembered"
  • Description:

    If you think there are too many Zachs around, you can use this historic nickname for Zachariah instead, though it does have a somewhat feminine feel.

SandyHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish and English diminutive of Alexander
  • Meaning:

    "defending men"
  • Description:

    A sweet Scottish short form of Alexander which is feeling newly appealing now the era of Sandra is far behind us. Sandy would also work well as a nickname for a child with pale red or dark blond hair.

ObedHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "servant of God"
  • Description:

    This quirky Old Testament name has potential, as parents are digging deeper into the Bible to find names for their children. It has also been used as a nickname for Obediah.

SiHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Simon, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "the listener"
  • Description:

    Si is an intriguing antique nickname for Simon and Silas, and we’ve also heard it as a short form of names that contain the “sigh” sound, like Josiah and Osiris.
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BatHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of Bartholomew
  • Description:

    Bartholomew is one vintage name with Biblical antecedents that hasn't risen again in the modern world, perhaps because short form Bart, as in Simpson, would be too difficult for a contemporary boy to bear. But antique nickname Bat might work better. Might.

LenoHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Leonard
  • Meaning:

    "lion"
  • Description:

    Better than Lenny, not as good as Leo, and tightly tied to Tonight Show host Jay Leno.

GramHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Graham
  • Meaning:

    "gravelly homestead"
  • Description:

    Streamlined form eases pronunciation and spelling, but somehow adds a weighty element to this British favorite. It became familiar in the U.S. via musician Gram Parsons.

HamHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "hot, warm"
  • Description:

    Along with Shem and Japheth, a son of Noah with a name that's almost never used -- for more obvious reasons than those of his brothers.

SimHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish diminutive of Simon
  • Meaning:

    "the listener"
  • Description:

    The Biblical Simon has been rediscovered and this appealing short form, an alternative to Sam, might be a way to make your Simon even more special.
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ChanHeart

  • Origin:

    Cambodian
  • Meaning:

    "sweet smelling tree"
  • Description:

    Whether it's an Asian surname-name or short for Channing, has a sound and feel that's both simple and stand-out.

TadHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Thaddeus
  • Description:

    More than a tad meager.

WillsHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of William
  • Meaning:

    "resolute protector"
  • Description:

    The cute short form gained prominence when it was used for young Prince William of England.

MalHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Malcolm, Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "devotee of St. Colomba"
  • Description:

    A nickname for Malcolm that at one point ranked independently on the US Top 1000. It still exists as an affectionate pet form, but you’re unlikely to hear a Malcolm introduce himself as Mal.

ManoHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian
  • Meaning:

    "hand"
  • Description:

    A nickname that sounds like a nickname.
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DellHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Odell, English
  • Meaning:

    "of the valley"
  • Description:

    Originally a short form of Odell, a place name turned surname that hails from England.

RollieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Roland, German
  • Meaning:

    "famous throughout the land"
  • Description:

    As its parent name Roland comes back into style (yep, it’s happening), could there be an uptick in baby Rollies? Certainly as a pet form.

DixHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "tenth"
  • Description:

    Once a birth order name, now might work as a cool x-ending nickname. But be warned that it sounds very close to an unfortunate slang term.

LafeHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Leif, Diminutive of Lafayette, Scandinavian, French
  • Meaning:

    "heir, descendant; faith"
  • Description:

    In the 18th century, Lafe was the common short form of the French surname name Lafayette. A notable bearer was Lafe McKee, who acted in over 400 films during the first half of the 19th century.

LonHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Alonzo
  • Meaning:

    "noble, ready"
  • Description:

    For older generations this still summons silent horror star Chaney; for others it's a pleasant if slight nickname name.
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ElzieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Eliezer, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "God helps"
  • Description:

    The male nickname Elzie originated as a short form of Eliezer. Neither are coming back into fashion anytime soon.

VernHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Vernon, English
  • Meaning:

    "place of alders"
  • Description:

    As with its parent name, Vernon, it feels too soon for Vern to be revived.

MoseHeart

  • Origin:

    German variation of Moses, Egyptian
  • Meaning:

    "delivered from the water"
  • Description:

    Mose is the German variation of Moses, a widely familiar name thanks to the character in the Old Testament. Mose is also used a nickname for Moses.

ConHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Cornelius, Conrad, Latin, German
  • Meaning:

    "horn; brave counsel"
  • Description:

    Back in the day, Con was a nickname for Cornelius and Conrad. Today it feels like a pet form of Connor.

ChasHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Charles, French from German
  • Meaning:

    "free man"
  • Description:

    Retro nickname for Charles that has the potential for revival, a la Hal, Ike, and Gus.
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