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Old Man Names Back in Style

  1. GeoffreyHeart
    • Origin:

      Anglo-Saxon from French
    • Meaning:

      "pledge of peace"
    • Description:

      In the US, this spelling is less common than mid-century favorite Jeffrey, and it has faded from popularity faster. This more British spelling is the usual form for historical figures like Geoffrey Chaucer and the Welsh historian Geoffrey of Monmouth, and as such it may feel more rooted and enduring.
  2. MelvinHeart
    • Origin:

      English and Scottish
    • Meaning:

      "council protector"
    • Description:

      This once perfectly respectable surname has suffered decades of abuse, not least by Jerry Lewis's character in the fifties. NFL running back Melvin Gordon stars for the Los Angeles Chargers.
  3. OrvilleHeart
    • Origin:

      French
    • Meaning:

      "gold town"
    • Description:

      Only if you're an aviation buff or seriously addicted to popcorn.
  4. LouHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Louis or Lewis, French and German
    • Meaning:

      "renowned warrior"
    • Description:

      Lou, all by itself, is become fashionable for girls, which usually makes a name LESS fashionable for boys. But Lou, like Bill or Jim, is rarely used on its own for boys anyway. (You wouldn't name a boy Frederick Lou the way that girls are named Mary Lou or, in the case of Keri Russell's new baby, Willa Lou.) Long form Louis is getting cool again and, with the Lewis spelling, is the Number 2 name in Scotland.
  5. OzzieHeart
    • Origin:

      Short form
    • Description:

      Ozzie might still be a bit Ozzie & Harriet, but it's a cut short form for Osmond, Oswald, Ozias, or even Oz.
  6. HermanHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "soldier, warrior"
    • Description:

      It's hard to believe now that Herman was once, at the turn of the last century, a Top 50 name, remaining in the Top 100 until 1935, and even harder to imagine it making a comeback. But then again, our parents thought the same thing about Max and Jake. Consider the French Armand or Spanish Armando instead. Notable bearers include writers Herman Melville and Hermann Hesse--and then there was TV's Herman Munster.
  7. RudolphHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "famous wolf"
    • Description:

      Sure, he'd probably get a certain amount of red-nosed teasing around the holiday, but a boy named Rudolph could probably take it. Besides, he's got other, more distinguished namesakes -- the great ballet dancer Nureyev, silent screen Lothario Valentino and 9-11 Mayor Giuliani.
  8. ClemHeart
    • Origin:

      , English, diminutive of Clement
    • Description:

      Laid-back and humble, with a distinctive down-home charm.
  9. ZachariasHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek form of Hebrew Zachariah
    • Meaning:

      "the Lord has remembered"
    • Description:

      One of several more venerable names that get to the nickname Zack if you're tired of Zachary. In the New Testament, Zacharias was the husband of Elizabeth and father of John the Baptist.
  10. IsadoreHeart
    • Origin:

      Variation of Isidore, Greek
    • Meaning:

      "gift of Isis"
    • Description:

      A classic variation of the name Isidore, both Isadore and Isidore were equally popular at their peak in the 1910s. They were historically used among Jewish families — Isidore and Isadore were often used as Americanizations of Jewish names such as Israel and Isaac.
  11. VerneHeart
    • WhitmanHeart
      • Origin:

        English
      • Meaning:

        "white man"
      • Description:

        Whitman, a namesake surname for poet Walt, would be much more suited to a boy, probably because of that "man" part. Whit or Witt makes an uplifting short form which can be used on its own.
    • WillardHeart
      • Origin:

        English from German
      • Meaning:

        "resolutely brave"
      • Description:

        Unfortunate identification with an army of rats in the movie of the same name.
    • OsgoodHeart
      • Origin:

        Teutonic
      • Meaning:

        "divine creator"
      • Description:

        This name seems to foresee a future CFO. Not a bad thing. Osgood Perkins is the name of both the father and son of actor Anthony. Oz is the enlivening nickname.
    • WilfordHeart
      • Origin:

        English
      • Meaning:

        "willow ford"
      • Description:

        As a whole Wilford still carries a dowdy, dated image, but each component of the name—Will and Ford—are stylish in their own right.
    • CornellHeart
      • Origin:

        British from Latin
      • Meaning:

        "crow"
      • Description:

        This name has not one but two impressive cultural connections: collage artist Joseph Cornell and photographer Cornell Capa--not to mention Cornell University.