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Vintage Nicknames for Boys

Vintage Nicknames for Boys
Vintage nicknames that were once widely used for boys and might be revived by modern parents include those on the following list. Some of these vintage nicknames for boys are still heard today: Theo or Archie, 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.

Along with Archie and Theo, other vintage nicknames for boys in the US Top 1000 include Hank, Sonny, and Gus. Old-fashioned nicknames lost to the time capsule — but potentially worth reviving! — include Brose, Cleve, Lige, and Odie.

If you're tired of the same old Jacks and Sams, you might want to consider these vintage boy nicknames. View our full list, below.

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.

ArchieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Archibald, Teutonic
  • Meaning:

    "truly brave"
  • 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.

RafeHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Ralph
  • Meaning:

    "wolf-counsel"
  • Description:

    Used almost exclusively in England; would make an equally amiable short form here for Raphael or Rafferty -- and could also stand on its own. If you're looking for boys' names starting with R, this is one of your cooler choices.

PercyHeart

  • Origin:

    French surname from place name Perci-en-Auge
  • Description:

    Percy is an adorable old name that is finally shedding its pampered Little Lord Fauntleroy image in this new era of boys with soft yet traditionally male names like Jasper and Elijah. Originating as an aristocratic Norman name, Percy became fairly widespread in England--and to some extent in the US--as an offshoot of the fame of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

GusHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Augustus, Angus, Gustave, Augustin, Augusten, Augustine, August
  • Description:

    Gus is a homey grandpa nickname name that can work as a short form for any of the above or stand on its own as a cutting-edge replacement for Max and Jake--though it was off the Top 1000 from 1978 until 2016, when it squeaked in at Number 999.

SonnyHeart

  • Origin:

    Nickname for "son"
  • Meaning:

    "son"
  • Description:

    Sonny is one of the generic boy nickname names making a surprise reappearance, and it was recently used by actor Jason Lee. Another surprise: It's been on the US Top 1000 list every year since 1927, reaching a peak in 1975, when it hit Number 428.

MacHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish or Irish
  • Meaning:

    "son of"
  • 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.

JulesHeart

  • Origin:

    French form of Latin Julius
  • Meaning:

    "youthful; soft, downy"
  • Description:

    Though Jules hasn't been on the US popularity list in fifty years, it is a current hit in its native France—where it's currently in the Top 10—and we can definitely see it making a comeback here, being far more romantic than, say, Jim.

AlbieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Albert, Alban or Albus
  • Description:

    This cute masculine nickname -- with connections to princes, Hogwarts headmasters and the Manzo family of "Real Housewives of New Jersey" -- almost has enough heft to stand on its own. But all of its precursor names have merit.

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.

SolHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "sun"
  • Description:

    Although pinochle-playing partner Sam came out of retirement, we don't see it happening to Sol. Near soundalike Saul has more of a shot.

ArtHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Arthur
  • Meaning:

    "noble one; bear man"
  • Description:

    Though short and brisk, no nickname name could have a more creative image. Comic actor Chris O'Dowd named his son Art, as in his native Ireland it's used as a name on its own, separate from Arthur., coming from an ancient word for “”a bear,”” and used in the sense of “”outstanding warrior”” or “”champion.”” A pagan High King of Ireland, Art’s rule was so honest that two angels hovered over him in battle.

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.

CalHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Calvin
  • Description:

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

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.

OllieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Oliver
  • Description:

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

RyeHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Ryder, or word name
  • Description:

    Rye has the potential to become the masculine version of Rue—a short and sweet name for nature lovers (and whiskey fans too!).

HuckHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Huckleberry, word name
  • Description:

    Though forever tied to Huck, short for Huckleberry, Finn, this is an undeniably cute short form that may have some life as part of the hipster taste for names like Duke and Bix.

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.

OzHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "strength, powerful, courageous"
  • Description:

    This may be a legitimate Hebrew name denoting power, but to any American kid, it will evoke ruby slippers and a yellow brick road. The full Hebrew name is Ozni, who was a grandson of Jacob in the Bible.

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.

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.

HyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Hyman, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    Hy was once a nickname for Hyman, a Jewish Anglicization of Chaim. Today it has gone extinct, for obvious reasons.

BuddyHeart

  • Origin:

    English, nickname name
  • Description:

    Until recently it was rarely used as a proper name; Buddy Holly, for example, was christened Charles, and Salinger's Buddy Glass was born Webb. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver did name his fourth child Buddy Bear Maurice--a fittingly named brother to Poppy Honey Rosie, Daisy Boo Pamela and Petal Blossom Rainbow, and singer Tom Fletcher has a double-nicknamed Buddy Bob.

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.

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.

CliffHeart

  • Origin:

    Topographical name or short form of Clifford or Clifton
  • Description:

    Cliff is a familiar, timeless short form -- never too popular, yet widely known -- that you might also think of as a geographical name ala Vale or Field.

BertieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Albert, Bertram etc
  • Description:

    Long a royal nickname in England, it's coming back there along with Archie and Alfie. British singer Kate Bush calls her little boy Bertie.

JossHeart

  • Origin:

    English diminutive of Jocelin
  • Meaning:

    "the merry one"
  • Description:

    Joss hadn't been heard much in this country before the emergence of Joss (born Joseph) Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, et al; it would make a catchy middle name choice. Female British singer Joss Stone was born Jocelyn.

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.

JontyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Jonathan
  • Meaning:

    "gift of Jehovah"
  • Description:

    Jaunty, to say the least, Jonty might be an option if Johnny feels too old school. It has been noticed most often on the playing fields, as in U.K. rugby player Jonty Parkin (born Jonathan) and South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes (Jonathon).

JuniorHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "young"
  • Description:

    The line should end with Junior Soprano. While most would expect this to be a nickname rather than an actual given name, Junior has always ranked in the US Top 1000, hitting its peak in 1925 at Number 116.

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.

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.

BusterHeart

  • Origin:

    Modern nickname
  • Description:

    An old-fashioned nickname in the Bud/Buzz/Biff mold; this one's kind of belligerent. Michelle Hicks and Jonny Lee Miller moved outside the box when they used it for their son--given the safer middle name of Timothy.

ArtieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Arthur, Celtic
  • Meaning:

    "bear"
  • Description:

    Artie is a cute short form rarely given on its own, unlike the more grownup Art. But for a young Arthur, it's adorable.

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.

CyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Cyrus
  • Description:

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

GeneHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Eugene, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "wellborn, noble"
  • Description:

    Like Ray, a formerly funky nickname name that is newly cool; used for comedian Amy Schumer's son.

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.

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.

CasHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of Casper, Persian
  • Meaning:

    "Imperial"
  • Description:

    This short-but-strong name is popular for boys in The Netherlands. While Cass is usually a female name in the U.S., it feels just as right for boys.

GilHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "happiness"
  • Description:

    Pronounced zheel, it's a dashing conquistador; as gill, it's the nice and slightly boring guy down the street.

ErnieHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Ernest, English from German
  • Meaning:

    "serious, resolute"
  • Description:

    Can Ernie shed the rubber ducky association and make its way onto the vintage revivals list? Years ago we may have said no, but celebrity chef Stephanie Izard made a strong case for Ernie when she gave the name to her son in 2016.

SlyHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name, diminutive of Sylvester
  • Description:

    A bit too cunning.

BuckHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "male deer"
  • Description:

    Comedian Roseanne Barr chose this for her son...which seems in character. In the 18th century it was used to describe a dashing, fashionable dressed man.

LarkinHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "rough, fierce"
  • Description:

    The additional syllable makes Lark a masculine surname name.
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