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.
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.
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: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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Origin:Variation of Ralph
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.
Origin:English, diminutive of Edward
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.
Origin:Diminutive of Ezekiel
Description:Zeke is a casual form of the name Ezekiel, an important prophet from the Old Testament. How well Zeke holds up depends on the boy: it could be a cooler alternative of Zack, or it could prove too close to "geek." Both Zeke and Ezekiel lag behind in popularity on the UK charts.
Origin:Dininutive of Frederick, German
Description:Just the kind of casual, flippant nickname that upscale Brits are putting on their sons' birth certificates, but few U.S. parents are.
Origin:Diminutive of Henry, German
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.
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.
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.
Origin:Scottish or Irish
Description:Mack, when "formalized" with the final k, makes an engagingly amiable choice, a far more uncommon alternative to the ubiquitous Max and Jack, with a nice, every-guy feel. Mack entered the popularity list in 2009 for the first time since 1989 and continues to climb. However, it's still far from its peak — it was a Top 100 name in 1900.
Origin:English, diminutive of Ryder,; word name; British surname
Description:Rye has the potential to become the masculine version of Rue—a short and sweet name for nature lovers (and whiskey fans too!). Rye might be short for Ryder or Riley or Rylan or any Ry-beginning name, but increasingly it stands on its own.
Origin:Diminutive of Robert
Description:Bobby is the quintessential mid-century nickname, the name of the son on Mad Men and overused to the point of cliche. Though Robert is still a highly popular choice, most Roberts today are called by their full name or Rob or Robbie rather than Bob or Bobby.
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.