Names to Substitute for Oscar
Oscar is the grouchy old man name that rose from the ashes to become a recent stylish favorite. But now many parents who a handful of years ago might have chosen Oscar feel they need to look further abroad. If you like Oscar, you might love one of these other, more adventurous baby names.
Description:Felix was originally a Roman surname but was adopted as a nickname by the ancient Roman Sulla, who believed that he was especially blessed with luck by the gods. It is the name of four popes and sixty-seven saints; in the Bible, Felix is a Roman procurator of Judea.
Description:Cutting-edge parents have revived this German name a la Oscar.
Description:Otis has a double image: it's cool and bluesy a la Otis Redding, but also an upscale, high-society name of the past. Otis has real appeal for parents attracted to its catchy O initial and combination of strength and spunk.
Origin:Greek variation of Leo
Description:Leon is one of the leonine names that is extremely hot in Europe right now. Although it peaked here in the 1920s, it is slowly making its way back, and it could climb further with parents wanting a more serious and studious alternative to Leo.
Origin:Dutch form of Jasper, Persian
Meaning:"bringer of treasure"
Description:This ancient name, also spelled Caspar, is finally shedding its ghostly image and moving into the 21st century. Popular in the Netherlands and Scandinavia, where it's sometimes shortened to Cas, Casper could ride the style coattails of cousin Jasper. Casper was one of the Three Magi who brought gifts to the infant Jesus along with Melchior and Balthasar.
Meaning:"with strong eyesight"
Description:Osiris is the name of Egyptian mythology god-king who died and was reborn every year. Emerging from centuries of obscurity, Osiris has several ingredients for success in the modern world: Roots in ancient myth, an uplifting meaning, an s ending and the cute nickname Os or Oz.
Description:Victor is one of the earliest Christian names, borne (as Vittorio) by several saints and popes, symbolizing Christ's victory over death. It has been quietly in the Top 200 since 1880, but just recently has taken on a cool edge by fashionable parents in London and seems ripe for a similar reevaluation here too.
Description:The sophisticated Edmund and its nearly-identical French twin Edmond are coming out of mothballs now that Edward, inspired by Twilight, is once again a hot name.
Description:Now that the show has gone into reruns, does anybody still love Raymond? Though it's been long dormant, some parents -- including Jack Nicholson -- are finding its cool name component, largely through the nickname Ray.
Origin:Polish and Slavic
Meaning:"destroyer of peace"
Description:Casimir, a traditional name of Polish kings, would have problems assimilating here. But like Leopold and Laszlo, Casimir is strong and exotic and worth considering if you've got an adventurous streak -- and bet your son will too.
Origin:English from German
Description:Ernest is one of those sober, so-far-out-they're-beginning-to-be-reconsidered Great Uncle names. It was a Top 40 name from 1880 to 1926, and has never been completely off the Social Security list.
Description:This aristocratic, somewhat formal Germanic route to the popular Leo is a royal name: Queen Victoria used it to honor a favorite uncle, King Leopold of Belgium. Though Leopold sounds as if it might be a leonine name, it's not really a relative of such choices as Leon, and Leonard.
Description:A contraction name, Sidney comes from Saint Denis and is related to Dioynsius, the Greek god of fertility and wine, although another theory is that it derived from an Anglo-Saxon place name, meaning 'at the wide island.'
Description:Wallace is so square could almost be ripe for a turnaround, especially with the hipness imparted by the British Claymation series Wallace & Gromit. And Wally makes an adorable Leave it to Beaver retro-style nickname.
Meaning:"strong, brave as a bear"
Description:Bernard is obviously a saint's name, but how did it get to the big, benevolent dog? The eleventh century monk, patron saint of mountain climbers, who lived in the Alps, was famed for setting up safe houses for pilgrims on their way to Rome over the treacherous St. Bernard Pass, and the canine breed, also used to rescue people in treacherous conditions, was named for him.
Description:Adler is a German-Jewish surname that is beginning to be used occasionally as a first and is among the stylish new German names for boys. Among the distinguished bearers of Adler as a last name are Freud colleague Alfred Adler, actress and influential acting teacher Stella Adler and Guns N' Roses drummer Steve Adler.
Description:Despite the success of so many O-starting boys names--Oliver, Owen, Otis, Oscar--Oswald has not yet shown any signs of resurrection, though he does have the animating nicknames Ozzie/Ozzy and Oz. The name has some literary cred--in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare's King Lear and a novel by H. G.Wells--and there was early cartoon character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
Description:Omar has a perfect mix of exoticism and familiarity, with the additional plus of a strong, open initial O. Commonly used among Muslim families, Omar was long associated with twelfth century Persian poet Omar Khayyam, though it sounds anything but ancient now.
More recent well known bearers have been World War II General Omar Bradley and actors Omar Sharif(born Michael) and Omar Epps.
Origin:English variation of Maurice
Description:Morris is as quiet and comfortable as a Morris chair, and has the same vintage feel. Once a Top 100 name in the early 1900s, Morris fell completely off the roster in 1995, probably due to lingering fallout from his identification with Morris the cat's ("the world's most finicky cat") 9 Lives cat food commercials.
Meaning:"mouth of the Roe river"
Description:Monroe is a presidential surname which feels fresher than Jackson, Lincoln and Taylor. Marilyn Monroe is a famous female namesake, but her smart Scottish surname feels equally usable for either sex. Plus, we think old man nickname Moe would sound both cool and adorable on a baby boy today!
Meaning:"marshy land near the sea"
Description:Out playing shuffleboard at his condo and not expected back for several generations -- unless it morphs into a girls' name, a la Sydney.
Description:Ossian, or Osian, from the Old Irish name Oisin, was the son of Finn in Irish legend that was transformed into a Scottish hero in the Ossianic poems of James Macpherson in the eighteenth century--which also popularlized Oscar, Fingal, Selma and Malvina.
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.
Description:Boris is one of the old Russian names being revived by chic Europeans; it hasn't quite made a comeback yet in the U.S., but it does have potential.
Description:Osias has a Latinate and biblical feel without making an appearance in the Bible. The related Ozias, on the other hand, is a form of Uzziah, found in the Greek and Latin Old Testament, and could make a distinctive path to the nickname Oz or Ozzie--both far cooler, in our opinion, than Oswald.
Origin:German, pet form of names such as Waldemar
Description:Its jaunty o-ending makes this name more appealing than most of its Germanic brothers, and we hope we're beyond the constant response to his name being "Where's Waldo?" The weighty reputation of writer and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson adds a measure of backbone to the name.