Menu

Cool Midcentury Baby Names

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.

BettyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Elizabeth
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    Combine the popularity of Betty White and Mad Men's glamorous Betty Draper Francis, with the residual sweetness of Ugly Betty's Betty Suarez, and the result is an impending return of the name. It's got presidential cred via Betty Ford and feminist history through Betty Friedan.

MargoHeart

  • Origin:

    French, diminutive of Margaret
  • Meaning:

    "pearl"
  • Description:

    Margo and Margot sound exactly the same, so why has the Margot spelling hopped back onto the Top 1000, outpacing Margo in numbers more than two to one? (Over 350 baby girls were named Margot in the most recent year, versus 150 named Margo.)

VanHeart

  • Origin:

    Dutch
  • Meaning:

    "of"
  • Description:

    Whether it's used as a short form or on its own, this jazzy midcentury name is poised for a comeback along with brothers Ray and Walt.

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.

LouHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of Louise
  • Meaning:

    "renowned warrior"
  • Description:

    Lou is usually a short form of Louise, Louisa, or Lucy in English-speaking countries, when Lou is used for girls at all. But in France and Germany, it's a fashionable choice all on its own, sure to gain even more widespread style credibility since Heidi Klum and Seal chose it for their daughter.

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.

BarbaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "foreign woman"
  • Description:

    If you can get the lively young Barbara Bush to replace her grandmother's white-haired image, you might discover a rhythmic classic with an interesting history. Barbara is undoubtedly among the most classic girl names starting with B.

RogerHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "famous warrior"
  • Description:

    In the World War II era, Roger had nothing but the most positive associations, actually used by military personnel to mean 'Received and understood'--or A-OK, and though it is now on extended furlough, it does have a long and distinguished history. Introduced to England after the Norman Conquest of 1066, Roger soon became very popular there, with nicknames Hodge and Dodge, and had a long run later in the U.S, remaining in the Top 100 for 55 years.

JeanHeart

  • Origin:

    English and Scottish, from French variation of Johanna
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Originally a feminine of John, Jean was popular in Scotland long before it found favor elsewhere, and had its most shining moment here in the era of Jean Harlow (born Harlean), ultimate symbol of silver screen glamour. Now, though there are many grandmas and even moms with the name, it doesn't seem all that baby-friendly. Though that could change, and Jean could join Jane.

VaughnHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "small"
  • Description:

    Vaughn, also commonly spelled Vaughan, has been used quietly over the years, reaching a peak of Number 349 in 1949. It is now in the process of rediscovery, being seen as a good Sean alternative or an updated way to honor an ancestral Paul (which also means small).

RoyHeart

  • Origin:

    French "king,"; Celtic "red-haired"
  • Meaning:

    "red-haired"
  • Description:

    We've seen Ray regain his cool, but could this country/cowboy name epitomized by Roy Rogers (born Leonard Slye), Acuff, and Clark, do the same?

    Roy came into use in the late nineteenth century, probably influenced by the main character of Sir Walter Scott's novel Rob Roy, in which the historical character Robert M'ac Gregor is nicknamed Roy for his red hair.

    There have been lots of notable non-country namesakes, including baseball's Roy Campanella, humorist Roy Blunt, Jr., Walt's brother and partner Roy Disney, singer Roy Orbison and pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. Roy Hobbs was the protagonist of the Malamud novel The Natural, played in the film by Robert Redford.

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.

TomHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Thomas
  • Meaning:

    "twin"
  • Description:

    Just like Sam and Ben, Tom could be revived as a simple, well liked name on its own. Tom, just Tom, is one of the Top 100 Boy Names in France

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.

LeeHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "pasture, meadow"
  • Description:

    The original brief, breezy name is somewhat out of favor now even as a middle name. The Leigh spelling has more substance and is more identifiable as female.

LynnHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Linda or Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "lake"
  • Description:

    Lynn arrived in the 1940s, spinning off from the wildly popular Linda, to become a top midcentury middle name. Now, Lynn's in limbo.

CyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Cyrus
  • Description:

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

ChetHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Chester
  • Meaning:

    "fortress, walled town"
  • Description:

    Chet is an old-fashioned short form that, ala Ned and Joe, is starting to sound cool again.

DotHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Dorothy
  • Description:

    Old-fangled nickname could make dot.com era short form or middle name.