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Middle Names, Surnames, and Nicknames

by Pamela Redmond and Linda Rosenkrantz, creators of Nameberry
Here's where you'll find fresh ideas for middle names and nicknames for your baby, from sweet vintage nicknames for girls to middle names with meaning. Surname lists here include celebrity-inspired surnames that can be used as baby names and occupational surnames fashionable as boy baby names.

  • Attitude Nicknames for Boys

    Attitude nicknames? We never thought about it until we noticed someone searching for them, and decided, Well, yes, there are attitude nicknames for boys. (And for girls too, but one at a time). Here, some boys' nicknames with attitude.

  • Attitude Nicknames for Girls

    Attitude names are a new style that a lot of parents are searching for, and nicknames fit right into the confident, bright, badass image. Here are some attitude nicknames for girls to get you started.

  • Best Baby Names with No Nicknames

    Baby names with no nicknames are perfect for parents who want full control over what their child is called. If you don't like the idea of your Alexander being known as Alex, or your Eleanor being called Ellie, then it might be time to reconsider your baby name choice — starting with the many no-nickname baby names in the list below.

  • Celebrity Surnames as Firsts

    Inspired by a fascinating discussion thread started by our own creative berries, here are some celebrity surnames that work well as first names. Some, like Winslet and Jolie, inherently linked to the celebrity whose surname it is. Others, such as Conrad, Jordan, and Murray, don’t immediately call a celebrity to mind because of the surname’s commonness as a first name or last name. Because surnames lie outside historical gender identifications, this is another fresh source of unisex baby names.

  • Cool Middle Names

    Hello, cool middle names, and bye-bye to the bland connectives of generations past, the ubiquitous Ann that almost sounded like and, because the middle name has now taken on a much more active part in the naming process. It's a place to honor the family, be creative or whimsical, use a name you're not quite brave enough to try as a first. Here, some cool names that are perfect for middle place, mostly for girls but a handful for boys. Or explore beyond cool with our master list of more than 900 middle names of all kinds.

  • Crazy Nicknames for Boys

    What crazy nicknames have been given to boys over the years? We think these are some of the most unusual.

  • Crazy Nicknames for Girls

    Looking for the wackiest nicknames used for girls? Here are some we think qualify.

  • Cute Baby Names

    Cute baby names might be on board for your doll, your pet, your bump, or maybe even your baby. What makes a name cute? Nickname-names often qualify as cute, as do names that end in o or the ee sound. The biggest concern: That your adorable baby will outgrow his or her cute name. But cute baby names often come complete with buttoned-up formal versions. Or...you can just embrace the cute! Here are some prime examples of cute baby names that are in style today. For more information and many more names, check out our complete guide to cute names for boys and girls.

  • Cute Baby Names for Boys

    Cute baby names mix up the informal and the unexpected. They're names sometimes found on pets and comic strip characters, but most of them would wear well on a real boy, too. Formal name options can make these even more wearable for the long haul. For more information and many more names, check out our complete guide to cute names for boys and girls.

  • Cute Baby Names for Girls

    Babies are darling, so no wonder some parents opt for the cutest of cute baby names when it comes to naming their daughters. Some of these cute names, such as Annie and Sophie, do wear well, even into adulthood. Other cute baby names might be better as nicknames for formal names—or reserved for kittens and doll babies.

  • Irish Surname Names

    Many of the best Irish baby names are not first names at all but Irish surname names. Here's a whole group of rollicking names that work for both girls and boys....or you can use one from your own family background. Or click here for our full list of Irish baby names.

  • Mac Names

    Names that start with Mac or Mc are Irish or Scottish patronymics designating "son of." Of course, many of the most popular Mac names today, such as Mackenzie and McKenna, are usually given to girls. But there are a raft of lesser-used Mac names that work well for boys and lead to the adorable short form Mac. Here, a range of Mac names -- but one from your own family will work too.

  • Middle Names

    Middle names have become standard for babies, with one middle name the convention in the US though two middle names are becoming more usual following the example of the British royals and upper class. You might look to your baby's middle name as the place to use a unique name that feels too adventurous for first place, or a name that carries personal or family meaning. Middle names can be a way to honor extra family members or heroes, and a middle name can also be an adjunct surname.

  • Middle Names for Boys

    Middle names for boys are traditionally family names – father's or grandfather's first name as an honorific, mother's maiden name, or perhaps a first name or surname from further back in the family tree, be it Charles or Lennox.

    But increasingly, parents are looking to their son's middle name as a way to honor a hero, symbolize a passion, or indulge a taste for a more unusual name they may not want to put in first place.
    Along with Charles and Lennox, other baby boy middle names common as first names in the US Top 1000 include Atlas, Cash, Fox, Henry, Maverick, Orion, River, and Sam. Middle names for baby boys that are more unique include Bravery, Drummer, Lior, and Yale.

  • Middle Names for Girls

    Middle names for girls run the gamut from the traditional connecting names such as Rose and Lee to family surnames to new names carrying deep meaning. Many parents these days look to the middle as a place to put family names that might be too old-fashioned or unusual to use in first place. Middle names for girls that are surnames, boy names, or word names expressing some desirable quality such as Heaven or Justice are also up-and-coming.

  • Middle Names with Meaning

    The meanings of names in middle place have become important to more and more parents, as middle names are seen less as connective tissue and more as a way to invest extra meaning in your child's name. A middle name with strong personal meaning may be the name of a beloved friend or family member, a surname rescued from your family tree, or—in the case of the meaningful names here—a choice with an inspirational feel. Meaningful middle names for babies that do much more than bridge the first name and the last include our lists of middle names for girls and middle names for boys as well as our master list of more than 900 middle names of every type.

  • Nickname Names

    Parents are more often putting nicknames directly on the birth certificate these days. Sometimes they like the nickname better than the formal name, sometimes they want more control over what their child is actually called, and sometimes they simply see the short form as cuter, more modern, and more stylish than its proper equivalent. Some nickname names you might want to consider for your own baby include the following. For even more choices, see our lists of Nicknames for Girls and Nicknames for Boys.

  • Nicknames for Baby Girls

    Suddenly, nicknames are cool again for baby girls. The cool nicknames today are not the cutesy Cindys and Mindys, Candys and Randis of the '60s and '70s, but rather vintage diminutives or sassy nicknames with attitude. Some parents choose a proper name as a way to get to a nickname they like: Adeline for Addie, say, or Eleanor for Ellie. Or a baby girl nickname can lighten or soften a too-imposing family name. Wilhelmina turns cute when she's called Billie, and Daisy can be a wonderful nickname for Marguerite. More and more parents are electing to put the nickname straight on their baby daughter's birth certificate, and there's no reason that a nickname can't also be a formal name.

  • Nicknames for Boys

    Suddenly, nicknames for boys are cool again. Not the cutesy Jerrys and Larrys, Randys and Andys of the '60s and '70s, but cooler short forms that might be modern or vintage, such as Dash or Theo. These names needn’t any full forms – sorry, Dashiell and Theodore – but that is up to your discretion.

  • Occupational Baby Names

    Most occupational baby names were originally surnames that described a person’s job. Names related to jobs have taken on significant style value over the past years and are destined to rise even further.

  • One-Syllable Middle Names for Boys

    While we are happy to see baby namers move beyond boring middle names that were mere connective tissue, there are still times -- like when first and last names are elaborate -- when you want a short, strong middle name. Here, some cool one-syllable middle names for boys. Or expand your horizons with our master list of more than 900 middle names of every type.

  • One-Syllable Middle Names for Girls

    There's a reason one-syllable middle names for girls such as Ann and Lynn have been used to the point of cliché. These middle names don't distract from the dazzle of the first name and serve as a calm, quiet bridge between the two stars of the show. These one-syllable girl names transcend the basics like, nowadays, Rose and Grace. They could also work well as first names.

  • Popular Nicknames

    Popular nicknames may be used on their own on the birth certificate or might be short forms for proper names ranging from the common to the unusual. The nicknames here rank highly on both the US and the British lists of popular baby names. These top nicknames are friendly and likeable, but may be much more pandemic than you guess given that they're used as diminutives for such a wide range of names. Don't be surprised if your little Ellie or Jack is one of many on the playground!

  • Son Baby Names

    Baby names that end in son originated just the way you think: they designated that the person—Jackson, say, or Jefferson—was the son of Jack or Jeffery. Son makes a stylish first name ending today, mostly for boys but since the era of Allison, also for girls. Son baby names can make for an original way to honor an ancestor or relative while slightly varying the name. Some prime examples:

  • Surname Baby Names

    Surname baby names have been growing in popularity for boys and girls too over the past few decades, making them one of the prime classes of gender neutral names. Now, anything goes, so look for a long-lost surname in your family or even search the phone book for something you love. Or look through this list for more unusual surname baby names.

  • Surname Favorites

    Surname names have been on the rise as baby names for a couple of decades now. Here are some of the most popular, for girls as well as boys.

  • Uncommon Nicknames for Elizabeth

    Elizabeth is one of those classic, widely-used baby names that has an entire raft of nicknames, going in and out of style over time. In the 1940s, a baby Elizabeth was likely to be called Betty. Then came Betsy, Liz, and Lisa in the midcentury. Next was Beth, and now we have Ellie.

  • Unique Celebrity Baby Middle Names

    When we talk about unique celebrity baby names, we’re most often referring to the unusual first names of celebrity children a la Chicago and Rocket. However, a number of stars have opted to give their children more obscure middle names rather than (or sometimes along with) an unusual first name. The middle position is safer territory when it comes to using unconventional baby names—middle names are rarely used day-to-day and are scarcely known outside inner circles. While the latter isn’t true for these celebrity children, we are still supportive of the unexpected middle name trend. For more ideas, check out our list of middle names.

  • Unique Middle Names for Boys

    Unique middle names may be a way to add character and distinction to a son's name, especially if his first name is a more traditional name or a conservative family choice. Unique middle names can include word names, place names, surname names, names of heroes from history or the arts. A select group of unique baby names that work in the middle for boys is here, or you can search further with our master list of more than 900 middle names for boys and girls.

  • Unique Middle Names for Girls

    Unique middle names for girls appeal to even more conservative parents, who may look for an unusual middle name to set their little Emma or Elizabeth apart. Unique middle names may be unusual first names or can also be nature, word, or surname-names. When sifting through unique name choices for the middle, try to find one with personal meaning. If you want even more to choose from, see our full list of unique baby names or our master list of middle names.

  • Unique Unisex Middle Names

    Gender neutral baby names are red-hot right now, and the middle spot is the perfect place to venture beyond popular unisex picks like Aubrey and Avery to more unique names. This trend is all about thinking outside the box! From novel nature names like Auburn and Zephyr, to intriguing international gems like Adair and Zennor, here are 50 of the freshest gender neutral middle names right now. Or expand your horizons with our master list of more than 900 prime middle names.

  • Vintage Nicknames for Boys

    There's a group of nicknames for boys that were used in distant past and might be worth a fresh look. Some of these vintage nicknames for boys are still heard occasionally: Augie or Cy, 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. But if you're tired of the same old Jacks and Sams, you might want to consider these vintage boy nicknames. You may also want to consult the larger list of Nicknames for Boys.

  • Vintage Nicknames for Girls

    There's a group of vintage nicknames for girls that were used in the distant past and are all but forgotten now. The following might be worth a fresh look. Check our larger Nicknames for Girls list for more choices. And if it's adorable you're after, check out this list of cute baby names, which includes lots of nickname-names.