43 Handsome Baby Boy Nicknames That Make Adorable First Names

Genny Glassman | Apr 10, 2020 Pregnancy
43 Handsome Baby Boy Nicknames That Make Adorable First Names
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Looking for a baby boy's name that doesn't sound too trendy? While baby names based on nicknames have been making a huge comeback in the past 10 years, there is a new movement of parents who wish to find names that aren't so cutesy. For those parents who want a name that is both solid and charming, take note of these names that we've categorized as "quaintly gruff" -- i.e., the names that are old-fashioned but don't sound passé.  

With help from Laura Wattenberg, the baby-naming expert at Baby Name Wizard, we have the 411 when it comes to these manly names for not-yet-manly babies. As Wattenberg notes on BabyNameWizard.com, "Throwback boys' nicknames look a little different. With a few exceptions like the unisex hit Charlie, today's boys' nicknames aren't diminutives. Their mood isn't quirky-cute so much as quaintly gruff. Take Gus, for instance. That charmingly blunt little name used to be mostly delegated to the phrase Grumpy Gus, but it just returned to the top-1,000 charts for the first time in decades."

Wattenberg continues, "Some of the boys' nicknames aren't even short for given names at all. They're traditional 'earned' nicknames, unrelated to what was written on a baby's birth certificate." Take a look at the names that we found for a little tough guy!

  • TAD

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    Tad -- now there's a name that immediately makes us think of men in the '50s! But it could be time to bring this name into 2020, and it doesn't even need to be used as a nickname for the even more old-fashioned first name Thaddeus, either.

  • THEO 

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    Theo is a name that's been around for a long time, but mostly as a nickname for the name Theodore, which means "God's gift." But if anyone asks us, we're bigger fans of Theo as a name that stands alone instead, and it's unique.

  • SI 

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    We hear the nickname Si often instead of the longer names Silas, Simon, or Josiah, but it can totally exist on its own and might end up being a perfect choice for parents who are looking for a super short but snappy name for their son.

  • OLLIE 

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    Just as cute as the name Oliver, the nickname Ollie is even cuter! The name is thought to have come from Old French, meaning "olive tree" -- making it a good name for a future peacemaker or someone who happens to be in tune with nature.

  • LON 

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    When we hear the name Lon, we think of old-timey Southern men, but no matter where Mom and Dad live, this nickname could be a good first name for a baby. Typically, it's a nickname for the longer names Leonard or Lawrence, which might be a mouthful for a little guy.

  • CHAS

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    Chas is one of the more old-fashioned nicknames for Charles (has anyone else noticed there's a lot of those?), but we think it stands on its own perfectly well, creating a short and memorable name that will probably end up being the only one in the classroom.

  • SLY 

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    Sly is typically short for Sylvester ... or it could just mean that baby boy is going to be exceptionally good at pulling tricks over on people? Hopefully, he won't use those skills to mess around with his parents, but either way, it's a super cute name.

  • AUGIE 

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    The nickname Augie is short for August, which comes from Latin and means "great, venerable." It's a strong name with a strong meaning, so why not choose the nickname for it instead that obviously means just as much? 

  • FLIP 

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    Want a nickname for a baby boy that no one else will have? Flip might be the winner here, because it's been a minute since we've met a guy with this nickname -- we're talking decades. Might be the perfect unusual choice! 

  • CHIP 

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    There have been a lot of famous Chips out there, including Fixer Upper star Chip Gaines and, of course, the teacup from Beauty & The Beast to name a couple. It's usually a nickname for Charles or Christopher, but it also stands on its own just fine.

  • SONNY

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    The name Sonny definitely makes us think of famous men named Sonny in pop culture, like Sonny Bono. But whether or not baby boy is musically inclined means nothing here -- this is a cute name that invokes thoughts of sunshine and happiness.

  • SLIM

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    The baby in question doesn't need to be skinny (or have anything to do with the rapper, Eminem) to be called Slim! We used to hear this kind of nickname a lot more often years ago, but maybe it's time it finally made a comeback as a first name.

  • RED 

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    When we think of Red as a nickname, we think of comedian Red Skelton -- his real name was actually Richard Bernard Skelton, for the curious. Red is a cute nickname turned real name, whether or not Richard was a name on the table.

  • DIZZY

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    Interestingly enough, "Dizzy" has ended up being a nickname for many boys and men -- even ones whose first names are totally unrelated. Maybe it has something to do with their personality or it's a fun name that just stuck one day, but it's worth considering for a baby boy.

  • BEAR 

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    An animal loving set of parents might love this one for their little cub! Bear doesn't have to be short for anything, exactly, and it can be perfect for the adorable baby bear at home and then grow with him until he's much older. 

  • BUCK

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    Whoa there, little Buck! This nickname-turned-first name comes from the term for a male deer and can become a nickname based off of any name -- meaning that anyone from Alan to Zachary can be called Buck. The name was last trending in the 1890s, and had a small bubble of popularity again in the '60s and '70s. But we think it's time for a comeback in the 2000s!

  • JEB

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    This name should be familiar due to its association with a certain political dynasty. That's right, Jeb -- like Jeb Bush -- has started to trend for newborn boys! According to Wattenberg, "Occasionally the name is short for Jacob, but more often taken from initials like Jeb Bush, born John Ellis Bush." We think this one has a nice ring to it!

  • IKE

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    I like Ike! Short for Isaac, Ike is a great alternative that has historical significance. In the 1950s, President Dwight D. Eisenhower hit his campaign trail with the slogan "I Like Ike," which has been stuck in the American subconscious ever since! The name recently hit the top baby name charts once again, topping out at No. 215 in 2014. We like it! 

  • HAL

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    Hal is a nickname derived from Henry, Harry, Harold, or Harrison. And while we don't often hear the name so often today, between the 1880s and the 1970s this name was a monster in popularity. Peaking at #411 in the 1890s, Hal was one of the most popular names of the century! 

  • MOE

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    We all know a Moe! Originally a nickname for Morris or Maurice, Moe reigned in popularity between 1890 and 1920. However, most of us are most familiar with the moniker as the name for the grizzly barkeep on The Simpsons, Moe Szyslak. Use this name as a stand-in for any "M" name! 

  • ABE

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    This biblical name holds a special significance for both the religious and secular. Short for Abraham, Abe was most popular in the 1920s. Nowadays, Abel -- which is similarly biblical -- is a derivative of Abe that has become extremely popular (it hit No. 125 in 2015). And who would have known it, but Abe is the name of another Simpsons character, Abe Simpson! 

  • JED

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    Another name with biblical significance! According to Wattenberg, Jed  was "originally short for Jedidiah, but [has become] more common as a standalone given name in the 20th Century (especially in Australia)." In the 1970s the name rose to #586 in popularity, which sounds pretty sweet to us! 

  • FITZ

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    This baby name is too cute! Fitz, according to Wattenberg is, "short for any first name or surname beginning with Fitz-" -- i.e., Fitzgerald, Fitzwilliam, Fitzsimmons, etc. Additionally, the "Fitz" prefix meant "son of" in Norman surnames. Pride and Prejudice fans, Fitz is a perfect way to prove devotion to Mr. Darcy without sounding too precious! 

  • MITCH

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    Hey, Mitch! Short for Michael or Mitchell, Mitch is an extremely common boys' name that sounds clean yet contemporary. In the 1950s the name rose to No. 754 on the baby name charts, which means that there are probably a lot of future grandpas named Mitch. But don't let that prevent Mitch from making the baby name list. Once a classic, always a classic! 

  • BUD

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    Hey there, little Buddy! Wattenberg explains the important distinction when it comes to this baby name. She says that Bud was "a once-common nickname unlinked to any given name," and that "'buddy' is now a standard way that parents address young sons, apparently to avoid calling boys terms like 'honey.'" Though it was most popular in the 1920s, this Bud is still in circulation! 

  • CAB

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    Beep, beep! No, not that kind of cab. Cab -- which is short for any first or surname beginning with "Cab" (i.e., Cabel or Cabot) -- is a great modern choice for a little one. Totally different from any other name on this list, Cab sounds hip and fresh -- like the name of a sports star or a newspaperman. Stay cool, Cab! 

  • ZED

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    A name for all the Top 40 fans out there! Yes, Zed is like the name of the popular DJ/producer Zedd -- but what one may not know is that Zed has been a standalone name for much longer than this pop icon. Short for Zedekiah or any "Z" name, "Zed" is actually the British term for the letter Z (as oppose to us Americans, who say "Zee"). So cool! 

  • DUTCH

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    Let's go Dutch, baby! The name was "originally a term for someone of German (deutsch) descent," Wattenberg says, "then became a more generically used nickname." We think Dutch sounds a little outdoorsy and well-traveled! 

  • WALT

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    Don't sleep on Walt! A nickname for Walter, Walt has recently returned to American pop culture due to the popularity of Walter White on Breaking Bad. Or if the AMC drama is not enough to be persuasive, Walt was the name of Michael's son on Lost, and is the name of everyone's favorite magic maker -- Walt Disney! So as one can see, Walts are adventurous!

  • NED

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    Winter is coming! OK, OK-- we're sorry, it's just that Game of Thrones is the first thing we think of when we hear the name Ned. Short for Edward, Edmund, or -- at least in the fictional case of GoT -- Eddard, the name held favor for most of the early 20th century. It peaked at #342 in 1910, but we're sure that a new wave of "Neds" are bound to sprout soon! 

  • TEX

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    Cowboy up, baby Tex! Wattenberg writes that Tex was "a nickname given to a man from Texas, or someone who seemed (or wanted to seem) like a cowboy." She adds that it was "occasionally short for the given name Texas." Two notable Texes are Tex Dinoco from the movie Cars, and animator Tex Avery. 

  • DUKE

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    We'll let Wattenberg explain the significance of the name Duke. She writes, "[The name was] originally bestowed as a nickname based on a person's noble bearing, confidence, or mastery of a talent, and later in reference to earlier 'Dukes.'" And while the name has had smaller blips of popularity earlier in the century, it has recently struck favor, rising to No. 667 in 2014. If looking for a little inspiration, think of Jazz icon Duke Ellington! 

  • FRITZ

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    Similar to the name "Fitz," but with a more Germanic history. Wattenberg writes that Fritz was "a German nickname for Friedrich or Frederick." She adds that it was "also heard as a sobriquet for German troops during the First and Second World wars." A name with history? We'll take it!

  • RAFE

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    Many people aren't familiar with Raphe or Rafe but it's actually a popular nickname for Raphael, sometimes spelled Rafael, which means "God has healed." It's never made the top 1,000 US baby names, but it's got the perfect quirky, modern vibe for new parents.

  • MOSE

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    Mose knows that this is a great baby name! Short for Moses -- or any other "M" name (like Montgomery) -- Mose sounds like a ballplayer in the making. Popular from the 1880s to the 1940s, Mose needs to make a comeback!

  • HANK

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    Hank, which is short for Henry, is a classic-sounding name with modern appeal. The name has been rising in popularity since 2010, and it's the perfect mix of old-fashioned and charming for millennial parents.

  • GUS

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    If Augustine and Augustus aren't a fit, give Gus a try. This timeless name is fun yet distinguished and means "great." It also hasn't appeared on the top 1,000 US baby names in a few decades, so it's a name not every kid in class will have.

  • BUZZ

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    Buzz Lightyear, Buzz Aldrin -- any baby boy named Buzz is sure to be in good company, and could lead the pack in using this as an actual first name. This rare baby name was a popular nickname in the '40s and '50s but these days it's also a unique first name choice.