28 Handsome Baby Boy Nicknames That Make Adorable First Names

Genny Glassman | May 3, 2018 Pregnancy


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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!


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  • 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 #215 in 2014. We like it! 

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  • 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 #125 in 215). And who would have known it, but Abe is the name of another Simpsons character, Abe Simpson! 

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  • Jed

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    Another name with biblical significance! According to Laura, 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 Laura 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 #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! 

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  • Bud

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    Hey there, little Buddy! Laura 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! 

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  • 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! Okay, okay -- 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 very soon! 

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  • Tex

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    Cowboy up, baby Tex! Laura 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 Laura 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 #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. Laura 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!

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  • Rafe

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    Many people aren't familiar with Raphe, but it's actually a popular nickname for Raphael, 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. This rare baby name was a popular nickname in the '40s and '50s but these days it's also a unique first name choice.

  • Cal

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    Calvin is a fine name for a boy, but for parents who want something a bit shorter, why not go for Cal? Cal is an uncommon name that shares associations with baseball pro Cal Ripken, Jr. (and his dad, Cal Ripken Sr.), hockey player Cal Clutterbuck, and NFL player Cal Hubbard. Sounds like a sporty little guy to us!

  • Mac

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    Does it get more masculine sounding than Mac? The name, used as a nickname for Maxwell and McDonald, is derived from Gaelic and actually means "son." 

  • Bo

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    A variant of the French name Beau, Bo is a hip, shortened moniker that means "handsome." What's not to love? Bo can be a nickname for Bob, Bobby, or Boyd, but we love the modern feel of just going by two letters.

  • Dewey

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    Dewey isn't a name people hear very often, but it's a unique alternative to David and Dwight. The name is rare in the US, but it's got a fresh vibe that works for both young and old.

  • Buster

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    Buster -- which has been a nickname for several famous entertainers, including silent actor Buster Keaton, whose real name was Joseph Frank Keaton -- is a totally unique name that also has some cute nicknames of its own, like Buzzy, Bus, and Buste. Nicknames for a nickname? That's meta.

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