I'm a stay-at-home mom who is fascinated by names, especially "old" names that have become new again.
200+ Vintage "Old Man" Names for Baby Boys
Just as hemlines rise and fall and lapels widen and shrink, names go in and out of fashion. Names that sound new, fresh, and exciting eventually become overused, go out of style, or otherwise lose their appeal. But like bell-bottom jeans and double-breasted suit coats, if you wait long enough, they eventually come back in style. Choosing a “retro” baby name can be the perfect solution for parents who want to give their baby boy a traditional yet unique name.
Why Are Old Names a Good Choice Today?
For the most part, retro names are traditional in the sense that they have been around for centuries and have Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Celtic, or Germanic roots and meanings. Because they’re rarely used these days, these names offer parents a virtual goldmine of unexpected choices. You can choose a "unique" name without making up something silly, such as Jermajesty, or a meaningless name that sounds like the next arthritis medicine, like Breylon.
Another nice thing about a "vintage" or "retro" name is that you can mine your family tree and name your baby boy after a beloved grandfather, great-grandfather, or great-uncle. Your child's namesake (or his relatives, if the namesake is no longer living) will be thrilled, and your son will have a classic, traditional name that he doesn't have to share with half the boys in his kindergarten class.
Top Old-Fashioned Boy Names
- Charlie: This is a classic English name with origins from the Old English word "ceorl," meaning "man."
- Eli: Eli is a Hebrew name that means "ascended."
- Everett: This is an Old English surname that is now popular as a boy's name. It means "brave as a wild boar."
- Henry: This is a German name that means "head of household." It is popular in English and French aristocracy.
- Isaac: A biblical Hebrew name, Isaac means "he will laugh." The meaning's origin supposedly comes from an account in which Abraham laughed when God said his old wife Sarah was pregnant with Isaac.
- Isaiah: This Hebrew name means "Yahweh is salvation." It is the name of one of the Old Testament prophets who penned the Book of Isaiah.
- Jasper: Fitting for a gem-themed name, Jasper means "bringer of treasure."
- Jeremiah: In Hebrew, Jeremiah means "may Jehovah exalt."
- Joseph: The Hebrew name Joseph means "God will add." It is a popular Biblical name used by Joseph, father of Jesus; Joseph, son of Jacob; and Joseph of Arimathea, who helped bury Jesus.
- Josiah: This is a Hebrew name that means "Jehovah has healed."
- Julian: A Latin name meaning "youthful," Julian is a form of Julius, the name of several powerful Roman emperors.
- Levi: Levi is a Hebrew name that means "joined" or "attached."
- Max: This is short for Maxwell or Maximillian. It means "the greatest."
- Nathaniel: The meaning of this Hebrew name is "gift of God" or "God has given."
- Noah: Inspired by the biblical Noah, this Hebrew name means "rest" or "comfort."
- Oliver: This is a French boy name that means "olive" or "olive tree." It represents peace and fruitfulness.
- Owen: A traditional Welsh name, Owen means "noble" or "warrior."
- Robert: This popular German name means "bright" or "famed."
- Samuel: Meaning "name of God," Samuel is also a Hebrew name.
- Sebastian: This Latin name means "venerable."
- Silas: Silas is Latin for "from the forest."
Old-Timey Boy Names of the 1800s
According to Social Security records in the 1880s, the following were the top 40 male names in America.
Classic Boy Names
These classic names show up on the top 100 list year after year and never seem to sound outdated. They could be considered "retro" or "vintage" by some, so I went ahead and included them in this list.
Old-English Boy Names
Classy Boy Names (With Modern Nicknames)
If you love an older, traditional name but don't want it to sound stodgy, consider matching it with a contemporary nickname. Similarly, a good nickname can make a long name seem less grandiose on a little kid. Here are a few examples:
- Albert: Bert, Bertie
- Alistair: Al, Alec, Alis
- Archibald: Arch, Archie
- Arthur: Artie
- Atticus: Atty
- Beauregard: Beau
- Chester: Chet, Chess
- Clifford: Cliff
- Ebenezer: Eben
- Edgar: Edge
- Edward: Ed, Eddie
- Evander: Evan, Van, Vander
- Ezekiel: Zeke
- Gilbert: Gil
- Gordon: Gordy
- Joseph or Josiah: Joe, Jojo
- Magnus: Mags, Gus, Manny
- Percival: Percy
- Phillip: Phil
- Raymond: Ray
- Thaddeus: Tad, Thad
- Theodore: Ted, Theo
- Tobias: Toby
- Vincent: Vince, Vinnie
- Vincenzo: Enzo
- Wallace: Wally
- Walter: Walt
- Zebediah: Zeb
- Zedediah: Zed
Retro-Cool Boy Names
Traditional Names We're (Maybe) Not Quite Ready For
These names from back in the day don't sound right at the moment. But who knows? They might be the "it" names of tomorrow. (Of course, if one of these names speaks to you now, then go for it!)
What Do You Think About Old-Fashioned Names?
Do you have a "retro" name? What names are your favorites? What names do you think still sound outdated? Did I leave any great names off the list? Let me know! If you have chosen one of these names for your son, I'd love to hear which one and the middle name you chose to go along with it.
If you'd like a closer look at some of these (and other) older names, consider this list of 18 vintage boys' names that are now rare. And in case you're expecting a girl, here's a list of retro-cool, vintage baby names for girls!
Leia on August 15, 2020:
Having had to grow up with a unusual name in the 90's.
We chose different yet "normal" names for our children.
Samson - now 8 yrs. We didnt want Samuel as it was popular for the time.
Emmett - now 6 yrs . We were asked whether we named him after the character in the Lego Movie! NO. Or Dr Emmett Brown from Back to the Future! NO. We liked the name. He was going to be Ethan until it became popular.
Arthur - now 3 yrs. He was named after my grandfather. We used this with David as a middle name. I'm so happy we decided on this one.
Esther Maya Gabay on July 16, 2020:
Dennis, Thanks for liking my name!
Emma on July 05, 2020:
I love the name Thomas
dennis palen on June 09, 2020:
I love boy names that start with D's (Davey, Donovan, Douglas), and girl names that start with E's (Eleanora, Esther, Evelyn) and I don't know why
Mary on March 21, 2020:
I love boy names that start with D's (Davey, Donovan, Douglas), and girl names that start with E's (Eleanora, Esther, Evelyn) and I don't know why
Mommytimeseight on June 17, 2019:
Looking for a unique boy name for our son whom will be arriving this summer.
My kids names to date are as follows:
Suzannah Éowyn Marie
Sadie Elouise Ruth
Camilla Francesca Celeste
Théoden Joseph Jacob
Luke Declan Ainslee
Hopefully the aforementioned will give ideas based on the variety of names in the home.
Tracey on May 31, 2019:
My son is called Benjamin so beautiful love old names ❤️
Kym on May 30, 2019:
I have a Trigg & mack
annika on May 27, 2019:
I have an Avery and a Skylar and am expecting a boy but I'm stuck on what to name him
Tina Jaques on May 11, 2019:
I'm a bit obsessed with certain boy names being used as girl names, i.e. Lachlan, Laken, Rian, Blake to name a few
Coc nut on April 30, 2019:
Its just skuz and im calling my kid it
Camoron on April 22, 2019:
love the name Bellamy, so handsome.
gg on April 20, 2019:
almost all of your hebrew names meanings are wrong
Teri on March 30, 2019:
I love the names Henry, Wyatt, Waylon, Charlie, Ezra, Emerson, Josiah, Elias for boys. And girls.... Scarlet, Stella, Claire, Lyla, Lily, Josie, Maisy, Amelia, Eleanor, ......
I could go on and on!
1234 on February 21, 2019:
I love the names Griffin and Nathaniel for boys and Bridget and Rebel for girls.
Hazel on February 03, 2019:
As you can tell, I have an "old-fashion" name, so I want to name my children with "old-fashion" names as well. The names that I feel in love with for boys are Henry, Maxwell, Theodore, Benjamin, Bradley, Walter, and William. The girls would be named Magnolia, Charlotte, Theodora, Willow, Delilah, Hazel, Opal, Penelope, Rosemary and Ruby.
Antoinette on January 30, 2019:
I have these other name suggestions
Dani on January 28, 2019:
I gave my son the name Phoenix for his first name after the mythical bird that rose from the ashes better and stronger than before and Jude for his middle name, after saint Jude. I love both names but deliberately gave him a middle name that started with J so if children had difficulty saying Phoenix they could call him PJ. Or he could use PJ as a nickname. It's a nickname I've always loved. People always compliment his name, feel free to use it.
nadia on January 22, 2019:
anonymous on January 13, 2019:
i want to name my boy cooper but I don't think it is powerful enough, what do you think?
Ram ram on January 07, 2019:
My coming baby is baby boy any suggestion name for my baby boy thank you....God bless
Heyu on December 03, 2018:
These are great. I would love to see more of the old classy names come back around, like Alistair, Magnus, or Chauncy. Names that sound like a gentleman smoking a pipe in the library on the Titanic. :-) Also I have a thing for X's, so names like Xander and Xerxes appeal to me.
Porsché Blake on November 15, 2018:
I have #4 kids 2 boys 2 girls
My 2 boys are Kenzo-Gráy and Kruze-Blú
My 2 girls are Easton-Beíge and Saffron-Rosé
Kat on October 23, 2018:
Elijah Cole, this will be my first son's name and it's a bit old fashioned
Sarah on September 25, 2018:
I’m in love the name Bertie but husband not keen
susana corpal on September 18, 2018:
I recently had quadruplets! It was painful but fun.
They are now 14 days old still with no name please email me suggestions thanks. xx
Brodie on September 06, 2018:
My great grandfathers name was Eph. I’m thinking about bringing it back
Hi on August 30, 2018:
Eliran. Elijah ... beautiful names for boys
Angelina on August 26, 2018:
I don't know the gender of my baby yet but I need suggestions.
for a girl I want to name her Aurora, and if its a boy I was thinking Anton.
but Im really not sure yet
WBraun on August 24, 2018:
Randall. It carries weight, "Dr. Randall Braun. AND. Randy is your buddy that will help you move.
Colleen on August 21, 2018:
I named my daughter Anyanessa, we call her either nessa or anya ♡ . My sons name is Mykol which is another cool way of spelling Michael, we call him Kol. If anyone likes, feel free to steal.
Jude on August 18, 2018:
Mine is Jude. It used to be that I never heard it around but seems that it's coming back into style lately.
Liz on August 13, 2018:
My parents named us kids sorta old fashioned yet with a bit of new
Jen on August 02, 2018:
My sister is pregnant - not sure of gender though - she's thinking of Harry if its a boy but she's open for suggestions, I don't honestly like the name very much and have been trying to find something... We're looking for something classic, long but can be shortened.
Hayley on June 07, 2018:
I have a Valerie and a Hazel, need to come up with a boy and girl old school name as we don’t know gender yet!
Alison on May 25, 2018:
We have a Henry Owen and a Walter Emmett
Bob on May 04, 2018:
My name is Jeff, but I like bake beans. That would be a real cool name
Mike on March 26, 2018:
Courtney on January 26, 2018:
E on January 24, 2018:
I love the the name wilder and Tike.
24190kim on June 04, 2017:
Our son is Archibald! But only ever used fully when naughty and is normally Archie or baldy as a nickname
SmartAndFun (author) from Texas on October 21, 2016:
Congrats on #5, Anna! You are a better woman than I am; I stopped at two, LOL. Alfie is super cute! I love it, and then maybe Wiley or Obie. Personally, I am still stuck on Walt, for some reason. Best wishes to you and your soon-to-be bundle of joy!
Anna.L on September 17, 2016:
I love these myth names.
I have an Ezra. Love it.
One of my daughters names is Jazzy. Suits her to a tee.
I'm pregnant with #5 (a boy) And am struggling. Love Wiley. Alfie. Obie. Tyran. Kyran. Azriel. But can't choose a winner lol.
Loving the 'hipster' names!
And did some seriously name their poor child Turd? Has to be a joke!!!
MP on May 08, 2016:
As a kindergarten teacher, I find naming your child Turd abusive. seriously? In the hopes of being unique you've saddled your child with a name that means feces?
Linda on July 05, 2015:
I named my son Laith which means lion in Arabic
Amber Shockley on March 19, 2015:
My fiancé and I named our son Atlas Major ..and we receive compliments all the time. I love vintage names and wanted something diff and sexy yet meaningful. Its fits him so well with him being so strong at the age of 1. He definitely has a name to live up to lol
Jenn on March 02, 2015:
My sons name is Clark. I love it.
Lola on January 24, 2015:
I really hope Turd was a typo.
zoe on January 08, 2015:
Emily on November 10, 2014:
I named my son Marvyn in 2010. I think it is cool
whatthe on October 13, 2014:
You named your child Turd? Like the same phrase you use to describe feces?
June M on September 30, 2014:
Great list! We just named our sons (twin boys!) Tim & Turd. Tim is named after my husband and Turd is the combination of Turtle + Dan, both family names and nicknames. So far we've received great reactions about the name, everyone loves it! I'd love to see it on this list!
Aime from Trudeauland (it's like Disneyland but hotter) on September 10, 2014:
I am obsessed with the name Ezra. I don't think my husband would ever go for it, though. :( I also really really love Chester but I don't think North America is quite ready for that one to come back yet (I could see it flying in the UK!). Oliver & Sebastian are on my favourites list also. :)
Guy's mom on September 02, 2014:
My oldest son's name is Guy and we are complimented on it constantly. It seems everyone who ever knew a fella named Guy remembers them as fantastic. For added fun his girlfriend's name is Hazel.
Krysta on July 04, 2014:
My daughter's name is Elaina. Son is due October first!! We love old fashioned/classy names. Hudson is in the running for sure, but we haven't found that perfect one yet :)
Merl Heinlein on March 29, 2014:
The spelling is "Francis" not "Frances" for boys. I was recently accused of my name "Merl" getting dangerously close to hipster.
Cholee Clay from Wisconsin on March 05, 2014:
I love vintage retro names. When we were searching for a name for our son nine months ago I was very adamant about his name not being one of the top 100 for the simple fact that I don't want him to be known as number 2 or 3 or by his last name. We fell in love with Tobias Richard and it fits him perfectly!
My other three favorite names are Solomon Dean, Roman Felix, and Silas. You definitely cannot go wrong with "old fashion" names :)
Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on July 30, 2012:
Another great list! We don't have a boy yet, but his name is ready for him when he decides to come. We chose Amos Dean. Both are family names, and are pretty retro. Maybe not the best for everyone, but we love that they are seldom heard. And are much easier than say, Homer, or Mervin.
You have two of my favorite names on the list: Simon and Silas. I think they would be charming twin names!
SmartAndFun (author) from Texas on June 06, 2012:
I'm glad you love retro names like I do! I don't know that Delmer would be my own first choice, but I do love Del! And June is adorable. Thanks for stopping by!
Anna Kessie on June 04, 2012:
I love retro names!! My son's name sort of falls under your "not ready for yet" list. His name is Delmer (Elmer?). We love it though and it fits him perfectly! It is also a family name. He goes by Del and Elm. I am looking for more retro names for future children! My daughters name is June. Another favorite. :)
SmartAndFun (author) from Texas on June 02, 2012:
I love it, too! Also "Walt!" Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
Mammanix on June 02, 2012: