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Retro-Cool, Hipster, Vintage Baby Names for Boys

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Old-timey grandpa names for boys

Old-timey grandpa names for boys

Looking for a List of Vintage, Retro-Cool Boys' Names? You've Found It!

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. Retro names for the most part 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, for example, 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 he 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

  • Noah: Inspired by the biblical Noah, this Hebrew name means "rest and comfort."
  • Owen: A traditional Welsh name, meaning "noble" or "warrior."
  • Henry: A German name that means "head of household." It is popular in English and French aristocracy.
  • Eli: A Hebrew name meaning "ascended."
  • Joseph: A Hebrew name that means "God gives." It is a popular Biblical name used by Joseph father of Jesus, Joseph son of Jacob, and Joseph of Arimethea, who helped bury Jesus.
  • Isaac: Another biblical Hebrew name, Issac means "to laugh." The meaning's origin supposedly comes from an account in which Abraham laughed when God said his old wife Sara was pregnant with Issac.
  • Samuel: A Hebrew name that means "name of God."
  • Isaiah: A Hebrew name that means, "Yahweh is salvation." It is the name one of the Old Testament prophets who penned the Book of Isaiah.
  • Levi: A Hebrew name that means "joined" or "attached."
  • Oliver: This is a French boy name that means "olive" or "olive tree." It represents peace and fruitfulness.
  • Charlie: This is a classic English name with origins from the Old English word "ceorl," meaning "man."
  • Julian: A Latin name that means "youthful." It is a form of Julius, the name of the several powerful Roman emperors.
  • Sebastian: A Latin name that means "venerable."
  • Jeremiah: A Hebrew name that means "may Jehovah exalt."
  • Josiah: I think we see a theme here. This is a Hebrew name that means "Jehovah has healed."
  • Nathaniel: A Hebrew name meaning "God has given."
  • Robert: A popular German name that means "bright" or "famed."
  • Jasper: It manes "bringer of treasure."
  • Everett: An Old English surname that is now popular as a boy's name. It means brave as a wild boar.
  • Silas: Latin for "from the forest."
  • Max: This is short for Maxwell or Maximillian. It means "the greatest."

Old-Fashioned Boy Names of the 1800s

According to Social Security records in the 1880s, the following were the top 40 male names in America.

  1. John
  2. William
  3. James
  4. George
  5. Charles
  6. Frank
  7. Joseph
  8. Henry
  9. Robert
  10. Thomas
  11. Edward
  12. Harry
  13. Walter
  14. Arthur
  15. Fred
  16. Albert
  17. Samuel
  18. Clarence
  19. Louis
  20. David
  21. Joe
  22. Charlie
  23. Richard
  24. Ernest
  25. Roy
  26. Will
  27. Andrew
  28. Jesse
  29. Oscar
  30. Willie
  31. Daniel
  32. Benjamin
  33. Carl
  34. Sam
  35. Alfred
  36. Earl
  37. Peter
  38. Elmer
  39. Frederick
  40. Howard

Old-English Boy Names

  • Axton
  • Barton
  • Bradley
  • Brett
  • Burke
  • Chadwick
  • Dalbert
  • Earl
  • Edbert
  • Eldric
  • Elwood
  • Fenwick
  • Firth
  • Grantham
  • Hadley
  • Hamilton
  • Hardwin
  • Hayden
  • Huntley
  • Jamieson
  • Kendrick
  • Kenley
  • Lancelot
  • Merrill
  • Mervyn
  • Morton
  • Prescott
  • Presley
  • Radcliff
  • Ramsay
  • Randolph
  • Reginald
  • Remington
  • Sheldon
  • Stanley
  • Thormund
  • Tripp

Retro-Cool Boy Names

  • Abe
  • Albert
  • Ambrose
  • Archie
  • Artie (Arthur)
  • Calvin
  • Carlisle
  • Cecil
  • Chester, Ches, Chet
  • Cleo
  • Cliff, Clifford
  • Clive
  • Dashiell
  • Dominic
  • Edgar
  • Edward, Ed, Eddie
  • Edwin
  • Emmett
  • Ephrem, Ephraim
  • Ezra
  • Felix
  • Frederick
  • Gabe
  • George
  • Gideon
  • Gil (Gilbert)
  • Gordon, Gordy
  • Graham
  • Gus
  • Hank
  • Hal
  • Harry
  • Harvey
  • Herschel
  • Hugh
  • Hugo
  • Joe (though both Joseph and Josiah are on the top 100 list)
  • Jonah
  • Lem
  • Leo
  • Leon
  • Linus
  • Lionel
  • Louie
  • Luther
  • Lyle
  • Murray
  • Ned
  • Ollie
  • Orson
  • Oscar
  • Otis
  • Otto
  • Phillip, Phil
  • Phineas
  • Quincy
  • Ralph
  • Raymond, Ray
  • Rex
  • Reuben
  • Roger
  • Roy
  • Rudy
  • Rufus
  • Saul
  • Silas
  • Simon
  • Tad (Thaddeus)
  • Ted (Theodore)
  • Toby (Tobias)
  • Vince (Vincent)
  • Wally (Wallace)
  • Walt (Walter)
  • Zeke

Classic Boys' 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.

  • Michael
  • Benjamin
  • William
  • James
  • Andrew
  • Daniel
  • Anthony
  • David
  • John
  • Thomas

Traditional Names We're 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.

  • Alvin
  • Archibald
  • Bertram
  • Buford
  • Clarence
  • Claude
  • Clyde
  • Elbert
  • Elmer
  • Eugene
  • Floyd
  • Francis
  • Gene
  • Hannibal
  • Harold
  • Herbert
  • Hobart
  • Homer
  • Horace
  • Horatio
  • Hubert
  • Larry
  • Lloyd
  • Marvin
  • Melvin
  • Mervin
  • Orville
  • Oswald
  • Percy (Percival)
  • Wilbur
  • Wilmer

I'd Love to Hear From You!

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.

Here's a list of retro-cool vintage baby names for girls.

Comments

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!

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

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:

great list

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

Elizabeth Gail

Emma Jolene

Caraline Faith

Clayton Andrew

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.

Any suggestions?

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:

Dane

Courtney on January 26, 2018:

Martin

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:

Turd hahahahahahaha

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:

Loving "Emmett"!