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Retro-Cool, Hipster, Vintage Baby Names for Boys

Updated on August 24, 2014
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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.

Choose Wisely if You Want to Be "Unique"

Keep in mind that the "retro" name trend is catching on, for the reasons I've written about above. Many of these names now sound just right for the times and have already made it onto the list of the top 100 most popular boys' names.

With a retro name, the trick is in the timing. If you use the name too soon, before its time has begun to come around again, it can sound awfully nerdy, even "geriatric." On the other hand, if you wait too late and the name experiences a huge surge in popularity, half the kids in town will be sharing the name with your son, and your “original, unique” name will be anything but.

The following "vintage" or "retro" names have already arrived, in that they are among the 100 names most commonly given to baby boys in the United States in 2011.


Noah (#8)
Owen (#34)
Henry (#41)
Eli (#42)
Joseph (#43)
Isaac (#45)
Samuel (#46)
Isaiah (#53)
Levi (#54)
Oliver (#56)
Charlie (#63)
Julian (#72)
Sebastian (#79)
Jeremiah (#87)
Josiah (#94)
Nathaniel (#96)

List of Retro-Cool, Vintage Boys Names

These names sounded outdated a generation ago, but today are sounding vintage and retro-cool to many modern parents and parents-to-be. Obviously all names aren't right for every person. However, you may find ideas you like here, or maybe even the perfect name you've been looking for for your baby boy.


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, along with their place on the 2011 Top Baby Boys' Name list.

Michael (#16)
Benjamin (#19)
William (#22)
James (#24)
Andrew (#30)
Daniel (#35)
Anthony (#47)
David (#50)
John (#52)
Thomas (#67)

Retro 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. Please leave a comment in the comments box, below the Amazon ads.

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

You may also want to see my other lists of baby names:

Unisex Baby Names for Boys
Names Not to Give Your Baby

Romantic, Feminine Baby Names for Girls
Unisex Baby Names for Girls
Cute Baby Names for Girls

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    • profile image

      Mammanix 5 years ago

      Loving "Emmett"!

    • SmartAndFun profile image
      Author

      SmartAndFun 5 years ago from Texas

      I love it, too! Also "Walt!" Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • profile image

      Anna Kessie 5 years ago

      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 profile image
      Author

      SmartAndFun 5 years ago from Texas

      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!

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      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!

    • Shesabutterfly profile image

      Cholee Clay 3 years ago from Wisconsin

      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 :)

    • profile image

      Merl Heinlein 3 years ago

      The spelling is "Francis" not "Frances" for boys. I was recently accused of my name "Merl" getting dangerously close to hipster.

    • profile image

      Krysta 3 years ago

      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 :)

    • profile image

      Guy's mom 2 years ago

      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.

    • Aime F profile image

      Aime 2 years ago from Trudeauland (it's like Disneyland but hotter)

      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. :)

    • profile image

      June M 2 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      whatthe 2 years ago

      You named your child Turd? Like the same phrase you use to describe feces?

    • profile image

      Emily 2 years ago

      I named my son Marvyn in 2010. I think it is cool

    • profile image

      zoe 2 years ago

      Turd hahahahahahaha

    • profile image

      Lola 2 years ago

      I really hope Turd was a typo.

    • profile image

      Jenn 2 years ago

      My sons name is Clark. I love it.

    • profile image

      Amber Shockley 2 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Linda 2 years ago

      I named my son Laith which means lion in Arabic

    • profile image

      MP 14 months ago

      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?

    • profile image

      Anna.L 10 months ago

      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!!!

    • SmartAndFun profile image
      Author

      SmartAndFun 9 months ago from Texas

      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!

    • profile image

      24190kim 6 weeks ago

      Our son is Archibald! But only ever used fully when naughty and is normally Archie or baldy as a nickname

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