Retro-Cool, Hipster, Vintage Baby Names for Boys

Updated on March 26, 2018
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Old-timey grandpa names for boys
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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.

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.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Hayley 

        5 weeks ago

        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!

      • profile image

        Alison 

        7 weeks ago

        We have a Henry Owen and a Walter Emmett

      • profile image

        Bob 

        2 months ago

        My name is Jeff, but I like bake beans. That would be a real cool name

      • profile image

        Mike 

        3 months ago

        Dane

      • profile image

        Courtney 

        5 months ago

        Martin

      • profile image

        5 months ago

        I love the the name wilder and Tike.

      • profile image

        24190kim 

        13 months ago

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

      • SmartAndFun profile imageAUTHOR

        SmartAndFun 

        21 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

        Anna.L 

        22 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!!!

      • profile image

        MP 

        2 years 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

        Linda 

        3 years ago

        I named my son Laith which means lion in Arabic

      • profile image

        Amber Shockley 

        3 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

        Jenn 

        3 years ago

        My sons name is Clark. I love it.

      • profile image

        Lola 

        3 years ago

        I really hope Turd was a typo.

      • profile image

        zoe 

        3 years ago

        Turd hahahahahahaha

      • profile image

        Emily 

        3 years ago

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

      • profile image

        whatthe 

        3 years ago

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

      • profile image

        June M 

        3 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!

      • Aime F profile image

        Aime 

        3 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

        Guy's mom 

        3 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.

      • profile image

        Krysta 

        4 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

        Merl Heinlein 

        4 years ago

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

      • Shesabutterfly profile image

        Cholee Clay 

        4 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 :)

      • Sharkye11 profile image

        Jayme Kinsey 

        5 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!

      • SmartAndFun profile imageAUTHOR

        SmartAndFun 

        6 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!

      • profile image

        Anna Kessie 

        6 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 imageAUTHOR

        SmartAndFun 

        6 years ago from Texas

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

      • profile image

        Mammanix 

        6 years ago

        Loving "Emmett"!

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