New Uses for 12 Classic Boys' Nicknames

Jan 7th 2016


Sometimes the nickname comes first. Maybe you want to name after Grandpa Ben, but you already know two little Benjamins. Maybe you'd love to call your son Cole, but you'd like a longer formal name for flexibility. Or maybe you just like classic nicknames but want a given name that stands out from the pack.

The good news is that nicknames are flexible creatures. They don't have be simple trimmings of full name, and they mix and match with surprising ease. Think of Ike, which can be a contraction of Isaac – or a riff on any first or last name with a strong "I" sound, as in case of Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower.

Each of the familiar nicknames below can link up with formal names of widely different styles. If you're brainstorming beyond this list, remember to look past the first syllable for strong sounds anywhere in the name.

Andy (Conventional source: Andrew)
Anders, Anderson, Andre, Andreas, Andres, Androcles, Leander

Ben (Conventional source: Benjamin)
Alben, Benedict, Benicio, Bennett, Benno, Bentley, Benton, Benoit, Reuben

Cole
Colby, Coleman, Coleridge, Colin, Colm, Colton, Colwyn, Nicholas, Nicholson

Ike (Conventional source: Isaac)
Einar, Ichabod, Ikaika, Iker, Isaiah, Ryker

Jack (Conventional source: John)
Jacob, Jacoby, Jackman, Jackson, Johnson

Ken (Conventional source: Kenneth)
Kendall, Kendrick, Kenelm, Kennan, Kensington, Kenyon, Kenzo, McKennon

Mike (Conventional source: Michael)
Amichai, Carmichael, Micah, Michelangelo, Michelson

Ned (Conventional source: Edward, Edmund)
Edgar, Edison, Edmond, Needham, Nevada, Newland

Nick (Conventional source: Nicholas)
Dominick, Niccolò, Nicholson, Nicodemus, Nikhil, Nikolai, Yannick

Rick (Conventional source: Richard)
Aidrick, Alaric, Broderick, Carrick, Derrick, Dietrich, Emeric, Enrico, Erick, Ericson, Frederick, Garrick, Jericho, Kendrick, Maverick, Merrick, Ricardo, Richmond, Roderick, Ulrich, Warrick, Varick

Rod (Conventional source: Rodney)
Jarod, Roderick, Rodger, Rodion, Rodman, Rodrigo, Rolando, Rowland

Ron (Conventional source: Ronald)
Chiron, Evron, Geronimo, Kyron, Oberon, Ronaldo, Ronan, Rondell, Tyron

Sam (Conventional source: Samuel)
Samir, Sampson, Samson, Samwise, Seamus

Will (Conventional source: William)
Fitzwilliam, Wilder, Wiley, Wilkes, Willis, Willoughby, Wilson, Wilton

Comments

1
By GPU
January 8, 2016 5:44 AM

Love this!
Will could also be a nickname for Wilbur, Wilbert, Wilfred, Willem, Willison and Wilhelm.

2
January 8, 2016 10:58 AM

Shouldn't "Rueben" be "Reuben" or "Ruben"? I have a Reuben so I am curiuos to know if this is a real alternate spelling or just a typo!

3
January 9, 2016 2:49 PM

As someone who loves the name Sam, but isn't so enamoured of Samuel, I've definitely considered other possibilities for a "full name." I just want to note that, while I like Samwise (a geek/literary reference and a character with a lot of moral virtues), I do think anyone considering it for their child should know that apparently Tolkien pulled it from the Old English word meaning "half-wise," "simple," or "half-wit" (the prefix semi- derives from the OE word "sam" which meant half). That rules it out for me!

4
January 10, 2016 6:14 PM

No, semi- is not derived from OE sam.  Semi- is Latin which long predates the existence of Old English.  Sam- and semi- are cognates.  There is also a Greek cognate ἡμι (hemi-).  Cognates are words which derive from the same ancestral form, but on separate developmental paths.  That means that sam-, semi-, and hemi- all derive from the same proto-Indo-European root, but semi- cannot derive from sam- because semi- is older than sam-.  Sam- does mean half in Old English, but with a connotation of imperfection.  Compare with the modern half-baked.

Samwise does mean half-wit, simpleton, and Hamfaest, his father's name, means essentially homebody, someone who sits at home (ham-sittende).  This is one of Tolkien's many little philological jokes, since Sam ends up on a epic hourney throughout Middle-Earth (no homebody like his father he) and is far from a simpleton.  Nonetheless I wouldn't be naming my son Half-wit, lest it end up a self-fulfilling prophecy.

7
By CGDH
January 11, 2016 9:55 PM

My husband loved the nickname Sam, but Samuel did not work for us for various reasons. We considered a lot of options and were pretty flexible (the Sams in my family are all Salvatores, so we felt ok about fudging things a bit). In addition to the names listed here, we considered:

Sammarco, Samus, Erasmus, Artemas, and a name made up of initials (for example, Silas Anthony Matthew)

In the end, we named him Samaritan.

8
January 19, 2016 1:36 PM

My great-grandfather went by "Ike" -- given name "Roderick."

9
February 16, 2016 1:36 PM

Love these ideas! I've got a Declan we call Dex.

10
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11
September 6, 2017 3:42 PM

Our son's name is Ander and his brother just started calling him Andy!