19 Quaintly Gruff Nicknames for Boys
Try to think of a trendy boy's nickname. One that's fashionable as both as a nickname and given name, and zooming up the popularity charts.
Did you guess Hank?
Believe it or not, even in this age of smooth liquid and raindrop names, hearty old Hank is one of the hottest nicknames in America. It leads a pack of names that are bucking the anti-nickname trend with their aggressively old-fashioned appeal.
Throwback nicknames are rising for girls, too. The top female choices are "quirky-cute" favorites like Sadie and Millie, keepsakes from the days when formal name were routinely chopped down to cuddly size. (Sadie was originally a diminutive of Sarah; Millie of Mildred or Millicent.)
The throwback boys' nicknames, though, look a little different. With a few exceptions like like the unisex hit Charlie, today's boys' nicknames aren't diminutives. Their mood isn't quirky-cute so much as quaintly gruff. Take Gus, for instance. That charmingly blunt little name used to be mostly delegated to the phrase Grumpy Gus, but it just returned to the top-1,000 charts for the first time in decades
Some of the boys' nicknames aren't even short for given names at all. They're traditional "earned" nicknames, unrelated to what was written on a baby's birth certificate. Consider "Doc." Baseball pitcher Dwight Gooden became Doc from the nickname "Dr. K," referring to strikeouts. Old West legend Doc Holliday actually held a degree in dentistry. The given name Doc is still uncommon, but its use tripled last year.
Below are 19 more ideas for uncommon nicknames with an old-time no-frills charm, along with some notes on their traditional uses.
Image: Angie Sidles/Shutterstock
19 Old-Time No-Frills Nicknames
Buck: Term for a male deer, typically a childhood-acquired nickname for absolutely any given name
Jeb: Occasionally short for Jacob, but more often taken from initials like Jeb Bush, born John Ellis Bush
Ike: Short for Isaac, or occasionally for other first names or surnames starting with a long "I" sound, like Dwight David Eisenhower
Hal: Short form of Harry, which in turn can be a diminutive of Henry, Harold or Harrison
Moe: Used in the early 20th Century as a short form of many M names, especially Morris/Maurice and other names given as English stand-ins for Moses/Moshe
Abe: Short for Abraham
Jed: Originally short for Jedidiah, but more common as a standalone given name in the 20th Century (especially in Australia)
Fitz: Short for any first name or surname beginning with Fitz-, a Norman surname prefix meaning "son of"
Mitch: Short for Michael or Mitchell
Bud: Short form of Buddy, a once-common nickname unlinked to any given name; note that "buddy" is now a standard way that parents address young sons, apparently to avoid calling boys terms like "honey"
Cab: Short for any first name or surname starting in Cab-, as in bandleader Cabell "Cab" Calloway
Zed: The British term for the letter Z, often a standalone name but occasionally short for Zedekiah or any other Z name
Dutch: Originally a term for someone of German (deutsch) descent, then became a more generically used nickname
Walt: Short for Walter
Ned: Short for Edward, or occasionally Edmund
Tex: A nickname given to a man from Texas, or someone who seemed (or wanted to seem) like a cowboy; occasionally short for the given name Texas
Duke: Originally bestowed as a nickname based on a person's noble bearing, confidence, or mastery of a talent, and later in reference to earlier "Dukes"
Fritz: A German nickname for Friedrich/Frederick, also heard as a sobriquet for German troops during the First and Second World wars
Mose: Short for Moses, or occasionally other Mo- names like Montgomery