Let's Talk Hardcore Gent Names

Sep 12th 2018

It's time for the old-time gent names to take another turn in the spotlight.

I'm not just talking about the ones with a light touch, like Emmett and Theo, or quirky charm, like Oliver and Felix, or dashing elegance, like Silas and Sebastian. Those ships have already come in.  I'm talking about the hardcore throwbacks, the names as weighty and dignified as granite pillars. Conrad, Frederick, Edmund, step on up.

I know, these names may be a hard sell. Lightness and vowels have dominated the name scene for the past generation, so much so that it can be hard to picture a name like Edmund on a little boy. But the weighty gent names offer some key qualities that a lot of parents say they're looking for. They're traditional names with deep roots. They have an old-fashioned luster. They're clearly masculine, without being cartoonishly macho. And best of all, they're not overused.

That last, much-sought quality can be hard to find in an old-fashioned boy's name. When you go hunting for antiques on the boys' side, you're fighting the tide of history. At the turn of the 20th Century, parents were very conservative with boys' names. A girl might be given a trendy modern name like Gladys or Evelyn, but the classic English kingly stock still ruled for boys: John, William, James. That means there weren't a lot of distinctive turn-of-the-century boys' names to disappear and be revived four generations down the line. Which means that the ones that do exist, particularly the light and quirky ones, end up swarmed by tradition-minded parents.

If you want old-fashioned and you want unusual, something's got to give. The stern and sturdy old names are one way out. If you're ready to go hardcore gent, here are a dozen of the most promising prospects.

Image: Wikimedia Commons
















September 12, 2018 4:56 PM

I'm already hearing a few of these on little boys around me, particularly Arthur and Albert (with Albie as a nickname), and we had Edmund picked out if we'd had another boy. I quite like Frederick (my grandfather's name) as well, but one of my cousins has already used it.

September 12, 2018 7:03 PM

I quite like a lot of names from this category. What would stop me from using many of them, however, are the nicknames attached to them. Yes, people don't automatically nickname like they used to, but I'm from a family of nicknamers. And yes, we could use an alternate nickname, but there is no guarantee that over time, the default nickname wouldn't take over.  

By Amy3
September 13, 2018 11:26 AM

These names are right up my alley! In fact, if my daughter had been a son her mn was going to be Walter (after my late grandfather-in-law). With the exception of Luther and Randolph, I'd happily use any of these!

September 13, 2018 11:58 AM

We have a very common last name and wanted "familiar but not common" names for our kids. We picked Everett for our son and have had great feedback. And a lot of folks say things like, "that's my grandfather's name," or "that's the name of a boy I loved in kindergarten (by a woman age 71)." 

September 16, 2018 12:31 AM

I know a baby Walter! His sister is Eleanor.

September 17, 2018 11:50 AM

I love this style of names. I want to name my baby Arthur which is his great-great-great grandfather’s name, but no one else likes it.

Everett fits in with my other kids’ names but I can’t use it. I would also add Grant and Randall to this list.

September 18, 2018 4:45 PM

I know babies named Arthur, Frederick (Freddie) and Albie. My favourite of these kind of names are Roland and Clarence. I may have to use them on pets!

September 19, 2018 9:09 PM

I have a brother named Frederick Walter, after our two grandfathers (he's almost 60, though). He's always been called Erick. I also have a brother and a nephew with the middle name Conrad, although my brother spells it Konrad.