If you’re looking for a baby boy name that’s not all-the-rage right now, Nameberry has some suggestions with a vintage flair.
Since boy names tend to stay on the popularity lists longer than girls’ names, these examples are quite unusual in that most of them were in common use at one time but then slid into obscurity. See which ones you think are ripe for revival.
Alaric — An ancient regal name that sparks with electricity, it starred in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series and in The Vampire Diaries. Emeric is a similar possibility.
Aldous — Associated with Brave New World’s Aldous Huxley, more recently seen in “Orphan Black,” Aldous boasts the popular s-ending for boys
Ambrose — As rosy as Rose, as amiable as Amelia, this early Latin name has loads of history, both religious and literary.
Art — Sure it’s familiar as a vintage nickname for Arthur, but there’s a lot more to Art. In Ireland it’s the stand-alone name of a pagan High King (perhaps why Chris O’Dowd chose it for his son), and of course it’s a culture-saturated word name as well.
Burl — A long-lost nature name related to trees, Burl has a down-home feel, and was in the Top 1000 for 81 years, ranking as high as number 381. A notable namesake: folk singer and Oscar-winning actor Burl Ives.
Clive — If you’re looking for a sleek and polished one-syllable name with a refined British accent and the charisma of Clive Owen, consider Clive.
Cosmo — A name with cosmic breadth and a stylish o-ending; as long as you can banish all thoughts of cocktails and Kramer.
Crispin — Harry Potter-related, crisp and curly-haired (its literal meaning), Crispin is now ranked number 518 on Nameberry.
Cyprian — A rare and noble ancient Latin saint and Harry Potter name (such a treasure trove!), Cyprian is related to the island of Cyprus.
Doyle — This friendly Irish surname, which hasn’t been heard from since 1980, was a well-used choice for about a hundred years, peaking at number 195 in 1931. Doyle McMaster was a recurring character on “Gilmore Girls” — one of the name’s few modern appearances. It could make a cool choice for Sherlock Holmes aficionados.
Eben — Most of us are not ready for Ebenezer, but short, stand-alone Eben has lots of appeal, it was as high as 528 in the 1880s but hasn’t been used much since then.
Esmond — An interesting alternative to Edmond or Desmond with a distinguished air and literary cred via Thackeray’s novel The History of Henry Esmond.
Eustace — The monocled New Yorker magazine symbol and, curiously, the middle name of both Ross on “Friends” and the female Paris on “Gilmore Girls.”
Florian — This name shares the gentle floral quality of Flora and Florence, with solid saintly and literary cred (Harry Potter once more!). It ranks at number 55 in Germany right now.
Garland — A generic floral name that isn’t primarily female: it was used for boys through the 1980s. Garland was a military name in “Twin Peaks.”
Giles — The G is pronounced as J in this single-syllable British aristo appellation. It’s another one with lots of literary connections.
Green — Blue is now an accepted unisex name, as are many shades of green. And Green itself actually ranked on the popularity list for at least 32 past years, reaching as high as number 254 in the 1880s.
Guthrie — Now that Arlo has taken off, how about surname Guthrie? It has a nice cowboyish feel, a la Wylie, and even hit the Top 1000 for one year, back in 1895.
Hardy — A name with the solid, strong yet spirited Hardy Boys image, Hardy fell off the list in 1960, but in this era of word names, deserves a new look. British fashion designer Hardy Amies (born Edwin), official dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth II, was its most notable bearer.
Ignatius — The ancient Roman name of several saints, it was used in the U.S. in the early decades of the 20th century, primarily by religious families. Actresses Cate Blanchett and Julianne Nicholson both chose it for their sons; and if you’re wondering about Iggy Pop and Iggy Azalea, the former was born with the name James, while the latter grew up with jewel name Amethyst.
Ives — This cool single-syllable surname has lots of cultural cred, via composer Charles Ives, singer Burl (see above), and James Merritt Ives, half of the renowned Currier and Ives printmaking duo.
Jennings — Looking for a distinguished but unusual surname ending in ‘s’? This one, which ranked at number 244 in 1897 (likely the William Jennings Bryan influence) could make a neat namesake for a family member, Jenny.
Morley — A pleasant surname name that has never ranked. Now that Marley is becoming popular for girls, this could make a nice option for boys. It was long associated with Morley Safer of “60 Minutes.”
Roscoe ― If you’re looking for a forgotten o-sound-ending name, Roscoe may be your boy. It’s got a slightly quirky but warm and friendly feel. Once a Top 200 name, it’s now given to fewer than 75 boys a year.
Teddy — Yes, I know Theo is the current nickname du jour for Theodore, but there’s something so irresistibly warm about Teddy. Used on its own in the U.S. until the early 1990s (peaking at 239 in 1933), its one of the enthusiastically revived nicknames in England and Wales — now at number 42!