I love a good nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. My husband Greg (Gregory) goes by a nickname, too, and I think that’s why we wanted baby names with nicknames for our own children. It certainly had a little bit to do with why we named our son Jackson — he goes by Jack. But apparently, as my mom has informed me, Jack is not so
rare of a name given that all of her co-workers’ grandkids' names are Jack. However, if you’re also hoping for a short but sweet name for your kiddo, luckily you have tons of options — and they may actually be unique.
A name with a nickname can definitely come in handy, whether your kid is like me and decides to go by their full name when they “grow up and go to middle school” or for you as a parent. Nothing gets your kid’s attention quite like using their full name instead of their nickname. I knew I was in deep you-know-what when my mom or dad would yell, “Abigale!” instead of Abi.
So, if you’re searching for a unique baby name that is basically a two-for-one or just looking for some
nickname inspo, check out the following names with nicknames for your little one. 1 Matilda (Tilly, Maddie) Yevhen Rychko / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images
How cool would it be to name your kid after the best book and movie of all time? Not only is Matilda an adorable name on its own, but Tilly is definitely unique and Maddie is just too darn cute. Matilda comes from the Germanic name, Mahthildis, which means
strength in battle. 2 Phoebe (Bea)
While Phoebe is unique on its own, who doesn’t love the name Bea? Plus, Bea Arthur was one of the best actors and comedians ever (in my not so humble opinion), and everyone should want to pay homage to that. She’d be (
Bea) proud. Plus, Phoebe means bright and pure, and of course your baby will be just that. 3 Victoria (Tori, Vicky)
Victoria is such a classic, pretty name, and Vicky and Tori just sound really hip and cool. Your kid may not be the next Spice Girl, but at least their name and nicknames will make them fabulous for sure. Victoria stems from
the word victorious, which sounds pretty baller, right? 4 Margaret (Maggie, Greta, May, Molly)
Margaret is a classic, originally coming from Latin word for pearl, which was previously derived from the Greeks. For nicknames, Greta is a pretty unique name you hardly hear anymore (although maybe famed director Greta Gerwig will bring it back), and Maggie is such a cute name for a little one, even for when they’re older (Maggie Smith and Maggie Rogers approved).
5 Alexander (Xander, Alex, Al)
Even if you weren’t a fan of
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander is a really cool nickname for Alexander. It sounds like the name of someone who would play in a rock band while simultaneously slaying bad guys, right? Alexander historically means “defending men,” too. How fitting for a bad guy slayer superhero. 6 Theodore (Theo, Teddy)
Teddy is just the sweetest name for a little one. I love it when classic names like Theodore can have really hip nicknames. Plus,
Theodore means “gift from God,” and that’s pretty special. 7 Amelia/Amelie (Amy, Mia, Milly, Mimi) eli_asenova/E+/Getty Images
Amelia or Amelie are really unique and creative names on their own, but you definitely can’t go wrong with nicknames like Mia, Milly, Mimi, or even classic Amy. The name Amelia historically came from German royals. Pretty regal, eh? And for a more bohemian spin, you could add the French accent to the name: Amélie (like the movie!).
8 Rosemary (Rosie, Rose)
“Rose, like the lines of seats in a theater,” as Rose Nylund from
The Golden Girls would explain her name. Or, you know, like the flower. Rosemary is a very traditional and beautiful name, but Rose and Rosie are timeless classics, too. You can’t really go wrong with this choice. The herb, rosemary, in its Latin form is ros marinus, meaning dew of the sea. 9 Josephine (Josie, Jo)
I love, love, love this name. My husband’s grandma’s name is Josephine, and we were going to name our kid that if we had a daughter. It totally would’ve worked out, too, because Jo March is my favorite literary character of all time. We were hoping she’d go by Jo, or Josie Faye (with Faye being my grandmother’s name). The name likely stems from Joseph, which is taken from the Hebrew name Yosef.
10 Augustus (Gus, Angus)
If you’re a millennial, you might associate this name with Augustus (Gus) Waters from
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. But the nickname Gus is so cute, I think you have to overlook any sad memories from the book associated with the name. It’s also a pretty strong name — Augustus means great or “venerable.” 11 Ashton (Ash, Asher)
Ash and Asher are very popular names right now, and Ashton is always a good choice. The name somehow seems modern while simultaneously classic. Behind the Name notes that Ashton comes from a surname, “which was originally derived from a place name which meant ‘
ash tree town’ in Old English.” 12 Callum (Cal or Cally)
Hopefully enough time has passed since
Titanic premiered that we forget how much of a jerk face Cal was in the movie. Not all Cals are jerks, though. And Callum is apparently a very trendy name right now, so there you have it. Callum is Scottish in origin, and is Colin or Coleman in English. 13 Dashiell (Dash)
Dashiell is a cool name on its own, but Dash is even cooler. Maybe they'll be star of the track team or football team? Or even a kid superhero (re:
The Incredibles)? It will be a fitting nickname for when your little one is a toddler and you can’t keep up with them, I’m sure. Dashiell is quite the uncommon name. 14 Maxwell (Max, Mack)
Maxwell is one of the
classiest names ever for some reason. The name Maxwell historically stems from a Scottish surname. Plus, Max is an adorable nickname. And, hey, Mack is a cute nickname, too. 15 Ezekiel (Zeke) VioletaStoimenova/E+/Getty Images
This biblical name turns effortlessly cool when it’s shortened to Zeke.
Ezekiel means “God strengthens,” and that’s a pretty good place to start if you like biblical references. I remember my best friend in first grade being obsessed with a boy in our class named Zeke, and she loved him all the way through elementary school because he was such a character. Maybe your Zeke will be a character, too. 16 Catherine (Cat, Cathy, Kitty)
Cat just makes you sound like you’re cool, doesn’t it? I can’t help but think of the character Kat in the movie
10 Things I Hate About You. My aunt’s name is also Katherine, and she goes by Kitty, which I’ve always just super adored. Catherine/Katherine is Latin and means “pure, clear,” and it comes from “the Greek ‘Aikaterina.’” 17 Adelaide (Addie, Addy)
Adelaide on its own is a unique, fun, and beautiful name, but the nicknames are super cute, too. I’ve known quite a few Addies in my lifetime, and they’ve all been confident, creative, compassionate, and generally happy and bubbly people. Coincidence? Perhaps. But it’s still a great name. Adelaide does mean
“noble-natured” after all. 18 Antoinette (Toni, Ann, Annie, Netta)
“beyond praise or highly praiseworthy,” which we all feel our children are for sure. Plus it’s just a beautiful name that rolls off the tongue — and the nicknames are super cute. I mean, come on, Netta? Toni? Adorable and most definitely unique for a name in my opinion. 19 Alistair (Al, Ali)
Alistair means “defending men,” and doesn’t it just sound like a regal and confident name? The nicknames are super cute, like Al, which just sounds like they’d be everyone’s best friend and would have a belly laugh that boomed.
20 Arthur (Art, Arte, Artie)
Arthur means “noble and courageous,” so I suppose it makes sense since the famous one in all the books is King Arthur. The nicknames Art, Arte, and Artie just makes them sound effortlessly cool and like they’d be into really good music and have good hair. Obviously “important” qualities you want for your child.
21 Mackenzie (Mac, Ken, Mackie, Kenny)
The Scottish name of Celtic origins, Mackenzie, can be spelled quite a few different ways. Not to mention, it’s gender neutral and comes with a ton of different nicknames built in: Mac, Ken, Mackie, Kenny, and so on. Plus, it means
“attractive” and “nice to look at,” so you’ll definitely have a real charmer on your hands. 22 Benjamin (Ben, Benji, Benny) Lock Stock/DigitalVision/Getty Images
really don’t hear a ton of kids named Benjamin these days, though most people wouldn’t consider it an uncommon name. The name Benjamin stems from the Old Testament of the Bible, and in Hebrew reportedly means “son of the right hand.” Plus, the nickname Benji is the absolute sweetest. 23 Francesca (Fran, Frankie, Franny, Cesca)
Stemming from Italian origin, the pretty name Francesca means
“from France” and “free one.” Not only does this name sound super elegant, but it also comes with a ton of nicknames for whatever you and your little one like, such as Fran, Franny, Cesca, and even Frankie. 24 Leonardo (Leo, Leon)
While we’re on the subject of Italian names, the name Leonardo is incredibly cool. Both old school (think: da Vinci) and new age (like a certain DiCaprio), it’s a strong name, meaning Lion-hearted or
as strong as a lion. As for nicknames, you could go for Leo or Leon for a modern twist. 25 Elizabeth (Lizzy, Eliza, Beth, Liz, Ellie, Eli)
Perhaps one of the most versatile names in terms of shortening, the name Elizabeth is another great option for nicknames that span from classic to unique. Of Hebrew origin, the name has shown up in tons of literature and media, such as one famous Elizabeth (Lizzy) Bennet of
Pride and Prejudice. Depending on your little one’s vibe, you could go for any number of nicknames, including Eliza, Beth, Liz, Ellie, and Eli.
If you’re looking for a baby name that comes with unique nicknames built in, there’s tons of inspiration out there. With everything from classic names with a unique nickname spin to more creative full names with simple nicknames, there are options to fit every little one.
What Parents Are Talking About — Delivered Straight To Your Inbox
This article was originally published on
May 22, 2018