Before my husband and I knew that our second baby was going to be a girl, we did a lot of talking about baby names. And I mean, a
lot. Turns out, most of the names I'm obsessed with, my husband has deemed only appropriate for an 80-year-old. (Which, duh. That's why I'm obsessed with them.) This was never more true than when I suggested names for a boy. He seriously grimaced with almost every option, so if you're also on the hunt for some "old man" baby names, I can almost guarantee your partner (if they're anything like mine) will hate them.
Truthfully, the names on this list are classics. They're traditional, they work for nearly every surname you can think of, and they're more unique than you can imagine. For your kid to have a name that nobody else in the room does, you don't have to try out an awkward spelling or combine two names you love. Peering into the vault of "old" names and seeing what comes up can seriously give you the most unique options. My oldest little girl is an Alice, and I've yet to meet another Alice her age in public or in her classroom. It's whimsical, it's happy, it's classic, and it works for a little girl, a young woman, and a happy older lady. That's how this list is — they'll carry your baby through every age and milestone. They'll just sound like little old men when you call for them.
But don’t fret — I’ve got arguments prepared for most of these names. Luckily, a ton of “old man” baby names are also names of popular comic book characters or have huge ties to pop culture. This could really work in your favor — or it could backfire stupendously, like when I really wanted the baby name George in the running and my husband said all he could think of was George Clooney and George of the Jungle.
This is my husband's first name and he absolutely hates it, which makes me so grumpy because I think Frankie is just the cutest name in the world. While it used to be pretty popular, it's fairly unique these days and
Frank means "Frenchman or free man. I mean, what more do you need for "old man" status? 2 Frederick
Another one that can be super formal, but still cute with a nickname like Freddy or Fred,
Frederick means "peaceful ruler" and is originally German, noted Nameberry. Your baby is absolutely going to rule the roost, but making sure they're a "peaceful" ruler just seems like a smart business move. Try arguing that this one has German ties if your partner routinely celebrates Oktoberfest. (Looking at you, husband.) 3 Alfred
OK, I lied. Alfie, short for Alfred, is the cutest name in the world. This was a big choice for me when it came to thinking up son names, but my husband, naturally, nixed it immediately. I don't know why considering
Alfred means "wise counselor," but he just doesn't want me to have nice things, I guess. (If your partner is a Batman fan, you could maybe try to sneak this one in as a comic book nod.) 4 George
OK, this was my number one baby boy name choice, but as this list probably proves to you, my husband hated it. Despite its regal and royal standing as a favorite, the name
George commonly means "farmer," according to Nameberry, and actually has a Greek origin. How else can I sing "Georgie, Porgie, pudding and pie" if I don't have a baby named George? 5 Albert
The name Albert sweetly means
"noble, bright," which is the perfect description for a little guy, but that doesn't mean your SO will love it, too. (And of course, they're totally wrong.) Albie just sounds adorable, and it also gives me Albus Dumbledore vibes. How can you go wrong there? 6 Walter
Guys, how cute is the name Walter? It's a quintessential "old man" name, but obviously every old man is an adorable baby at some point. The name has a strong, steadfast connotation with the
meaning of "commander of the army," so if you want your little guy to have some boss tendencies, this is the name for him. 7 Bernard
OK, prepare to do a bear-themed baby nursery because Bernard, the sweetest, quirkiest little name full of vintage charm,
means "strong, brave as a bear." How adorable is that? Add in all the sweet nicknames like Bernie, Bern, and even Bear, and it's obviously a first choice. (Your partner will disagree, ignore them. And say it with authority, like the head elf in The Santa Clause.) 8 Arthur
Arthur is a Celtic, sweet name with tons of royal background. Apparently
the king favorite means "bear," too, which makes it just as sweet as it is regal. Also if you don't have a Halloween costume planned, King Arthur is always a strong, easy choice for your own little Art and hello, Arthur Curry? Aquaman? I mean, what else do you need to convince your partner. Jason Momoa is an Arthur, good grief. 9 Amos
For a faith-based moniker, try Amos. It
means "carried by God" and has Hebrew origins, according to Nameberry. Plus, it's super unique and fun. (And if we're still talking about Halloween costumes, Famous Amos's Cookies is obviously the only choice.) I can't imagine your kid being one of several Amoses in his class. 10 Edward
Edward is also another favorite of mine, partially because it was my grandpa's name, and because I just love the sweetness and charm of it. It means
"rich guard," which I guess is a lot to put on a baby, but hey — it's still cute. And the nicknames! Ed, Eddie, Ward, all of them are so good. It’s the perfect name for when you want something strong to carry them through adulthood, but it still sounds sweet and charming. 11 Felix
Felix is so spunky, but this is one my husband made a terrible face at when I suggested it, so I'm guessing your SO might hate it, too. The name's origin is Latin and it literally means
"lucky, successful." You guys, what's luckier than a sweet baby boy? OMG, Felix the cat for Halloween, called it. (Or you and your little Felix could go as The Odd Couple.) 12 Chester
I think Chester is so unique that Nameberry doesn't even have a popularity ranking for this official "old man" name. The
charming name means "fortress, walled town," so it's not exactly one that makes you squeal — unless you're into construction and thinking of castles. But it's still pretty cute. 13 Otis
If you thought everyone named Otis was just born at 50 years old, I get it. But that's not quite what's happening here. Even an old man named Otis was once a baby, and
since his name means "wealthy," it might bring him some good fiscal fortune. (You could also say you're wealthy in love, but that's corny and true.) 14 Emmett
There are a lot of spelling variations on the name Emmett, but Behind the Name doesn't really have a meaning for it, which is pretty meta if you ask me. Apparently
Emmett is a male variation of Emma, so if that was one of your girl contenders, enjoy this old-fashioned version. 15 Lawrence
Apparently Lawrence can be considered a unisex name now, which is pretty unique and fun, but I still think of anyone named Lawrence as an old grandpa volunteering at the library. (The best, right?) According to Nameberry, the
name means "from Laurentium," which is, um, a bit lackluster, but hey — cardigans with leather patches on the elbows. That's totally what a Lawrence would wear, even at 6 months old. 16 Clarence
Does Clarence make you think of George Bailey's guardian angel in
It's a Wonderful Life? Same. So of course this name's a contender for a sweet "old man" inspired moniker. Much like its angel namesake, the name Clarence even means "bright," which is just perfect for your little light in your life. 17 Elmer
I'll admit, Elmer isn't my favorite on the list, but you can't deny its vintage charm. Elmer's origin is English, according to The Bump, and it means "
noble and famous." Your kid will probably be famous in their school for being the only Elmer in all of the grades, and that might be worth it for you. (Also, an Elmer’s Glue shirt would be pretty perfect for that first day of kindergarten.) 18 Herman
For another one that holds some charm and will still make people do a double take, try Herman. The
name means "army man" and has a German origin, so it's definitely a strong, steadfast choice. Pick this one if you have some German links in your ancestry, or if your family has some military ties. (Or just pick it because you like it.) 19 Eugene
Want quirky and fun? Choose Eugene. OK, your SO might scoff, but tell them to hear you out. Eugene is mega unique (Seriously, do you
know a Eugene?) and is a Greek name that means "well born." Also Gene is a pretty stellar nickname that still packs a punch and sounds formal. (If they’re old school Nickelodeon nerds, remind them of the Hey Arnold! character Eugene.) 20 Francis
Ah, sweet Francis. Much like the Frank choice, Francis is a crooner classic your partner will probably hate. Lots of people choose Francis for its religious connotation, but if that's not your bag, you can just pick it because
it means "Frenchman or free man" like Frank does. Or because it gives you good, sweet old-man vibes. 21 Edgar
Edgar! So cute and has a bit of mystery surrounding it, right? Edgar is an English name and
means "wealthy spearman," so if this sounds like a super masculine choice your partner will love, push for it. I'm totally imagining this embroidered on a pair of little seersucker overalls, and I don't know why. 22 Clyde
You don't have to have a girl named Bonnie to choose Clyde for your little guy. I think Clyde is utterly charming, and according to Behind the Name, it's a nature-inspired name and
comes from a Scottish river. How quaint, right? It feels very strong and also very little-boy-like. I just love it. 23 Horace
OK, Horace took some time to grow on me, but gosh if it doesn't have a certain adorable quality about it. Bonus points:
it means timekeeper. If that's not the most ironic name for a baby, I don't know what is. Be sure to gift him his first pocket watch when he's born. 24 Clifford
If your partner is thinking of the big red dog, I get it, but give Clifford a chance. Its meaning is pretty literal — "
lives near the ford by the cliff" — but I think it packs a sweet punch for your baby boy. Cliff is also super cute on its own. 25 Willis
Willis is just a cute, unique name if you wanted William, but don't want him to get confused with all the other Williams in his class. While Willis is a diminutive of William, it's still an English version of a German name that means "
protection," according to Behind the Name. I also think this is one of the best names to work with any kind of surname. 26 Stanley
OK, I just think Stanley is so sweet. It has another meaning that's kind of strange — "
stony clearing" — but you can chalk it up to your nature love and call it a day. You could also go for The Office references if you think your partner is down with celebrating Pretzel Day hardcore every year. (A Flat Stanley-themed nursery would be so cute.) 27 Cornelius
This name just makes me think of Christmas thanks to 1964’s
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and a sweet baby boy. Cornelius is a Latin name that means "horn," so maybe it can bring your little guy some musical talent, or a strong voice to help change the world. (That last one will happen no matter what you name him.) 28 Melvin
Melvin — seriously, doesn't this just conjure images of a sweet little guy in glasses and a cardigan? It's an
English and Scottish name that has no real meaning, according to Behind the Name, and while it's not immensely popular, it's still hitting the ranks for a delightfully old "hipster" favorite. 29 Rudolph
Rudolph! OK, don't think of the red-nosed reindeer. Instead, think of icons like Rudolph Valentino and focus on the pure glamour of this old man name. Apparently
Rudolph means "famous wolf," which is pretty special, too, if you ask me. Rudy can be a cute nickname if you need one, but I really love the full name. 30 Nelson
Nelson is so old-sounding, it's almost too much, but I still think it can work. Its meaning is literal —
son of Neil — but it's also an English name that used to be pretty popular for little boys, even if their dad wasn't named Neil. Can't you just see this painted on a little wooden train in a nursery? 31 Malcolm WavebreakMediaMicro/Fotolia
Malcolm is a name that conjures ideas of activists and smart, encouraging people, but it's also a classic, giving it a certain "old man" quality. I think it's remarkably cute and according to Behind the Name,
Malcolm is a popular Scottish name. Now I can't stop saying it in a Scottish accent. 32 Bert
All I can think about with the name Bert is Dick Van Dyke in
Mary Poppins and honestly, is there any better visual for a baby name? The name Bert actually means “bright, famous” so if you’ve got a little star on your hands, give them this adorable old-fashioned baby name. 33 Ralph
Come on, does the name Ralphie get any cuter? From 1940 to 1963, the name Ralph was in the top 100 baby names for boys, and then it took a bit of a dip. It’s gone through some trends over the last few decades, but it’s a great “old man” baby name to bring back. The name Ralph also means “courageous counselor,” which is very sweet and sounds like Ralphie will make a great friend to all.
Harold is 100% an “old man” baby name, there’s just no other way to describe it. In the 1940s, Harold was number 28 for boy baby names, but it’s slightly less popular now. (And by slightly, I mean a lot.) But you can bring this name back — it can sound a bit clunky, but Harry is a great nickname.
Whether you like the vintage timelessness of some of these names or prefer how a bunch of “old man” baby names sound really unique and fresh, there’s something on this list for everyone. And you can totally convince your partner to love them, too.
This article was originally published on
June 5, 2018