One of the most fun parts of being pregnant is beginning to think about names for your new baby — especially traditional baby names with nicknames. You might overhear a mom call out to her son at the store and jot down his name for later, or you plan to honor a beloved family member or ancestor by using their name for your bundle of joy. And when you get to choose nicknames for old-fashioned baby names, then you’re really in the mix. You say it aloud with your last name just to see and run it past friends, or maybe you keep it a secret until the big day finally arrives.
No matter how you go about choosing a name for your baby, it’s important to think about all the nicknaming possibilities for your child. When I talked to my mom about naming my son, she shared that she sometimes wishes she’d chosen differently so my sister, Ashley, could use nicknames throughout her life to suit her at different ages. It’s part of why she chose Kathryn for me, so I could be Katie as a kid, Kathryn in a career, or Kate as an older woman.
For many parents, that ability for a name to transition through a lifetime is why they love old-fashioned baby names. Choosing a traditional name with a modern nickname means you can give your kiddo a classic foundation, but still use a trendy moniker you love.
Frances / Frankie
Think you’re going to have a little firecracker on your hands? Then naming her Frances and calling her Frankie feels oh-so-fitting. Frances is the feminine version of Francis, which means “free man,” and your little rebel deserves a nickname that sounds just as spunky and unique as she will be when she grows up.
Henry / Hank
Henry is a cute name. Hank is a cute name. Can you really go wrong here? How Hank became the nickname for Henry is a matter of old English and Dutch translations, but what matters today is that whichever of these names you decide to use with your baby on a daily basis will be the best.
Edith / Edie
The combo of Evelyn and Evie has gained popularity in recent years, and if you like it but already know an Evie or two, Edie might be the perfect solution. It’s similar in look and sound, but is derived from Edith, which is currently regaining popularity in London and Stockholm.
Louise / Lulu
Louise, Louisa, and even Eloise could all be shorted into the ultra girly nickname Lulu. Louise is the feminine version of Louis, which means “renowned warrior,” so while Lulu may not sound like the toughest girl on the playground, she may just surprise you.
Dorothy / Dottie
Yes, of course this one makes you think of The Wizard of Oz, but the name Dorothy predates the movie quite a bit. It means “gift of God,” and can be shortened to Dottie or even Dot, depending on how many syllables sound best to you.
Harriet / Hattie
Harriet means home ruler, which honestly, most children are, especially in those first few years. Irony aside, Harriet is a beautiful vintage name with plenty of famous women (like Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe) giving it extra meaning. The nickname Hattie is a precious, modern twist on the full-length name.
Winifred / Winnie
Winifred is a Welsh name meaning peacemaking, and it has the feminine, sweet nickname Winnie for short. You could also use Freddie as a shortened version if Winifred appeals to you but Winnie doesn’t. If you happen to love Halloween, this name could be a fun tribute to spooky season and the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus.
Horace / Ace
The name Horace based on the Latin word hora, meaning “time” or “season.” While it sounds old-fashioned, it kind of has a little something modern-day about it too, right? And by pulling out those last three letters, Ace, into a nickname, you’re going to have the coolest kiddo in the class.