There’s a lot of pressure that comes with picking out a baby name. After all, it’s a decision that lasts a lifetime (unless your kiddo decides to change their name later on, that is), and as such, you just don’t want to screw that up. But do you choose something that is
cool right now, or a classic name? Well, these timeless vintage baby names will ensure that your baby will always be in style.
Your baby’s name signifies so much more than the name itself. It should be a representation of your hopes and dreams for your little one, which can be a hard feat when you consider that you’re bestowing a name upon a newborn you just met. Of course, you could always go totally trendy and pick a popular name that’s hot this year (think
Emma, Ava, or Aiden, for example), but chances are, you probably already know quite a few kids with the same name. And that’s when taking a trip back in time to vintage names can provide a source of inspiration for you.
So check out these old-fashioned baby names. Some are Biblical, some fanciful, some might even seem sweetly old-school, but all are meaningful, timeless, and beautiful, which is most likely exactly how you’ll feel about your newborn baby.
Charlotte Catherine Delahaye/Stone/Getty Images
Maybe you first fell in love with Charlotte from the E.B. White book,
Charlotte’s Web. (Or perhaps it might have been Charlotte York from SATC that made you swoon over the name — and her Manolos.) The feminine version of the male name Charles, Charlotte is a vintage baby name that is stylish and timeless of French origin. Ezra
A Biblical name, Ezra is of Hebrew origin. It means “helper,” and is a popular name for both boys and girls. It can be pronounced as “Ez-rah” or “Eee-zra,” depending on your personal preference. Of course, you could always customize the name by switching up the spelling to be Esra, or even Ezrah.
If you want a retro baby name that has a slew of spellings and variations, Adeline would be it. Pronounced “Ada-line,” Adeline was (and is) a popular baby girl’s name in France. It means “noble” or “nobility,” and is a nickname for Adele. But if you like Adeline, you might be head over heels for its sister names, like Adelaide, Adalyn, Adalene, Ada, Alina, Adelin… and the list goes on and on.
Floral-inspired names have been around since, well, forever. (Think Rose, Lily, Hyacinth, Poppy, Violet, for example.) Equally as adorable is Daisy, a baby girl’s name of English origin. It means “day’s eye,” because this flower opens its petals at sunrise. Now, only if your newborn would do the same.
Before there was Mabel, there was Amabel, a name popular during the Middle Ages. But Amabel might not flow as freely from the tongue as Mabel does, which is probably why the name became more popular. And with the meaning of “lovable,” it’s easy to see why.
Okay, so the meaning of Desmond (“one from south Munster”) might not sell you right away on the name. But this Irish retro baby boy’s name has a slew of nicknames that will, like Des, Desi, Dez, or Dezi. It’s also not incredibly common, so chances are your little one will be the only person in preschool with the nifty name.
Emmett is a vintage baby boy’s name of English, German, and Hebrew origin. It means “hard worker” or “truth,” and can also mean “universal.” What is also universal is the appeal of the name Emmett, which started out as a surname but then became a popular first name for boys. And if you’re looking for the feminine version of Emmett, that would be Emma.
Eloise MoMo Productions/DigitalVision/Getty Images
Although the name Eloise is often associated with the character who lived at the Plaza Hotel, the name is a classic choice. Of French and English origin, Eloise means “healthy,” which is just the kind of name you want to bestow upon your baby. Hopefully your little one isn’t as mischievous as the character so many have come to know and love.
Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel brought it back, the name Silas has been around for a long time. Meaning “Man of the Forest,” Silas is typically a boy’s name that is of English and Latin origin. And in case you’re confused, it’s pronounced “Sye-lass,” and not “Sil-us.” Miles
The English version of Milo, Miles is a
classic baby name that has become popular once again. It means “soldier” or “merciful,” and is of English origin. Jude
Hey, Jude! Expect a lot of that (and more) when you name your baby Jude. It means “praised” and can be a gender-neutral name. It’s a shortened version of the Hebrew name Judah, one of the 12 apostles in the Bible.
Eleanor is one of those girl’s names that has several origins. It can be a derivative of Helen or Ellen, which is of English roots. But then, it also derives from the Provencal phrase alia Aenor, meaning “other Aenor.”
Theodore Kevin Liu/Moment/Getty Images
You already feel like your baby is a gift, so the name Theodore is fitting, since it means “gift of God.” It’s of Greek origin, and with nicknames like Theo or (aww), Teddy, it’s a perfect pick for your little one.
Having twins? Why not name one of them Thomas? The name literally means “twin,” and is usually a boy’s name. Thomas was one of the 12 apostles in the Bible and is of Greek origin.
Frances is a girl’s name that means, you guessed it “from France” or “free man.” It has Latin origins, and is the feminine version of the boys’ name Francis. Sweet nicknames for Frances can be Fran or Franny.
Maybe the name Alice reminds you of white rabbits and red queens. But Alice is an adorable name for a little girl, and it means “noble.” It has German origins, and is a derivative of Adelaide.
Oliver is another one of those names that has multiple origins, from the English meaning “Descendant of the Ancestor” to a French derivative of Olivier. It’s a name that’s been around forever and has enduring appeal. And with nicknames like Ollie or Olive, it’s easy to see why.
Did you give birth to a little boss baby? Then Henry might be a fitting name, since it means “house ruler” in Old German. The name Henry is an uber popular French baby boy’s name, and is derived from the French name Henri, which is a cute spelling, too.
Michael is one of those vintage names that never seems to go out of style. It means “who is like God?” and was traditionally a boys’ name of Hebrew origin. But lately, Michael has become a gender-neutral name (kind of like Kyle), and can be for a boy or a girl.
William Catherine Delahaye/Stone/Getty Images
Dating back nearly 1,000 years, William is a boy’s name that has English ties. It means “resolute protector” and is derived from Wilhelm, an Old Germanic name. Your “strong-willed warrior” just might grow into his name in the future.
Of course, the name Rose means, well, rose. This floral name is a classic, and is most often used as a girl’s first or middle name. And if you’re a
Golden Girls fan, well, then Rose is a no-brainer — literally. Noah
Sure, it might conjure up images of an ark, but Noah is a name that’s been around since forever. It means “peaceful” and is of Hebrew origins. It’s usually a boy’s name, but can be gender-neutral, too.
If your baby has brought some clarity to your life, Claire is a fitting name. With its meaning of “bright, clear,” Claire is a French name that is a version of the French name Clara. In the past, interestingly enough, Clair (without the e) was a traditional name for baby boys.
Deriving from Latin meaning “foreign woman” or “wild,” your little Barbara will be in good company with this truly vintage name. It’s pronounced “Bar-bra” as opposed to “Bar-ba-ra” and might be fitting for your spirited little sweetie.
Once a boys’ name, James has become a gender-neutral name that’s fitting for both boys and girls. It has Hebrew origins and means “supplanter.” Nicknames for James include Jim or Jimmy and is a name that just never goes out of style.
Grace is one of those names that means exactly what it says: grace. It’s a girl’s name with Latin origin and can also mean “grace of God.” It can also be spelled Grayce or Grayse, which gives it a cute Gray nickname.
Feeling blessed with your baby? Then you can name then Benedict. It means “blessed” and is of Latin origin. It has a slew of nicknames, like Ben, Benny, Benno, and more. The name has been around since the Middle Ages, and still remains timeless today.
Sometimes there’s more to a name than its meaning. And Cassius, which signifies “empty or hollow,” doesn’t have the most inspirational significance, but it’s still a very vintage (and popular) name anyway. It’s pronounced “Cash-us” and not “Cas-i-us”, although you can technically pronounce it any way you want.
Meaning “wisdom,” Sophia is a girl’s name of Greek origin. It’s been popular since forever (dating back to the Middle Ages), and has different spellings, including Sofia, and derivatives like Sophie, Fifi, or Fia.
Betty d3sign/Moment/Getty Images
Once more common as a nickname, Betty has become popular in its own right. It’s a form of Elizabeth or Bethany, and can also be a nickname for Beatrice, too. It means “pledged to God” in Hebrew, and is one of those sweet, old-fashioned names that has seen a resurgence.
The meaning of the name Penelope might not be a seller (it means “weaver” in Greek), but there’s no denying how darling the name is. If you remember your high school English classes, the name Penelope might sound familiar, since she was the wife of Odysseus in Homer’s
Had an easy birth? (Lucky duck.) If so, Owen might work as a boy’s name, since it means “well born.” It’s traditionally a Welsh name and can also mean “young warrior.” It was originally spelled Owain, which is also a cool twist to this vintage name.
For those who want a short and sweet name, you can’t beat Jack. It’s a derivative of John, and means “God is gracious.” It’s of English origin and dates back to the Middle Ages, when it was used as another term for “man.”
Esme has several meanings (like “esteemed or beloved”), as well as multiple origins. For example, it can be a derivative of Esmeralda, a Spanish name, or esmer, an Old French verb that means “to esteem.” Either way, your little Esme is someone to love.
Biblical names for babies are popular, and that’s what makes Samuel a timeless name. It means “told by God” and has Hebrew origins. It derives from the name Shemu’el, and is a beloved Biblical name.
When your newborn steals your heart, that’s when Vincent can be an ideal name. It means “conquering” and has been around since the Middle Ages. The French took a liking to it, and then brought it to England and eventually the U.S., where it has become even more popular.
Meaning “gift of God,” Nathaniel is a Hebrew name derived from Netan’el. It breaks down into natan, which means “to give,” and ‘el, which references God. The name appears in both the Old and New Testaments, and has nicknames like Nate or Nathan.
Catherine is as classic as they come when you’re considering baby names. It can be spelled with a K, and has a Greek origin. It means “pure” and is always a sophisticated name. It has a bunch of nicknames, too, like Cate, Cathy, Cat, Catie, Cath — it just goes on and on.
If you have a happy, sweet newborn, then Asher is the name for them. It literally means “happy one” and is Hebrew in origin. It’s a Biblical name, too, and has become a gender-neutral name.
Walter AleksandarNakic/E+/Getty Images
Walter is a strong name for your baby, meaning “army ruler” or “powerful warrior.” It has German origins and is typically a boy’s name. The name, which dates back over 100 years, has become popular again, and is often used as a middle name.
A boy’s name of Welsh origin, Arthur means “bear.” Of course, you might think of King Arthur when you hear the name, but with its cute nicknames, (think Art or Artie), it’s a vintage name that can be used for your little bear.
Sure, she’s the light of your life, which makes Nora so fitting. Meaning “light,” Nora is an Irish baby girl’s name that can simply be used as a full name, or as a nickname for Honora.
When the birth of your baby helps to heal you in some way, Josiah is the name for your little one. It means “God has healed” or “God supports and heals”. It is of Hebrew origin and is pronounced “Jo-z(eye)-yah”.
Robert is one of those vintage baby names that will always stand the test of time. It’s an old German name that breaks down into two components: “Hrod” which means “fame" and “beraht”, meaning "bright". Ultimately it means “bright fame” but it’s one of those solid boy names that never goes out of style.
If your baby will be born sometime between July 23 and August 22, look to Leo for some baby-naming inspiration. It derives from the Latin word for lion and can mean “brave people” or “lionhearted”. Leo can be a standalone name but is often thought of as a nickname for longer names like Leopold, Leon, or Leonard.
Everett Anastasiia Krivenok/Moment/Getty Images
Some parents want a name that signifies strength. That’s why you might love the name Everett. It is of Old English origin and means “brave” or “strong boar”. It’s of German and English origin and is now a gender-neutral name.
Your baby is absolutely priceless, which might explain your affinity for the name Anthony. It means “praise-worthy” or “priceless one”. It derives from the Roman family name Antonius and has female variations like Antonia or Antoinette.
He may be mere minutes old, but you can already tell that your little guy has a whole lot of character. Consider Claude, then. It means “strong willed”. In any event, Claude is a cute name and is a French variation of the Latin name Claudius.
Sure, you might want to give your baby a great first name, but what you’re really thinking about are all those nicknames you’ll get to call your kid, too. When you’re looking for a name that has a slew of nicknames (and is vintage to boot), you’ll love Richard. Of German origin, it means “powerful” and “hardy” and has nicknames like Rich, Richie, Dick, Dickie, Rick, Ricky, and so many more.
Before the name was associated with a devilish doll, Annabelle was a popular vintage baby name. It’s originally of French origin, deriving from the Latin name Anna, and the French word “belle” which means “beauty”. It means “favored grace”, far from the creepy connotation it might have, thanks to those horror flicks.
Louis Jesseca Bellemare Photography/Moment/Getty Images
A French version of the German name Ludwig, Louis is a boy’s name that goes back centuries. It means “famed warrior” or “loot bringer”. It can be pronounced as it’s written, or the “s” at the end can be silent, making it sound more like Louie. And the fact that it reminds you of an
actual prince? Well, that’s just a bonus. Betsy
If you’re looking to give your baby a historical (and vintage) name, bow down to Betsy. Of course, Betsy Ross is best known for making the first official U.S. flag. But you might be surprised to know that Betsy wasn’t actually Ross’ first name — Elizabeth was. And that’s because Betsy, a girl’s name of Hebrew origin, is a nickname for Elizabeth.
Vintage names and Biblical names often go hand in hand, which is the case for Ruth. It’s a girl’s name of Hebrew origin and means “compassionate friend.” Ruth is a pivotal character in the Bible, (she has her own Book in the Bible, after all), and is known for her kindness and loyalty.
The baby name Selma has so many origins, from Celtic, Arabic, and even Old German roots. It means “God’s helmet” or “with divine protection” which might make you feel like a higher power is protecting your baby. But the name Selma can also mean “beautiful view.”
John is a vintage boy’s name — about as classic as you can get — that functions perfectly as a first or middle name. It’s also a biblical name, since John the Apostle was one of Jesus’ closest friends and was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus.
Beatrice Cecile Lavabre/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Of Italian and Latin origin, Beatrice means “she who brings happiness” as well as “voyager”. If you want to switch up the spelling, you can spell the name Beatrix or Beatriz, or simply, Bea.
She’s divine, your little darling. So give your little darling the name Diana. It means “deity”, “godlike” or “divine”. It’s of Greek, Latin, and Indo-European origins. It’s often thought of to be a Greek name, thanks to the Greek and roman goddess Diana.
The name Archie has seen a resurgence, thanks to Meghan and Harry. It’s a nickname for the longer name Archibald and is of German origin. It means “truly brave”, “genuine” and “bold” — all things that you might hope your little guy is.
From “great destroyer” to “hewer” to “one who cuts down”, everything about the name Gideon shows strength and power — and an appetite for destruction, too. But for now, it an be a sweet name for your newborn. The name Gideon is of Hebrew origin.
Helen is a baby girl’s name of Greek origin. It means “torch” or “light” and in Greek mythology, Helen was the child of Zeus and Leda.
Sadie Sven Hansche / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images
Sweet Sadie. Once a nickname for Sarah, Sadie is a girl’s name of Hebrew origin. It means “princess” or “woman of high rank.” Sadie is pronounced “say-dee.”
It’s hard to hear the name Phoebe and not think of
Friends. But Phoebe is a Greek name meaning “radiant” and “shining one”, referring to the Greek god of the sun, Phoebus Apollo. One thing’s for sure — she’ll always be there for you. Ruby
Gemstone names are at once vintage and always popular. You might opt for Opal, Jade, or Amber, but Ruby might be right for your baby. It means, naturally, “precious red stone” and is of Latin origin.
From the Latin name “Vivianus”, the name Vivienne means something so beautiful: “alive” or “life.” Vivienne can be spelled as Vivian or Vivien, too, and has cute nicknames like Viv, or Vivi.
Elijah Catherine Delahaye/Stone/Getty Images
Elijah is a variation of the Hebrew name Eliyahu and means “My God is Yahweh”. The name derives from the prophet Elijah from the Old Testament in the Bible. Elijah is a very popular name, ranking within the top five baby boy names of 2021, according to the Social Security Administration.
Even more old-fashioned baby names Ralph Irene Eloise Christopher Lily Miles Isabelle Marvin Harper Judith Leona Hugo Edith Levi Madeline Alexander Ava Clive Stanley David Greta Vincent Phyllis Morton Eve Earl Maxwell Anna Raymond Chloe Andrew Otis Saul Tillie Blake Lorraine Clara Samantha June Marilyn Jeremiah Noreen Norma Jane Lucas Abigail Dominic Mila Jeffrey Justin
Naming your baby is no easy feat, but when you think about vintage names, it can make the process a little easier. And when your little one is born, you’ll look into their eyes and (hopefully) know exactly what their name should be.
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This article was originally published on
June 6, 2021