Victor Talking Machine ad Appleton's magazine
Victor Talking Machine ad Appleton’s magazine by Thoth, God of Knowledge, via Flickr

Looking for a classic name for a boy, but one less popular than William or Michael?  Look no further.

Thanks to Dregina for suggesting the winning Victor as our Baby Name of the Day.
Victor is a name, and also a confident vocabulary word.  The Latin vincere meant to conquer – think vini, vidi, vici – and the victor is one who conquers or wins.
The meaning has been an appealing one over the ages.  The first famous Victor takes us back to the second century.  He’s more influential than you can imagine.  Pope Saint Victor I doesn’t get a lot of press, but he was the first churchman to rely on Latin rather than Greek.  It would take another two or three centuries before Latin became the lingua franca of the church, but Victor started us on that path.  Imagine English today if he hadn’t done so.
There are plenty of other notable Victors in the ancient world – a historian, a pair of popes, another saint or three.  No wonder he’s been translated into so many languages.  In 2012, he’s popular in countries as different as Belgium, Denmark, and Spain.
Famous and accomplished Victors abound, including:
  • Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy in the seventeenth century.
  • Victor Emmanuel was the name of several rulers of Italy, though they would’ve been Vittorio in their native tongue.
  • Victor Hugo, author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame among other classics.
  • Danish born comedic genius Victor Borge.
  • Chilean musician and folk hero, Victor Jara.
  • Actor Victor Garber, best known as Sydney Bristow’s dad on Alias.
  • Boxing champ Victor Ortiz.
Add in athletes, artists, and politicians, and it is safe to say that a famous Victor can be found in any field of endeavor.  There’s also the Victor Talking Machine Company, the pioneer in the production of the phonograph and records back in the first half of the twentieth century.  It then became RCA-Victor; RCA is now part of Sony, so technically it still exists, but this generation won’t recognize a record, much less associate Victor with recorded music.
Fictional Victors will likely come to mind.  The most famous is probably Mary Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein.  We tend to give the name to the monster, but in Shelley’s gothic romance, the doctor is Victor Frankenstein, while the creature he invented goes nameless.  Younger readers will think first of Viktor Krum, a Bulgarian-born wizard and Quidditch whiz in the Harry Potter universe.  Viktor-with-a-k is the spelling preferred in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.  A minor Hunger Games character answered to Vick, which brings to mind the once wildly popular Nick.
Nicholas and company are fading today, and so is Victor.  By 2011, he’d fallen to a low of #142, after many years in the Top 100.  And yet, Victor’s noun-name qualities, his stylish ends-in-r construction and his relative obscurity makes him the kind of classic plenty of parents are just waiting to rediscover.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. We named our son Victor and are so, so happy with our choice. Our last name starts with a V ( think Villareal and you’re close) so the combo sounds great, and it’s super international style means our spanish speaking family abroad are all comfortable with the name, plus the fact that it blends in well with the more countrified names from my side of the family (frederick, lowell, etc). Add in the nickname Vic and the fact that it’s easy to spell and hear and we’re left wondering how we’ll ever do so well when we have to name the next baby to come along.

  2. I LOVE Victor! It’s classic, underused, with a heroic meaning and all-boy vibe. It’s perfect! Except that it rhymes with my surname. So please, someone else use it for their son because I can’t! I would love to meet lots of little Victors!

  3. I like Victor a lot. Like Julie said, I love that he’s familiar without being commonplace. I would love to meet more little ones named Victor 🙂

  4. I really like Victor, it’s exactly the type of name I like on boys. Familiar, but not too commonplace… Classic, timeless and masculine, without coming off as MACHO! Victor, along with Vincent and Virgil should get more love.

    1. While I don’t love Victor (I second Kristin’s “stodgy” assessment and Bella’s Viktor preference), I definitely agree that Virgil, and perhaps Vernon (love the nickname Vern), should get more love. 😀

  5. Viktor seems so much cooler than Victor…I might have to marry a European man so I can get away with using all the names I like 🙂

  6. What first comes to my mind is the musical, Victor/Victoria. Victor seems too stiff and stodgy to me.

  7. I think it’s a bit dated, like Robert or Richard, can’t really picture it on a kid.

    But I dont expect it to fall much further, unlike girls, “old” classics never seem to fall much beyond the top100, usually sticking in the 100-200 region for eons.

  8. When I hear Victor, I think only of the character on the Young and the Restless, the soap my sister and I watched when we were in middle school. We both loathed him so much that it’s had a lasting effect on the name. I think I would have to meet someone else with the appellation before I can get rid of that “grumpy old man” feel to it.

      1. My younger sister had a similar objection when we were thinking of using Asa for a boy. I like Victor, though I wonder if some would have the same issues they have with Hunter.