Formal Names for GusLooking for formal names for Gus?

Over a dozen options lead to this short, friendly name.

Of course, you might just name your son Gus and skip the formal version. It ranked in the US Top 200 as an independent name in the nineteenth century; it’s climbing in use again, currently ranked #994 out of 1000.

That’s just common enough that you might find a just-Gus on your family tree, hanging out with Great Aunt Esther and your third-cousin-twice-removed, Mabel.

But if you’re more of a formal name fan? Possibilities abound. Most of these lean traditional, but they range from the names you’d hear in any kindergarten to the truly rare.

Here are the best formal names for Gus.



Just like the month, and playwright August Wilson. A trio of Polish kings were also August.


Saintly, scholarly, and elaborate. It’s easy to imagine wanting something a little cuddlier for a baby Augustine, and Gus is a great go-to.


All forms of the name used in various romance languages. Writer Augusten Burroughs gives the first spelling some literary flair. The last is the Spanish spelling, but it doesn’t make the US Top 1000.


Imperial Augustus sounds quite grand. As with Augustine, there’s no surprise parents mind find themselves dropping a few syllables from this majestic name.



It’s tough to come up with a boy’s name that is simple, straightforward and not in the US Top 1000. Angus fits the bill – and leads to the nickname Gus.


It’s a bit more daring than Angus, but might work for an adventurous parenting pair.


Actor Will Ferrell named a son Magnus, probably thanks to his wife’s Swedish heritage. It comes from a Latin name meaning “great.” While g-u-s isn’t exactly present in the name, it fits with formal names for Gus.


If you’re a jazz fan, naming your child after jazz musician and activist Charles Mingus might appeal.



It sounds like a stretch, but Gus has served as a traditional nickname for Constantine. That’s because Constantine is Greek, and the sounds are different. In English, K and G are distinct; that’s less true in Greek. And so immigrants heard Gus as a natural shortening for Constantine … and it stuck. (No guarantee that it’s considered especially current among Greek-Americans or in Greece right now.)


With names like Cameron, Harrison, and Sullivan so stylish, you might expect Ferguson to have a place on the formal names for Gus list. Except the 2014 Ferguson Unrest (or Uprising) seems very current. (It wasn’t a consideration when this list was drafted in 2008.) On the one hand, it’s a familiar surname and fits with plenty of favorites. On the other hand, the reference feels charged. Still, the sound is great and naturally leads to Gus.


Everyone recognizes Gustav, but few people consider it for their sons. There’s something theatrical about this choice, and it might be tougher to wear than Augustus or Angus. But it’s tough to overlook a name that goes all the way back to Old Norse and has been worn by six kings of Sweden.


Sometimes listed as a short form of Augustin – or possibly a nickname for Gustav, too – it’s easy to imagine parents inventing Gustin (or Guston?) to add to the list of formal names for Gus.


Okay, not really. But pioneering astronaut Gus Grissom was born Virgil Ivan. A nickname from his surname – Griss – became Gus. That’s not an option for your average kid necessarily. And yet, Gus feels a little bit like Buddy, Sonny, or Mack – the kind of name that can be short for almost anything.

Besides Grissom, there’s also football coach Paul “Gus” Bradley; in an earlier generation, there’s another football coach, Elmer “Gus” Henderson and probably dozens more.

What are your favorite formal names for getting to Gus?

Originally published on January 31, 2008, this post was revised substantially and republished on March 5, 2012 and again on February 24, 2020, and September 27, 2022.

formal names for Gus formal names for Gus

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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  1. UPDATE, years later – I just stumbled on this comment, and thought I’d let you know which names we ended up choosing, for anyone who may be curious.
    My original comment was made when I was pregnant with, as it turns out, my daughter. We named her Cordelia Esme Rose.
    2 years later, I had twin boys! We named them August “Gus” Emanuel and George Fitzgerald. The boys are 5 now, and Gus is called Gus exclusively. While I don’t regret going with August, I suspect he’ll never use it, and probably we could have simply named him Gus and that would have been just fine!

  2. My husband’s family has a Gus whose full name is Gustav, and on my side there’s a Gus whose actual name is Chester.

    I think Gus is like Buddy, Beau/Bo, and Chip — the nn doesn’t always have to connect exactly to the given name.

  3. My husband and I love Gus for a boy (we don’t know what we’re having yet!), but – as is very common with this name – I want a longer, formal version. I’ve pored over this articles and others like it and still can’t find an answer. I’m so-so with all the August names, and none of the others fit my main criterion, which is: I want a name that my Italian relative will recognize and be able to say, or at least there needs to be a workable Italian version of the name.
    I am hoping to wrangle my husband into the following compromise: I would like to name a boy George, after my grandfather, and I’m cool with using a middle name with a prominent S sound (either first letter, or generally first sound), and then smoosh them together and use Gus as a nickname. Any thoughts? We don’t have an S-name that we really like, however I’ve been considering Anselm, which is my husband’s recently deceased grandfather. George Anselm – could you call him Gus? Any thoughts? I’d appreciate input from this awesome name community!

    1. Agostin and Agostino are Italian versions of Augustine (which is a name with Latin roots, one of the most famous saints, and present in some variation in virtually every European language, so even if you didn’t go with a specifically Italian version, I don’t think it would be unrecognizable to people from any European background). There’s also Gustavo in Italian.

      There’s also Giuseppe, which isn’t obviously related to Gus phonetically but visually is a pretty easy jump.

      But mostly I think: You can use whatever nickname you like for your kid and most people will go along with it. In fact if you use “Gus” consistently, most people you encounter casually won’t even know what his full name is. I’ve had many friends whose social names and legal names had little or nothing to do with each other. I really wouldn’t stress over choosing a name you don’t really like *just* to get to Gus. Choose a name you like, and call him Gus anyway if you still want to.

      (We actually called my brother Gus and Bud almost exclusively growing up, neither of which has any relation to his real name. Nobody ever stopped us and demanded to know how we arrived at those nicknames, ever.)

    2. I love Emmy’s advice. Agostino was my first thought as well; it’s so gorgeous. A quick perusal of Italian names also has me thinking Amerigo could work, and the tie in to American history is cool.

      Good luck

  4. We’re currently considering Atticus for our baby boy, but my two year old pronounces it Attigus.. We’ll most certainly call him Gus 🙂

  5. There’s a little boy at my church whose given name is Ferguson (he goes by Freddie, but that’s another story.) His mother’s maiden name was Ferguson and she got the idea of passing on her name from watching “Clarissa Explains it All”.

    The only Gus I know in IRL is my friend’s son August, in a round-about way he was named after Cinderella’s mouse.

  6. We have a politician here in the UK called Sir Menzies ‘Ming’ Campbell – Menzies being pronounced pretty much the name as Mingus. There used to be the joke that Sir Ming was so old, letters in his name had become obsolete.

  7. I’ve always liked the idea of Gus. Ever since I first saw Lonesome Dove years ago (Augustus McCrae was my favorite) the name Gus (and Augustus) has been stuck in my mind.

  8. I’ve been seeing quite a few baby boys just called Gus – but in Australia, the most common would be Angus nn Gus.

  9. Add these to the list of T.V. Characters who make Gus names less appealing:
    Ferguson – Clarissa’s annoying younger brother from Clarissa Explains It All and
    Mingus – the nerdy kid no one cool wanted to hang out with on Boy Meets World.

    1. Yes, these two were my first thought for Ferguson and Mingus. Perhaps its just showing which generation I belong too, since I don’t think I could get over either T.V. character enough to use the names.