Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every week, one reader’s name questions will be discussed.
We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!
We have a two year old son named Frederick “Freddie” Andrew and he’s going to be a big brother in a few weeks!
It’s another boy, and we’ve looked at every boy’s name under the sun and still can’t agree.
Frederick is a name we both loved. It’s classic, but we didn’t know a single Frederick. Freddie is adorable, but there’s the actor Freddie Highmore which made us think it would be good for an adult. And Freddie Mercury, which we thought made the name a little cooler.
Andrew is for my husband, who is actually just Drew, but we liked Frederick Andrew better than Frederick Drew.
For this boy, the names we haven’t ruled out are:
ARCHIE – Except not Archibald. It’s just too much name.
JOSEPH – A family name on both sides, but seems kind of boring compared to Frederick/Freddie. And while I like Joey okay, I’m not sold on Joe. It just seems like not enough name, and I don’t like the whole average Joe/ordinary Joe lines that pop into my head. And I don’t like it with our last name, but it could be a middle name.
MONTY – I feel like we should like Montgomery more than we do. And Montague seems like too much, even for us! Someone suggested Monterrey, but Frederick and Monterrey don’t really feel right to me.
SEBASTIAN – I love this name with Frederick! But I don’t really like any of the nickname options. Also, our neighbors across the street have a Sebastian, and he and Freddie play all the time, so I feel like that might be weird.
WALLACE – Except I don’t like Wally. Our last name ends with an R so Walter doesn’t seem right. (Which is too bad, because Walt is great.) My husband shot down Walton, because of the old TV show.
Our last name is two syllables, begins with J, ends with R, and so J names aren’t great, and names ending with R are pretty much out.
Can you help us come up with some new ideas?
Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Congratulations on your second son!
It sounds like the perfect name would be a rock solid classic with a great nickname that you’d use pretty much 100% of the time, right?
I’m tempted to suggest Charles called Charlie, but I’m guessing that a) you’ve probably already thought of that; and b) you’re trying to find something that won’t repeat, so that rules out Charles-called-Charlie, Henry-called-Hank, and probably Theodore-called-Theo, too, right?
So let’s think about traditional names that have long been overlooked in the US – just like Frederick!
Plenty of names shorten to Bertie, from dusty antiques like Cuthbert to the more familiar Albert. It’s a little royal family, maybe … but then, lots of classic names are, and it isn’t as if you’ve named William and Charles.
EDWARD or EDWIN “NED”
My first thought was Edwin, with the nickname Ned. And then it hit me: Eddie. And his brother Freddie. So that’s a non-starter and a potential problem, too. But Freddie and Ned are all kinds of perfect together, so it’s still on this list.
We tend to think of George as nickname-proof, but Georgie and Georgie are logical choices. Harry Potter fans are already shouting “but Fred and George Weasley!” Which is fair. Except I’m positive that they’re not the first set of brothers with those names, and will not be the last. (Also, it’s not a bad association in any way, though it’s a bit sad at the end.) British readers – and fans of soccer club Newcastle United – might also shout “But what about Geordies?” It’s the name for the accent, dialect, and more broadly, the culture, from the area around Newcastle upon Tyne. In the US, though, we’re used to Jordy thanks to a generation of Jordans, so I think it works.
I’ve also come across a Howard called “Hoby,” which is my all-time favorite nickname. But Howie is adorable, too. Howard feels cuddly and vintage, an overlooked name with roots among the English nobility. (Catherine Howard was the fifth wife of Henry VIII.) It was also a Top 100 mainstay in the US right into the 1950s.
I’m not sure if Leo is too popular to work for your family. I do like Freddie and Leo together, and Frederick and Leland are quite the handsome pair, too. Like Howard, Leland started out as a surname, but it’s long since transitioned to acceptable first name status. I like the gentlemanly vibe of Leland combine with the approachable Leo.
The Normans brought this medieval favorite to England, and it’s appeared in the US Top 1000 every year since the data was first reported in 1880. In fact, Raymond ranked in the US Top 100 well into the 1990s. Ray has the same brief, boyish energy as Jack or Gus, but Raymond is more of a throwback.
Okay, Robert doesn’t feel unusual. It ranked #1 in the US in the 1920s and 30s, and remained a Top Ten choice into the 1980s … and it’s still a Top 100 name today. Except I think this is one of those names that is familiar on adults, but relatively rare on children. Robby is darling; Robert is dignified. Would your Robert someday join a whole bunch of grown-up Roberts? Yes! I know a bunch. But I only know a single under-12 Robert, and if that’s what matters, this name deserves a closer look.
When Woody comes up, plenty of parents dismiss it because there’s some teasing potential. Which is true. Except if you’re under the age of 30, Woody is probably all Toy Story to you, with maybe a dash of Woody Harrelson for Hunger Games/Zombieland fans.
Overall, I keep coming back to Robert, because Freddie and Robby/Robbie do seem to hit the right mark. But I want it to be Edwin called Ned … it’s just that the potential for Freddie and Eddie feels a little too straight-out-of-an-animated-series.
I do think that Joseph is the obvious middle name choice, though – and, depending on the first, might even give you additional nickname options: AJ, EJ, RJ, maybe?
Readers, over to you! What underused traditional names would you suggest for Freddie’s brother?
Second Lawrence or Laurence!
I like the suggestion of Robert, but I feel like Bobby as a nickname fits better with Freddie than Robbie.
I also thought of Louis/Lewis (with Louie as the nickname) so seconding that suggestion. I also like the suggestion of using Archer to get to Archie.
Ronald nn Ronnie
Austin nn Aussie/Ossie
John nn Johnny or Jack
William nn Billy
Harold nn Harry or Hal
Christopher or Christian nn Kit or Kip
It may be a stretch, but Archie could be a nickname for Richard or Charles.
To come to the nickname Monty :
To come to the nickname Walt :
Other suggestions :
Leonard (Lonny, Leo)
Rafferty (Raff, Raffie)
OH! That reminds me … Archie for Arthur? But I think they’d prefer to avoid R ending names because of their last name, so maybe that’s not a better fit than Archer? Also – Peregrine called Perry is a great suggestion!
Benjamin/Benedict/Bennett nn Ben. Freddie and Ben
Samuel nn Sam. Freddie and Sam
Peter nn Pete. Freddie and Pete
William nn Will. Freddie and Will
Martin nn Max. Freddie and Max
Victor nn Vic. Freddie and Vic
Henry nn Hank. Freddie and Hank
Gabriel nn Gabe. Freddie and Gabe.
What about Roger with the nickname Hodge? It’s not necessarily an intuitive nickname, but it’s traditional.
I also love Hugo with Frederick.
I love Abby’s suggestion of Robert nn Robbie. I would add Bert or Bertie as nn’s for Robert as well. I also agree I would not bat a lash or think it odd to meet a Wallace called Walt. In fact I am all for that because I adore the name Wallace and am not a big fan of Wally. I also love the suggestions of August and Augustine with the nn Auggie instead of Gus but that is me. My brain went to Bartholomew nn Bart but I also know of a Bartholomew that goes by Milo. If you wanted something a little out of the norm I would like to add the suggestion of Balthazar with the nn Zarry.
My first thought was Beaumont with either Beau or Monty as a nickname.
Erin Beth says
Pardon the repeats! My favorites for you are:
Augustine nn Gus, Freddie & Gus
Ignatius nn Nate or Iggy
Aloyisus nn Al or Lou
Julian nn Jules
Tobias nn Toby
Roland nn Rollo or Lando was my top thought
Gilbert (Gil, Bert, Bertie) musical match with Gilbert and Sullivan
Sullivan Van, Sully
Angus or Augustus Gus
Walter was also on my radar, I personally don’t mind a Sing song feel but agree that a two syllable with it might be too much Walter J .. ..r
I also thought of Beaumont to get to Monty, so second this suggestion. Also love the suggestion of Freddie & Hugh.
Other thoughts that I haven’t seen suggested yet:
Gilbert “Gil” or “Bertie”
I would recommend reading through the birth announcements at British Baby Names … surprising how seeing names that have been used on real babies can help shape your perspective on whether they seem more wearable than you’d thought or actually too much for you.
C in DC says
Howard called Ward. George called Geo/Gio. Weston or Wesley. Alistair called Ali or Alic. Timothy (nn Theo?), Lawrence nn Ren or Lars. Bertram called Bertie or Bram. Geoffrey called Geo. Malcolm. Malachi. Alphonse nn Alfie.
Why don’t you take Archer as a formal name to get to Archie?
Love Sebastian (Baz or Bash as nn), Oscar, Ignatius and Raymond. Albie sounds very sweet, too.
I second Beaumont for Monty.
And I think you could use Archer for Archie.
I also agree that, if you love Sebastian, you should use it. As a pp said, people move. Maybe you could call him by his Equally Awesome Middle Name (which you will choose) while around the neighborhood. Or some Everyman nickname, like Chip or Skip or Buzz or Little Dude.
Wallace called Walt is perfectly usable.
Arthur called Artie or even Archie
Louis (either pronunciation )
Oscar called Ozzy
Martin called Marty
Orson called Sonny
Shoot I missed the no r endings. Oswald is cute instead of Oscar. Can be Ozzy or Waldo. Could do Oswalt to get Walt too.
Oh and what about Lewis/Louis? Frederick and Lewis/Louis. Freddie and Louie!
Leopold! Frederick or Ferdinand and Leopold have always been dreamy pairs to me. Honestly Frederick and Ferdinand are super cute together.
I love the suggestion of Geordie, Howie, and Leland “Leo”
Ignatius “Nate” “Gus”
Solomon “Solly” “Sonny”
Oscar ” Oz/Ozzy”
Harold “Hal” “Hank”
Francis ” Frankie”
Davis or David without a nickname (or DJ, or Davey)
Dominic or Nicholas called Nick
I also agree that Walt can come from Wallace, and Malcolm called Mac is great.
I try to come up with names before I read Abby’s and other reader’s suggestions, so there are almost always duplicates.
Names I thought of:
August — nn: Auggie, Gus. August Joseph. Frederick & August
Charles — nn: Chaz, Chip, Arlo (it’s a stretch, but I think it works). Charles Joseph. Frederick & Charles.
Edward — nn: Eddie, Edzo (thinking of hockey great Eddie Olczyk), Ward. Edward Joseph. Frederick & Edward.
Garret — nn: Rhett, Gary. This would be a good name to pair with Renee’s suggestion of Emerson as a middle name to honor you, Garret Emerson. Frederick & Garrett.
Greyson — nn: Grey. Frederick & Greyson
Griffin — nn: Griff, Finn, Riff. Griffin Joseph. Frederick & Griffin.
Landon — nn; Lando (as in Lando Calrissian in Star Wars). Landon Joseph. Frederick & Landon.
Nathan/Nathaniel — nn: Nate, Nat. Nathaniel Joseph. Frederick & Nathan. Frederick & Nathaniel.
Philip — nn: Pip, Flip. Philip Joseph. Frederick & Philip.
Simon — nn: Si/Sy, nn possibilities are kind of slim. Simon Joseph. Frederick & Simon
Winston — nn: Win. Winston Joseph. Frederick & Winston.
Best wishes to you!
Can you do Beaumont nn Monty? That’s my favorite way to get to Monty. I think Fredrick & Beaumont are adorable.
Wallace nn Walt wouldn’t make me bat an eyelash. Do it!!
I am hesitant to suggest names as you e likely considered them all, but how about Angus nn Gus? Freddy & Gus
Have you considered Emmett or Emerson for the middle after yourself??? Please do!
Last, just wanted to say the names I vetoed because a neighbour’s child or colleague’s child had it seem like missed opportunities now. People move, people leave jobs etc. I would use Sebastian nn Baz!
Kerri McP says
What about Albert called “Albie”?
I adore Walt! I think you can bypass Walter. I also adore Sebastian, and am soft on the Aussie nickname for it: Baz.
Otherwise, the first name that came to mind was Harvey. Or maybe Roger? Errol? Malcom called “Mac”? Alexander called “Alec”? James call “Jimmie”? Hugh?