After all, Charles is an impeccable classic – regal and creative at once.
From rulers to scientists to artists and authors, men of accomplishment in nearly every field of endeavor, there are a lot of men answering to Charles.
The name ranked an impressive #46 in 2020.
With so many sharing this handsome, evergreen favorite, Charles nicknames come in handy!
We all know the obvious choices, but this list includes some that take a creative approach to nicknames for Charles.
Default nickname Charlie is an every-boy staple.
It’s powerfully popular, too – probably the most popular of Charles nicknames. It’s bestowed independently, too. In 2020, Charlie ranked #204 for boys – and #122 for girls! That’s not counting spellings like Charley, Charlee, and Charleigh, all of which have seen some use.
Like Charlie, Arlo stands on its own. In fact, it’s hard to see Arlo as one of the Charles nicknames. Except it’s obvious, too. Carlo is the Italian form of the name. Drop the C, and there you have it. Even in English, chARLes is right there.
Feminine forms of Charlies, like Charlotte and Caroline, shorten to Callie. It follows, then, that Charles would shorten to Cal. It lends the buttoned-down formal Charles a sort of sporty-cowboy casual cool. And if you love Cal, but can’t embrace Calvin or Calder, then this might be ideal.
The Hawaiian form of Charles is the green and leafy Kale. In Scandinavian languages, it’s Kalle. All of these are pronounced with two syllables – not exactly Callie, but close. Spelling it with a C edges a little closer to Charles.
Carl doesn’t quite fit with Charles nicknames. After all, it’s another version of the name, familiar in German, as well as much of Scandinavia. In the US, Carl is out of favor nowadays. But if you’re a Charles looking to reinvent yourself, the capable Carl might be worth a thought.
If Luca and Mateo are stylish, how about Carlo? It’s an Italian heritage choice with that lively ‘o’ ending. Over the years, plenty of families have put English versions on the birth certificate, but used a heritage choice at home. Your Charles-called-Carlo wouldn’t be the first.
A feminine form of Charles is Caroline, and Caroline becomes Carrie. So could Charles shorten to Cary? Cary Grant and Cary Elwes remind us that the name has impeccably masculine roots. But using it as a nickname for Charles might feel like the perfect combination.
CHAS and CHAZ
This one has been around for a while. Actor Chazz Palminteri helped put it on the map – though he was born Calogero, not Charles. Chaz has a split personality: one-part prep school student on the crew team, and one-part tough guy. A bonus? In any spelling, Chaz is a familiar short form of the name, even if it isn’t a super-common one.
Chase strikes a balance between the classic William-James-Joseph kind of choices and the fresher Finn-Cole-Knox current favorites. It’s not a big leap from Chaz to Chase – the sounds are clearly there.
Charles has shortened to Chick for ages. If you’re a fan of Disney’s Cars series, you might think of Chick Hicks, the racing veteran.
Often a nickname for Charles or sometimes Christopher, Chip might also be another version of Junior – think of the phrase “chip off the ol’ block.” It’s a little retro, but lots of fun, too.
Parents often hesitate to choose unconventional nicknames. But turns out that we’ve been doing this forever. Chuck started out as an affectionate nickname, sort of like Buddy. It reminded us of Jack, short for John, and Hank, short for Henry. Over time, it only seemed logical that Chuck would attach itself to Charles. Wait a few centuries, and it’s now considered traditional.
Hal usually goes with Harold, or sometimes Henry. But if Cal works for Charles, maybe Hal does, too? Again, the letters are waiting right there: cHArLes.
Motorcycle enthusiasts have given this surname name to their sons and daughters over the years. But following the drop-the-C logic for Hal, couldn’t Charlie lead to Harley? It’s a high-octane kind of name, one that might feel balanced out by the buttoned-up formal name Charles.
One last drop-the-C possibility: Chuck transforms to Huck. It’s a little bit of a stretch, but maybe a worthwhile one. After all, formal names for Huck are few. There’s Huckleberry, as in Finn, but that’s quite daring. Huxley might be the obvious choice. But just like parents centuries ago married Chuck to Charles, Huck seems like a logical short form to embrace today.
Do you have any favorite Charles nicknames? Do you think some of these work better – or not at all?
Originally published on August 29, 2014, this post was revised and re-posted on July 25, 2019. Additional updates took place on January 30, 2021, June 2, 2021, and September 23, 2021.