Here’s a baby-naming hack for ya: Pick the nickname first. Skip the agonizing over meanings and whether there’s too much (or too little) assonance or alliteration between that multisyllabic first name and your last name. Instead, skip straight to the day-to-day: What name do you want to exclaim when your kid starts walking? What do you want to shout up the stairs to your pesky oversleeping teen? Chances are, it’s not “Bartholomew.” Choosing an adorable nickname for your baby boy and then matching it to its longer or more formal version might just be the thing to whittle down your name list.
We’ve rounded up a bunch of classic baby boy names you might have already overlooked — but you’ll want to take a second glance once you hear the amazing nicknames that accompany them. Sure, you might just end up calling your kid “Buddy” or “Lil’ Guy” anyway, but having a real nickname on hand can’t hurt.
Baby boy names with the best nicknames
- Alfred: The full name sounds formal, but Alfie is adorable.
- Angus: You don’t have to settle for August or Augustus if you have your heart set on the nickname Gus.
- Asher or Ashton: These are two great ways to get the handsome Ash.
- Baxter: Everyone is looking for a long form of Max, but we love Bax as an alternative.
- Beckett: Fans use Becks as a nickname for David Beckham, but it works just as well on Beckett.
- Benjamin: You probably knew a lot of Bens in high school, but did you know anyone who went by Benji?
- Calvin: This presidential throwback gives the suave diminutive Cal. Try Callum if you’d prefer a trendier first name.
- Cyrus: This name works great as is, but Cy is short, sweet and strong.
- Dashiell: You won’t find a better nickname than Dash for a rambunctious toddler.
- David: Like Ben, Daves are everywhere. For your wee newborn boy, try out the winsome Davy.
- Dexter: Maybe the TV show serial killer association will fade if you call him Dex?
- Ezekiel: The amiable nickname Zeke sells both this and unusual biblical boy name Hezekiah.
- Fitzgerald: It’s a mouthful, but Fitz sounds fetching at every age.
- Howard: We can’t decide whether Howie or Ward is more charming.
- Isaac: We like Ike. (Sorry.)
- Jeremy: If you need a long form for Remy, we prefer this traditional baby boy name to Remington.
- Julius: Though girls use it, too, Jules is also great for a little boy.
- Montgomery: Monty? Come on. Perfection.
- Oliver: He’ll likely want to use the full name as an adult, but Ollie suits the preschool years so well.
- Phillip: Don’t see dad-name Phil and move on; try out the Dickensian Pip instead.
- Thaddeus: We adore this Greek long form of Tad.
- Truman: Whether you prefer the president or the author (or the Jim Carrey movie — we don’t judge), you can call him Tru for short.
- Vincent: Plenty of adult men still go by Vinnie, but we like Vin even more.
- William: Surprise people with the enchanting nickname Wim, rather than the more tired Will or Billy.
A version of this article was originally published in September 2014.