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My Favorite Vintage Baby Names

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

Baby names go in and out of fashion—but they never lose their spunk. There are plenty of names from the 19th and 20th centuries that have never made it back into rotation, but would sound gorgeous on a modern baby. Here’s a list of my top ten boy and girl names, along with their meanings and some nicknames! 

Girl’s Names 

  1. Ottilia: This name is of German or Swedish descent, and means “prosperous” when spelled with a double T, or more specifically, “wealth, fatherland” when spelled with one T. It’s similar to the name Ottilie, which recently became popular. Some cute nicknames are Tilly, Lia, Lottie, or Lolly.
  2. Leonor: This is a Spanish name that hasn’t been popular in America in quite some time, having been replaced by Eleanor. It means “lioness,” as taken from the Latin root. Some nicknames could be Lenny, Leo, Leoni, or Leona. 
  3. Vada: Vada has roots in Sanskrit and means “knowledge, rule.” It’s short enough that it doesn’t need a nickname, but V is always a simple choice. Adie or Vay could also be cute! 
  4. Odessa: Odessa has roots in Homer’s Odyssey, as Catherine the Great named the Ukrainian city after the famous book. It was popular in the United States from the 1880s until the 1950s. Cute nicknames for Odessa could be Dessi or Dezzi, Essie, or Odie.
  5. Winona: You might be thinking of Winona Ryder, but this name was actually quite popular in the late 1800s. It is of Sioux origin, meaning “First daughter.” Cute nicknames are Winnie, Noni, Noa, or Nina. 
  6. Eulalia: This is one of my favorite names of all time! It is very similar to the French name Eulalie. This name has Greek origins, meaning “sweetly speaking.” Lalie, Eula, Lily, Ellie, and Yuli. 
  7. Estelle: This name has risen in the charts again recently, but it was in the top 200 for around 100 years before losing popularity in the 1900s. It has French origins, and means “star.” Cute nicknames could be Stella, Ella, Essie, Esti, or Etta. 
  8. Tilda: Tilda has German origins, and is a common nickname for Matilda. It means “strength in battle.” Some nicknames are Tilly, Lily, or just T! 
  9. Marnie: This name means “of the sea,” and is of Hebrew origins. It’s often used as a short form of the name Marina. Some cute nicknames could be Mar, Nina, or Ari. 
  10. Ruth: This name reminds me of the candy bars, Baby Ruth! It has roots in Hebrew, meaning “compassionate friend.” This name is short, but Ruthie or Rue are often used as a nickname. 

Boy’s Names 

  1. Davie: Davie was a diminutive of David in Scotland, and means “beloved, cherished.” Further shortenings could be Dave, V, or Day.
  2. Caspian: Caspian is the name of a sea, meaning “white.” It also is the name of the character Prince Caspian in the famed Chronicles of Narnia. For this name, Cass, Cap, or Cash work as great nicknames. 
  3. Roscoe: This name is Scandinavian and Norse, and means “deer forest.” It was most popular in 1880, and dropped afterward, never reclaiming its spot in the top 200. Some cute nicknames for Roscoe could be Ross, Oz, or Roe. 
  4. Grover: Grover is English, meaning “lives near a grove of trees.” But this name would be equally as cute on a city baby! Nicknames could be Grove, Roe, or Veri. 
  5. Ulysses: This name is very lyrical and another literary reference to James Joyce! It is the Latin version of Odysseus. Some cute nicknames include Uly, Sully, or Lyss. 
  6. Jonas: Jonas is actually a Biblical name, as it derives from Jonah. It’s still pretty popular in the States but has never seemed to crack the top 200. It translates to “Dove.” Some nicknames could be J, Jo, or Joey. 
  7. Enoch: This is a more obvious Biblical name, meaning “dedicated, trained, disciplined.” It used to be very common but slowly declined into obscurity from 1880 to the 1950s. Some cute nicknames are Eno, Knox, or Echo. 
  8. Lewis: Lewis is an English name, but its counterpart Louis is German and French. It means “renowned warrior.” It’s never left the top 1000, but declined from its previous space in the top 50! Some cute nicknames are Loo, Lewie, or even Lulu! 
  9. Lloyd: Lloyd is of Welsh origin, and means “gray.” It used to sit within the top 200 but declined slowly. Nicknames for this one are tough, but you could go with L or even Gray! 
  10. Oswald: This name is of English origin, meaning “divine power.” It was most popular just before 1900, but never really cracked the top 400. Regardless, this name is adorable, and so are its nicknames, Ozzy, Oz, or Wally. 

Which vintage name is your top pick?

A fourth year English undergrad with enough bursts of sporadic, random knowledge to write intriguing articles! Self-published author of "Decima Unwritten," a short story depicting young lovers in Pompeii before the eruption, under the nom de plume NJ Standley. Frequent poetry and song writer, as well as beginning music producer. You can find me on YouTube (and probably every other social media ever). Born in the Valley, on a Navy base in Lemoore, CA. However, I have since moved over a dozen times, throughout CA, OR, MD, and CT. Most of middle and high school was spent in Sonoma, California, though my family recently relocated to Santa Rosa. Go bay area! I would love to travel outside of the United States, as well, and I am (slowly) learning Japanese and Greek! I am obsessed with food, wellness, literature, music, dance, cats...and it would be easier to list what I am not obsessed with, so I will stop there! Frequent visitor of Trader Joes, Kpop enthusiast, and kitten mom to my beautiful three-month old Calico, Mochi. Beginning to dabble in astrology. (If that strikes your fancy: I am a Sagittarius, Mochi is a Cancer). INFJ. I’m super bubbly, but also incredibly introverted. As Lana del Rey would say, “I contain multitudes.” Huzzah.