It’s time for the old-time gent names to take another turn in the spotlight.
I’m not just talking about the ones with a light touch, like Emmett and Theo, or quirky charm, like Oliver and Felix, or dashing elegance, like Silas and Sebastian. Those ships have already come in. I’m talking about the hardcore throwbacks, the names as weighty and dignified as granite pillars. Conrad, Frederick, Edmund, step on up.
I know, these names may be a hard sell. Lightness and vowels have dominated the name scene for the past generation, so much so that it can be hard to picture a name like Edmund on a little boy. But the weighty gent names offer some key qualities that a lot of parents say they’re looking for. They’re traditional names with deep roots. They have an old-fashioned luster. They’re clearly masculine, without being cartoonishly macho. And best of all, they’re not overused.
That last, much-sought quality can be hard to find in an old-fashioned boy’s name. When you go hunting for antiques on the boys’ side, you’re fighting the tide of history. At the turn of the 20th Century, parents were very conservative with boys’ names. A girl might be given a trendy modern name like Gladys or Evelyn, but the classic English kingly stock still ruled for boys: John, William, James. That means there weren’t a lot of distinctive turn-of-the-century boys’ names to disappear and be revived four generations down the line. Which means that the ones that do exist, particularly the light and quirky ones, end up swarmed by tradition-minded parents.
If you want old-fashioned and you want unusual, something’s got to give. The stern and sturdy old names are one way out. If you’re ready to go hardcore gent, here are a dozen of the most promising prospects.
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