Baby naming is likely the most daunting task new parents face- at least before the baby arrives. Between the desire to carry on family traditions, if any, to the motivation to avoid names that would lead to teasing or confusion later in life, moms and dads have their work cut out for them.
There are so many trends and popularity lists that it can be hard to decide between attention-grabbing monikers and ones that can successfully fly under the radar. And even if you don’t have any family ties or obligations as far as names go, it’s still tough to narrow down what sounds and feels right for your newest arrival.
And when it comes to classic names that any parent can feel good about choosing, you really can’t go wrong with these “grandpa” names. After all, the fact that they’re grandfatherly names means they’ve withstood the test of time and won’t make your child stand out in a bad way. But also, some of the older names have faded from the scene and will seem edgy and modern in comparison with all the cliché names of our decade.
It’s even easier if you have a grandfather (or great-grandfather) whom you wish to memorialize, but with this list of 25 grandpa names, you’re bound to find something timeless that sounds perfect for your new baby boy.
While the name Louis might make you think “Grandpa Lou,” it can also work perfectly for a new baby. After all, you can nickname him Louie until the cuteness wears off, and then he’s got a strong grown-up name to carry him through to adulthood, too. And Louis is a timeless classic that’s short enough to pair well with a ton of different middle names. At the same time, it’s not so stodgy that people will immediately assume your kiddo is 85 when they see it on paper.
I’m quite partial to Arthur because of the kids’ books and TV series. Those anthropomorphic animals were good friends of mine growing up, but it also helps that Arthur is an endearing grandpa name that can be modernized, too. You could nickname your tot Art or Artie, and he has the full name to fall back on through adulthood. Actually, it’s a common theme with these grandfatherly names- using a nickname until they’re grown- and a helpful baby naming technique for parents.
When I was a kid, my dad knew an older guy named Mel, and at the time, I just related the name to all the Melanies I went to school with. But Melvin is another sweet name for a baby and an older gent, and the nickname Mel might work for your tot depending on his personality. It’s a bit “nerdy” of a name, but it goes along with most modern parents’ baby naming habits. Plus, it’s rather uncommon nowadays!
I immediately think of Marvin Gaye, but there are plenty of other noteworthy Marvins your little guy can look up to. And while this one doesn’t necessarily lend itself to cute nicknames (Marvy anyone?), it’s a strong name that’s not too heavy for a little one. Of course, you could just call him Marv, but that’s a little stuffy for such a young one. Although, not every name needs a nickname- and this one can stand on its own just as well.
Jessica Simpson made Maxwell a top pick for parents of girls, but it’s still a classic and bold boy’s name, too. You could go with the simple three-letter version or choose a longer name like Maxwell, Maxim, or even Maximilian or Maximiliano (if you have Italian roots, perhaps?). It might be resurging in popularity for both boys and girls, but you have to admit Max is also one of those names that’s survived the test of time and passed down through generations of grandpas to their grandkids.
If you were a fan of Bernie Sanders in the last election, this one needs no explanation! After all, plenty of moms dressed their babies up as mini Bernies in their passion for politics. And the politician Bernie is the cutest grandfatherly figure I can think of, so the name is a perfect fit for this list! Of course, you may want to choose the longer (and more elegant) Bernard and then shorten it- unless you’re not a fan of Sanders at all, and then you may want to keep looking for a cute and catchy grandpa name for baby.
Nearly everyone has a Grandpa Charlie or Grandpa Chuck, right? And while you may have grown up having nightmares after watching the creepy killer doll Chuckie from those 90’s movies, I have a friend whose son goes by Chuckie and no one has ever made a negative comment to him! Of course, most kids these days likely have no idea who Chuckie was and prefer to reminisce about their sweet old grandpas when they meet a boy with the name.
Although I can’t think of anyone I know personally named Edgar, it’s another of those older-generation names that has faded in popularity. It has a unique sound and is an unexpected elaboration on the name Ed, but you could use the shorter version as a nickname easily. Actually, Edward or Edgar are two of the best names for short and sweet nicknames, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who would dislike either for a new baby.
The name Everett makes me think of old English gents, but that might just be because I don’t personally know anyone by that name. Still, it brings to mind grandfatherly figures or even a surname turned first name in families that like naming traditions. I’ve heard of boys named Ever, though, so that may be a modern twist on this old favorite. And once your little man reaches adulthood, he’ll have an original yet approachable moniker to use. Actually, I think it works just as well for preschoolers as it does high schoolers and beyond.
It seems like Frank was a super common name in the US for a long time- I always think of a pizzeria in my hometown that was called Frank A’s Pizza. Everyone knows someone named Frank, and while he may not be a genial Italian guy, you’ll often find grandpas named Frank no matter where you live. It’s a short and decidedly grown up name for boys but make it “younger” by calling your tot Frankie for his first few years and you’re golden.
Another classic that’s practically timeless, Henry is one of those names that’s been around for ages but hasn’t lost its appeal. Of course, it’s another name with a history of monarchy, but in the states it’s been just as popular. And if you have older kids, you may know about Henry Danger, a modern enough show with a teen by that name. The only drawback is that this name is so widely used these days by modern parents who have a minimalist or traditional mindset, so your Henry could be one of dozens in your area.
It’s not a widely used name by any means, but there are a few notable Jaspers even in our modern times. Stephenie Meyer used it as a vampire name in Twilight, and there was a character on General Hospital with the name, too. Of course, you might be familiar with older generations full of Jaspers, though it never quite caught on in terms of popularity. Maybe your little guy will inspire a new trend by rocking the title through preschool!
With names like Jaxon and Jax becoming so popular lately, the more traditional Jack has gotten less of the spotlight. But I’ll be you have someone named Jack in your family, and he’s likely a grandfatherly figure. It might sound like a nickname on its own, but Jack is a robust name that can stand on its own. Plus, it’s easy for kids to learn to spell- and it’s the name of a character from the Incredibles, so overall it’s a win-win!
This is a personal favorite of mine because I love Phineas and Ferb, and so do my kids! The dad on the show is named Lawrence, and he’s a fun-loving if not a bit nerdy dad. And as much as I like that show, I also recognize the name as being one that’s more common in older generations. But then again, its popularity has never really been off the charts. Still, it’s modern enough that your boy won’t get funny looks when he introduces himself to playmates.
It might be more common as a last name than a first name, but Nelson is another versatile boys’ name that works through all stages of life. It’s somewhat regal but also a bit playful at the same time- especially if you nickname your little guy Nel or even Nelly (hello 90’s throwback). For some families, it might seem a bit stuffy, while for others it will fit right in alongside other grandfatherly and sophisticated names like Phillip, Stewart, and George.
Apart from Owen Wilson, I’ve never really known anyone under about 60 with this name. But it does seem to be making a comeback as a short and sweet name for modern boys. I do have one friend with a young son by this name, and it’s a suitably youthful title but at the same time isn’t too “immature” for later in life. And, there aren’t really any nicknames, for parents who opt out of cutesy monikers for that reason. Hooray for timeless classics making a return to the baby name lists!
With a long-passed grandfather Ronald myself, I’m no stranger to the name as one for older gents. But Harry Potter renewed the life of the name for generations to come, too! Whether you loved Ron Weasley or maybe just like the simplicity of Ronnie as a youthful nickname, Ronald can be a versatile title with plenty of longevity. And don’t worry- it will doubtless remain popular long after the Harry Potter fandom has fizzled out (if that even ever happens!).
Reggie is one of the more hip and cool boys’ names out there. But when you look at how elegant and commanding the name Reginald is, it’s easy to imagine a somewhat strict yet still loveable grandfather. I haven’t heard of this one being super popular lately, so that may mean your little Reg is one of few when he gets into school. And Reggie is a delightful abbreviation that works for everyone from toddler to teen. But into adulthood, he’ll likely appreciate such an upstanding and multi-faceted name.
As a 90’s baby, I found inspiration from Rugrats for a couple names on this list (like Grandpa Lou!), but I also feel like Stu is one of those names that’s better suited to a grandfather than a young dad. Of course, with Stewart Little and other TV and movie characters, Stuart’s never gone away as a popular and lowkey boys’ name. Most boys might balk at being called Stu, but if they’re feeling really rebellious, they could even go by Art or Artie instead.
Another throwback from my Rugrats days, Tom or Tommy is another great grandpa name that somehow defies the test of time. Whether it’s Thomas or Tomas with some ethnic flair, the name is simple and sweet for all ages. And while grandpa may be a crotchety old Tom, your new babe can be a sweet Tommy up until the terrible two’s at least. And no matter what middle or last name it pairs with, you really can’t go wrong as far as compatibility.
So you might think of Ulysses S. Grant at first and think this name is totally boring. But in today’s world, with all the grandpa Ulysses’ on their way into history books rather than the classroom roster, your little Ulysses will be unique and maybe even notorious for his name. Nicknames are tough with this one, but you don’t necessarily need one (I went my whole life without a nickname!)- although spelling might be a challenge at first for your little guy.
To me, Victor seems like one of those old-world names, or maybe a throwback from older soap operas. But there seem to be a few Victors sprinkled through every generation and having a Grandpa Vic doesn’t sound so far-fetched. At the same time, Victor can be a youthful name in the absence of cutesy shortened versions. It also seems elegant somehow- though you may not think so when you bestow it upon your squishy and spit up-covered newborn. But trust us, he’ll appreciate it later.
William is so overdone, right? And while I’m sure it’s still the name of many grandpas all over the world, I’d bypass it in favor of something a bit more quirky like Wilfred! Fred is a fun name, to begin with, but to combine it with Wil- a handy nickname, too- adds something unexpected to your tot’s moniker. If the name makes you think of farm life and cutoff jeans, keep in mind it’s also an old English name from across the pond. See, versatility!
Another deviation from William that is more antique than modern, Willis is a suitably short and easy to read name that is unlikely to be mispronounced. And while older generations may catch the Different Strokes reference, kids today have no idea why the phrase “Whatcha talkin bout Willis” is anything to find amusing. Then again, you can also credit Bruce Willis with the inspiration for your tot’s name, which makes it even more modern and cool. Of course, your guy may decide to go by Will, but you can’t win them all.
We can sort of thank the royal family for this one, too, but George is such an American (and other countries, too) classic that it’s hard to think of a more universal name for grandfathers and new babies. It can be reverent, classic, elegant, and even fun (Georgie, anyone?) for boys of all ages, so there’s probably not any schoolboy out there who would resent being named George. Unless he goes to the royal Prince George’s primary school, that is.