Baby name consultation: Nicknames for Lawrence (and some other ideas too)

M. and her husband are expecting their first baby, a little green bean (=gender unknown)! 🌱 She writes,

We very recently found out we’re expecting again. I’ve had 3 previous losses, 2 very early and 1 at 11 weeks, so we are cautiously hopeful. I am a huge name nerd and we have been discussing names for years. We aren’t planning to find out gender so we want to have a name picked for each.

Our girl name is set — Maria Grace. My Mom and I are both variants of Mary and all of my Aunts and many cousins have the middle name Marie. I wanted to continue the Marian tradition with a little girl. I’m a chemist and my husband is in IT, so the name is also a nod to Marie Curie and Grace Hopper.

Boy names have been harder, with our last pregnancy, we had kind of settled on Nicholas Daniel, but neither of us were in love. Other names in the mix were Isaac, Charles, Anthony, Bernard and James. We wanted something that as he grows up, has a lot of nickname opportunities to fit his personality. My worry was that Nicholas Daniel dated too much into the 90s when Nicholas was most recently popular.

While we were trying to conceive this little green bean, I had a dream about a little boy, Anthony James, and grew attached to the name. It’s still a contender, but it doesn’t feel perfect.

A bit randomly I was scrolling a list of names that have never been out of the top 1000, and saw Lawrence. We both really liked it immediately! It just felt right in a way other names hadn’t. But is it an old man’s name? I know ‘old’ names are coming back, but I’ve not heard Lawrence mentioned for a baby ever. We wanted a harder middle name sound and think Lawrence Kolbe had a great flow, with great patron saints as well. We’re about 94% certain this is our boy pick (and open to suggestions).

And after that novel of explanation, the main point of us wanting the consultation: I loathe the nickname Larry for Lawrence and it seems like that’s the most accepted one. I would love suggestions for nicknames! I’m trying to make Rory fit because I adore the name but it’s not intuitive. Does that matter?

I absolutely love their girl name — Maria Grace is a gorgeous combo and sounds perfect for this family, for the reasons mentioned and also, of course, its Marian-ness. Beautiful!

As for their previous boy names, I think Nicholas Daniel is very handsome! Nicholas is exactly as M. described it — lots of nicknames to fit any personality — and I would include “classic” and “saintly” as well. I wouldn’t let its 90s popularity bother them — it entered the top 100 in 1972 and hasn’t left since, coming it at no. 74 in 2018 (the most recent year the data is available), so even though its top ten years were in the 90s, it’s a consistent, solid favorite. I continue to hear of babies named Nicholas — my husband and I considered it as well!

The other names they considered — Isaac, Charles, Anthony, Bernard, and James — are all similarly classic and saintly! Anthony was a top ten name from 2006-2008, and James has been since 2014 (no. 4 in 2018), which I think put them in good company with Nicholas. I love M.’s “dream name” as well — Anthony James is very handsome!

BUT! I mostly love Lawrence Kolbe!! What a fantastic name!! Please let me alleviate M.’s worries right away — I think Lawrence is wonderful for a little boy born in 2021! She’s right that it’s had an “old man” feel up until recently, but as she said, “old” names are definitely coming back. My eight-year-old actually had a Lawrence in his class in preschool — he went by the full Lawrence all the time, and his sister was Penelope, which is very popular currently, so I always felt like his parents had their fingers on the pulse of what’s up and coming.

I think M.’s question about nicknames for Lawrence is perfect, and so fun. As soon as she said Rory I LOVED it — I very much want them to name their son Lawrence Kolbe and call him Rory! That is simply wonderful!! I know that it might not seem intuitive, but when I was compiling a list of alternate nickname ideas, I remembered Laurie from Little Women, and Rory is absolutely not that big a leap from Laurie (or Lawrie). It reminds me of Bob for Robert, for example, or Daisy for Margaret, or Tony for Anthony, or Betsy/Lily/Buffy for Elizabeth — all traditional nicknames for the given names that don’t start with the same letter as the given name and in many cases aren’t intuitive at all. I say, go for it! (In fact, I’d included Lawrence as a possible patron saint for a little guy named Rory in this post!)

However, I can always come up with more ideas! I looked through the entry for Lawrence on Behind the Name for ideas, and came up with the following:

(1) Lars
This is a Scandinavian and German form of Lawrence, and makes an easy nickname.

(2) Lenz
Another German variant of Lawrence, and cool with that ending “z.”

(3) Rens, Ren
Rens is a Dutch variant, and I’ve actually seen Ren used as a nickname for Lawrence.

(4) Enzo, Renzo
Enzo and Renzo are both Italian short forms, and Renzo has Spanish usage as well.

(5) Larkin
What a sweet name! It’s a Medieval English diminutive of Lawrence.

In addition to those, Rence, Law, Laz (I think this is a very Australian construct — giving nicknames that end in Z, like Baz for Barry, Shaz for Sharon, etc.), and Law are all doable. A crazy but maybe really cool idea could be Lolek — it’s the nickname St. John Paul II went by as a child, I believe it’s a diminutive of his name Karol, which is the Polish for Charles, but it makes total sense for Lawrence Kolbe, and gets an extra saint reference in there! (Here’s a little guy named Lolek whose [belated] birth announcement I posted to the blog.)

Those are my ideas for nicknames for Lawrence, but M. also said they were open to suggestions, and their name dilemma and taste, as well as M.s profession as a chemist and her hubby’s work in IT (and the fact that M. used “about 94%” to describe their level of certainty about Lawrence Kolbe as their frontrunner — 94% is very precise! I love it!), reminded me of two consultations I did previously: one for a family who loves science and technology (I’d suggested Charles for Babbage and Hopper for Grace for them!) and one for a family who wanted a science or nature reference included in each of their children’s names (I’d suggested Nicholas for them, after Tesla; this family specifically wanted alliterative first+middle combos, so Nicholas Neri was my full suggestion — it’s unexpected-but-saintly middle name reminds me of Lawrence Kolbe!). So I looked back at those consultations to see what other boy names I’d suggested and thought these might be nice additions to M.’s list:

(1) Gerard
This had actually been inspired by the character of Ged in the fantasy/sci-fi Earthsea series, and I’d previously seen Ged suggested as a nickname for Gerard, and St. Gerard is amazing, so I love the idea of Gerard nicknamed Ged — very like Lawrence nicknamed Rory! For reference, Gerard hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 2002 (I find that so surprising!).

(2) George
George is one of the first “old man” names I observed come back into fashion — a friend of mine named her son George ten years ago and I remember being surprised, and now I know so many little guys named George! Fr. George LeMaitre was the priest who came up with the Big Bang Theory, and the nicknames Geo and Geordie have that unexpectedness that Rory for Lawrence and Ged for Gerard have. George was no. 127 in 2018.

(3) Reginald
Reginald’s inspiration for that science+nature family was theologian Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange (they wanted a theologian’s name in addition to a science/nature name), and Reginald jumped out at me for M. and her husband when I was looking back through those consultations, as I think it has a really “Lawrence” feel. I don’t have any cool nickname ideas, but if they like Reginald, I could certainly try to come up with some! (And if any of you know of any, I’d love to hear them!) Reginald was no. 831 in 2018, which I find fascinating. Old is definitely new!

And those are all my ideas for this little bean! What do you all think? What nicknames for Lawrence and/or other name(s) would you suggest if they have a boy? Please keep M. and her baby in your prayers!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

34 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Nicknames for Lawrence (and some other ideas too)

  1. I LOVE Rory for Lawrence! I also loved Law & Larkin – how cute!

    We’re actually considering Warren called Rory for our little one.

    Reginald is my maternal grandfather’s name and my Uncle’s name. My Uncle goes by Reg or Reggie.

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  2. Lawrence is one of my favorite names, and I really like Lawrence Kolbe (two wonderful patron saints!). My personal favorite nicknames are Laurie and Ren. I’m also loving Gerard with Ged as a nickname.
    Side note: my favorite “cool” nickname for Reginald is Rex, but I also think Ged could work here as well. Or maybe Ren or Aldo?

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  3. I have a friend named Lawrence who is in his mid-thirties and he has a 7 year old son named Rory so those names definitely go together in my mind! 🙂 So cute!

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  4. Rory for Lawrence is awesome! Like Kate said, the jump for Laurie to Rory is minimal.

    Lolek would be cool! Lots of Laurens go by Lo, so that combined with the K in Kolbe lends itself well to that nickname.

    Lawson would also work as a nickname for Lawrence. Especially something like Lawrence Santiago.
    Wren as well, if spelling changes the feel of the name for you.
    Also Lorcan

    I love Kate’s suggestion of Gerard nicked Ged

    My guilty pleasure “old man” name is Clarence nicked Clancy.

    Nicholas Daniel doesnt seem only 90s to me. It seems more timeless than anything.

    Good luck!

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  5. Rory is a fabulous nickname for Lawrence, and Rens and Lars are great too!

    A few that came to mind that retain the L are:
    Lane
    Lonny/Lonnie
    Lorne — as in actor Lorne Greene from Bonanza and Battlestar Galactica, and Lorne Michaels from SNL.
    Loki — combining Lawrence and Kolbe could result in Loki, although maybe Norse mythology or a Marvel character aren’t quite the vibe the parents are looking for.

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  6. I love the nickname Lars. We considered it as a boy name for one of our little ones. My grandfather was a Lawrence and I thought it’d be a fun way to carry on the family name. We had a girl though so didn’t wind up using it.

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  7. I don’t really have any nicknames to add here-I just wanted to say that I love your nickname ideas (esp. Lars and Renz). Lawrence Kolbe is such a handsome name. I like the “hard” sound of Kolbe with Lawerence. Fun fact and another “old man” name: Kolbe’s given name was actually Raymond. Maximilian was the name he took when he entered the Franciscans.

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  8. I love Lawrence Kolbe. I think they have a winner there! For nicknames, I’m a huge sucker for Laurie as a nickname for Lawrence, so the idea of Rory really struck me as well – they are both great. Lolek is also fabulous for Lawrence Kolbe (I love a good nickname that incorporates both the first and middle names).

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  9. First off, I just want to wish the best for this pregnancy!
    Then about the girl name, I love it and how it nods to Marie Curie by using her birth name in Polish.
    For a boy, if Lawrence feels right, then don’t look back! I just wanted to mention two names that came to mind: Dominic (it gets the “Nic” part without the 90’s association) and Theodore (it allows for several nicknames like requested).
    As for nicknames for Lawrence (which by the way sounds so beautiful and doesn’t need a nickname in my opinion!) my favorite is Lance, because it somehow keeps the “integrity” of the name by starting and ending just like Lawrence 😊

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  10. Oops. Pressed Send too soon. Meant to say…

    We have a Lawrence Anthony, age 7. If he has any nickname, my husband and I call him Laurie-Lad, but that’s more a parental diminutive than a real nickname. From siblings and friends, he’s called by the full name. Just if you needed proof in the wild that the full Lawrence works on a little squirt, I can vouch that it does.

    Anthony was from a time when I promised St. Anthony the next-born boy would be named after him (assuming my husband was agreeable to it) if he would help me find my keys. He did. I did.

    I love Lawrence Kolbe (or Lawrence Raymond) as other options. Go Team Lawrence!

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  11. Laurence Fox is nicknamed “Lozza”.

    I have heard “Lol” as a nickname for Laurence as well. There was a character named Lol on the old Judy Dench comedy “As Time Goes By.”

    For a very happy baby it might be appropriate: “Laughing out loud”.

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