Nicholas is a perennial favorite. It hasn’t ranked lower than the top 200 since 1881 and boasts a saintly pedigree and ancient roots. Nicholas currently ranks #62, though it’s trending down. Feminine form Nicole sits at 152, though it was a top 10 staple throughout the 1980s. There’s a lot to love about this historic name, but for parents who want to honor a Nicholas without using the actual name, or just want something a little fresher, there’s plenty of options.
Nike- Nicholas is the rare male name that originates with a feminine name; in this case, the Greek Goddess Nike. Nike personified victory- her Roman equivalent was Victoria. Her name is simple, strong, and unique, but probably tainted by the sports brand.
Kai- Pop etymology says Kai is Hawaiian for “sea,” and it is, but it’s also a Northern European diminutive of Nicholas.
Nikon- Like Nike, Nikon suffers from a strong commercial association. But if you can get past the cameras, Nikon is an intriguing possibility that’s unusual, masculine, and easy to pronounce and spell.
Jaya- This unisex Sanskrit name shares a meaning with Nicholas- “victory.” With names like Maya and Kaia so popular, Jaya could easily catch on with American parents, though I expect it would be more easily worn by girls.
Cairo- Another name meaning “victory,” this time derived from Arabic. It’s not usually a personal name in the Arab world; it’s generally reserved only for the Egyptian city. With its strong –o ending and trendy Cai- beginning, Cairo could appeal to American parents.
Veronica- Veronica? To honor Nicholas? Believe it or not, the two names are related. Veronica is a variant of Berenice, which comes from Berenike, with the “Nike” part derived from the goddess.
Nikolai-This Russian variant boasts trendy nickname possibilities Niko and Kai. It’s a great name for parents who want a name that’s different, but not that different. Spelled Nicolai, it’s an Italian surname.
Colette- Strong but feminine, unusual but familiar, Colette has many appealing qualities. It’s derived from French feminization Nicolette and is currently ranked #531.