What Is Bob Short For?

smiling baby named bob

It’s not a name I hear a lot these days, particularly among millennials or the younger generation. However, Bob was once a very popular name for men, and there were a number of celebrities who had this name.

So if you’re thinking of possible nicknames for your baby boy, Bob might be a good choice as it’s possible it may become fashionable again. Bob is usually short for Robert, even though the first letter is different. Let’s explore this in more detail looking at what the name means, how popular it is, as well as some middle names that you might want to consider.

Where does the name Bob come from?

Bob comes from Robert (a Germanic name) but it can also be a shortened version of Bobby.  In the Middle Ages it was common practice to replace the first letter for some nicknames, which is why Bob is short for Robert (and Bill is short for William). This was the trend of the time, but it may also have been done initially due to the Norman occupation of England. Although you can have Rob and Robbie as nicknames for Robert, the softer ‘r’ sound for Rob may have been harder to say in the French language. Having a hard consonant like ‘b’ at the beginning of the name makes it a lot easier to pronounce.

What does it mean?

Assuming you decide that Robert will be the given name for your son (and Bob the nickname), Robert means ‘bright fame’.

How popular is the name Bob?

In the US at least, this name isn’t very popular anymore. It dropped out of the top 1000 boys’ names in 1983 and hasn’t been seen since. Its heyday was in the 1930s when it was in top 100 for a number of years.

What middle names go well with Bob?

Here are some middle names that will go well with Bob, but I’ve chosen some options that should work with Robert as well. It’s actually a little tricky due to the hard ‘b’ sound at the end of Bob as it rolls into the middle name sometimes a little too easily e.g. Say ‘Bob Oliver’ to yourself and it sounds like one made-up word!

  • Bob Alexander
  • Bob Dean
  • Bob Finlay
  • Bob Francis
  • Bob Harrison
  • Bob Howard
  • Bob James
  • Bob Lewis
  • Bob Marcus
  • Bob Martin
  • Bob Peter
  • Bob Simon

What famous people are called Bob?

Although it might not be a popular name for babies these days, there are still a lot of Bobs’ about!

  • Bob Hope (comedian)
  • Bob Barker (TV host) – Although I haven’t seen many of his game shows, I still know the scene in Happy Gilmore when he plays golf with Adam Sandler and it doesn’t end too well!
  • Bob Marley (singer) – He wrote a lot of huge reggae hits such as Three Little Birds and Could You Be Loved.
  • Bob Ross (painter) – I only came across him recently on a YouTube video. What a talented guy he was with a very soothing and calm voice.
  • Bob Dylan (singer) – Personally, I’ve never been a fan of his voice but he is a great lyricist.
  • Bob Odenkirk (actor) -If you’re a fan of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, you’ll know this actor.
  • Bob Geldof (singer/political activist) – Lead singer of The Boomtown Rats, but he is probably best known for organising the Band Aid group, which formed part of Live Aid in the 1980s.
  • Bob Hoskins (actor) – Star of films such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Mona Lisa.
  • Bob Mortimer (comedian)
  • Bob Hoover (pilot)
  • Bob the Builder (children’s animated series) – Most kids will know who this is!

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