The two front-runners in the Republican presidential primary are commonly addressed by their nicknames. Though we refer to the former Speaker of the House as Newt, his real first name is Newton. His rival Mitt Romney’s real name is Willard Mitt Romney.
Nicknames are very common in English. The word nickname comes from an Old English word ekename, which meant “an additional name” and dates back to the 1300s. Some nicknames have obvious roots: Kim for Kimberley, Jim for James, Nick for Nicholas. Others are a little harder to wrap your mind around. How do you get Peggy from Margaret? Bo for William? Chuck from Charles? Polly from Mary?
Learn more about how our given names influence our lives here.
But what about our current candidates? Gingrich’s first name originally meant “new town” and has been used as a surname in English for over 1,000 years. (Newton is the 367th most common surname according to the U.S. Census.) Romney’s name dates back even farther than that. You can still find Romney on a map of England. As early as the 700s, “romney” literally meant “spacious river” in Old English and came to be associated with a region of southeast England called the Romney Marsh. (Romney is not even in the top 1000 most common surnames; neither is Gingrich.)
Nicknames are often just the shortening of a name, but they may sometimes be hypocoristics, meaning an endearing pet name, like Debbie for Deborah. Another interesting trend in nicknaming: Parents have started calling their kids by unusual nicknames for common names, such as Zander for Alexander, Drew for Andrew, or Toph for Christopher.
Here are a few words to help you talk about names. A surname is commonly called a last name, and your first name is technically called your forename or given name. Onomastics is the study of proper names.Here are a few of our other favorite given name/nickname variations: Sally for Sarah Teddy for Edward Tilly for Matilda Jack for John Betty for Elizabeth
What are your favorite nicknames?
Actually, i have 2 favorites my big brother called me mikey. But more recently, a friend spelled my name chellie
Nicknames that are longer than the actual name crack me up.
That is really cool!!!! I wonder what mine would be!
My name’s Alicia (Uh-Lee-See-Ya) and I don’t have a nickname nor do I want one unless it’s cute. ‘Ali’ sounds lame and ‘Lici’ is too kitty-ish. I was thinking that a good nickname for Alicia would be ‘Lisa’ because they are pronounced similarly and Lisa does sound like a shortened name for Alicia if you listen to the names. But, I don’t feel like a Lisa, I like Alicia so no nicknames for me
I do like the name Natasha though, it’s weird that Natasha is a nickname for Natalia (Natalie) in Russia but Natasha is longer than Natalia and nicknames are meant to be shortened forms of a given name.
I also prefer ‘Ant’ over ‘Tony’ for the name Anthony/Antonio. That’s it.
Jake for Jack, Mick for Michael, and of course Ed for Edgar.
My favorite nicknames are:
Mine is Goose- when I was born, my mom said I looked like a goose, because I had jondice [made me yellow] and my nose looked weird. Of course, it helped convince her when she was on pain pills. My nose is normal, just a baby thing . :]
My father, in his infinite wisdom, named me J, after the letter. My birth certificate reads J Elliott Selvey. I go by J but for ease of life spell it Jay, which gets me into trouble now and then come mortgage time or when dealing with SS. Wonder how you would shorten J for a nickname? I have been called Jaybird, Bluejay, and Birdseed at various times in my life. How do you like the Birdseed appellation?
Elllie for Catherine
My favorite one would be Juanito for Juan
matt for matthew
Jamie/Jim for James =D
What? Ellie does not even sound like the origional name! Sometimes nicknames don’t make sense. Actually most of the time.
My younger sister’s name is Lorraine and we call her Rain. I really love her nickname.
my name is mubb, so many nicknames i get are similar to “mubby” or “mub-meister”…
jk (my name’s not mubb…)
“Nicknames are often just the shortening of a name, but they may sometimes hypocoristics, meaning an endearing pet name, like Debbie for Deborah.”
Shouldn’t that say “. . . they may sometimes BE hypocoristics”?
Anyway, interesting article. Never really had a nickname myself, though.
I’m liking Cosmo, from Cosmos.
My nickname is Rin, but my real name is completely different. My nickname comes from a memory of the past.
acctually you cant cause they will take your 1ST NAME. yeah it seems odd but its what i read………
y do u think drew for Andrew is unusual? i have known drew’s for my whole life… it seems perfectly normal 2 me…
One of my friends’ surname is Thorpe, so we call him Thorpedo.
A cool name for Jose would be like Josie if u cant spell or do English
My name’s Alicia and my friends call me “Lish-Lish”. Another name for me is “Deliah”They say it ‘fits’ me. Nick-names don’t really have to involve the name, they could just describe the person.
My name is Michelle and my entire life, family/friends have called me Meesh
My favorite nicknames are Gracie for Grace, Ali for Allison, Tom for Thomas, and drean for Andrean
When he was in high school my uncle was called Rosie by his friends, it was short for Rosenberg, his last name.
Now my brother is getting called Creed by his friends, they combined his first and last names.
I go almost exclusively by my nickname so some times people try to call me by nicknames they come up with based on my nickname. Whether they get away with it depends on who they are, and what they called me. I’ve been called: Becca, Beck, Beck-Beck, Becks, and The Beckster. Becca never goes over well, as for the rest of them, it depends on who you are.
best for bestine.
One of the most common of nicknames is Bob. Spell it either forward or backwards.
In Bengali culture, everyone has two names — a “bhalo nam” or “proper name” (the one on the birth certificate) and a “dak nam” or “given name” (which only the family uses). They’re usually totally different, too! For example, my “proper name” is Nina, but my family calls me Anjali. My aunt is even more complicated — her proper name is Alokananda, to her friends she’s Aloka, her dak nam is Ranu, and her nieces and nephews call her Ranumoni (or “dear Ranu”).
i don’t have one. people, out there, read this comment and give me a nickname. my name is melody
my brother calls me leelars or leelee
Yeah cuz my name is Kathleen but people call me Katie.
I like Mindy for Melinda, but I want to know how Bob came from Robert and how Bill from William. Anyone know?
I had a friend named Alicia and we called her Ici (eesee) and she liked it idk about you but just a suggestion
whats my nickname?
Nice article. I find it iteresting as I am an English learner, I thought all of them came from one part of the original name.
My mother tongue is Spanish and you should know that nicknames in my language are completely different to the original name. For example, a man called José automatically has PEPE as his nickname. People call me KIKE which is not very related to Enrique. Anyway, we use them and we do not care much about the origins.
Wonderful and interesting article. I never knew that Romney’s first name is Willard.
Could another nickname for William also be Bill? That’s how I’ve often heard it as.
My name is Lillian, but I go by Lily. I don’t understand how “Dick” is a nickname for “Richard”.
My nickname’s the first letter of my first name and the first letter of my middle name. I sometimes spell it with periods after the “J’s,” and sometimes without the periods, so I don’t really keep it with any kind of formality on that front. I’ve basically had my nickname for just as long as I’ve had my birth name, I answer to both names subconsciously, I don’t know who started calling me JJ, and I still find it funny when I have people spell my nickname as “Jay-Jay” for lack of familiarity.
How about Liz or Lizzy for Elizabeth, or Geri for Geraldiine. Gerty for Gertrude. Peg for Peggy. Don for Donald. Joe for Joseph. Will, Bill, Billy, or Willie for William. Dick or Rick or Richie for Richard. Horey for Horatio, A-hole for your boss or mother-in-law…
My name is Victoria, and my nick name is Vickie… I don’t really care about MY nickname, but they are kinda cute. Like my brother’s nickname is Tickle, that’s because when my Mother was pregnant with him, I used to tickle her stomach just for fun. His original name is Jacob, but he still prefers Tickle, even though he’s now 7 years old. In my opinion, nicknames are fun, and as long as you like it, it does not matter if its weird.
People tried to abbrev. my forename to things like “Corny” or “Cornballs” which obviously sound rather derisive, Now I get called “Lammy” which is fine if not a little too endearing.
My name’s Maria Danica Anne. My nickname’s Dianne.
I prefer to be called Dan rather than Nica. I don’t like girl-ish nicknames.
Way back in college, some would call me Dandy or Dandy-cles.
My brother already had a short name, Rex, so for his nickname we had to lengthen it to Rexy. The same with our father Ross, always called Rosscoe. For the rest of us, Karen, Darryl, Donna, we shortened to Kaz Daz Doz. But there’s not much you can do with Donna except Don, or Don-Dons (which I’ve been called), but it’s an awful name to begin with and the abbreviations aren’t much better…
My nicknames are Duncan, Squiz, Britt and Dustin. One of my friends is Jody, Helmet, Stacie and Julian, another friend is Jeff, Oinch, Emma and Micah. My other friend is Michael, Lila and Mitchell and another is Phil, Lucy and Blake. Don’t ask how we came up with all those. We just gave them to each other. And, yes, we’re all girls. =D
not all nickname are good names like mine im tennie iin kindeGARDEN I USE TO GO BY THAT NAME NOW I GO BY MARY.
My full name is Ruby Ann.
Some people call me Ruby, Others call me Ann.
When I was in college my friends call me By-Ann.
But when I started working one of my managers called me Rann.
Hmmmmnnn….RANN is perfect for me!
But can you run for President with a nickname???
My friend’s name is Margaret and so is her daughters. She goes by Maggie and her daughter by gretta.
Vanessa yours should be Nessy^^!
vivsy from vivek
and this boy in my class is called bullet head due to the shape of his head.
I like the nickname for my own name, Terry, and which appears to be limited to London, England. I was born London and onely Londoners have ever used my nickname: Tel or Tell. Tedge is another version though not limited to London.
The article title asks a question, which is never answered in the body of the article, and only referred to tangentially at best.
The second paragraph asks another set of questions, which I find more interesting:
How do you get Peggy from Margaret? Bo for William? Chuck from Charles? Polly from Mary?
This too is left unanswered, so I’m left wondering.
Instead we get a brief history of the Republican candidates’ surnames, then a vague discussion of nicknames and naming terminology with little real information. I’m heavily disappointed.
There is a nickname for Alicia, it is Licha
You call Mitt a nickname, but then you say it’s his middle name. That’s different, isn’t it?
Peg for Margaret. Go figure.
I think nicknames form froma name. Like my name, It starts with a SH and these were my nicknames shanny, sha, and now shata. but when i was little my mother use to call me cookie monster and cheche that was bad but I love nicknames
[...] ‘Nicknames’ whatever Nicholas wants to name though some translations are increasingly silly: Sarah/Sally; Teddy/Edward; Betty, Jack and Tilly — Are they really nick’s of names or GW’s — Dog — Willy Nilly? — Slick or Slim or Craze for Him — Why should one simply concur? — The simplification of Nicholas — Not ‘hypocoristic’ in some view. — Less formal sounding eloquence, — fitting another shoe. — “Lemonhead” on the other hand or a ‘Newt’ as an amphibious Salamander — Mitt is for the Catcher — From the Point we do meander. — The Nicknames here presented would be Jonathon/ Jon for Short or ‘Shorty’? –>>L.T.Rhyme [...]
When my sister Amanda married Andrew, we called them Amandrew.
“Monkey” for “Mikey” (which was short for Michael, of course)
“Sher Bear” (share bear) for Sherran
When I worked as a CSS at Walmart, I called myself “Visa” because I’m everywhere you want me to be.
**To Nshera: I would give you the nickname “Cherie.”
You did not answer the question you posed:
“Can you run for president with a nickname?”
What about it?
nicknames are fun… I’m from El Salvador and we use the nickname “Chamba” for Salvador… I still don’t get it… even though that’s my name What makes it even funnier is that in Mexico, “Chamba” means work!
My name already is short but people still
seem to give me nicknames which I adore them all.
Amba, Amby, Amberlina, Amberlin, Adda, Bambi, and even Elmo.
I have had many nicknames myself such as izzy or my favorite, bella, as my name is isabella. I do not like my orignal name, and am glad i have a few nicknames! Phew!
I was born Elizabeth. There are WAY too many nicknames for this name:
And so on…
I’m sure I’ve even missed a few. So I changed my name to Surina. Now my only nickname is Surain, which is a common mis-typing.
I want to know how you get Eddie from Theodore and Ted from Edward….
My first wife called me Joey, and a few kids in elementary school called me “Mole”. But my granddaughter is named Victoria (after her great-grandmother, who went by Vicky), and her nickname is Tori.
Mmm I like my names they’re common but i get a lot of nicknames.
Francisco= Frank, Francis, Franco, cisco, etc..
Xavier= Xavi, Xmen(LOL) and so on so on.
i do think that because it would be just about the cuties thing like my name is niera but i have a couple like , ni,noz,fatty mc fat fat i think they are all cute and i love them all …
My real name is Sydney, I looked it up (best name site in the world => http://www.behindthename.com/ ) and my name means “wide island” nice, right? Now I go by Siddie, which means “star-like” and my close friends call me Squid.
GET A Life People
JK my nick name is tony
” Mine is Goose- when I was born, my mom said I looked like a goose”
Ha, that is hilarious…cool nick name though.
Still Dog, Dog.
use to be smoothie, but just too many smoothies out there so i became the one and only smoothius! now no copying!
Joshy for Joshua. Ladies LOVE to call me Joshy.
No mention is made of nicknames from last names, like Mac or Whit.
My first name doesn’t loan itself too well for a nickname, it being short as it is.
In the military, last names are frequently used, and I developed many nicknames from that. I was often called Cold Beer (the name is Colbert, just like the comedian), but now I often get called Bear (which I don’t resemble).
As for getting elected President with a nickname, remember Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Or even further back: Ike Eisenhower.
Though strictly speaking being part of a stage name H. Vernon Watson, a popular English Variety artist in the 1920s, was wellknown as Nosmo.
When he set out on the stage he was stuck for a memorable name for himself, when he saw the half open backstage door which was parted and the two halves of the door spelled “No Smo” and “king”. From that moment he never looked back as quite a famous stage artist “Nosmo King”, for which the short version was Nosmo
In my name’s case I like the nickname my name is Lourdes and in Mexico,
they call us “Lulu” [ with a strong accent in the last “u”, not like the British Lulu on which they accentuate the first “u”, here in the USA they just shorten it to “Lou”.
@Melody: Mel is a good nickname.
@ Nina: Raanumani supposed to be Ranugem; gem, as in diamond, pearl, emarald, ruby, sapphire and such gemstones. Then again why not dear Ranu since those gems are highly priced or very expensinve; they are dear and so is/has our Ranu become dear or dearRanu.
Cysia for Marcelina
I thought I posted something to this block yesterday; however, I can’t seem to find anything of mine. Wonder went wrong!
However, here is another one as I post today.
To answer to the above … see no reason why not as long as president can deliver the goods to the ppl that elected him/her as their president to the office.
Thanks for the article.
My name is Skye, and I don’t really have a nick name, but I get called Star a lot…and my closest friends call me Skybie, Skee, Skee Lee, and Kabob; I just don’t “go by it” per se.
Kabob? Well, it takes a lil’ o’ this and a lil’ o’ that to get a youngin’, so…I reckon that makes sense.
Where does Dick for Richard come from??
My name is Leo Cormac Shanahan Dunn and I come from Lowell Ma where nick names are King.
Leek, Leeko, Shamas, Corky and All Dunn have been my handles through the years.
if you have so many names to begin with why did you put Gregory in the middle of your email address/
Why are you answering you ownd email?
Because I’m shcizoprhenic.
The nickname ‘Dick’ for ‘Richard’ is derived from the two words “rich” and “hard” (the ‘h’ gets double duty here).
My friend call me tomy for my nickname
I love this blog. I’m addicted to it. This particular post was a real eye-opener for me because I’ve never heard the use of Toph for Christopher.
my name is mary torres everyone calls me marie or kookie
Well my name is Ashli so most people call me “ashes” for short, but my friend calls me “asha”.
My name is Naysia sound’s like asia but some people normally call me Nay,or Nay-Nay, Niyah, also Navsia, including NaNa. HEY every body this is the real Naysia come and check it out and tell me how you like it yes I do wrote also:)
I’m a writer, and one of my male characters is named Lucentio (after one of the main characters in “The Taming of the Shrew”). Blythe, a sadistic colleague of his, calls him “Lucie,” much to his chagrin.
The word “hypocoristic” is rather appropriate in this case. I’ll consider using it in my story.
Mmy name is Kelsey, but my friends call me KK since those are my initials….most people at our school go by their last name like…
some dont like their last name (like me) so we give them diff names (like KK)
Nice and impressive article.