Nicknames

Nicknames for Charlotte

Charlotte

The Usual Suspects

Char

Charlie

Lottie

The Short ‘n’ Sweets

Arla/Arlo

Cat

Cate

Chay (Shay)

Coco

Kay

Lola

Lotta/Lotte

Tee/Tea

The Sweeties

Arlie

Callie

Carly

Carey

Carrie

Harley

Kitty

Ottie

Tottie

The Longer-Than-The-Name Ones

Charlemagne (a friend of mine answers to this nickname)

Ottilie

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Nicknames for Elizabeth

Elizabeth

Who doesn’t like the name Elizabeth? She’s a mainstay, top 100 classic name that’s hard to fault, and with her comes a multitude of nicknames to pick from.

The name Elizabeth comes from Hebrew and means ‘my God is my oath’, and not only has many potential nicknames, but many more international forms and variations. The choice is practically endless.

The Usual Suspects

Eliza

Ellie

Liz/Lizzy

Bess

Beth

The Short ‘n’ Sweet

Bee

Bets

Ella

Els

Etta

Ezra

Lisa

Nell

The Cutesy Girls

Bessie

Betsy

Betty

Buffy

Ebba, Ebbie

Effie

Elise

Elsie

Issy

Lettie

Libby

Zibby

The Basically-Another-Name

Bella/Belle

Elsa

Liesel

Lilibet

Lillian

Lily

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Defending The Nickname Trend

One of my sister’s books

One of the biggest responses I’ve seen with the release of the new England&Wales data is concerning the number of so-called nicknames dominating our popular names, for example 4 of the name in our Top 10 for boys have origins as nicknames – Harry, Jack, Alfie & Charlie.

One comment that stood out to me in particular was this:

I don’t see anything classier about nickname names than modern constructions. Alfie and Charlie can go sit in the corner with Jayden and Addison as far as I am concerned. 

As a Brit, I feel I need to talk about the subject, and almost defend our plentiful usage of nicknames. I do truly believe that there are plenty of fabulous reasons to why registering your son as Charlie, not Charles is the way to go.

I would admit right here, right now that some of these reasons have a slant towards a British playground, because it’s clear that a nickname on the birth certificate will always work better in a country where it’s a commonplace practice. Also, I’m not necessarily saying that the nickname trend is without it’s faults, but there are also a few faults with the idea of not allowing nicknames on birth certificates too.

I guess, at the end of the day, it’s a matter of personal discretion and perhaps the way forward takes a little from each side.

That said, I still managed to put together 10 potential reasons why you may chose to use Charlie over Charles.

1. Many nicknames are taken as they are these days, rather than being assumed to be short for something

Plenty of so-called nicknames are these days taken as they are, without people wondering what on earth Alfie is short for, because hey, there are plenty more Alfies running around the park these days than Alfreds. 

This of course, is a more cultural based argument, because I’m sure in some places Henry is more popular than Harry (hello USA) and there will always be exceptions depending on where you live.

Suffice to say however, the chances of someone asking your child what Harry is short for has become rather more slight as years have gone by. One could even argue that it would be Henry nn Harry that would attract raised eyebrows in a quaint English nursery, rather than a kid who is just simply Harry.

2. Using a formal name and a nickname simultaneously can cause confusion

Did you watch the closing ceremony for the 2012 Olympics? If you watched close enough, you’d have noticed that Prince Harry was introduced as Prince Henry of Wales, and Twitter almost exploded with people calling out the gaffe. What they failed to realise is that Prince Harry is indeed called Henry, but since birth has gone almost exclusively by Harry. 

Oops.

That’s perhaps a rather more high profile case, but I also have personal experience of this too. My mother has a cousin named Maeve, who goes by Marie.

However, I needed my Nana to confirm this one to me because when my mother had mentioned her a week earlier, she then had to add on that she had no idea whether her cousin’s ‘real’ name is Maeve or Marie because she’s always answered to both.

3. Nicknames lend themselves nicely to simplicity-seekers

This acts as an extension of #2, and comes with another tale from my own life.

I know a family of three children named Amy, Tom & Mia; the parents purposefully chose to stick to 3-letter names because of the perceived complexity of their surname, which is no less than 9-letters in total (of course, my surname has 8 letters but that didn’t stop my parents using Heather). In their quest for shortness, they ended up using two nicknames (Tom&Mia) and a name commonly used as a nickname (Amy). 

And you know what? It totally works for them.

Juggling a formal name and a nickname may not be the way for some, who’d prefer to just pick one name and stick with it, in which case, Archie rocks.

4. Swapping from Charlie to Charles isn’t so easy

I wasn’t particularly old when I decided to start using Lou instead of Lucy, but by then I’d already built up a core group of friends. What this means is that I’m not exclusively called Lou, so answer to both names on a daily basis. As far as I can tell, only great determination on my part will remedy this, and really, I’m far too laid back to actually force people to switch to using Lou. In which case, it’s likely only me that has this problem 🙂

5. Some people just don’t like the formality of a ‘proper’ name

I have a friend with the name Caroline, and she hates it. To her, Caroline is the name of a middle-aged lady and the reasoning that hey, Caroline is more professional than Carly just doesn’t go down well with her.

I have to agree with her, saying a lady named Maisie won’t get a job in, say, politics smacks of elitism to my ears. Then again, this is the country that elected this man as the mayor of our capital city:

Boris Johnson, dancing to the Spice Girls. And yes, that is our PM two seats along.

In a similar vein, I saw an argument the other day that someone wouldn’t want to trust their brain with a neurosurgeon called Katie, which I found to be a little bit extreme. Let’s face facts, young Katie has already sat through many vigorous tests to prove she’s a capable neurosurgeon, so there’s really no reason to doubt her expertise. I can speak from personal experience, because one of my GPs is actually called Katie, and it’s never once crossed my mind that I should be doubting her advice because of her name. That said, another GP at our surgery is called Dr. Bond…

And, point of fact, a new show started up on the BBC called Bad Education, where the main character, a teacher, is called Alfie. That said, the lead character of Alfie is described in the press release as the worst teacher to ever (dis)grace a British education institution. But then we have the half-decent biology teacher called Rosie…

6. Some people just plain don’t like Thomas

And by some people, I’m including myself in there, too. I adore the name Tommy, mostly because of early days spent watching Rugrats, but hey, can you think of another name to take Tommy from as a nickname? The best I could come up with was Thompson, or maybe Bartholomew at a push, but I somewhat doubt that the parents using Tommy will go for Bartholomew.

The idea of making people put a name on a birth certificate they just plain don’t like, so they can then call their child another much-loved name is borderline ludicrous when you think about it. Who are we to dictate what someone else wants to call their child? There’s also no guarantee that little Tommy will want to be called Thomas when he grows up, and Tommy can always shorten to Tom should he really not want to use Tommy.

7. Not all nicknames are cutesy, whilst some cutesy names aren’t nicknames

Sometimes people seem to forget this, and whilst yes there are plenty of nicknames with the cutesy factor, there are plenty more that forgo this. Think Sam, Max and Jack as examples.

Thinking about the opposite, two names in our Top 100 are Daisy (#20) and Maisie (#22). Whilst Maisie has origins as a nickname, Daisy is a perfectly coined floral name. Perhaps this is personal opinion, but I think both are as cutesy as the other, but if we follow the proper-names-on-birth-certificates-only rule, Daisy would be perfectly acceptable, but not Maisie?

Of course, you could argue that Daisy is also too cutesy to be a formal name anyway, at which point I throw my arms up in the air with despair.

8. You don’t know your child’s opinion of their name ahead of time

Remember Caroline from #5? She’s back, because she helps demonstrate this point too; indeed, let’s also bring back Amy, Tom & Mia from point #3. Caroline hates having a formal name, whilst Mia dislikes the cutesy-nickname factor of her name.

The basic point: some people actually like having nicknames on their passport. It’s all a matter of opinion.

9. You may not realise that names like Polly started off life as nicknames

I once posted a question on Formspring asking people what their favourite form of Mary was, and alongside the question I listed various names that stem from Mary. One such name was Polly, and this was called out by one commentee asking how on Earth Polly could be related to Mary. Why, she’s an old nickname for Mary, of course – but should we still be insisting that it’s Mary nn Polly?

10. Some legit proper names are often used as nicknames

Let’s use my name, and Anna as examples here. Some people use Lucy as a nickname for names like Lucille, whilst Anna is a popular nickname choice for Annabel, amongst others. However, both are proper names in their own right, and people seem to forget this – especially when it comes to Lucy. Adding Molly to the sibset of Lucy & Anna doesn’t exactly seem as if it strays off the path, stylewise.

So, there we have it. Feel free to disagree, hey, we’ve all got differing opinions and that’s what makes life so great.

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Oui, mais Maisie est…

Maisy Mouse, from walker.co.uk

I love the name Maisie, for a variety of reasons, and despite not being a fan by any means of similar-sounding sister Daisy. Mais also happens to be one of my favourite French words – it means but. I remember a French teacher of mine trying to coax us out of the standard ‘oui, mais’ response when engaged in a debate.

Maisie does originally derive as a nickname – she’s one of the many Margaret offshoots, along with the aformentioned Daisy. Strictly speaking, she comes from Margaret’s Scottish form of Mairead. However, I had my mind on another name the other day, and realised she too could shorten to Maisie – fantastic! And thus I went in search of more:

Anastasie

I’m suggesting this name on what I shall dub the Bob-principle, that is, whereby Bob evolved as a nickname for Robert as a slight alteration of his short form – Rob. Plenty of Anastasia/e’s are likely known as Stasie, which rhymes with Maisie, unless you re-jig things to make Stasie sound just like Stacy. The name Anastasia comes from the Greek anastasis which means resurrection.

Artemis/Artemisia

Maisie is composed of 5 different letters, all of which make a slightly jumbled up appearance in the name Artemis. Shortening Artemis to Maisie rather tickles me somewhat, given that as a child I was confused about the gender of Artemis thanks to Eoin Cowlfer, but Maisie is, frankly, all-girl. Artemis is the Greek Goddess of the moon and hunting and she had a twin brother named Apollo.

Jessamine

The same 5 letters make yet another appearance in a name belonging to a completely different style of names, and this one certainly feels more-girl to me than Artemis, but that’s probably more down to personal opinion than anything else. I don’t think shortening this name to Maisie feels completely natural to me – Jessie probably takes that honour – but it remains another option one could further explore. Jessamine herself evolved as a variant of the name Jasmine, another name which also exists as a possibility but she has the same number of syllables as Maisie, which always makes me question the worth of the nickname.

Mazarine

The name that inspired this post. I stumbled across the name Mazarine about a fortnight ago, and she’s remained on my mind ever since. I recognise that I like her as a name, but couldn’t imagine myself not shortening her to something, so have been dedicating time to exploring the options. Maze was certainly one thought, as were Rin, Azure and Ari. The Azure thought certainly tickled me, since Azure is a shade of blue – and so is Mazarine.

Melissa

Hello once more to our favourite 5 letters. Like Jessamine, this name doesn’t easily lend itself to the nickname of Maisie, so little Melissa may well end up as a Mel despite your protests. It is a great, if even modern, take on Melissa – as she’s a name one would more likely associate with children of a previous decade, but given that Maisie is certainly enjoying peak popularity right now, she’s certainly a name one would more likely associate with today’s children. I do love the meaning of Melissahoneybee.

Rosemarie/Rosemary

There are plenty of short forms for RosemaryRomy, Rosie, Marie etc. so there’s plenty of competition if you wish to view it as such. If you think about it, the names Mary and Maisie are pretty similar sounding. There’s also a herb called Rosemary, whose name means dew of the sea. Also, if you switch Rose and Mary you get Mary Rose, the name of Henry VIII’s prized warship for which the common explanation for the name is that is was named after the Tudor Rose and Henry VIII’s sister Mary. It’s currently on display in Portsmouth after being salvaged in the 1980s.

Thomasina/ Jamesina

A last minute brainwave of mine was Thomasina, and one I’m reasonably proud of. I then realised whilst writing about her that the similar name Jamesina could also apply which is why these two have been lumped together as one. Both a feminisations of male names which have never enjoyed the popularity of their male counterparts – Thomas and James were both in the Top 10 for 2010 in England&Wales. I’m probably more of a fan of the name Jamesina than Thomasina, although I’ve met few who’ve liked either which likely explains why neither feature highly in the popularity charts.

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Alternative Long Forms for Abby

Sabine Schmitz, from richardf1.com

I had originally planned to publish an Alternative Long Forms for Lou post for today, as a part of tomorrows Birthday celebrations. I decided against it following Abby’s post on Getting to Lulu earlier on this month. So, we’re turning the tables to instead look at ways to get to Abby, because you can never have too many 🙂

Alberta/Albertine

Every year I receive a Christma card from family friends Pat and Albert – and I’ve heard a rumour that my Grandad has an Uncle Albert. Rumour? Yes, my Grandad rarely speaks about his family but if I do remember correctly it seems everyone used to call him Bob.

Is the name Alberta hopelessly out-of-fashion? Most would say yes, but some are charmed by this quality. The name does possess a rather lovely meaning, however. It comes from the Germanic name Adalbert, composed of two Germanic elements:

  • adal, meaning noble
  • beraht, meaning bright

Annabel et al

The name Annabelle entered the England&Wales Top 100 for 2010, which at the time I speculated to myself about whether that had anything to do with the recently rebooted St. Trinians film series.

The name Annabel is a variant of Amabel, which means lovable in Latin. It’s from these sources that we also get the name Mabel, which could also lead nicely to the nickname Abby.

Christabel

One part Christina, one part Annabel. Infact, the name is actually just a slight variant of the name Christina. It’s not a new coinage, however, as way back  in 1800 Samuel Coleridge published a poem entitled Christabel.

Isabeau

An old variation of Isabel which has fallen mostly out of use of late. One could suppose that Isabella et al also apply here, and either way both are simply international forms of the name Elizabeth, which means my God is my oath.

Mirabelle

Comes from the Latin word mirabilis, which means wonderful. It is also the French word for plum.

Sabine

You may or may not be aware of Sabine Schmidz, a German motor racing driver. She’s been accredited with the title of Queen of the Nurburgring – which is a motor racing track in Germany and now co-presents the German car show D Motor.

Sabine is the French and German form of the name Sabina. In days gone by, the Sabines were an ancient people who lived in central Italy until their land was taken over by the Romans following years of conflict. According to legend, the Romans abducted several Sabine women during a raid, and when the men came to rescue them, the women were able to make peace between the two groups.

Sabrina

Most will link this name to the original Welsh name of the River Severn: Habren. It was also the name of the Princess who was drowned in the Severn, and thus supposedly the river is named in her honour – but it is much more likely that her name came from the river, not the other way around.

Tabitha

We started on a name which suffers from being too associated with the elder generation, and we finish with a name that is beginning to shake off those associations. The name Tabitha was chosen by Sarah Jessica Parker for the name of one of her twin girls – the other being named Marion Loretta. The name Tabitha means gazelle in Aramaic- not so clunky looking now is it!

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When Penelope Gets Popular

Paloma Faith may inspire you, from metro.co.uk

When I originally penned the Clementine post, I never imagined doing a sequel post or even turning it into a series, but the fact of the matter is that the name Penelope is getting popular, and I’ve started to wonder about what alternatives are out there. This post started off as me pondering about what other names I could get Penny from (the final three being Typhena, Peony and Euphemia), but the original draft of such a post seemed like more should be said. An elaboration was in order, and a sequel was born. So, what other names could we use when Penelope gets too popular for our liking? Just to illustrate the fact that she has grown in popularity, here’s how she’s fared in the past few years:

2003 2004 2005 2006
Rank 583 565 562 678
Births 50 55 59 46
2007 2008 2009 2010
Rank 515 427 328 272
Births 72 99 135 181

A ranking of #272 is something to take note of, since she’s shot up from #678 in 2006 to where she is today. To start off with, it seems best to first approach this topic by asking what exactly are the kinds of names people are pairing the name Penelope with, either as sibling or middle names? A trip to the London Telegraph Birth Announcements was in order to find just that out, and it was an eclectic bunch of names to say the least; here is a cut-down version:

  • Annabel
  • Aurelia
  • Bróna
  • Clementine
  • Esther
  • Evelyn
  • Dorothea
  • Felicity
  • Florence
  • Georgina
  • Harriet
  • Hettie
  • Horatia
  • Jemima
  • Lucinda
  • Marissa
  • Muriel
  • Nancy
  • Orla
  • Scarlett
  • Serena
  • Willa

The names Clementine and Florence came up severeal times, whilst Lucinda also came up at least twice. There are some conflicting styles in the names, from the seldom heard Horatia, to the very Irish name Bróna. Since Florence is a clear favourite, it seems apt to kick off a list of suggestions with the younger Nightingale sister’s name: Parthenope. Like her sister before her, Parthenope was named after an Italian city, and like Penelope, she’s four-syllables. If long names are your preference, another four-syllable P name is Philomena, which shares Penelope’s Greek roots. Dorothea from the above list also shares this trait. Other four-syllable Greek names include:

  • Angeliki
  • Calliope
  • Cassiopeia (technically five-syllables)
  • Elisavet
  • Eugenia (modern Greek form: Evgenia)
  • Konstantina
  • Louiza
  • Ophelia
  • Paraskeve (Pah-rah-ske-vee)
  • Persephone
  • Theodora
  • Timothea
  • Zenovia/Zenobia

But you may have no Greek heritage, which means the above list may means nothing at all to you. Fear not, for there are other, more English-based, options out there. The current leader of the pack for me is Peony. She’s floral, like Lily, and could also shorten to Penny if your heart so desires. I’m astonisahed that only 9 of them were born in England&Wales in 2010, because she is such a pretty name. I first came upon her, myself, when reading a book which I can’t for the life of me remember. But what I can remember was that Peony wore trousers with different coloured legs. She was an eccentric child, to say the least. Another seldom used name in England&Wales in Tolulope, given to just 4 girls in 2010, whilst Temitope was given to 10 girls.

Another P name that I reckon will be rising fast here in the UK in the next few years is Paloma. We’ve already had pop act Florence&The Machine attributed to the rise of Florence, and there’s another similar artist in the UK right now called Paloma Faith. She was the goth girl, Andrea, in the first of the rebooted St.Trinians films, but has since embraced colour to the max. Her name is Spanish for dove. Another British pop act, Mika, has three sisters named Yasmina, Paloma and Zuleika.

Going back to 2000, Penelope was given to 35 girls that year, as was Henrietta. Other names ranking similarly to her, and also containing four syllables (within 45-25 births) in 2000, with their 2010 ranking/birth number in brackets after are:

  • Angelica (#531, 75 births)
  • Henrietta (#730, 50 births)
  • Ophelia (#559, 71 births)
  • Valentina (#521, 77 births)
  • Veronica (#452, 92 births)

As you can see, non of them have broken the Top 300 as Penelope has done, but they have all risen since 2000 and could rise further but maybe not as quickly as dear Penny. That leads us onto another point, one could simply use a nickname of Penelope instead. Aside from Poppy, which resides firmly in the Top 100, the nicknames are generally not as popular as their long form:

  • Nell – #390
  • Nelly – #747
  • Penny – #396
  • Petal – #3156
  • Piper – #719
  • Polly – #300
  • Posy – #4688

I would also suggest Pippa as a nickname for Penelope, but she’s also on the express train to popularity at the moment. I guess one could argue that Philippa is another great alternative choice, who has actually been going backwards in the past few years. Other vintage-sounding P names include Patience, Prudence and Pearl, and Pomeline is a name with Royal heritage.

To conclude, Penelope is a great name with some great alternatives should her popularity put you off. My line on popularity is the same as always, though: if your heart says go for it, just go for it regardless of how popular the name may be.

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Weekend Post: Boyish Nicknames For Girls

Frankie Sandford, from gcstatic.com

This weeks musings were sparked off after I went to pick my littlest sister up from her childminders this week, and they seem to fit nicely with this week’s accidently theme of nicknames. See, a new lad started at my sister’s childminders this week. A new lad named Lou. Just Lou. To be honest, I find myself not particularly bothered by this occurence. I know that the name I introduce myself to the world as has historically been used more for males, even if we Europeans are rushing to flip that coin, even before Heidi Klum got in on the act back in 2008 when she welcomed her own Lou Sulola. It’s part of a growing trend of boyish nicknames on girls, though. In the case of Lou, 5 girls were given the name in England&Wales last year, whilst less than 3 boys were given the name. Of course, when it comes to longer forms, Louis (#69) is certainly more popular than Louise (#208), but not as popular (yay!) as Lucy (#21).

Frankie Cocozza has really been trying to tarnish the chances his name has of ever re-entering the Top 100 of late. This week he was kicked off X Factor for pushing the limits, so now seems a good time to talk about boyish nicknames on girls. Back in June, Anna reported that Australian swimmer had welcomed a daughter named Frankie, sister to Stella and Rocco. Frankie is a great name to mention in this post, since the male and female rankings are one of the closest in terms of male nicknames picking up momentum for females. For the males, Frankie ranks at #108 and slips down to #191 for females. This could be a girlband thing, since The Saturdays has a member called Frankie Sandford, even if it’s short for Francesca in her case. Personally, I still remember her from her S Club Juniors days, which just shows my age more than anything because I remember watching them being formed on the CBBC show S Club Search back in 2001. To be honest, people probably only began to take note of this Frankie once The Saturdays emerged in 2008, when Frankie ranked at a still respectable #306 for females and #137 for males. For the sake of completetion, Francesca currently [2010] ranks at #102 with Frances trailing a little behind at #521. I actually have a friend named Frances who hates her name and goes instead by her middle name of Nicole; personally, I actually quite like the name Frances, not that I’d admit that to her face.

Another tidbit to add into the discussion that may interest you all is the startling fact that Stevie ranks at #608 for females, and #1551 for males. The name Steve ranks the same as Stevie for males, which is even more baffling, especially when you consider the success of their long forms: Stephen ranks at #217 and Steven at #245. Then there’s the Beau/Belle conundrum – where Beau (#351) ranks higher than Belle (#463) for females in England&Wales. I’m not sure I can explain how that’s happened, given the popularity of Bell(e/a) names at the moment thanks to Twilight.

Lily Allen, daughter of actor Keith Allen, recently retired from her relatively short-lived pop career which brought us such hits as Smile and The Fear; she has a little sister named Teddie, who was born in 2006. There’s also a female Teddie in my littlest sister’s favourite TV show: Good Luck Charlie. For those not in the know, Teddie is the second eldest of four children, with her three siblings being called: ‘PJ’, Gabriel ‘Gabe’ and Charlotte ‘Charlie’. The other three all go by nicknames, so by this logic, Teddie must be a short form of something, but it’s never been revealed on the show, according to Google. Generally speaking, when it comes to males, Teddie is short for Theodore so the missing full name we’re looking for could simply be Theodora. That just doesn’t fit, though. Speaking of Disney shows, there’s another one called Shake It Up which features a girl named Raquel, but nicknamed Rocky.

Ronnie ranks at #683 for females as well, and this could be attributed to the Eastenders character, who became embroiled in a controversial baby-napping storline earlier on this year. Ronnie Branning was born as Veronica Elizabeth, however, and is the elder sister to Roxanne Lizette ‘Roxy’, making them a rather oddly named sibset to me. One with traditional sounding names, one with more modern sounding names – but maybe that was the intention? I wouldn’t know, I avoid Soap Operas on principle. Back at the beginning of October there was also a couple on Million Pound Drop called Teri and Terry. It’s also a good moment to mention that Rory has certainly not been embraced as a female name here in England&Wales – only 3 females were given the name in 2010, compared to 456 males. I do believe Rory was in the USA Top 1000 in both 2008 and 2009, before dropping out in 2010. Then again, Rory isn’t technically a nickname, he means red king in Irish.

To conclude, yes, people are naming their daughters male nicknames, and in some cases it can work, and in some cases it may not. I reckon I suffer from slight bias when it comes to this area, so I turn to you dear readers. How do you feel about the subject? Boyish nicknames for longer girly names? Or just boyish nicknames full stop for females?

Categories: Nicknames, Weekend Post | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

3 Alternative Nicknames for Jonathan

Jonathan Creek, played by Alan Davis, from wordpress.com

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these posts, well, according to my frankly brilliant (ha!) memory. The target this time around is Jonathan, in honour of one of my favourite TV supersleuths: Jonathan Creek. It’s also good timing because my ‘Uncle’ Nathan recently celebrated his 21st birthday, again, so I suppose this post goes out to him as well, especially since his offspring got her very own post back in September. The next target will likely be my Grandfather, who has some strong opinions about names – especially his own. But let’s save that nugget for another post.

Growing up I knew one Jonathan my age, who usually went by the nickname Jonno. I didn’t know a John, but knew plenty of Jacks and even a Gianni, which is the Italian form of Johnny. John is one of those classics of yesteryear which have suffered of late, as between 2009/2010 John fell 11 places to #94, making him one of the furthest fallers inside the Top 100, whilst Jonathan ranked at #141 in 2010 in England&Wales. Another notable example of this kind of fall from grace being Margaret, which now ranks just outside the Top 500. One of the main factors may have been the embracing of Jack, and to a certain extent Jackson in recent years. Plenty, if not most, parents will likely know Jack started off as a nickname for John, whilst perhaps not knowing that Ian or even Sean are international variants. One thing is for sure: John is a solid classic that has been loved for centuries.

But he’s no relation of Jonathan. It’s close, but they originate from two different Hebrew names. For Jonathan it’s Yehonatan, whilst for John it’s Yochanan. Both meanings relate to Yahweh, but for Jonathan this relates to Yahweh has given, not Yahweh is gracious as is the case for John.

So, aside from the obvious nicknames such as John, Johnny et al, what other nicknames could you bestow upon your little Jonathan? Here’s my three favourite ideas to get the ball rolling for you:

1. Xan

Inspired by the final four letters – than – this name is technically a nickname for another popular choice: Alexander. The letter X is in vogue at the moment, even if X factor isn’t; Zeffy recently covered Xerxes, another quirky X name. I remember only knowing Benet Brandreth’s middle initial was X whilst initially drawing up the Brandreth post, and having to do some serious research to find out what the X stood for, it of course being for Xan. Only 3 Xans were born in England&Wales last year, but there were also 3025 Alexanders and a further 135 Xanders, both numbers of which may include a handful more Xans.

2. Tate

A nickname for Nathan, which makes up 3/4 of the name Jonathan is Nate, so why not take things a step further to Tate. We’ve mentioned this name a few times on this blog, going so far as to give him his own post back in the summer after my trip to Liverpool. I see Tate as a rising name, and I’m not just saying that because I love him. There are plenty of factors on his side, such as his compact nature which proved a successful formula for Jack and James – both Top 10 names in 2010. There is evidence to suggest that the name Tate is related to the old surname Tait, and thus have relations with the Old Norse word for cheerful.

3. Otto

A slightly off-the-beaten track suggestion, but don’t cast him aside just yet. O and T are both prominent letters in Jonathan, and the -o ending is one continually bleeted about being ‘the next big thing’. The name is related to the Germanic element od, which connotates wealth and fortune. He’s enjoyed relative popularity over in Germany, I believe, given that I know three Ottos, all of whom call Germany their home, plus when I did German at GCSE the textbook was constantly throwing Ottos, Sebastians and Helgas at us. As for his state of affairs on the other side of the English Channel, Otto currently sits at a fairly respectable #397, sharing it with Aden and Khalid.

Categories: Boy Names, Nicknames | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

‘Beatrix/Beatrice Has No Decent Nicknames’

A rather artsy picture of mine taken on a beach. The same beach as the background photo, I believe.

I’ve been planning a post along these lines for a few weeks given how much love both versions of this name get on the ‘boards, but recent conversations have suddenly made it a very topical post for me to write about since I had a friend say the above statement to me today. I found myself initially agreeing with her, in that the obvious two have never really ‘rocked my boat’ – and when I say obvious two, I’m talking Bea and Trixie. This post therefore goes out to my friend who is at a sticking point with her relationship with Beatrix, and thus this post is likely to be a bit of a shambling walk through my mind as ideas pop into it.

My problem with Bea is quite simple: I want to give it two syllables and rhyme it with Leah. Proof even we ‘pros’ still have issues with pronunciations. If I were to use Bea, I would insist on it being spelt with two ‘e’s, hence, Bee. I remember once doing a monologue about a cat called Bumblebee, and I actually prefer Bee as a short form for Phoebe, Thisbe or even Belphoebe. This is what I spend my days thinking about. That and wondering why UCAS hates me.

It seems rich of me to not particularly like Trixie, since I’m actually a closet Pixie fan. I’m not sure if I’ve ever made this clear, but I plan on changing my middle name sometime in the future because I just can’t agree with it, and Pixie is actually one of the names in consideration. Alas Lucy Pixie is borderline cutesy. I guess you could use Pixie as a nickname for Beatrix should you so choose. Jacqueline Wilson gave one of her characters, in her novel Diamond Girls, the name Dixie. It could work, but the slang of today makes it nigh on impossible. Dixie’s sisters were called Martine, Jude, Rochelle and Sundance. Their mother? Sue.

We mentioned a Beatrix who goes by the name Betty last week, and I maintain that it’s a fantastic interpretation of Beatrix, as indeed are her the names of her siblings. As an extension of Betty, there’s also several other Elizabeth nicknames which could work, specifically Betsy, Bets and maybe Elsie at a stretch. Could Beth work as well? Maybe, I think nicknames really are an open arena.

Kristen mentioned on her guest post over at Nameberry today the possibility of using Birdie as a nickname for Beatrice, and one could take things further by suggesting the slightly re-arranged Bridie. It also reminds me that I think the name Beatrix looks a lot like the word biscuit – that may say more about my inner psyche than I really want people to analyse (did I mention I had a psychology teacher pin me down as an affectionless psychopath a few weeks ago for smirking during a video on violence?). There’s a French film, titled in English A Very Long Engagement, which featured a WWI soldier named Biscotte, which translates to the English word rusk. I think it mentioned in the film why he was named so, but I fail to remember exactly what the backstory behind it was.

Simply using the end three letters of Beatrix could work, and there are several other ways to exploit Rix, first off by pulling off some letterphilic substitution to create Ria, or indeed the very jazzy, yet slightly gender neutral depending on your interests name Rio. When I say depending on your interests, I’m talking about the song Rio (her name is Rio and she dances….) and the footballer Rio (Ferdinand). There’s a Japanese name, Riko, which is also worth considering. It can either mean child of truth or child of jasmine. The Spanish name Rico is a shortening of Ricardo. Rix also could go to Ricky/Rikki/Ricki, or if you’re feeling very brave, the word Risk.

Specifically targeting Beatrice, and going back to my favourite sport, we could put forward the case for Becks, or simply Bec(k). That therefore opens the door to most of the imaginable Rebecca nicknames – I know a Rebecca who is most often referred to simply as Rebs. Simple, yet effective. Another simple option is Rae, or even Bay. I promised myself as a child that I would always live in a country with a coastline, and always be at least 2 hours away from it. I love the beach, specifically what one finds at a beach; we’re talking good ol’ fashioned British seasides here, not palm trees etc. rather donkey rides, piers and rock. Just to give you a scale of my seaside addiction, over the summer period I visited no less than 6 seaside locations in England and won a game of mini golf at each one, so Bay’s a nice way for me to acknowledge that I have this addiction, and plan to pass it on to up-and-coming generations. You can splice Bay and Rebs together to get Babs, which was the name of one of the chickens in Chicken Run, set up north in Yorkshire and made by those who gave us one of the best comedy duos: Wallace and Gromit. As a rather unexpected finale, if you love cats but dislike the name Tabitha, there’s also Tabby as an option.

There ya go friend of mine. Proof there are some great possibilities for nicknames of Beatrix/Beatrice if you put some hard thought into it. Or just read this post and nick one of my ideas, in which case fair enough. That’s what the internet is for.

Categories: Girl Names, Nicknames | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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