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Category: Middle, Last and Nicknames

blog--no jr

By Linda Rosenkrantz

These days, not many of us name our kids Junior—though British singer Peter Andre (whose other child is Princess Tiaamii Crystal Esther) did just that–or even call them My Name, Jr. * But there are ways that you can still honor yourself but a little less blatantly.  And for this, as in so many ways (just kidding), we can look to the stars for ideas.

Here’s how:

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vintage nicknames

By Pamela Redmond Satran

Nickname-names still appear on birth certificates.  In the U.S., such names as Ellie, Abby, and Charlie for girls; Jake, Jack, and Johnny for boys all rank high.  In the U.K., nickname-names are even more fashionable, with Evie, Maisie, Millie, and Ellie in the Top 35 for girls, and Jack, Charlie, and Alfie in the boys’ Top 10.

But there are generations of nickname-names that have fallen off the Top 1000, yet sound cute and baby-ready today.  The list here is drawn from names that were on the Social Security roster on their own in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but fell off by the early 1970s (the date of their last listing follows the name) and haven’t yet reappeared.

Whether you choose to use Bea or Mamie, Clem or Zeb as full names or as diminutives for Beatrice or Marietta, Clement or Zebediah, any of these nickname-names would make charming choices.

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name teasing

Pam Spam: That was a rare one, easy to ignore.

But Pammy, said in a whine-y, wheedle-y voice, was more hurtful.  To this day, if someone wants to get under my skin (I’m looking at you, Cousin Michael), they call me Pammy.

Were you ever teased about your name?  In what way?  How hurtful was it — did it verge on bullying, or was it more affectionate, even a sign of popularity?

And what about your children’s names?  Did you look for a name that was tease-proof, or at least one that would not lend itself to teasing?

Has your child gotten teased about his or her name?  Do you find people more tolerant and less prone to name-teasing today than they were when you were growing up?

Please tell us your experiences around names and teasing — either about your own name or the names of your children and loved ones.

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The Many Faces of Kate

girl name Kate

The strong, straightforward Kate (along with her variations) is the most popular nickname for the perennial classic Katherine today, often standing on its own. Some of the world’s most famous women bear the name Kate, which is popular in the US, England, and Ireland. The nickname even has Shakespearean antecedents, in The Taming of the Shrew – “You lie, in faith; for you are call’d plain Kate, And bonny Kate and sometimes Kate the curst.” How do you get Kate from Katherine, a Greek name meaning pure? One theory is that it’s derived from Hecate, the goddess of magic. The name Kate, ranked in the U.S. Top 200, seems to work magic of its own. Take a look at some of the most famous Kates.

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lennon

Hero names, names chosen in honor of personal heroes or heroines outside your own family, have been a rising class of names over recent years. They offer strong meaning for parents, powerful role models for their namesakes, plus names more distinctive than the Johns and Marys often found in the family tree. Hero names we see on the rise right now connect to luminaries of the arts, sciences, commerce, and politics both past and present. Some are surnames appropriated as firsts while others are distinctive first names. Here, 12 of the hottest hero and heroine names on the charts:

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