Category: Middle, Last and Nicknames
Brits love diminutives. We use them, often automatically, to shorten names in a familiar way, and they have been essential for centuries as a way of distinguishing individuals with the same name. We love them so much, many of them have now been elevated into full-name status, and happily litter the Top 100.
The most common are two-syllable, ie/y-endings we know and love well; Isabelles are Izzy, Olivers are Ollie, Katherines are Katies and Fredericks are Freddies. But more and more, parents are looking to a more brisk and quirky style of diminutive. Edwards are often Ned, rather than Eddy; several Henrys are Hal, and Christophers are the striking Kit rather than Chris.
With this niche trend in mind, here is a rundown of some one-syllable diminutives that have become overlooked since they were developed in the Middle Ages. Several of them, perhaps surprisingly, were unisex.
In the 16th century Bess was a popular nickname for Elizabeth. You could almost say that it was the diminutive for the name, as the most famous bearer, Elizabeth I, was known fondly as “Good Queen Bess“. It began to lose favour in the 18th century, but was revived as Bessie in the 19th. In some instances, Bess was also used as a diminutive for Beatrice.
By Sophie Kihm
We each have our own approach when it comes to middle naming. Whether it’s honor-names-only, quirky guilty pleasures, or next in line on your favorites list, most parents are subscribed to a particular attitude. But no matter what your style is when it comes to middle names, we could all use some inspiration every now and then. I’ve compiled a list of lists–all past posts from my blog that feature names that I think are especially suited for the middle spot.
I want to include a tribute to my dad who was James Edward (Jemma is like James or his initials which were JEM) and Edie is a play on Edward. I have also thought of using Milla, a tribute to my maiden name Miller. Please help me. It is keeping me up at night.
The Name Sage replies:
By Linda Rosenkrantz
We finally get to the fourth and final entry in our vanished nickname series. This time it’s boys’ nns that have never appeared in the Top 1000. And once again, some can be used as short forms for names still in use—or not– while others are able to stand on their own.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
The boys have it this month on Nameberry, with male births far outnumbering the girl baby announcements in August.
We had two pairs of boy twins this time, the handsomely named Cruz Patrick and Kane Fredrick, and Declan Zurich Rhodes and Phineas Keegan. Especially love Zurich as a new place name middle idea (with a nice story behind it.)