Category: vintage nicknames for girls
By Linda Rosenkrantz
After a brief hiatus following the Sandy-Mandy-Cindy-Mindy years, nickname names are making a strong comeback. Just recently we’ve seen starbabies with names like Andy (for a girl), Art, Cy, Gus, Josh and Sid on their birth certificates. So with this in mind, we’re embarking here on a 4-part-long search for fresh vintage nickname ideas.
Today we consider girl nicknames that were used frequently enough at one time to make it into the Top 1000 list. Some dropped off because their mother names were no longer current (Effie/Euphemia), some just because they’d come to sound too grandmotherly, and others, like Freddie, that had become strictly male.
It’s astonishing to think that Hattie – just Hattie, all by itself, not Harriet — was Number 27 in 1880, until you realize that many other short forms were among the top choices that year. Minnie was all the way up at Number 5, Annie was Number 11, Nellie, 18, and Bessie, 23. Other nicknames for girls in the Top 50 included Carrie, Jennie, Mattie, Jessie, and Fannie (and obviously, the ie ending was the popular one).
But at no time have these names been more fashionable than they are today. Whether given as full names or used as lighthearted nicknames for more serious appellations (my twin nieces Georgia and Louisa, for instance, call each other Gigi and Lulu), double names are worthy of consideration.
Among the possibilities:
Bebe or Bibi – Actress and dancer Bebe Neuwirth, who played Lilith on Cheers, is probably the best-known bearer of this name today, but there’s also author Bebe Moore Campbell, model Bebe Buell, and even (male) Nixon pal Bebe Rebozo. In Neuwirth’s case, Bebe is a nickname for Beatrice. Bibi – born Berit – Andersson is a Swedish actress who starred in many Ingmar Bergman films.
Cece – Cece is suddenly a hot baby name thanks to Jim and Pam on The Office, whose fictional baby girl is named Cecelia and called Cece. CeCe Winans, a gospel singer whose sister’s name is BeBe, is also named Cecilia.
Coco – Little Coco Arquette was so named in honor of the first two letters in mom Courtney Cox’s first and last names. Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha was born Mikhaila, and fashion great Coco Chanel, who was born Gabrielle, has said her nickname is a shortened version of coquette. There was also Coco the Clown, though that image is thankfully fading.
Five minutes ago, I didn’t know I was going to write a blog on this topic. And then searching for something else (I can’t even remember what!) I came across a long list of vintage nicknames from 18th and 19th century America from the Connecticut State Library.
Not only are some of the proper names used in Colonial and Victorian times now rarely heard, but the nicknames may be antiquated too. But nickname names are back in fashion., making it a prime time to dig up some new (or new old) examples.
I’ve left off the predictable choices like Margie for Margaret or Abby for Abigail. What’s here are either surprising combinations or vintage nicknames for still-used names that are in danger of becoming obscure.
Here, some ideas for pulling ahead of the Gracies, Evies, and Ellies currently heard in every pediatrician’s office;