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.
Baz—This jazzy nickname for Sebastian isn’t heard much in the US, but is associated with Australian director Baz Luhrmann—who actually was christened Mark Anthony and was nicknamed by his dad. There’s also a Baz in Rainbow Rowell’s bestselling Fangirl.
Bing–When Kate Hudson named her son Bingham and announced that he’d be called Bing, it was an instant modernization of the zingy name that had been associated with crooner Crosby (born Harry Lillis) for decades.
Bix—One of the great jazz nicknames, associated with the legendary early cornet player, Bix Beiderbecke, born Leon and having shared his nickname with his father. Bix could easily fit in with other current one-syllable, x-ending names like Max, Dax, Jax, Pax, etc.
Cuddy—It’s hard to imagine a return for Cuthbert, but this pet form is certainly cuddly.
Jem—Another name with literary ties—to the brother of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, born Jeremy—this was primarily an old-timey alternative to Jim as a nickname for James. It also appears in Anne of Green Gables.
Lye—This was once a fairly common nickname for Elijah—but would the negative aspect of the word get in the way of its usage today?
Pip—This was the name of the main character in Dickens’s Great Expectations, born Philip Pirrip. If Pippa has come to the fore as a nickname for Philippa, why not a return of Pip? Actress Billie Piper used it as the middle name of her son Eugene, and it is also the nn of basketball legend Scottie Pippen. It currently ranks at Number 194 among the Dutch, who love short, nicknamey names.
Rafe—Not exactly a nickname, this form of Ralph became common in the 17th century, when that was its most common pronunciation. Americans have become attuned and attracted to it via actor Ralph/Rafe Fiennes. The name of the Ben Affleck character in Pearl Harbor, it now ranks at Number 367 in England and Wales.
Are there any of these names you would either as a nn or in full?