New Routes to Popular Nicknames

Be clever for us!

creative baby names

by Pamela Redmond

I was browsing the name Theodosia a little while ago — you know, the way some people browse bookstores or designer clothes — and I thought, There’s an interesting route to Thea!

At first thought, finding an unusual formal name that gets you to a popular nickname might seem to give you the worst of all worlds. The unusual, distinctive name you worked so hard to find is hidden away on the official documents, while the world knows your child by a nickname — Ellie or Addie or Max — that lots of other kids share.

But you can look at it another way that makes a lot more sense. You get to give your baby a truly unique name without having to worry that it’s too difficult to spell or pronounce or understand because it has an eminently user-friendly nickname. And if at any point you or your child wants to be Theodosia instead of Thea, it’s waiting right there.

What are some unusual routes to popular nicknames that you can think of? Treat us to your cleverest choices.

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42 Responses to “New Routes to Popular Nicknames”

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KendraNicole Says:

July 30th, 2017 at 11:06 pm

We gave our son the name Charleston as an unusual route to the nickname Charlie—we loved it but wanted a more formal given name and Charles felt too stuffy. We ended up liking “Charleston” so much that now it’s what we call him most of the time, and Charlie is only an occasional nickname.

kennamoon Says:

July 30th, 2017 at 11:06 pm

I really like

Winifred “Freddie”
Ariadne “Addy”
Genevieve “Ginny”
Penelope “Nel”
Ramona “Mona”
Anastasia “Stassie” or “Ana”
Solana “Lana”
Xaviera “Vera”

Beauregard “Beau”
Abraham “Bram” or “Abe”
Dominic “Nic”
Evander “Evan”
Grantley “Grant”
Hezekiah “Ki”
Jethro “Jet”
Valentine “Val”

Wittyusername103 Says:

July 30th, 2017 at 11:15 pm

Livana – Liv , Anna or Ana
Callahan – Cal , Calla , Callie or Hanna
Wendy – Dee
Gemini – Gem
Connelly – Connie , Nell , Nelly/ie

bjoy Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 12:01 am

Galilee- Lilee/Lily
Genesis- Gena/Jenny
Calliope- Callie
Bendigo- Ben

ashley6815 Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 12:08 am

Jedidiah – Jed, Jedi
Georgiana – Gigi, Ana
Evangeline – Gilly, Angie
Dorothy – Dot, Dottie
Guinevere – Gwen
Veronica – Ronnie
Leonardo – Leo
Margaret – Maisie

fullabeans Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 12:22 am

Atticus “Kit”
Mordecai “Kai”
Corbin “Cory”
Cortland “Cory”
Isidore “Sid”
Jacob “Coby”
Jasper “Jax”
Lucas “Louie”
Luther “Louie”
Nicholas “Cole”
Oscar “Ozzy”
Patrick “Pip”
Wilmer “Whim”

GirlyWhirly Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 12:58 am

Araminta- Aria
Eulalia- Ellie
Josephine- Effie
Lavender- Liv
Callista- Callie
Magnolia- Maggie
Isadora- Izzy
Julibee- Julie
Constance- Cece
Cordelia- Cory
Apollonia- Polly
Juliet- Jet
Jessamine- Minny
Rosemary- Romy
October- Toby
Ottilie- Tillie
Thessaly- Tessa
Alethea- Thea
Bernadette- Birdie
Amaryllis- Mary
Galilee- Lily

Alistair- Ari
Wallace- Ace
Nikolai- Kol/Niko/Kai
Napoleon- Leo
Charles- Chase
Michael- Miles
Constantine- Stan
Arthur- Archie
Roderick- Rory
Theodore- Thor
Alexander- Axel
Crispin- Cris
Ignatius- Nate
Fergus- Gus
Nicodemus- Nic
Maverick- Rick
Robin- Rob
Willis- Will

columbiacharm Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 1:10 am

My favourite that fits this is Emerald nn Emmy. I came up with that because I love unusual word names, and especially gem names, while my SO likes rather common and plain names.
Another I thought of recently is Brighton/Remington/any boy name ending in -ton nn Tony. Not a nickname I like personally, but it would work.

I do kind of like the idea of Lavender nn Ava. Thats maybe not a popular nickname, but definitely a popular name.

A few more random ideas, some are a but of a stretch maybe.

Acacia nn Casey
Adira nn Addy
Adriel nn Addy
Alaska /Alhena nn Allie
Amadea nn Maddie
Arabella nn Abby
Boden/Bowen/Brennan nn Ben
Emerson nn Merry
Ismene/Ismeria nn Izzy
Lullaby nn Abby
Pandora nn Annie
Robinson nn Rob/Robbie
Stellaluna nn Ella
Thompson nn Tom/Tommy
Willoughby nn Will/Will
Zenaida nn Ada

Might come back with more because they’re fun to come up with!

FairMaiden Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 1:38 am

Nicknames are a must in our family, so this is a much deliberated topic whenever we’re naming a baby. Our own children are

William nn Will
Verity nn Vera
Alastair nn Ace

Not yet certain of The One, but discussed for our other children or baby 4 on the way are

Caius nn Cai
Jethro nn Jett
Crusoe nn Cruz/Cruise
Pierson nn Piers
Tancred nn Creed
Callum nn Cal

Linnea nn Lina
Amara nn Mara
Ianthe nn Annie
Felicity nn Elsie
Brighton nn Bea

tfzolghadr Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 2:40 am

We did this with our daughter. Her given name is Emiliana. It seems familiar, but is actually quite rare. We have yet to meet another Emiliana in person. We call her Emi as a nickname. Although a famous nickname for an unusual name may seem counterintuitive, it has saved us a lot of trouble. It’s rather amazing how many people just can’t be bothered to try to correctly pronounce (and remember) an unusual name.

Eu Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 3:20 am

Isolde – Zelda!
Eilonwy or Elowen – Nell

Happyhare90 Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 3:28 am

We have a little girl called Winry (pronounced Win-Ree) it’s a fresher twist on Winifred because neither of us liked the fred in it and from an anime we liked it also has routes of being an old Welsh name. We call her Wynn most of the time and actually a lot of the time we get told that’s a shame because people love her full name lol x

minisia Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 4:08 am

Oberon – Obi (as in Kenobi)
Galilea – Leia
Jeremiah – Remy
Aloysius – Wish
Emmanuel – Wells
Wilhelmina – Willow
Winter – Winnie
Madelief – Della/Maddie
Tennessee – Nessie
Chrysanthemum/Alexandra – Xanthe
Euphemia – Mia
Magnolia – Maggie
Nicodemus – Cody
Zachary – Cree
Leocadia – Cady
Allegra – Allie
Demelza – Demi
Halliday – Halle

Greyblue Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 4:22 am

Maddox nn Max
Evander nn Evan
Leander nn Andy
Lysander Nn Andy
Rafferty nn Raffy

Leandra nn Lea, Andie or Lela
Clarissa nn Callie or Cassie
Rosalie nn Allie or Rosiethe
Mirabel Nn Mira or Belle
Loretta nn Lottie

I also like the idea of combining first and middle names to get nice nicknames:

Arthur Logan nn Arlo
Carey Oliver nn Cole
Caleb Emerson nn Clem
Tobias/Torrance Edward nn Ted, Teddy or Todd

Rebecca Molly nn Remy
Stephanie Elena nn Stella
Elizabeth Sienna nn Elsie

AnnaKatharina Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 7:05 am

Clementine “Emmy”
Ottilie “Tilly”
Amalia “Mali” “Molly”
Elowen “Winnie”
Reverie “Evie” “Ever”
Magnolia “Maggie”
Helena “Leni”
Frida “Freddy”

Evander “Ever”
Leander “Leo”
Elliott “Lio”
Valentin “Lenny”
Lucian “Luke”
Peregrine “Perry” “Penn”

RebeccaNZ Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 9:22 am

Yvaine “Evie” or “Eve”

Hayden_Taylor Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 9:31 am

I like these ones and even considered the first option for my youngest. 🙂

Wilder “Will”
Elowen “Ellie”
Honora “Nora”
Hendrix “Henry”
Apollo “Olly”
Meredith “Edie”
Emiliana “Mia”
Adonis “Don”
Spencer “Penny”
Atlas “Atty/Addy”
Reverie “Evie”

aso Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 10:01 am

Samford – Ford
Brigham – Briggs
Elenor – Len
Wellesley – Wells
Aurora – Rory
Callaway – Cal
Lawton/Lawson – Law

larkub101 Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 10:27 am

This is actually my style! I used to call them “secret identity” names, when you have a mysterious and extravagant full name hidden behind a charming but common nickname. Currently high on my list are:

Amaryllis “Lily”
Holiday “Holly”
Seraphina “Sadie”
Calliope “Poppy”
Lavinia “Liv”
Bellamy “Bella”
Waverly “Avery”
Cordelia “Cora”
Olympia “Lola”

I love the versatility of a child/adult being casual, uncomplicated Lily when they want to blend in and elegant, unique Amaryllis when they want to stand out. It’s the best of both worlds!

GreenEyes375 Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 10:55 am

Kalixto for Kit and Theodosia for Thea ate by far my favourites. I also have all kind of names to get to Rose, Hadassah for Hattie, Artemisia for Missy, Megara for Meg, Lucelia for Lucy, Calista/Callisto/Calixta/Calypso for Callie, Andromeda for Romy, Artemas for Artie, Thaddeus/Theophilus for Teddy, Boaz for Bo, Valentine for Val, Leonidas for Leo, Lysander for Andy, Percival/Perseus for Percy, Hezekiah for Ky, & Samson for Sammy/Sam.

LarissaP Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 12:45 pm

My 2nd is Izola, but goes by Izzy. Allowed us to use a favorite (but very rare) family name with a more common nn. No one pronounces her real name correctly so I’m happy we did it!

kkilgallon Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Adalia- Dolly, Lia
Anahita- Anna, Hettie, Nita
Arizona- Ari, Aria, Ona
Barbara to sleek Bara, Barra, Bar
Cassiane- Cass, Cassie, Anne, Annie, Ana, Casey
Colette- Cole, Lettie.
Constantina- Connie, Tina, Stacy, Nina
Eden- Edie
Elara- Elle, Ellie, Ella, Lara, Laura
Eleri- Elle, Ellie, Ella, Larry
Leilani- Leila, Lana, Lane, Laney, Lonny, Lani
Lysistrata- Liz, Lizzie, Lisa
Sidra- Sid
Sadira- Sadie, Addie

Arizona to Ari.
Roland to Rollo
Rourk or Rourke to Rory.

zsazsa00 Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Lazarus for the nicknames Larry or Rus, and maybe Izzy or even Zac. I’m thinking of using Lazarus as a first name more and more. This nicknaming exercise has really helped move that forward since I’m realizing it has so many traditional and fun nickname options.

zsazsa00 Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 1:42 pm

Also another unconventional favorite of mine is Willough for a boy. Wil/Will is common enough but also having Lou as an option is great! (The brother in law is a Wil)

zsazsa00 Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 1:45 pm

Ps. Sorry for spamming lol but why is there no edit button (?!) because I just thought of Lowry as an option for Willough. Similar letters and the O maintains the wollOW sound so I think it works, even if it seems far off.

nuttymussel Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 2:18 pm

Amaryllis nn Amy
Everett nn Rhett
Mirabel nn Bella
Penelope nn Poppy

KateyB1012 Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 4:37 pm

Waverly nn Wave I just love, because if he grows up to be fancy, he can be Waverly (which hearkens to Willoughby from Jane Austen) or Wave if he turns out to be a West Coast, laid-back kinda dude!

Anastasia nn Sassy or Sas

littlenico17 Says:

July 31st, 2017 at 5:31 pm

Persephone nn Effie

Maple10 Says:

August 1st, 2017 at 8:17 am

I like uncommon nicknames as well as full names, but here’s my favorites:
Marigold- Maggie
Amalia- Molly
Clothilde- Chloe
Elspeth, Elsbeth- Ellie or Beth
Lizbeth- Lizzie or Beth
Beatrice- Betty
Seraphina- Sera or Sophie
Lucinda- Lucy
Liora- Lia
Mirabel- Mia
Primrose- Rosie
Annika- Annie or Nikki

columbiacharm Says:

August 1st, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Another beautiful one I thought of- Angelina, Clementina, Valentina nn Nina

eeseck21 Says:

August 1st, 2017 at 3:06 pm

Julian- Ian

baffled_jessica Says:

August 1st, 2017 at 3:15 pm

I love Mary as a nickname for Amaryllis, also Artemis nn Artie for a girl is ome of my favorite names.

obow Says:

August 1st, 2017 at 6:50 pm

Makes sense to a certain extent, but then why choose a super popular nickname and find a convoluted way to achieve it? If you want to pick a common, popular or trendy nickname but a unique, uncommon or rare full name, what’s the point? Your kid will be one of 5 Ellie’s in her class, but really be called Eleri?

Mega_Muffin Says:

August 1st, 2017 at 8:28 pm

Some of my favorite unusual formal/nickname pairs:

Isobel – Zoe
Theophania – Thea
Artemisia – Aria
Veronica – Vera
Isadora/Mercedes – Sadie
Penelope – Poppy
Beatrix – Bex
Bernadette/Beatrice – Betty
Emmanuelle – Emma/Emme and Elle
Cordelia – Cora

saoirse123 Says:

August 1st, 2017 at 8:31 pm

Androcles nn Andy
Argus nn Gus
Alaric nn Rick or Ricky
Nicasio nn Nick
Nicodemo nn Nick or Cody
Ludovic nn Vic or Luke
Lucretius nn Luke or Lou
Corbin nn Ben
Acacius nn Ace
Horatio nn Ace
Alcide nn Sid
Achilleo nn Leo
Galileo nn Leo
Casimir nn Casey
Tiberius nn Ty
Corentin nn Cory
Davenport nn Dave
Dougray nn Ray
Philon nn Phil
Stamatios nn Matt
Olek nn Ollie
Olimpio nn Ollie

Adelpha nn Addie
Ambrosia nn Rosie
Andromeda nn Andie
Anemone nn Annie
Anjuli nn Jules or Julie
Hortensia nn Tansy
Iphigenia nn Jenny
Imogen nn Jen or Jenny
Sheherazade nn Sherry
Timothea nn Thea
Vernarda nn Vera
Jessamina nn Jess
Abilene nn Abby

NaomiNY Says:

August 2nd, 2017 at 1:09 am

Augustine – Augie, Gus
Rickard – Ricky, Rick, Rico
Zacchaeus – Zach
Caliban – Cal
Samwell – Sam(my)
Theophilus – Theo, Phil
Melchior – Mel
Hezekiah – Kai
Rhaegar – Ray

Evelina – Eve, Evie
Galilee – Lee, Lily
Ambrosia – Amy
Armistice – Misty, Tess, Amy, Aria, Missy
Scheherezade – Sherry, Reza
Ophelia – Lia
Rhaella – Rae, Ella, Ellie
Cascade – Cassie
Theophania/Theofania – Thea, Nia

katinka Says:

August 2nd, 2017 at 7:19 am

My husband suggested Nell for Endellion – love!

I also like Roxy as a nn for longer “Rose” names like Rosamund.

ladyhope Says:

August 3rd, 2017 at 3:45 am

Long, formal, classic names with nicknames is definitely my style. We have a Theodore “Theo.”

Other favorites:
Malcolm “Macs/Max/Cal”
Benjamin “Benji”
Henry “Hal”
Dominic “Nick”
Marcellus “Marcel/Marc”
Julian/Julius “Jules”
Laurence/Lawrence “Lon”
Elliott “Lot”
Augustus “Gus”
Caspian “Cas”
Everett “Rhett”

Cordelia “Delia/Cora/Lia”
Louisa “Lucy/Lula/Lulu”
Lucia “Lucy/Lula/Lulu”
Adelaide “Ada/Addie/Della/Lady”
Genevieve “Gigi/Vivi/Evie/Ginny”
Susannah “Annie/Sukey”
Helena “Nell/Lena/Lainey’

noragrace Says:

August 3rd, 2017 at 9:12 am

Monica “Nicky” “Mona”
Veronica “Ronnie” “Nicky”

Ignatius “Nate”
Michael “Micah”
Kennedy “Ken” “Kenny”

perdireinz Says:

August 3rd, 2017 at 6:12 pm

I was always jealous of those who had a nice and long name formally, but a nickname casually! It was like a little secret. You could choose to go by whichever, depending on how or who you feel like at the moment. The idea intrigued me. I did have nicknames, but never ones that everyone called me. Most of the time, I just went by my full name.

Yvaine “Yvie” “Yve”
Lucette “Lucy” “Luce” “Luz” “Lux”
Euphemia “Effy” “Mia” “Fifi” “Fee”
Clothilde “Tillie” “Cloe” “Tilda”
Clementine “Emma” “Cleo”
Sakura “Suki”
Wednesday “Wendy”
Juliette “Jett” “Etta”
Imogene “Idgie”
Ruby “Rue” “Bea”
Bianca “Bea”
Beatrice “Bea”
Sofia “Fifi” “Fee” “Fia”
Mohini “Mo”
Katherine “Kitty”
Theodosia “Tia” “Sia” “Thea”
Theodora “Teddy” “Tia” “Dorie” “Thea”
Pandora “Panda” “Dorie”
Isadora “Izzy” “Dorie”
Sylviana “Sylvie”
Sylvette “Sylvie”
Cosette “Cozy”
Cosima “Cozy”
Ingrid “Indie”
Cordelia “Cordie”
Catherine “Thea”
Miriam “Mim”
Naomi “Omi”
Ruth “Rue”
Augusta “Gus”
Zuzanna “Zuzu”
Evangeline “Gia” “Evan”
Aurora “Aura” “Auro” “Rory” “Rora”
Cassandra “Cassie”
Veronica “Ronnie”
Wilhelmina “Willie”
Rosemary “Romy”
Romilly “Romy” “Millie”
Evelyn “Ever”
Bellamy “Belle” “Bella” “Amy”
Rafaella “Ella” “Elle” “Ellie”
Emmeline “Emmie”
Henrietta “Hank”
Harriet “Hattie” “Rhett” “Rhetta”
Dolores “Dolly” “Dorie” “Lori” “Rose” “Rosie”
Esmeralda “Esme”
Helena “Nell”
Sarah “Sallie” “Sadie”
Dorothea “Dorie” “Dorothy” “Dottie” “Dot” “Thea”
Althea “Thea”
Theora “Thora” “Thor” “Thea” “Tia” “Eeyore”
Corinne “Rinne”
Camille “Mila” “Cammie”
Yvette “Vette” “Vetta”
Olivia “Ollie”
Antoinette “Anty” “Nettie” “Toni”
Susannah “Annie” “Zuzu” “Zannah” “Suki” “Sannah”
Tzipporah “Zora” Zippy”
Hazel “Zella”
Alexandra “Sascha”
Amelia “Millie”
Stephanie “Stevie”
Marguerite “Daisy” “Rita” “Margie”
Savannah “Vannah” “Sav” “Savvy”
Kanani “Nani”
Yekaterina “Katya”
Felicity “Lissie” “Flicka”
Grace “Grey” “Ace”
Courtney “Coco” “Nia”
Delphine “Della” “Dell” “Elle” “Ella” “Ellie”

October “Toby”
Elliot “Leo”
Atticus “Atley”
Oscar “Ozzie”
Christopher “Topher”
Sebastian “Bas” “Bastian” “Sebby” “Seb”

actingfun Says:

August 30th, 2017 at 9:04 pm

Samara- Sam/Sammy
Mallory- Rory
Leona- Lea
Avila- Ava
Felicity- Ellie
Nalani- Lani
Clementine- Emmy
Elowen- Ellie
Cadence- Cadie (Katie)
Calista- Callie
Wilson- Will

Mountain Momma Says:

October 22nd, 2017 at 11:40 am

We have Elizabeth who we call Ellie, and just welcomed Lorelei, who we call Rosie!

If Lorelei = nn Rory, why not Rosie!?

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