Nicknames: Where do you stand?

Today’s Question of the Week is about where you stand on nicknames and nickname names.

There is a sliding scale of attitudes when it comes to nicknames: some people pick a name specifically to get to its pet form, others choose a name because it can’t be readily nicknamed, sometimes putting the nn right on the birth certificate. Where you you stand?

*I deliberately picked a name that would be hard to nickname.

*I prefer to call my child by his full name and encourage others to do so, difficult as it sometimes is.

*I chose a name to get to its nickname.

*I usually call my child by a short/pet form, one that I had determined at the same time I picked the name.

*I usually call my child by a nickname, which has evolved over time.

*My child has more than one nickname, used by different people.

*I gave my child a nickname name.

*I don’t have kids yet, but I’m pretty sure I know where I stand on the issue.

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40 Responses to “Nicknames: Where do you stand?”

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allisonhyatt Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 12:51 am

We gave our daughter a nickname name (Livvy…NOT Olivia).
We have met many other Livvys but they have all had Olivia on their birth certificate.
Even though we didn’t pick it because it was a nickname name, it is funny that it gets shortened (or sometimes lengthened) regardless.
She answers to Livvy, Liv, Livs, Livster, Livvy Lee, Hey!, and Munchkins… different people call her different things, she (and we) just go with it!

TobysMommy Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 1:12 am

We named our son Tobias with the full intention of calling him Toby from day one. We considered just using Toby, but we thought Tobias sounded better with his middle name, so he is Tobias Kevin instead of Toby Kevin.
Oddly enough, the girl name I like the most is Clara, with no nickname used. My DH’s name is Jedediah, and he has been Jed from day one. My name is Ann, and I’ve always gone by my real name, no nickname. I kind of like the idea of keeping that male/female symmetry if we ever have a girl.

Brightonbabixz Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 1:35 am

@allisonhyatt
We have an Olivia in our family and she goes by so many nicknames, Liv, Livkins, Livia, Livvy, Ollie or Oly, Via, Olive
Livi Lou, ViVi, and more, I think its cute that she has a special nickname for each family member to call her with its own special meaning to it.

I don’t have kids yet, but when I do I really want them to have atleast 2 nickname choices. My name barely has any nicknames and I always had to go by Brighton, every single time, it got boring just being called by the same thing.

dillonsfan01 Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 2:30 am

I think nicknames have their time and place. I have a Charlie, but his name is Charles on the birth certificate. I call him Charlie Brown, always have and always will, but if he does not want to be Charlie to the rest of the world he can always go by Charles. I like to give them the option all of my children will have a nickname possibility just so they have options and don’t feel “stuck” with a name they don’t like

babylemonade Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 5:12 am

I genuinely don’t care about using nicknames — it’s just not intuitive to me at all. In my family the most commonly used nns tend to be rhyming nonsense, elaborations on baby babbling, whatever, rather than just a short form, and honestly, I prefer that — I find it much more personal.

OTOH, I have discovered that I can justify my taste for unusual and sometimes very girly names with a solid, everyday nickname. Gwyneira is my favourite girl’s name, but if a girl with this name doesn’t want to stand out, she can be Gwyn (or even Gwen). I know a baby named Anastasia who could just as easily be Ana, etc. So while I would be inclined to using full names, I have lately been trying to come up with more pedestrian nns for my favourites, as back up — sort of the opposite of how dillonsfan01 put Charles on the birth certificate but calls the kid Charlie.

Abby Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 5:53 am

I love, love, love nicknames. My mother comes from a big Italian family that repeated given names, so she’s a habitual nicknamer out of necessity, and the tendency passed down to her children.

Mostly, I like the idea that you have a formal given name chosen for weighty reasons – our kids are named after our parents, grandparents, siblings – but you also still get a short form that is unique to you.

As someone who grew up with a nickname-proof name and legally changed it as an adult, I’d add this: it is painful to discover that your name doesn’t quite fit, but that you have no where to go. I always envied my friend Liz because she could decide to be Betsy or Liza or Elle.

My daughter’s nickname is my way of saying “Here’s who I think you might be.” Her formal name is my invitation for her to figure it out for herself.

LJandRL Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 7:21 am

I – don’t have kids yet but I’m pretty sure I know where I stand on the issue!

I – will probably call my child by a predetermined nickname most of the time and their full name occasionally.

I – SOMETIMES choose a name to get to its nickname, as in Claudia because we love Claudie, and Rosaline Mary to get to Romy. Sometimes finding a nickname we love cements our love for a name, like Nell for Penelope. And then sometimes I love a name so much that it doesn’t matter that there are no nicknames for it like Ivy! Though mostly I prefer names that have nicknames options.

Generally I’m not keen ok putting nicknames straight on the birth certificate.

Lola Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 7:52 am

I gave my girl a name I love saying in full but she goes by several different nicknames to several different people. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, I really do adore her full name ( and use it more often than the nicknames ) but I’ve grown accustomed to it and now look for names with multiple nicknames for a sister ( not that she’s getting one, just as a “hey it could happen”)! 🙂

ycw Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 8:37 am

My daughter’s name is almost nickname-proof; she is called Hannah by everyone, sometimes Hannah Jane.

My son is Peter Sidney III. He desperately needs a nickname. As you might imagine, he’s not the only Peter in our circle. I wanted to call him Pi but it just didn’t stick. We call him Peter most often, followed by Pete Sid, Boy, Peter Sidney, Pete, little Pete, Boy Sid, Sidney, or Sid (but rarely the last 3). We’ve tried Pi, Simon, Garignak, Peterson, and Puter/Pewter but nothing sticks. So usually he is Peter, Pete Sid (and we live in New England, so that’s not a common way of nicknaming), or Boy. I’m hoping something presents itself as he grows older, but for now we just have 3 people named Peter in the family–plus twice as many around that we interact with sometimes, including my FIL’s employer.

Still no regrets; I love my son’s name; but despite my best efforts we don’t have a nickname.

Danni Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 8:37 am

*I don’t have kids yet, but I’m pretty sure I know where I stand on the issue.*

My sister and I both have longer, frilly girls names which neither of us love, and we go by tougher, shorter nicknames. Additionally, even though I tend to LOVE longer names, like Antonia, Helena, and Edmund, I worry about my child not loving the name I gave them because it’s too much, having too many nicknames, or, in the case of the name Andrew, making sure he has no nicknames. As a result, I think I am drawn to shorter, harder-to-automatically-nickname names for realistic future children. I would rather my children have family nicknames based on something personal.

namelover12 Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 8:47 am

my name is Emily, which does not have any nicknames, so when I think of names, i always think about nicknames. growing up, i always wanted a nickname. plus when the kid grows up, if the do not like their nickname, they can just go by their first name.

chelseamae Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 8:58 am

I don’t have kids yet but I’m pretty sure I know where I stand on the issue!— Not a big fan of nicknames

One of my favorite names is for a girl is Prudence and I do like the nickname Pru but I would never name my daughter Prudence and plan on calling her Pru 100% of the time. I think it’s strange that people actually give their child Demetri Alexander and from day one plan on calling him Alex or Xander. For the most part my other favorite names(Georgina, Freya, Chaplin, Arlo) do no have nicknames or don’t have any that that I would use.

I imagine it being harder to avoid nicknames when it comes to boys-especially if they are athletes! I know a lot of boys/men who always went by their last names in highschool. I know it will be very difficult to avoid nicknames given to my children from my mother, she’s given my cousins the names Matthew-Beans, Isaac-Newton (NOT is middlename!)and Maddie-Taddy-Doodle. At home I plan on calling my children by their full names.

Nyxiaus Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 9:08 am

I don’t have kids, but I prefer name that have some sort of nickname.

My name doesn’t have any obvious nicknames, and it annoys the crap out of me. Lucee is just a hard name to make one for. I tried being Ellie, but no one called me by that name, I usually just signed my emails and stuff by it. It’s sort of frustrating to me. Now I’m sort of wishing that I had started the Ellie thing freshman year instead of trying it sophomore year. Or, even going by my middle name Kate -> Katie.

mjeezy13 Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 9:50 am

I’m not really a big fan of nicknames because I feel like they are usually so bland compared with the full name. My daughter’s name is Fiona and that’s what we call her because none of the nicknames shine for us the way her actual name does. Every once in awhile we’ll call her Fio just being silly, and it doesn’t bother me to hear the occasional Fi or Ona. However, I cannot stand when people call her FiFi and I correct them every time with “Please don’t call her that. My daughter is not a poodle or a stripper.” 😉

corsue Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Both of our boys have multiple nicknames. We picked given names that could have nicknames to give our children options in the future.

Nyx Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

* I usually call my child by a short/pet form, one that I had determined at the same time I picked the name.

Or, at least that was the idea… My oldest is Matthew and I had fully expected that I would be able to call him Matt. However, my hubby had a different opinion. For anybody out there that is just getting ready to name a child, you should discuss nicknames also! Since we named Matthew after my hubby’s best friend, who went by Matt, he found using the same name confusing. In the end, I felt my hubby had a valid opinion and gave in to his stand. Our son ended up just being Matthew, which most everybody calls him. However, he’s in second grade now, and starting to like the idea of the shorter name of Matt at times…

With our youngest I made sure to state during the pregnancy that I would be using Nathan as much as I would be using her full name (Nathaniel). My hubby wasn’t as thrilled with the idea, but understood my feelings and gave in. However, he rarely calls him Nathan, and mostly uses Nathaniel.

Overall, I love nicknames because I feel that they add a new dimension to the name. Fritzie has a spunky feel that helps balance the more old-fashioned Frederica. Gigi has a cute/fun feel that compliments the more feminine/frilly names like Georgiana or Gabriella. And Penny has a less-formal/more-friendly feel that works well with the more formal Penelope.

While I am usually a fan of fuller-names, there are times that I feel a nickname works well as a stand-alone name. Sadie is a great example. For me, it feels as much like a stand-alone name as it does a nickname for Sarah. On the reverse side, I would rather see Kitty as a nickname and not placed on the birth certificate. So, I guess my overall opinion is yes, I like nicknames… sometimes! 😀

tct1219 Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I chose Bayard because I thought Bay was not substantial enough and I wanted to give more than one option. I don’t know why but I just love the idea of a formal name even if you never use it. I feel like it’s hard enough making a choice that someone else has to live with for a lifetime, you might as well give him/ her as many options as possible.

tct1219 Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I forgot to mention that for certain names, I prefer the nn while for others I only like the full version.

ScarlettsMom Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

We went both ways. Scarlett is a name that doesn’t really lend itself to nicknames. Scar? Not happening.

Sosie IS a nickname name and that’s what we put on the birth certificate, since I couldn’t see putting Susannah or Sosannah just to get to what we would be calling her from day one.

clairels Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 3:39 pm

If I like the nickname, then that’s what I’ll name and call him/her. If I like the full name, then that’s what I’ll name and call him/her. I believe in keeping it simple.

OliviaSarah Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 4:11 pm

*I don’t have kids yet, but I’m pretty sure I know where I stand on the issue.

I like names with nicknames, and although I probably *won’t* use a nickname on my child if they where going to go by it 100% of the time, especially if I didn’t like the full name. For instance, I don’t love Catherine, but I don’t hate it. I wouldn’t use Catherine for my child to go by Kitty permanently. I would take a short-cut and name her Kitty.

However, if I named my daughter Caroline, I would plan a couple of sweet nicknames which I loved just as much, that she could go by 50% of the time because:

1) To set her apart from another possible Caroline in her class.
2) I love having the chance to use a cute nickname for a little girl, but also having a ‘grown up’ name too (I’m talking Lina, Cora, Ollie)
3) If she decided as a teen she wanted a more ‘main-stream’ name, she could go by Carlie or Cory or Cara or something of that sort.
4) If she happened to be more of a tomboy she could easily use Ro or Arie or something less feminine.
5) If she did happen to choose a nickname to use permanently (be it trendy or cute or boyish), she WOULD still have the very classic Caroline to back her up – no matter what.

Of course Caroline does have a wider selection of nicknames than most, but you can see where I’m coming from.

So yeah – I guess I do like nicknames, and I don’t mind permanent ones, only if I like both the full name equally (Pippa and Philippa, or Margaret and Meg, for instance).

Lou Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 4:41 pm

I think nicknames are a way of letting a person explore who they want to be. I grew up a Lucy and embraced the Beatles song, as I was a creative youngster.

I dropped down to just Lou because I’m an avid sports fan, and wanted to embrace the inner tomboy I possess. I find Lucy to be a girly name, and some consider already a nickname even though it didn’t come about that way.

Using a nickname is my way of expressing who I am, which is exactly what I think nicknames should be. We may not feel that we are a stately Adelaide or ultra frilly Henrietta, but maybe the internet savvy name of Addy (slang for email address) or the literary Hero is who we are.

Therefore, when it comes to names, any which allow the child it will eventually be gifted to a short form is a plus, but not an essential. I like many one-syllable names, but would likely compensate with a middle a nickname could be drawn from.

My personal feeling is that most names can be shortened if you really want to. I often see Heather as a name cited as one with no short form. My sister would beg to digger, she who answers to Ebba on a daily basis.

agirlinred Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 7:02 pm

*I don’t have kids yet, but I’m pretty sure I know where I stand on the issue.

Nicknames are a total non-issue for me. I would use the name I love, plain and simple. To be honest I think some people, particularly on this site, take the nickname obsession a wee bit overboard.

Mary-la Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 7:07 pm

I don’t have any kids, but all the names on my kids list have nicknames. Many of my current favourites I chose to get to their nicknames, like Xander, Trixie and Teddy (Alexander, Beatrix and Theodore, respectively). Although I do now love those names, I initially chose them to get to their nicknames.

I have gone through life without a nickname and hate that I don’t have one, when most of my friends do.

starophie Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 7:49 pm

My parents named me [name]Sophia[/name], but have always called me [name]Sophie[/name]. I absolutely loathe [name]Sophia[/name], and have every intention of changing it legally once I’m of age. I love names that have the option of at least one nickname, so my child is able to choose the name they like. Naming is a very tricky business, and it would probably work out much better if we were able to name ourselves, but with nicknames I think there’s a greater chance of satisfaction and happiness when that name is called in front of a class or seen on a driver’s license. And to me, names without nicknames are far too serious for kids or (if you’re like me) kids at heart 😉

crunchymama Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 8:01 pm

All of my children go by nicknames at home sometimes, but my idea about nicknames in general has changed over time. I love giving nicknames and pet names to people…so naturally, I used to look for names based on nn’s. Then, I realized I was limiting myself because I wanted that perfect nn. I also started to regret the fact that my first two daughters Scarlett “Carly” and Penelope “Penny” (almost exclusively known by their nicknames) were “missing out” on using their real names! Did people even know that Carly’s full name was Scarlett? I also started thinking about when they go to school and get older. Will they resent being called their full name in a setting like this? Will they be able to transition to their “formal” name when they are older? I know a few people who grew up with a nn and are still using that in their 20’s and 30’s just because it never felt right to use their full name. I guess there isn’t anything really wrong with that deep down, but why not just have the name you want to be called as your official name then? I can’t speak personally because I never had a nn growing up (besides things like “Honey”) so this all might be overly dramatic!

Roux Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 8:59 pm

I think nicknames are great (My name doesn’t come with many) because they give the person tons of options if they don’t “feel” like their name for some reason or other. That being said, by far my biggest pet peeve about baby namers is the nickname on the birth certificate trend. It completely eliminates what I see as the benefit of a nickname. Samuel can easily become Sam if he’s so inclined, but it’d be a lot harder for Sam to become Samuel if that’s what he wanted.

(In my opinion)

loristeve39 Says:

September 7th, 2011 at 9:27 pm

With a name like Lori I never had a nickname and most of my friends did so I made sure to give my daughters names that could evolve and we planned on calling them by their nicknames before they were born. I think it gives them more options. Evangeline=Eva, Emmerson=Emme & Electa=Ellie.

I love this quote from a previous comment by Abby: My daughter’s nickname is my way of saying “Here’s who I think you might be.” Her formal name is my invitation for her to figure it out for herself.

Nyx Says:

September 8th, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Okay, I started noticing a pattern where people would say that they regretted the fact that they didn’t have a nickname for their name, and wanted to at least give the possibility of a nickname to their children. Wanting to find out more, I created a poll/post. Please add your opinions 😀
http://nameberry.com/nametalk/threads/86986-Nicknames-Did-do-you-have-one

neuilly Says:

September 9th, 2011 at 5:40 pm

I don’t have kids so I’ll just talk about myself ;)I have a relatively long foreign name that includes an accent. Both my mom and I love my full name and so have always asked people not to shorten it. My best friend and my bf have nicknames for me but they only use them on rare occasion. I find it more special that way. I also like people to use my full name because then I know they’ve actually learned it, lol. People would much prefer to give me a nickname and never learn how to say my full name and I find that a bit rude so I don’t let it happen (plus my name isn’t actually hard to say – the spelling is tricky though for English speakers).

However, with the names my SO and I like, well, it’s all over the board in terms of nicknames. Sometimes I like the full name only, sometimes the nickname only, and sometimes I would prefer to give a longer version to get a nickname I like. I don’t think we’ll have a hard or fast rule with it. We’re just going to go with what we like.

I also find that a lot of people have nicknames that don’t actually have anything to do with their name.

Madirose Says:

September 9th, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I am normally a huge fan of nicknames. However, I have met one set that just made me think, “What were the parents thinking?”
The kids are a set of triplets (all girls) and while their names are Suzanna, Melissa, and Priscilla, they introduce themselves as, and only answer to, Sissy, Missy, and Prissy. When they were seven I had them all in a small group. It was the first time I had ever met them and, even though they’re not identical, keeping them all straight was the most confusing thing I’ve ever had to do.

Maegan Says:

September 10th, 2011 at 8:52 pm

I hate most nicknames. Some NN I kind of understand…Like Mike for Michael. But I know too many people who don’t go by their given name AT ALL. My FIL goes by “Jay”. Why? B/c he’s a ‘junior’ and his family called him ‘J.R.’, but he hated that so he SHORTENED HIS NICKNAME to “Jay”. ?? WTF? That’s a NN of a NN…not cool!

One of my kids’ names can sort of be shortened into a nickname (and sadly, right after she was born a pop star kind of got popular with what could be my daughter’s NN if people shortened her name, so it wouldn’t seem that “off” like it would have before the star was a hit)…But we don’t do that. And she will even correct you if you shorten her name.

My second kid doesn’t have a name easy to shorten…B/c the syllables & sounds make it hard to break up. I’m fine with that.

If I wanted my kid to be a “Mike” I’d have put it on their birth certificate.

AJ_Bear Says:

September 13th, 2011 at 1:08 am

I’m fifty-fifty on nicknames. They can be cute, but I wouldn’t put one on a birth cirtificate. And I wouldn’t pick a name JUST for the nickname. I can see where some parents are coming from when they name their children Charlie and Mike, I just couldn’t do it myself.
-Athena

bostonian girl Says:

September 13th, 2011 at 1:42 pm

I’m a little strange where nicknames are concerned. Sometimes I prefer the nickname to the full name (Cindy to Cynthia, Jenny to Jennifer, Rick to Richard, Don to Donald); sometimes I prefer the full name to the nickname (Christina instead of Chris or Tina; Susanna instead of Sue or Susie; Nicholas instead of Nick; Jonathan instead of Jon). This might make me old-fashioned, but I personally would prefer to put a full name on a child’s birth certificate and let the nicknames come naturally. That is, unless I prefer the full name!

britten Says:

December 16th, 2011 at 11:56 pm

My parents, who both had what they considered “boring” names, wanted to name my brother and I with interesting names that could be shortened into something more “normal”, should we (or they) desire. So, my brother Ben’s full name is Bennett; and I sometimes go by Britt, but my name is really Britten. I love our names.

Abrielle245 Says:

May 19th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

My name is Abrielle but most people call me Aubrey. I really don’t care which one people choose to call me.

I have one child, Ellison. We planned to call her Ellie from day one. If she decides she wants to be called Ellison then that is what she will be called. I am 4 months pregnant with my second daughter. We are thinking about naming her Brooklyn and then she will decide if she wants to be called Brook or Brooklyn. That name is getting more and more popular though so were not sure yet. Any suggestions would be helpful! We have one rule though. Nothing that can be nicknamed a boys name. No Samantha ( Sam ) or anything that can be nicknamed Alex or anything like that.

Mom_of_3 Says:

May 20th, 2012 at 5:17 pm

My name is Catherine but I go by Catherine, Catie, and Cate. My husband is named Elliot but goes by Eli.

We have 3 kids, twins Ellery Blythe and Clara Leigh(12) and son Easton Cole (7). For the twins we wanted one named for each of us (Ellery Blythe-Elliot Benjamin, Clara Leigh-Catherine Lynn) and Easton Cole has our first initials. Ellery answers to Elle, Ellie, Ellie Bee, Bee, BeeBee, Baby, and Babygirl, but most commonly Ellie and Ellie Bee. Clara answers to Clare, Clara Leigh, Lee, CeeLee, Lilo, Lila, and Lady, but mostly just Clara. Easton goes by Cole, but we call him E.C. or Little Man. All our kids kinda fell into their nicknames 😛

chesapeakechic Says:

December 26th, 2012 at 2:15 pm

@namelover12 My name is Emily too and Ive found it to have TONS of nicknames!Mostly people call me Em but Ive been called Emmie,Ems and Mily/Milly.Also, Emma and Lee are NMS but you could be called them too.There are tons of options (:

MarijaMagdalena Says:

June 19th, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I don’t have kids yet, but I’m pretty sure I know where I stand on the issue.

I have never had a nickname myself, and the rest of my immediate and extended family has one. Mum has Net/Netty, dad has Ted/Ed, brother has V, Vite(Veet), sister has Daisy, Daze, Ana, Ann and my many many many cousins ALL have nicknames!! I always wanted one and felt it was unfair.. It’s not like Marija/Maria is that hard to nickname either, so i always felt left out.

I already have planned out names that have plenty of nickname potential, so that they can choose for themselves. When I was at school i was pretty much the only one without a nickname, and don’t want the same for my future kids.

MarijaMagdalena Says:

June 19th, 2013 at 12:44 pm

I don’t have kids yet, but I’m pretty sure I know where I stand on the issue.

I have never had a nickname myself, and the rest of my immediate and extended family has one. Mum has Net/Netty, dad has Ted/Ed, brother has V, Vite(Veet), sister has Daisy, Daze, Ana, Ann and my many many many cousins ALL have nicknames!! I always wanted one and felt it was unfair.. It’s not like Marija/Maria is that hard to nickname either, so i always felt left out.

I already have planned out names that have plenty of nickname potential, so that they can choose for themselves. When I was at school i was pretty much the only one without a nickname, and don’t want the same for my future kids.

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