Nicknamey Names

Let’s say you like the casual and peppy energetic feel of some nicknames, the short, relaxed sound of others, but you still want on your baby’s birth certificate a name that has roots and substance and meaning—one that will be accepted as a “real” name. There definitely is a category of names that allows you to have it both ways.

Let me modify that a little: Yes, quite a few of the names below did start historically as diminutives or pet forms of others—Nell emerged as a nickname for Eleanor or Helen and Cleo is, obviously, a short form of Cleopatra.  And some suffer from guilt by association–the biblical Jesse sounds an awfu lot like Bessie and Tessie.  But the point is that they have stood on their own for long enough to have their own substantive histories, not to be dismissed as ‘just a nickname.’

Here is a list of options that fill that bill—light in feel but strong on tradition.

GIRLS

Belle

Bess

Bonnie

Bree

Carly

Cleo/Clio

Daisy

Dixie

Dulcie

Elle

Gwen

Gwyn

Halle

Hedy

Heidi

Holly

Isa

Jenna

Jill

Jolie

Kate

Keely

Kelsey

Leni

Libby

Liv

Lola

Lucy

Macy

Maisie

Mitzi

Molly

Nell

Pia

Piper

Polly

Poppy

Posy

Romy

Roxy

Rue

Sally

Suri

Sylvie/Silvie

Tai

Tansy

Tess

Thisbe

Tina   

Vita

Viva

Zoey

BOYS

Ash

Barney

Beau/Bo

Beck

Benno

Bodhi

Bowie

Brady

Brody

Bram

Cash

Cato

Clay

Cleve

Cody

Colby

Corey

Darby

Dov

Duffy

Finn

Fritz

Grady

Gus

Jack

Jake

Jesse

Joss

Jove

Judd

Jude

Kai

Lev

Luca

Luke

Perry

Rafe

Remi/Remy

Reo/Rio

Rex

Rocco

Rollo

Tor

Tully

Uri

Viggo

West

Wiley/Wylie

Will

Zev

UNI

Ali

Ari

Bailey

Bay

Brett

Bryn

Casey

Darcy

Harley

Marley

Nico

Riley

Rory

Sasha

Toby

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17 Responses to “Nicknamey Names”

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klcalder2 Says:

September 15th, 2011 at 8:45 am

I really do love nicknames. Although, I usually gravitate towards names that are longer with nicknames, I do have a list of names that are comparable to the ones on this list (or are on it). In fact, I used one of the names on this list: Jude. I also use one of them as a nn for my daughter: Belle. Great list with lots of wonderful options!

i.heart.nerds Says:

September 15th, 2011 at 9:19 am

I am one who loves long names with

i.heart.nerds Says:

September 15th, 2011 at 9:21 am

Sorry, I love long names with shorter nicknames.
Some that were left off:
Lily
Sadie
Kerry/Carrie

mermuse Says:

September 15th, 2011 at 9:56 am

I’m sorry, but only half of these names are strong enough to “stand alone” in my mind….

DayKen95 Says:

September 15th, 2011 at 10:02 am

I really love nicknamey names! Some I really like are:

Girls: Belle, Bonnie, Elle, Gwen, Gwyn, Kate, Lola, Lucy, Maisie, Posy, Rue, Duffy(I really like it for a girl).
Boys: Ash, Barney, Beau(in my top 3 names), Bodhi, Bowie, Colby, Finn, Fritz, Jack, Jesse, Jude, Kai, Poppy, Rio, Remy/Remi, Rocco, Rex, West, Wiley, Bay, Brett, & Sasha!

care1032 Says:

September 15th, 2011 at 12:34 pm

I think all of these can totally stand alone on their own. I’m the Mama of a Theo and Max (just Theo and just Max) – so of course these are right up my alley.

Stoked to see Rafe on the list. Poor guy doesn’t seem to get much attention, but I swear he is an up and comer. 🙂

Daydreaming of baby #3 and we’ve got Gus, Rafe, Jude, Liza/Eliza and Liv on the list…

kgcg31 Says:

September 15th, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I love a bunch of these as given names . . . Cleo, Liv, Maisie, Posey, Tess, Bram, Gus, Luca, Nico, and West . . . I would add Edie, Hattie, Josie, and Maggie to the girl list. And Charlie, Cole, and Leo, and Theo to the boys.

tct1219 Says:

September 15th, 2011 at 2:27 pm

I think some nickname names are cute but I couldn’t bring myself to use one on its own. I prefer formal, more substantial names, even though I do think Sadie, Poppy, etc. are cute. My husband still doesn’t understand why we couldn’t just use Bay by itself. It seems too nicknamey to me.

lemon Says:

September 15th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Right up my alley!

Bree, Elle, Gwen, Kate, Liv, Lucy, Nell, Piper, Poppy, Rue, Sylvie, Tess, Ash, Grady, Jude, Luke, Rafe, West, Wiley, Bay, Bryn, Rory, Sasha, and Toby? I actually like ’em all!

I think nickname-names have a fun, modern feel, but they’re usually nicknames for more traditional names – so, what they give you is a bit of a vintage-modern feel, which I love. My own favorites are Eliza, Toby, Lucy, Jude, and Clare (not a nickname, but it feels a bit like one).

anniebee Says:

September 15th, 2011 at 8:09 pm

I’m with other pps, I do not care for these as standalone names for the most part ESPECIALLY for girls, who have enough trouble being taken seriously in the work force. Giving a nickname without something more substantial bothers me for two reasons.

A lot of times they sound ditzy to me – Kinzi, Lola, Fifi, etc. The nicknames on this list are pretty decent standalones for the most part, but usually without something behind it, it sounds to me like a person that doesn’t want to be taken seriously. It almost sounds like they are naming a future cheerleader. One that comes to mind is Busy Phillips’ daughter Birdie. I love Birdie as a nn, but alone it sounds frou frou but not sophisticated almost like a poodle.

The other thing is that you’re not helping the child professionally. Do people honestly think a hiring manager thinks the same thing about a Bree or a Fifi as it does a Bridget or Fiona on paper? If you’re looking through the phone book (am I dating myself talking about phonebooks?) for a dentist, would you pick a Dr. Fifi out of all the choices on the list?

Also, I think it takes away the chance for the child to make their own mark on their name. When you pick the nn for them, you’re saying this is who I want you to be. Instead of the beautiful Genevieve, with Vivi, Eve, Evie, Jenny, etc. for the child to choose from, if you pick just Vivi, you’re limiting the kid’s identity. At least that’s how I see it.

That being said, I do like a lot of these names as fun personal nicknames for something longer and I do agree that some (not all) can stand alone like Sally, Molly, Poppy, Bonnie, Sylvie, etc. Kate and Lucy are nice alone, though the longer name is preferable to me. Isa, Jenna, Gwen, Bree sound cut off, like I’m waiting for more to come. Jenna…….fer? Gwen…..dolyn?…..yth?

Sorry if I offend anyone, just my opinion.

corsue Says:

September 15th, 2011 at 11:47 pm

I would say I don’t like nickname names, but I didn’t even know a lot of these were nicknames. What are some of these nicknames for? On just the girls side, I had no idea about Daisy, Dixie, Halle, Hedy, Heidi, Kelsey, Lola, Macy, Maisie, Pia, Piper, or Poppy. I’m sure some of these are obvious, but my brain isn’t connecting them.

klcalder2 Says:

September 16th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Anniebee, you hit so many of my own feelings about long names right on the head. And I love that you used Genevieve as an example because that’s one of the names I’m trying to get my husband to get on board with if we have another girl. Shorter names do seem to be more plentiful for boys, at least the ones that don’t sound too cutesy.

lemon Says:

September 16th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

@corsue

Daisy is used as a nickname for Margaret, Dixie is likely for Dorothea or Dorothy, Hedy is probably for Hedwig, Heidi is for Adelheid, Lola is for Lolita or Eloise, Maisie is for Margaret, and Poppy could be for Penelope.

Halle, Kelsey, Macy, Pia, and Piper feel less nickname-y to me. I honestly can’t think of their long forms! Poppy, too, is a flower name and fairly “legitimate” – just, well, cute.

corsue Says:

September 17th, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Thanks.

LyssieLauren Says:

March 7th, 2012 at 4:29 pm

There’s also more out there nick names

My name is Alyssa -Lyssie, Lyss, Lyssa, Alie, Thing 2-

My brothers and friends are:

Techs, Will, Papa -William-
Super Man, Bennie, Ben -Benjamin-
Johnie – Hunter John-
A.V or Flash -Avery-
Bubba or Bubbie -Aadynn-
Dyl -Dylan-
Nina -Angelina-
Twitch -Tyler

roseate6 Says:

February 5th, 2013 at 10:27 am

I notice that Marie is not on there as a nn for Maria, or Sophie for Sophia. So, what’s Sylvie doing on this list? (I’m just touchy because that’s my kid’s name.)

catsrcool Says:

April 17th, 2013 at 4:38 pm

GAH! It really annoys me when people think Gwyn is only a nickname!

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