Question of the Week: Is a nickname enough of a name?
It’s a trend that took off first in the UK, with prams populated by baby Archies and Alfies, Edies and Ellies—and now it has definitely crossed the ocean–the idea of going straight to the nickname and skipping the full, formal name completely.
We see boys being christened Sam and girls christened Sam, boys named Charlie and girls named Charlie. Among those that made the Social Security list this year, were, (in addition to nicknames long legitimized and accepted on their own, such as Max, Molly, Jack, Jake and Kate) : Gracie, Katie, Andy, Maggie, Ellie, Allie, Abby, Lexi, Josie and Angie; and on the starbaby lists we see Joe, Edie, Sunny, Johnnie (girl), Hal and Hank, Millie and Billie and Birdie and Bob.
Our question to you is: Do you think a nickname name is enough of a name? They’re cute and friendly and spunky and some of them like Lottie and Letty have a definite nostalgic appeal, but is there a sense of incompleteness? Will a boy christened Will wish he could put William on his college application? Will a woman named Izzy feel that her name has never grown up and matured as she has?
Where do you stand on this question? Nameberry wants to know.
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Charlotte Vera Said
on June 30th, 2010 at 3:41 am
I’m not a fan of the nickname trend. I would hate it if my legal name was Charlie, and that Charlie was not just a nickname I could appropriate if desired. My sister has a friend who recently named her daughter Maggie Grace. When I met the woman, it was all I could do not to lash out at her. Maggie Grace is a lovely name, but (IMO) only when an abbreviation for Margaret Grace.
I’ll except established nicknames — my own father is Harry — but I find even Kate to be a bit extreme.
on June 30th, 2010 at 6:12 am
I personally think it depends on the culture of the specific place. In some places, it may be the NORM and perfectly acceptable for that country or region. In ANOTHER it may appear odd. Where I LIVE – it would be normal and it’s just ‘Meet Maggie ” or meet ”Sam” etc
For instance, the UK & US have completely different cultures and there are different acceptable norms,
For a lot of people, a name is just what you are known as and it isn’t who you are . To some people, it makes more sense to just use what the person is going to be known as . For instance, if you are only ever going to be Sam – why use Samuel or Samson etc? It does make a lot of sense and to a lot of people it saves the other person from a lot of hassles in life. But, the person receiving the name might not like it and wish their parent had used a ‘fuller’ version.However, no matter what the name you do choose – you run the risk f your kid hating the name. Even if everyone else around you loves it. So, I’d rather the parent choose a name for the right reasons and that they truly love – even if others disagree with the choice.
Personally, it depends on the actual name for me. Some names are established enough as a full name for me, like Maggie or Lucy that they stand in their own right. I’d use them by themselves You’re NEVER going to please everyone , so rather choose a name that you love.
Jill Q. Said
on June 30th, 2010 at 6:28 am
I’m not a big fan of the nickname trend, but it’s not one I feel super strongly about. Some of them I do understand. Archie and Alfie sound cute, but Archibald and Alfred are definitely pretty heavy names to give a kid. But I think there’s something to being an adult and having an adult sounding name, not a name that sounds like it should be shouted out on the playground. I’m just going to go ahead and say this is is totally sexist, but I feel more strongly about this for men than women. I don’t think it’s weird to meet a woman in her 40s that goes by Molly or Maggie or Katie, but I do feel a bit of disconnect when I meet a grown man who calls himself Billy or Timmy. Bill or Tim is fine, but something about male “y” or “ie” diminutives says “not adult” to me.
I know a man in his 50s/60s who is named Joe, not Joseph. I don’t think he has strong feelings about, but he has mentioned that it is a complete hassle paperwork wise. Everyone assumes that he must be Joseph, not Joe and adds on the rest.
on June 30th, 2010 at 7:41 am
I much, much prefer children to be named what you plan to call them. What a hassle to have one name on paper, but use a nickname full time. Names like Max, Ellie, Milie, etc, are all perfectly fine on their own – so why do we need Maximillian, Eleanor (or whatever long-form you choose for Ellie) and Amelia? It just doesn’t make sense to me. So, I’m thrilled with nicknames as full names.
on June 30th, 2010 at 7:42 am
Wanted to add – that North America tends to be super nickname phobic. So while I do think the trend is spreading from the UK to North America, I don’t think it will ever be as widespread and accepted as it is in the UK.
on June 30th, 2010 at 8:41 am
I like nickname names! If people can be named Lily and Poppy as full names, why not Maggie and Jenny? The names sound the same, it’s just that we’re more used to certain ones. When I was little, I used to get asked all the time if Lily was short for Lillian. Many people assumed it was. As my name got more popular, however, people stopped asking. I think that’s what’s going to happen with these nickname names.
on June 30th, 2010 at 9:07 am
I named my daughter Katherine to get to Kate/Katie. I’ve wonderred if I made the right call as I’m not really a huge fan of Katherine but there is a family history as well as so many great historical namesakes. I wanted my daughter to have connection to that history and of course the flexibility of Katherine on resumes and professional life. I’ve also found that when I’m being playful with her I do use some of the other nicknames for Katherine – namely Kat and Kitty – that wouldn’t have been an option had I just used Kate.
British American Said
on June 30th, 2010 at 9:11 am
“Everyone assumes that he must be Joseph, not Joe and adds on the rest.”
Everyone assumes that I must be Jennifer, not Jennie. When I started secondary school, all my paperwork said Jennifer and they’d call that name out when they did roll-call. I hated that. I’d guess that would happen less often these days?
So technically I have a nickname & alternative spelling name – which I like for myself but not for my children. 😛
I perused the UK top 100 when I was looking for names for my children and did notice the abundance of nicknames. The only one I really liked was Maisie – which I liked as a full name in 2005, but now prefer it as a nickname for Margaret.
I *do* see the point of not putting a name on the birth certificate that you plan to never use – but I do think it’s a good idea to have a more formal version of the name for when the child is grown up. Options are nice. Though I guess a Maisie could ‘nickname herself Margaret’ once she grew up, if she wanted to!
I do especially dislike it when girls are given a boyish nickname (Sam, Charlie) as a full name. Fair enough if that’s what you want to call your daughter at home / school etc – but what if she turns out to be super girly and can’t officially revert to Samantha or Charlotte. I much prefer Charlotte as the full name – so she can be Charlie or Lottie. I do know someone who named their daughter Lotti-Ma! – which sounds adorable, but does look a little incomplete to me.
on June 30th, 2010 at 9:20 am
I’ve known two women named Jenny (full first name) and I have never met a Jenna or a Jennifer
I always viewed names like Lily as full first names and I used to find it really silly to use Lillian and then call her Lily. Shows you how the perception can change because of where you live
on June 30th, 2010 at 9:27 am
I agree with other posters that putting a “full, complete” name on the birth certificate seems silly if the child will only ever be called a shorter version of that name. I suppose I may be a bit biased in that I was legally named Danielle, but only my teachers ever called me that. My family and friends have always called me some form of Dani. I actually really dislike my legal name, and am considering a legal change to Danni.
Just as I have found an alternative version of my name that suits me as an adult, I fully believe any person can do that. If a child is given a so-called nickname name at birth, they may find later in life that they prefer a different version of their name. A Sam/Sammy may find they like Samuel, Samson, Samantha, or Samara later on. Children with legal nickname names can choose another name if they decide it doesn’t fit them.
I think perhaps what some people forget is that parents have control of what name goes on the birth certificate. Nicknames/alternative names can be chosen by the child, or friends and family, at any time. When the child can legally change their name, they can! Or choose a name to go by informally.
on June 30th, 2010 at 9:29 am
I grew up with a couple of girls named Cindy, not Cynthia. I’m sure a few people have thought their real name was Cynthia, but for the most part they seem not to have an issue with it. One Cindy (not Cynthia) is a school principal, one is an editor. My brother is an Alexander, called Alex, who has never been called Alexander since the day he was born. As far as I know he puts “Alex” middle name last name on most official documents and probably wishes his full name was not Alexander. On the other hand, I once interviewed a woman whom everyone calls Kitty who insisted on being “Kathleen” in the newspaper and on official documents because she thought “Kitty” sounded too childish and silly for a college dean. She was probably right. I like full names as a name buff but I suspect that people who have them might be like my brother more often than not, depending on how fluffy the nickname name is. If my nickname was “Kitty” or “Muffy” I’d probably rather have Kathleen or Martha on my birth certificate.
on June 30th, 2010 at 9:44 am
I grew up with a girl named Jenny Marie. @urbanangel I was born in 1978 and every other female child that I grew up with was named Jennifer, Jenny, or Jenna. It was crazy.
As far as the nickname as a name trend goes, I don’t like it but that is only me. I love the sound of the full names (even if they don’t use them). Katherine, Margaret, Charlotte, Samuel, Benjamin, etc. It gives you options if the nickname doesn’t fit.
In my family, the nicknames come after the child is born and may or may not relate to the child’s actual name. My brother is/was called Bobo by most of his friends and family. His actual name is Daniel. I can tell you that he is thankful to have another resume option to Bobo.
on June 30th, 2010 at 10:38 am
I am very, very, very strongly opposed to giving children nicknames as names. If you name your song James, it’ll be easy to convince people to call him Jim, but if you name your son Jim, it’ll probably be harder to convince people to call him James. In fact I’m sure it would. For many jobs (such as a judge) I find that it’s hard not to “judge” people by there names (doesn’t The Hon. Margaret Thompson sound like a better judge to you vs. The Hon. Maisie Thompson? – as much as I hate to admit it, it does to me.) So even if the only time your daughter (the judge) ever goes by Margaret is in the court room, I think professionally it’s better for her to have Margaret on her birth certificate. There are many more options that way.
Sorry if this offends any one, or anything, it’s just my personal opinion and I mean no offence by it.
on June 30th, 2010 at 10:39 am
I just wanted to add that by no means do I actually think a judge named Maisie Thompson would be incompetent. Margaret just sounds more professional.
on June 30th, 2010 at 10:39 am
I have a nickname name instead of the full version and I would have vastly preferred to have the full name. I was always having to explain that no, my full name was the nickname name. I still have to explain it. Give your child the flexibility to use either the full name or the nickname. with the full name your child has at least two choices to suit him or her later in life; with the nickname as the legal name you leave them no choice.
on June 30th, 2010 at 10:56 am
I don’t mind nickname names, but my husband feels strongly that it’s better to use the full name so the child has more options. (It’s the same as his opinion about driving a station wagon instead of a sedan.) My mother, on the other hand, thinks it’s silly to give a child a name that you don’t intend to use.
A few people have mentioned name changes as an option, but I think most people still think of a legal name change as a kind of last-resort for people who have names that are truly awful or if they’re hiding from a stalker or something, so while a name change is technically an option I think most people wouldn’t actually do it, and I do think it’s harder to change, unofficially, from a nickname to a full name than vice versa.
@UrbanAngel–I was born in 1976 and a quick search of my Facebook friends just turned up 15 Jennifers.
@Vikki–I also know someone nicknamed Bobo by his family! His birth-certificate name is William, but he goes by a shortened version of his nickname, “Bo,” even professionally.
on June 30th, 2010 at 11:18 am
I guess people who name their children these nickname names don’t see the point in using a full name if their child is going to go by the nickname anyway because that’s what they love. To the contrary, however, I really don’t see the point in NOT using the full formal name. I don’t buy that anyone who loves Will, for example, could really dislike William – that just doesn’t make sense. So why throw William out? Being just Will isn’t particularly edgy or cool or unique; most people will probably just assume you’re a William anyway. The full name doesn’t preclude exclusive use of the nickname for your child; it just offers options – the main option of course, being to have a name that commands respect. Nickname names don’t do this well at all, and it feels a bit disrespectful of your child.
on June 30th, 2010 at 11:19 am
I was going to say that I think it’s best to give children the option of using their full name later in life, but I see from a few of the posts above that sometimes those with a longer given name see it as a hassle, not an option. I suppose it just depends on the person. I’ve always loved having a longer name (Olivia) with lots of nickname options. My family never calls me by my full name, to them I’m Livy. To my closest friends I’m usually Liv. To teachers, employers, etc. I’m always Olivia. I love my nicknames, but I’ve always felt that my full name allows me to be taken more seriously in certain situations.
Emmy Jo Said
on June 30th, 2010 at 11:19 am
In general, I do not like the trend of giving your child a nickname on the birth certificate. I think it’s okay under a few circumstances, however:
1) If the nickname is from a different language (e.g., Katya, Marika)
2) If the nickname is a historical formation that now feels like a separate name in its own right, so much so that people often don’t recognize it as belonging to its parent name (e.g., Jack, Molly, Maisie)
3) If the nickname feels dignified, despite being shorter (e.g., Kate, Eliza, Max) — and, yes, I know this determination is rather subjective
Otherwise, I think you’re best off putting a full name on the birth certificate. Even if you may not like it, it DOES give your child more options. I think it’s hard for adults with nicknames to “nickname” themselves a more mature name. I know a woman named Janie who really wants to go by Jane but feels like she’s lying to people when she introduces herself as just Jane. And it would be even harder, I think, for an Alfie to “nickname” himself Alfred. It’s easier to shorten and diminutivize a name informally (like to go from legally being named Alfred to being called Alfie) than it is to elongate or take a more mature form informally (like to go from legally being named Alfie to being called Alfred). And because of that, I think it’s best to give your child a more mature legal name that he or she can grow into.
on June 30th, 2010 at 11:44 am
I think nickname names are ok to some extent. Izzy should not be used as a full name IMO but nicknames that sound ok as an adult are fine to use as a full name!
on June 30th, 2010 at 11:50 am
I think people have made a lot of good points about a “full” name providing options for the future vs. being an unused piece of baggage the child has to drag around. I think a lot of it depends on the parents’ attitudes. If you really don’t care for the name Margaret, but you name your child that solely for the purpose of calling her the adored nickname Maisie, I find that kind of unfortunate and feel like maybe the parents should have just gone with Maisie. I think their dislike of “Margaret” would come through loud and clear to the child and make it FEEL like baggage. But if you like the name Margaret and just happen to prefer Maisie for a certain period of the child’s life, that attitude will also come through and the child will get the feeling that the full name gives her options for the future.
I also feel like names are becoming more fluid these days. I don’t think there’s any reason why someone legally named Kate couldn’t be called Kat or Kitty, for example–there doesn’t have to be any rhyme or reason for nicknames, and Kitty from Kate is certainly not the biggest stretch I’ve ever seen. And if Kate later wishes she were Katherine, I don’t see why she couldn’t introduce herself as that, have it put on her nametag, etc.–no, she couldn’t use it on a legal form, but most of our daily interactions are based on what we ask people to call us, not what’s on our birth certificate.
on June 30th, 2010 at 12:13 pm
i have a “nickname” name and i’ve never had problems with it. the only thing i dislike about it is that most people expect me to be a male with my name. our #1 name pick for a girl right now is maisie. we *really* hate the name margaret, and would never ever burden our child with that name. but we think maisie stands alone just fine in a world of lily’s, chloe’s, emma’s. if those names can work as “formal” names, so can maisie, molly, lucy, etc!
on June 30th, 2010 at 12:44 pm
I have a sister named Kate and she always gets called Katelynn or Katie, which used to make her mad as a child because her name was Kate and that was a good enough name with out any “ie” or “lynn” added to it. Now as an adult I think she could really care less if someone calls her Katie.
This also reminds me of the cake song lyrics “She is changing her name from Kitty to Karen…”
on June 30th, 2010 at 5:02 pm
why put something on its birthcertificate you are never going to use?
on June 30th, 2010 at 5:06 pm
I don’t like the nickname trend at all. I think it does the child a disservice. A woman named Katie will always have the stigma of a child’s name, even if she earns 3 PhDs and owns a Fortune 500 company.
I think that we, as parents, need to remember that we aren’t choosing just a name that we love. We’re choosing a name in trust for a child who will have to live with it for the rest of their lives.
on June 30th, 2010 at 5:57 pm
What about names that “sound” like nicknames, but aren’t? Like Rex. I LOVE Rex, but does it sound like it should be a nickname for something, rather than standing on its own?
on June 30th, 2010 at 6:13 pm
Ditto JustADad 100%. I wish every single time someone asks me what my “real” name is that I had an answer other than, “It IS my real name.” *sigh*
on June 30th, 2010 at 6:30 pm
I tried posting this before, but I don’t think it worked, so here goes again:
What about names that “sound” like nicknames but aren’t? Like Rex. I love Rex, but does it “sound” like it’s a nickname for a longer name? I’m not sure what that longer name could be, but I do worry about people thinking it’s not his “real” name.
on June 30th, 2010 at 7:07 pm
All of you saying “why put a name on the birth certificate you will never use” are missing the point. You may not want to use the full name, but YOUR KID MIGHT, it is your kid’s name and unless you have a crystal ball you cannot see into the future and know with certainty that your child is going to want or prefer a bouncy, less substantial nickname than a full name. I gave both my sons full names; one hates nicknames and prefers his full name, the other picked a nickname that we would not have picked from his full name, but it suits him to a tee. We left both of them with options, and *their choices fit them*. THAT is why there is more freedom for the kid if you use the full name.
on June 30th, 2010 at 7:44 pm
I don’t feel very strongly about this issue, but I personally wouldn’t name my child a nickname. My parents chose the name Lisa because they liked that Lee was a nickname. They thought Lee (or Leigh) was too brief or “nickname-y” so they went with Lisa (other options were Elisa or Elise). As the story goes they called me Lee at home until I was two when one day I suddenly said that I didn’t like Lee and just wanted to be Lisa. So, now I’m Lisa or Lise, but thank God my parent’s didn’t just name me Lee! I think when you name your children you should give them options. While you are choosing their name, a name should be flexible to fit their personality. A Katherine might be a Kate as a kid and then one day decide she wants to go by Kathy or Kit or Kaye, a Margaret might hate her name as a little girl and only go by Maggie but may grow to love Margaret as an adult. And I also don’t buy the argument that having a nickname and a full name makes your life that much more complicated. My sister goes by Robby or Rob amongst friends and friends but in professional situations she says that she loves being able to go by Robin, which makes her feel more “grown up.” Having two distinct names has never posed a problem for her, and in reality most people assume that Robby or Rob is not her full name and ask for her full name if necessary. I’d think the same would be true for a Katie or a Sam.
My personal philosophy on naming is that it’s all about giving your children options. The option may lie in a middle name (I often go by Lisa Paige, not just Lisa, because I think it has more personality), a nickname or pet-name (my Uncle Stephen goes by Red because he was a red-head growing up). It’s all about options!
on June 30th, 2010 at 9:10 pm
My sons are Theo and Max – just Theo, just Max.
Those were the names we preferred. We didn’t (and still don’t) feel the need for a more formal name – and actually don’t care for longer versions of the name. They are just not our style and change the feeling of the name for us. It’s all about preference.
on June 30th, 2010 at 11:18 pm
I can see both sides of the argument but I definitely like the idea of options. I also think that having to legally change your name to something else would be more hassle than it is worth.
My name is Stephanie and for the most part I prefer the full name. My friends call me Steph and I’m alright with that. I don’t like it when someone I don’t know calls me Steph for example when I’m at work my name tag says Stephanie but someone will say “Hi Steph” I find that way too personal. I don’t know you, who said you can be so friendly?! (Don’t ever call me Steffie, can’t stand that) My brother on the other hand is Robert but he goes by Rob. He’ll introduce himself as Rob and that’s good for him.
I think having a longer form of a name is good so your child has more flexibility.
A nickname is something that suits you, not something that you have to try to live up to.
on June 30th, 2010 at 11:25 pm
My name is Alex, short for Alexandra. My parents have called me Alex since the day I was born, and for that matter, so has everybody else but I am still glad that I have a longer, more traditional name to fall back on. Since Alex is predominantly used as boy’s name, it’s really important to me that I have something clearly feminine (and more professional) to put on resumes and the like.
on June 30th, 2010 at 11:57 pm
When I was little I wished my name were just Lori instead of Loren, which I hated, but the older I got, the more I was glad to have a more mature-sounding option. When I got married and changed my last name, I also realized that Loren flowed much better with the new name than Lori.
on July 1st, 2010 at 4:49 am
RE : Jennifer
I live in South Africa, so the naming trends and culture is COMPLETELY different from the US; we are actually more similar to the UK. We never had a ”Jennifer trend”. Which is why it makes sense that I’ve only ever come across Jennie/Jenny etc
I understand where you are coming from and I do get it. BUT, you just proved my point. You can give a kid a ‘full’ first name and he will hate it and wish you had never given him it and that he was just Sam OR you can give him a ”nickname’ and he hates it. While I understand
the idea of using a full first name on the birth certificate, I can understand both sides of the arguement – as it can swing any way in real life. This is why I would rather a parent choose what they really love – as it at least means something to the couple.
Also, some names are esatblished as full first names in some areas. Lucy,Maggie,Alex, Theo,Cindy ( I’ve literally come across about 10 to 15 Sindi/Cindi and maybe 2 Cynthia) are established as full, first names for me. Personally, if I was named Margaret Grace – I would have changed my name as soon as I legally could. But, if I was Maggie Grace, I wouldn’t of had a problem
Also, you have to realise that not everyone commenting on this blog is American, and so the culture is COMPLETELY different. They are commenting from their personal perspective and experience.
Also, one of the heads of my country’s main political cabinet is first, full name – Lulu. Look at how popular Poppy is in OZ & the UK – there are going to have to be judges and lawyers named Poppy in 30 years. Eventually, these are going to seem like ‘old people’ names , or many won’t bat an eye them in SOME places, as they will be so popular. Names are also dynamic, so the perception changes
So, while I understand your point and where you are coming from. I do think that people seriosuly overreact about this. In MY experience, my personal name has so many components of pet peeves by the majority of name enthusuiasts – yet , I’ve grown up getting complements on it.
So, I understand your point. But, all of this is relative to you culture/country and what is acceptable there.
on July 1st, 2010 at 8:31 am
UrbanAngel: I appreciate for your comments but, respectfully, no, I didn’t prove your point. Your way, the kid is locked into one choice determined by the parents’ preference. My way, the kid has options to serve him or her throughout their life. That is the divide here.
I also suspect the cultural difference here is minimal: there are plenty of folks who would agree with you in the US, and plenty who would agree with me in South Africa. The whole point of the blog was that this is a strong naming trend in the UK, which often sets fashion for the rest of the world, and that this trend has already moved into other countries.
on July 1st, 2010 at 9:19 am
My point was that no matter what you do – whether you use the fill first name or a ‘nickname’ as a name , you aren’t guaranteed that the person will like either one. So, rather give your child a name that truly means something, instead of just a full name that you might not like, just so that you can get to use a nickname; as either way, the kid could hate the name.
Yes, I do understand and agree that using a so-called ‘full’ first name can give the person more options , but the options are relative to what one views as full first name – and as to what you view the options as.So, something like Sam or Alex or Maggie is a full first name to me – and it isn’t limiting the person.
So, while the person may have more ‘options’ (and how many are there) in life i,e, are you going to be called Alex or Alexander — it’s not a major issue to me.The reason people often ask is it a nickname or your first full name, is because both are used legitimately as first names. It’s not necessarily that the person isn’t taken as seriously.
I do completely understand and respect how you feel, though
SA: yes, there would be many that agree with you. But, trust me, where you are from plays a HUGE role in the names. Names like Goodness,Mercy, Happiness etc are LEGITIMATE and POPULAR here in certain cultures, The culture has to be different because of the history and ancestry in that country i.e. French, Dutch, German names are popular in SA. I can’t even tell you men named Francois I have come across, and I don’t think Francois is even in the US top 1000
on July 1st, 2010 at 2:20 pm
I agree with SJ. I too have a name that is more commonly known as a nick name. As a kid I did sometimes tire of being asked what my “real” name was. But as I grew up I became more pleased with the uniqueness of my name and less bothered by any questions. It helps that people most commonly followed the first question with “Oh, that is pretty.” I have never felt any lack of seriousness or respect related to my name. U have lived in two N. American countries as well as on the European continent and never had any problems.
My husband has a full name from his family that has never been used except on paper. It is a fine name that he appreciates but does not want to be called. His parents felt obligated to use the name.
Personally, I agree that you pick a name you love first with considerations about its practicality second. Names that are sounds or known primarily for pets (Rex, Kitty, Bunny, Swoosh, Rover, Coco, Dottie) are too insubstantial for the birth certificate but Molly, Jamie, Dora, Will, Nick, Alfie are just fine. I don’t see the latter list as limiting in any way.
on July 1st, 2010 at 5:02 pm
I am a Katie – just a Katie and I love it. I am 27 years old and do not feel like my name is childish at all. I will chose a name that my husband and I like for our children and they will STILL have the option of going by various things (even if their given name doesn’t have more than 10 letters or whatever). I don’t see why a “nickname” name means less options. There are still plently of nickname options.
I think the best nicknames are spontaneous – parents name a child what they will, but nicknames will always result. So why not just name your child what you want and not worry about what to call them? That will work itself out in time.
on July 1st, 2010 at 5:42 pm
If you don’t give a child a full name, how on earth is he supposed to know when you really, really mean it? It’s perfectly fine if Maggie is just Maggie, until the moment that she does something truly obnoxious: THAT is when Margaret Louise Thompson comes in handy!
Boston Girl Said
on July 2nd, 2010 at 5:30 pm
Usually I much prefer that a full name be given and then a nickname can be made from it. For example, Margaret or Elizabeth, which both yield boatloads of possible nicknames. That way, if the bearer gets tired of the full name or one nickname, she can choose another.
That said, I like some nicknames better than full names. I like Cindy (or Cyndy) better than Cynthia, Jenny better than Jennifer. So I don’t know, maybe it’s all a matter of what floats your personal boat.
on July 5th, 2010 at 12:15 am
As a Jennifer who has, at different times, gone by Jennifer, Jenny/Jennie, Jen and Jenna, I would much prefer to have the choice for which name to use. My dad wanted me to be named Jenny. I’m so glad that Jennifer and Jen are options. It’s been easy to reinvent myself at different stages of my life. It also allows me to give an easy, verbal cue to people about where they stand with me– I introduce myself as Jennifer in business settings, and I have noticed that when I start signing emails ‘Jen’, that does seem to trigger a change in how people respond to me.
On the other hand, I think there are plenty of well-established nicknames that might as well stand on their own. I think of the Mikes that I know in business settings. Mike and Dave and Joe and Tim and Steve are just as well-suited to the boardroom as Michael, Joseph, David, Timothy and Steven. But would Mikey, Joey, Davey, Timmy and Stevie belong in there?
Maybe there’s strength in numbers. I’ve seen waves of Bettys, Pats, Donnas and now Tammys and Debbies in my organization (we Jennifers are on our way up too). And most of them I can’t imagine as Elizabeth, Patricia, Tamara or Deborah.
One thing I will note– I hate formal names with non-obvious nicknames that aren’t close to the original name. for example, if I were looking for Maisie Thompson in the email directory or phone directory, I don’t know that I’d know where to look if she isn’t listed as Maisie.
I work with an Esmerelda who goes by Merle, and no one associated ‘Esmerelda’ with her. Same with people going by middle names. You’d never find Charlene in the directory, because her first name was Peggy. No one knew Peggy.
tooth fairy Said
on July 7th, 2010 at 10:26 pm
We have a Liam and an Eliza. Not William or Elizabeth. I’m not a fan of the more diminuitive of nicknames as full names, but the variant names like the ones we’ve chosen (and others, like Katja, Jamie, etc) are fine.
on July 7th, 2010 at 11:23 pm
My oldest daughters name sake, Matilda, was actually called Tilly most of her life. Eloise’s namesake, Eloise, was called Lou. So while both those strong women went by nicknames (my hubby thought Matilda was actually called Tilly) we chose to go with the original unedited names.
I actually prefer to be called by my full first name, but since, I, like my girls, am named after family, they all call me Tina. If you ever get my whole family together and yell Martina 6 people and a new born will all say what.
on July 10th, 2010 at 11:25 pm
My name is Cassie, not Cassandra or Cassidy. I’ve never had a problem with having a nickname for a real name.
on July 17th, 2010 at 3:08 pm
I think it depends on the nickname that is being used for a first name.
My eldest sons first name is Alexander, I named him this to be able to specifically nickname him Sasha. I love the nickname Sasha, but felt that it wouldn’t be ‘professional’ enough for a grown man.
He goes by Sasha at home and school, but on paper he is still Alexander. There may be a time when he choses to go by Alex or Xander or any varient, but to me he will always be Sasha.
My neices are Beth and Charlie, not Elizabeth or Charlotte, why? Because my sister loved Beth and Charlie but not Elizabeth or Charlotte. I don’t think Beth or Charlie will hold those girls back in any way shape or form. Why name a child a name you don’t love?
on July 17th, 2010 at 10:01 pm
TBH, I adore the “nickname trend”. British names have always sounded adorable and elegant to me.
Maybe it’s because I grew up with a full name I absolutely despise – Sophia. I always have and always will go by Sophie. And Sophie is certainly a nickname that stands on its own.
Maybe there are some nicknames I wouldn’t give as a full name, either because the nickname is not substantial or because I adore the full version (though I’m definitely on the fence for Josie/Josephine), but I don’t think it’s a problem. I do agree, though, with the poster who said that the US is probably too phobic to be as accepting as the UK.
on July 17th, 2010 at 11:09 pm
I’m a Margaret who has gone by Maggie my entire 37 years and will continue to do so. I use Maggie professionally with no problem. I also no many female lawyers and other successful professional with “nicknames” and it has no bearing on their career. People who say it does, simply arent familiar with the modern day professional world.
I would have preferred my parents just named me Maggie. It has been a huge hastle in life from which I have gotten no real, tangible benefit that I can see from having a “formal” legal name.
I plan to name my daughter Janie. Poeple keep telling me she “needs” the name Jane for her adulthood — but I am certain she will do just fine with Janie.
on July 30th, 2010 at 3:43 pm
I think a nickname is fine. Why give your child a name that you do not intend to call them. My children are Matthew and Charlotte and we call them Matthew and Charlotte. I am suprised at how many people ask what we call them. If we wanted them called Matt or Char that is what we would have names them.
on August 4th, 2010 at 4:55 pm
Well, this is interesting. I give you that names are a very personal choice pertaining to the parent/parents. I do, however, prefer that a child’s name be a solid one. As parents we can adopt a diminutive or abbreviation to address our children while they are small, naturally. Inevitably, these children will become adults one day and I believe they will want a respectable name.
It does also, as someone has mentioned, give way for the child to eventually choose (or not) the nickname that fits best, especially during adolescence.
My dad has called my daughter Vicki Lynn since forever and my now ‘7th grader’ is choosing to go by ‘Tori’. Go figure, I named her solely for the sake of my Grandmother Victoria, never did consider a nickname. In the case of my other daughter, Olivia, I liked that she could go by ‘Liv’ like Liv Tyler and so far it’s ‘Livi’.
Nevertheless, I have two adult cousins that are doing fine with their birthnames Danny (never was Daniel) and Jesse (short for Jesus (Hay`soos). But my kids’ tennis coach who is in his early 20’s, is shy about telling people his name…Rusty, what’s that short for anyway?
on September 15th, 2010 at 12:55 pm
I am a Maggie and not a Margaret. Although I used to hate it, especially because no one ever believed me that my given name was actually Maggie and not Margaret, I’ve grown to love my name. It suits me well. Whatever you name, or nickname your child he/she will grow into! Now whenever I meet anyone and they ask me if my name is short for Margaret, I proudly say no. For the most part it is greeted with an “aww” or some sort of very pretty name comment.
My husband and I, upon looking for names for our baby boy keep running back to Rex. Everyone i know refers to my belly as Rex and it’s really starting to stick. My main worry is that though it’s a very powerful, standalone name, is that it is not formal enough? Help me please because the name keeps sticking!
on January 28th, 2011 at 5:40 pm
My name is Nora. No, not Eleanor. No, not Honora. No, not Lenora, or Norah.
N-O-R-A. The entire rest of the world seems to have a difficult time wrapping their heads around the fact that yes, that is my whole name and yes, that is how you spell it. I definitely DON’T recommend using a nickname as if it’s a whole name, because though I don’t really mind my name, I always dread having to tell it to other people and then having them ask me if I said Laura.
If by picking a nickname for a full name you think you’ll escape the nicknames, then you are wrong. I get called Nori half the time by my friends, so you’d be surprised by people’s creativity, especially when they’re in grade school.
In short, spare your kid their sanity, and just use a whole name.
on March 13th, 2011 at 3:18 am
I dont really think that nicknames as first names hold any weight at all.
My partners god daughter’s name is Millie, not Matilda, Millicent or Melissa. They wanted Matilda but didnt think that most people would make the connection.
I think it’s cute on a spunky little blond ringlet haired 3 year old, but when shes 33 I dont know.
Question of the Week:Has your taste in names changed over time? – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Said
on July 27th, 2011 at 12:15 am
[…] Question of the Week: What were your favorite names when you were younger? Are they very different from what you like now? […]
on December 26th, 2011 at 3:14 am
I love Molly and Jack but they have been full names for a long time and if I name my daughter Mary or Margaret they will get Mary of Maggie which are both so ugly. But for Ellie and Gracie etc I think you should put Eleanor, Ellen, Eloise or Elodie on the birth certificate just in case your child doesn’t like Ellie.
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