Secret-Identity Nicknames: How about Tim for Septimus?

February 20, 2014 Aurora Firth

By Aurora Firth aka auroradawn

Like Peter Parker and Clark Kent, everyday names that helped hide their bearers’ secret superhero identities, these nicknames shouldn’t cause anyone to bat an eye. If you want to pick an exotic name that will give your child the option of an “ordinary” nickname—or if you love a common nickname but not the common full name—or if you just enjoy playing with names—here’s a handful of under-the-radar nicknames for some long, bold, strange, or otherwise guilty-pleasure-worthy firsts.


Addie—Want to honor an Edna in your life? You might consider the more attractive variant Adnisha. Mainstream nn Addie would also work for Ariadne.

AllieThere are plenty of options beyond Allison and Alexandra, but I think my favorite is the windswept Greek Alcyone.

Annie—Formal options for the cheerful Annie abound, from the classics Ann(e) or Anna through the French Antoinette and the Welsh Anwen. Today my favorite is another Greek choice, the mythological Andromeda.

EllieElizabeth and Eleanor are wonderful, but Ellie would also make a great secret-identity nickname if you have a smothered love for the saucy Germanic Elfrida or the alluring Welsh Eluned.

EmmyEmma and Emmeline, make room for the graceful Hebrew/French Emmanuelle, which is beautiful but a bit long on its own. Ellie would work for this one, too.

Eve/EvieEve can stand alone, and there are also Eva and Evangeline—and another hidden-gem Greek choice, Evanthe.

Lily/Lilly—Another standalone that could also make a lovely nickname for the Swedish Lillemor. Interestingly, this name is not related to the family of lily-names. It means “little mother.”

Mae—No one would suspect sweet, vintage Mae of being short for the impressive Bartolomaea, a saint’s name and feminine form of Bartholomew (obviously.)

Polly—Another vintage nickname that could come in handy if you, like me, have a soft spot for joyously over-the-top Greek muse name Polyhymnia.

Sylvie—as well as Sylvia, soft, pretty Sylvie could nickname the rare Sylvana or the very rare Sylvestra.


Andy—I know that for some folks it’s the other way round, but if you love the amiable Andy while disliking Andrew, why not consider, perhaps, the dashing Shakespearean Orlando? Isandro and Enando are options even more unusual.

Cal—There’s been some love around for Calvin lately, but carefree Cal could also stand for Calix, a more unusual Greek appellation.

Jack—You could put a spin on a couple of current favorites by using Jack as a nickname for Jacoby. U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Joseph Lew goes by Jack. Who would suspect?

Joe—Who doesn’t know a Joe? But who does know a Joe whose nickname stands not for Joseph or Josiah but for undiscovered Biblical Joash? There are also Joab, Jotham, and Joachim, to name a few others. You could also, of course, nickname your Joash Ash.

MattMatthew has hovered in the Top 10-20 for decades, and Matthias has begun moving up. How about using rough-and-ready Matt to nickname the sophisticated Mathurin, a French saint’s name never in the U.S. Top 1000?

NedEdward, Edwin and Edmund are all both usable and handsome, but what if you secretly love Abednego, the name of the third man in the fiery furnace? Ned just might make it work!

Pipin the past, adorable Pip has most often nicknamed Philip, as in Great Expectations. It could also be used for ancient Latin choices Crispin or Peregrin(e). 

Ron—I could see modern parents reviving Ron, thanks to Harry Potter character Ron Weasley. No one seems to like Ronald these days, though. What about Oberon? The fairy king’s name from A Midsummer Night’s Dream can also be spelled Auberon, close cousin to Aubrey.

SamEvery Lord of the Rings fan loves Frodo’s faithful friend, Samwise Gamgee. His cheerful, everyday nickname could make Samwise feasible in our world too.

Tim—everyone will assume Tim is really Timothy, but what if he’s really Mortimer? The resemblance to mortician and mortuary is no accident—they share a root with Mortimer—but the name has its fans, due perhaps to the character in Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend and Cary Grant’s character in Arsenic and Old Lace. Tim would also work for Septimus, a Latin number-name featured in the recent Valentine’s Day post.

I’m sure these possibilities are only a beginning. Any other creative secret-identity nickname ideas?



About the author


Aurora Firth, known on Nameberry as @auroradawn, is an Alaskan Christian, artist, and big sister with an incurable love for names.

View all of auroradawn's articles


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