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British Nicknames

British Nicknames

British parents have led the way to the popularity of nicknames that go straight on the birth certificate. Royal baby Archie only helped push this trend to the wider world.

All the nicknames, short forms, and diminutives here appear among the British Top 200 baby names for girls and boys.

At times, what qualifies as a nickname is a bit uncertain. So we decided Alex is NOT a nickname, but Xander is. Margo is not, but Maggie is.

Some of these British nicknames are making their way to babies in the US. They're ordered here according to their current popularity on Nameberry.

  1. TheoHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Theodore
    • Meaning:

      "gift of God"
    • Description:

      Many modern parents use Theo as the short form for Theodore rather than the dated Ted--including some celebs, such as Dallas Bryce Howard-- but others bypass the Grandpa name Theodore entirely and skip right to the hip nickname Theo. Short and ultra-chic, Theo's a cool, contemporary baby name choice.
  2. ElsieHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Elizabeth via its Scottish variation, Elspeth
    • Meaning:

      "pledged to God"
    • Description:

      Not so long ago, Elsie might have been on a list of Names Least Likely to Succeed—but look at her now! She is currently ranked very highly in the U.K., and in the US, she's widely used as well, having returned to the popular names list in 2005 after a thirty-year hiatus. Elsie is now one of the fastest-rising girl names starting with E.
  3. DaisyHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Margaret or flower name, from English
    • Meaning:

      "day's eye"
    • Description:

      Daisy, fresh, wholesome, and energetic, is one of the flower names that burst back into bloom after a century's hibernation. Daisy is now second only to Delilah among most popular girl names starting with D. Originally a nickname for Margaret (the French Marguerite is the word for the flower), Daisy comes from the phrase "day's eye," because it opens its petals at daybreak.
  4. ArchieHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Archibald, Teutonic
    • Meaning:

      "truly brave"
    • Description:

      Archie made global news as the surprise first name of the newborn royal baby, son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex aka Harry and Meghan. Archie has now officially transcended Archie Bunker and Riverdale's Archie to take the, um, throne as the quintessential retro nickname name.
  5. MaisieHeart
    • Origin:

      Scottish diminutive of Margaret or Mary
    • Meaning:

      "pearl or bitter"
    • Description:

      Maisie, a hundred-year-old favorite, is in perfect tune with today, rising in tandem with cousin Daisy. Spelled Maisy, it's a popular children's book series.
  6. KitHeart
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of Christopher
    • Description:

      Actor Kit Harington, aka the dreamy Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, has given this nickname-name new style and appeal for boys. Actress Jodie Foster used it for her son. For girls, it's an updated diminutive of Katherine.
  7. SadieHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Sarah
    • Meaning:

      "princess"
    • Description:

      Sadie started as a nickname for Sarah, but their images couldn't be more disparate. Where Sarah is serious and sweet, Sadie is full of sass and fun.
  8. JackHeart
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of John
    • Meaning:

      "God is gracious"
    • Description:

      Jack is a derivative of John that originated in medieval England. The name went from John to Johnkin to Jankin to Jackin to Jack. The name was so common in the Middle Ages that Jack became a generic term for a man.
  9. MaxHeart
    • Origin:

      English and German diminutive of Maximilian or Maxwell
    • Meaning:

      "greatest"
    • Description:

      Max was derived from Maximilian, a Latin name that originated from the Roman family name Maximus. The character name Max in the children's classic Where the Wild Things Are had an impact on baby namers. Max is a widely used name internationally.
  10. EllieHeart
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of Eleanor and Ellen
    • Meaning:

      "bright shining one"
    • Description:

      Ellie derived as a nickname for names beginning with El-, such as Eleanor, Ellen, and Elizabeth. It is increasingly being used as a standalone name, particularly in the UK. Ellie is the standard spelling, but Elly and Elli are occasionally seen as variations.
  11. CharlieHeart
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of Charles
    • Meaning:

      "free man"
    • Description:

      Charlie derives, of course, from the classic name Charles which, in turn, comes from a German word meaning "free man." Charles became very popular in France during the Middle Ages due to the fame of Charles the Great, also known as Charlemagne. Charley is an alternate spelling.
  12. EvieHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Eve or Eva
    • Meaning:

      "life"
    • Description:

      Evie was derived from Eve, which in turn comes from Chawwah, a Hebrew name related to the concept of life. Evie can be used as a nickname for any name that starts with Ev-, including Eva, Evelyn, and Evangeline, but also for names such as Genevieve and Maeve. Evie is typically pronounced with a long E sound, but a short E is also valid.
  13. MillieHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Mildred or Millicent
    • Meaning:

      "gentle strength; strong in work"
    • Description:

      Millie is back. It's a Top 100 name throughout much of the English-speaking world, though not yet in the US. Millicent would be an appealing long form, but many people are using Millie all by its cute self -- so many, in fact, that it returned to the Top 500 in 2015 for the first time since World War 2 and continues to climb.
  14. MollyHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Mary, Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "bitter"
    • Description:

      What is Molly short for? Molly originated as a diminutive of Mary, spawning from medieval variations Malle and Molle. Molly has been used as a stand-alone pet form of Mary since the Middle Ages, and has been consistently popular as an independent name in the U.S. over the past several decades.
  15. LottieHeart
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of Charlotte
    • Meaning:

      "free man"
    • Description:

      Lottie is a nostalgic great-grandma name that conjures up lockets and lace, and -- like Nellie, Josie, Hattie, Tillie, and Milly -- has considerable vintage charm. A Top 100 name at the end of the nineteenth century, Lottie fell off the popularity list around 1960, but well might climb back on most likely as a diminutive for the currently popular Charlotte. It's already an amazing Number 85 in England and Wales.
  16. JakeHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew, diminutive of Jacob
    • Meaning:

      "supplanter"
    • Description:

      This unpretentious, accessible, and optimistic ("everything's jake" -- meaning OK) short form of the top name Jacob is itself widely used, though more parents these days are opting for the full name Jacob. Jake (born Jacob) Gyllenhall is its most prominent current bearer.
  17. AlfieHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Alfred, English
    • Meaning:

      "wise counselor"
    • Description:

      Alfie is a Top 20 name throughout the British Isles, where retro nickname names are mega-popular, but it hasn't really been picked up in the US yet. Both Alfie and rising star Archie are spunky nickname possibilities with a bit of an English accent.
  18. HarryHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Henry
    • Meaning:

      "estate ruler"
    • Description:

      Harry is the medieval English form of Henry, which derived from the Germanic name Heimrich, meaning “estate ruler.” Harry was the nickname of all eight King Henrys; it is also a diminutive of Harold and Harrison.
  19. XanderHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Alexander, Greek
    • Meaning:

      "defending men"
    • Description:

      Xander is a diminutive of Alexander, the Latin variation of the Greek Alexandros. Its meaning, “defending men,” is taken from the Greek roots aléxein, “to defend,” and andros, “men.” Zander, pronounced the same way, is an alternate spelling.
  20. AnnieHeart
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of Ann
    • Meaning:

      "grace"
    • Description:

      Annie is one of the most open and optimistic, the-sun'll-come-out-tomorrow type of name, having been celebrated over the years in song (Annie Laurie), comic strip (Little Orphan Annie), folklore (Annie Oakley, born Phoebe), and film (Annie Hall). It strikes a nice old-fashioned-but-jaunty chord that still has appeal, but we do suggest that you consider putting a more formal version on her birth certificate.