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.
Origin:Diminutive of Margaret or flower name, English
Description:Daisy, fresh, wholesome, and energetic, is one of the flower names that burst back into bloom after a century's hibernation. 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.
Origin:Scottish diminutive of Margaret or Mary
Meaning:"pearl or bitter"
Description:Maisie, a charming name long popular as a nickname for Margaret or Mary, entered the Top 1000 as itself ten years ago and continues to rise. Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams helped propel the name back into the limelight, along with the that of her character, Arya.
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.
Origin:Diminutive of Sarah
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.
Origin:Diminutive of Archibald, Teutonic
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.
Origin:Diminutive of Elizabeth via its Scottish variation, Elspeth
Meaning:"pledged to God"
Description:Elsie is a sweet vintage nickname-name turned modern star. After a 30-year hiatus, Elsie started climbing the US popularity list 20 years ago and is still headed for the top.
Origin:Diminutive of Eve or Eva
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.
Origin:English, diminutive of Christopher
Meaning:"bearer of Christ"
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.
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.
Origin:Diminutive of Mary, Hebrew
Description:Molly is one of the original nickname names, ALWAYS ranking among the US Top 500 girl names since statistics began, in 1880. Molly peaked in 1991 only to rise just as high again in 2011, and though softening retains a good measure of popularity and charm.
Origin:English and German diminutive of Maximilian or Maxwell
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.
Origin:English, diminutive of Eleanor and Ellen
Meaning:"bright shining one"
Description:Ellie first took off in the UK—yes, in this nickname form—and this warm and friendly name has also taken off here. In 2011, Ellie entered the US Top 100 girl names for the first time and has remained near the top of the charts ever since.
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.
Origin:Diminutive of Alexander, Greek
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.
Description:Sonny is one of the generic boy nickname names making a surprise reappearance, and it was recently used by actor Jason Lee. Another surprise: It's been on the US Top 1000 list every year since 1927, reaching a peak in 1975, when it hit Number 428.
Origin:English, diminutive of Charlotte
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 is now climbing back both as a nickname for popular Charlotte, as well as on its' own. Lottie re-entered the US charts for the first time since the 50s in 2022, and is likely going to keep climbing. It's already an amazing Number 85 in England and Wales.
Origin:Hebrew, diminutive of Jacob
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.
Origin:English, diminutive of Charles
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.
Meaning:"dweller at the meadow by the manor"
Description:Hallie -- it rhymes with alley and is not to be confused with Halle or Hailey or Holly -- is one of those comfy nicknamish names that are in favor in these complicated times.
Origin:Diminutive of Alfred, English
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.