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Popular Nicknames

Popular Nicknames

Popular nicknames may be used on their own on the birth certificate or might be short forms for proper names ranging from the common to the unusual.

The nicknames here rank highly on both the US and the British lists of popular baby names. These top nicknames are friendly and likeable, but may be much more widely-used than you guess given that they're used as diminutives for such a broad range of names. Don't be surprised if your little Ellie or Jack is one of many on the playground! The up side of these popular nicknames is that they make any name friendlier and more accessible. So you can choose a name of a mythological hero or a great-great-uncle and make it friendly in the contemporary world through one of these top nicknames.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. NoraHeart
    • Origin:

      Irish, diminutive of Honora, or Greek
    • Meaning:

      "light"
    • Description:

      Nora has two separate origin stories, as a derivative of both Honora and Eleanor. The Irish and Anglo-Norman version derives from Honora, based on the Latin word honor. The Hungarians spawned Nora as a short form of Eleonora, a variation of Eleanor.
  4. LeoHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "lion"
    • Description:

      Leo was derived from the Latin leo, meaning “lion.” Thirteen popes have carried the name, including St. Leo the Great. In Germanic languages, Leo has historically been used as a nickname for names including Leon and Leopold. In Latinate languages, Leonardo is considered a full form for Leo.
  5. PoppyHeart
    • Origin:

      English from Latin
    • Meaning:

      "red flower"
    • Description:

      Poppy, unlike most floral names which are sweet and feminine, has a lot of spunk. Long popular in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at #5 in 2014, Poppy is just starting to catch on in a big way in the US, where it entered the Top 1000 for the first time in 2016 and – just three years later – the Top 500 in 2019.
  6. TheaHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "goddess, godly"
    • Description:

      Thea is a diminutive of names ending in -thea, including Dorothea, Althea, and Anthea. It is also the Anglicized spelling of Theia, the Titan of sight, goddess of light, and mother of the moon. She was the consort of Hyperion, and mother of Helios, Selene, and Eos.
  7. 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.
  8. EllaHeart
    • Origin:

      German; English
    • Meaning:

      "all, completely; fairy maiden"
    • Description:

      Ella has parallel derivations, first as the Norman variation of the Germanic Alia—itself a nickname for names containing the element ali. It’s also a Hebrew name, referring to a tree in the pistachio family or in modern Hebrew, "goddess." In English speaking countries and Scandinavia, Ella developed as a diminutive for names beginning with El-, such as Eleanor and Elizabeth.
  9. 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.
  10. MiaHeart
    • Origin:

      Italian word name or Scandinavian short form of Maria
    • Meaning:

      "mine or bitter"
    • Description:

      Mia originated as a short form of Maria, which ultimately derived from the Hebrew name Miryam. In modern times, Mia has been used as a nickname for names including Amelia, Emilia, and Miriam. Mia is also an Italian and Spanish word meaning 'mine.'
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  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. WinnieHeart
    • Origin:

      English diminutive of Winifred
    • Meaning:

      "holy peacemaking, gentle friend"
    • Description:

      This pet form of such names as Winifred and Edwina and Gwendolyn has loads of vintage charm, a la Millie and Maisie, with a decidedly winning vibe. And it just got celebrity cred as the baby daughter of Jimmy Fallon.
  16. RomyHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Rosemary, Roma, Romana, Romilly etc.
    • Description:

      Austrian actress Romy Schneider seemed to be the singular bearer of this international nickname name until it found new style currency in the past decade.
  17. LenaHeart
    • Origin:

      English, Scottish, Dutch, German, and Scandinavian, diminutive of various names ending in lena
    • Description:

      This pet form of Helena and other ena-ending names, long used as an independent name, is attracting notice again as an option both multicultural and simple. Lena was a Top 100 name from 1880 to 1920.
  18. AceHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "one, unity"
    • Description:

      No longer tied to the hapless Ace Ventura, this jaunty, high-flying nickname name is starting to take flight among celebrity and other parents, with its countless positive references to doing well in tests and poker games, on the tennis court and golf course, and in the air.
  19. HallieHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • 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.
  20. TeddyHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Theodore or Edward
    • Meaning:

      "gift of God or wealthy guardian"
    • Description:

      Teddy is in some ways one of those midcentury boys' nicknames -- like Jimmy or Bobby or Billy -- yet because it was never that popular, it feels timeless too. The preferred short form of Theodore these days may be Theo and of Edward may be....Edward, but Teddy can work adorably for either and grows up to Ted. And of course, let's not forget the inevitable teddy bear.