Thursday, August 20, 2009


One thing that I've always liked about my name is that it has multiple possible, logical nicknames. I went by Jessica for the first 12 or so years of my life, aside from a brief foray into Jessie at age eight. At around age 12, I started going by Jess, and I've been Jess ever since. My parents still sometimes refer to me as Jessica, but they're pretty much the only ones. Even at work, where I introduced myself as Jessica, people just sort of fell into the habit of calling me Jess. It seems to suit me.

Jess flowed well with my maiden name, but it sounds a little harsh with my short, German married name. I think that Jessica sounds a lot better with my current last name than Jess. So now when I introduce myself, if I'm only saying a first name I'll say Jess, but if I'm saying my full name I'll say Jessica. Still, people always seem to revert to Jess.

I like that I had the option to customize my name to what seemed to fit me. I like the informality of the nickname. I like that I can be more or less formal as the occasion requires.

Thus, I want to give my kids names that have possible nicknames. The only pitfall that I foresee in this is that certain names, especially boy names, that HAVE nicknames always seem weird if the person doesn't USE the nickname. So people who go by Benjamin, or Christopher, for example... it always just somehow seems off to me. Even though they are perfectly lovely names.

Still, I would like to give our kids the option of personalizing their names a bit, if they choose, without having to revert to a totally different name (think Cordelia in Anne of Green Gables). So while that won't be a dealbreaker for us if we find a name we love that doesn't have a nickname, it is certainly a consideration. And also, more importantly, if we find a name we like but we aren't fans of the nickname, I think that would make us much less likely to use it. For example, I love the name Edward, but I'm not the biggest fan of the names Ed and Eddie. I don't hate them, but I don't love them either. And that makes me not want to use the name Edward.

What about you? Does your name have a possible nickname? If so, do you use it? Would you want your kids to have nickname options or not?


  1. Well, my name is Jessica too =) My whole family calls me Jessica, but it seems like everyone else in the world calls me Jess.

    I HATE the nickname Jessie. No one calls me that because I squash it on the first try!

  2. I'm Bethany, and for the most part am called Beth. My family and close friends call me Bethy, which I used to hate but now sort of love. It's affectionate.

    This was important to me in naming Madeline, too. I felt that Maddie was a cute little girl name, and an obvious shortening (although we've had to correct spellings of Maddy and Maddi). However, I think that Madeline is a lovely grown-up name.

    One test we did for all names (and was SO nerdy) - announcing potential name as though the baby were walking across the stage to receive a diploma, or being called for a job interview. Really makes you look at it in an "older" sense.

    Plus, for a sap like me? Total weepfest. :)

  3. My name is Melissa but I've never been a Missy. One guy at work started calling me Mel years ago and my husband thought it was funny as it was good for a kicking off point for other nicknames (ie Mel-o or Mel-o-licious, etc)

    My oldest daughter's name got shortened by a teacher (Addison to Addi) and she goes by that now but I still use her given name.

    My other two daughters have short names (Emma becomes Em but she was emma-emma-bo-benna for a while as a toddler) and Iris became simply "I" or "cake" (long story)

    Wow. from these big clues, anyone know me in RL? haha

  4. Hill is the only logical shortening of my name, but only a few really close friends and family call me that. I actually get a little irritated when others do. My mom and grandma call me Hilly and that's OK for them and no one else.

    My middle name is Rue, and without prompting every serious boyfriend I've ever had -- including my husband -- has used that as their name for me.

    As for my kids, I lean toward names without nicknames. I don't have anything against nicknames; I just like shorter names.

  5. Something I have noticed is that the whole field of nicknames has changed since we were younger. When we were kids, it was weird for a James to go by James or a Thomas to go by Thomas. WEIRD. But now it's totally ordinary, and in fact if you name a kid James or Thomas, people ASSUME he goes by James or Thomas. A John is John, not Johnny. An Elizabeth is Elizabeth, not Beth. An Edward can definitely be Edward.

    My POINT is that I know exactly what you mean about how it's weird when a Christopher goes by Christopher---but that's in our generation. NOW the problem is almost the opposite: if you want your James called Jimmy, you meet with resistance.

    My name is Kristen, and my grandparents called me Kris but nobody else did. My parents had intended to call me Kris (which is where my grandparents picked it up), but I don't seem like a Kris AT ALL and no one even tries it. However, I really liked having the option (and I went by Kristy for awhile in elementary school), and I liked having spelling options (I went by Krysten for awhile, I'm afraid).

    So I'm pro-nickname, especially now that I think nickname use isn't as hard to avoid. And yet, none of my kids' real names really have nicknames, and anyway we tend to use non-name-related nicknames such as Chipmunk.

  6. i actually usually very much like the long form of usually-shortened names (like christopher, daniel, etc). of course, i grew up REFUSING to let anyone shorten my name - i didn't feel like an allie, and i already have a boy's middle name so i absolutely vetoed anyone calling me al - so maybe that's why :-)

  7. My name, Kelsey, doesn't necessarily lend itself to a nickname. My daughter, Harper's, doesn't either. But my son (only a year old) is Michael and we are working hard to get people not to shorten it. Partly because both of our fathers go by Mike, but also because I just love the way Michael sounds. He will do what he will when he's older...

    My Aunt Kathleen, who also never went by a nickname, has five boys, all with traditional names, none of which were EVER allowed to be shortened. They are mostly high school and college age now and go by: Andrew, Jonathan, Thomas, Matthew, and Michael. So it can be done if you have a long name and you want to avoid the nickname, you just can't be shy about making your preference known! :-)

  8. My kids have short names that are pretty much nickname-less, which is why we gave them more traditional, and longer, middle names. Then, if they want to go by another name later in their life - they still have options.
    My name is Devan, and my family sometimes calls me Dev.

  9. You cant shorten my name without it becoming Heath (as in Ledger) or Heathe (minis the R) and neither are good. Four of my older sibblings have names you can shorten so it always annoyed me that I couldnt. Instead it got lengthened to 'Heather Mc Dether' which ONLY my mother was allowed to use. My older sibblings shortened the 'Mc Dether' to 'dedds' which is what I was called through youth. These days it's just Heather. I like it and I need an easy to spell first name because my married name is Italian.

    I would happily call my children names that could be shortened and I feel like I'd only use the long version when they were naughty or had grown to adults. A lot of my friends believe you shouldnt name a child something like 'Alexandra' if you are never going to call them anything but Alex but I think it gives them choices as they age so why not!

  10. I'm posting this as anonymous because I don't want someone who knows me IRL to see this and know my blog pseudonym.

    My name is Jennifer. Hate Jenny. Generally go by Jen, though my parents call me Jennifer and I was called Jennifer all the way through school, no one ever shortened it until I was an adult. Now I find that Jennifer sounds weird to me and Jen seems to fit me better.

    It's hard to determine what your kids will be called. Savannah, which I thought had no nickname, apparently does. Her friends call her Vannah, which I don't like AT ALL, but what can you do? Tessa is already a nickname for Theresa, but we like Tessa better, so that's my second's name; she's occasionally called Tess (sometimes someone will call her Tessie, but that's not a common occurrence). My third is Sara Beth, which has been the most difficult for what I want. Because it's Sara Beth (two words) and not Sarabeth (one), people tend to call her Sara. I always tell them that we use both names, but that only works with the adults, many of her friends call her Sara. Jillian is the only one for whom we ourselves sometimes use a nickname. We've found that we most often call her Jilly. It fits her now, though I think as she gets older, Jillian will take back over. Also, Jillian seems to be what people outside the family call her; Jilly is currently a family-only thing.

  11. My name is Kathryn but I grew up as Katie. In my first job I started introducing myself as Kate and that has stuck (plus it works better with my married name). However, my family and older friends still call me Katie which is fine. I've had a few people tell me they just can't call me Kate as I will always be Katie. My mom sometimes calls me Kathryn. It doesn't matter to me - I answer to all 3 names. Just don't call me Kathy or I will hurt you.

  12. My given name is Nicole, but I have always gone by Nicki, which is then further shortened to Nic. Seriously, I've only heard my parents use Nicole a handful of times in my life. Even when angry, they still call me Nicki. Through an odd set of circumstances I was called Nicole throughout college, but those folks are the only ones who call me Nicole. Everyone else, including people at work, calls me Nicki.

    So, on that note, I can't imagine naming my child something without a nickname or without the possibility to be shortened at all. I'm far too much of a nickname-y person.

  13. My name doesn't have a nickname, nor do any of my kids'. Now that I think of it, my siblings don't have nickname names, nor do any of their children.

    My husband is a Michael who, despite his best efforts and those of his parents, is often called Mike, Mikey, Mick, Mickey... Even if he introduces himself as Michael, the other person will often say, "pleased to meet you, Mike".

    I understand appreciating the option to personalize your name (I grew up with a lot of Jen/Jenn/Jenni/Jennie/Jenny's) but what I think might be a pain is if you are always called by a nickname and never your given name. If everytime the class roster is read out, "Magaret" has to correct the teacher with "it's Maggie", I just wonder why she wasn't given the name Maggie.

  14. I'm all about the nicknames. Heck, hardly anyone calls me by my real name!

  15. I like the long names on little kids too. I knew a couple people who went by Richard growing up and LOVED it. When I met my husband who goes by Rick I was like dude - that's a 50 yr old's name! Of course I've come round but I think Swistle is on to something about generational things.

  16. I'm Cassie, nicknamed from Cassandra. For a while I wanted to be a Sandra instead, but now I just think Cassie fits me better, since I've been one for so long.

    My little guy is Andrew, and we call him Andrew. I don't like the nickname Andy, although Drew is acceptable. I think he'll probably just be an Andrew, unless he wants to be called something different.

  17. My name has a nickname, but only my parents really use it. I don't mind when people use it, but I HATE it when people who only know me casually use it.

    My husband's name is Zachariah. To this day, he's 33 years old, if someone calls him Zach in the presence of his mother, she will correct them. LOUDLY. They are very anti-nickname in that family.

    My son has a name with an obvious nickname, but to me he just seems like his full name. I'm sure when he's in school, he'll be nickname, rather than fullname and that's fine with me.

    However, when we taught our kid to say his name and his dad's name, we taught him the nicknames, because they're more understandable in his two year old voice.

  18. Carrie doesn't lend itself to nicknames. I never really gave it much thought, though. Until I was on the speech team in high school and most every kid had a nickname--based on their LAST name. My last name wasn't really conducive to nicknames, either. Someone finally came up with one my Junior year--it was a stretch, but I finally felt as if I "belonged!"

    My parents were adamant that my brother Robert STAY a Robert. It was fine until he joined the service, and he could NOT stop people calling him "Rob." And to this day, his wife calls him that. I'm all "that's NOT his name!"

    My father is Richard and has had a different name for every state he's lived in. He prefers Richard. He HATES Dick.

    My oldest daughter is Mary Anne. Two names--first and middle. When she was little I always called her by both. Gradually, and almost naturally, it got shortened to just Mary. And her friends and family sometimes call her Mare or Mare Bear--which really does seem to fit.

    My son's name is Keith and while it can't really be shortened, we've nicknamed him to "Keifer" or "Keither."

    Isabelle we deemed from the beginning would be called Izzy. She was named after her great-grandmother, and we wanted the distinction. Izzy works so well with her. I am anxious about her starting school in the fall and how she'll now have to keep explaining to teachers how she's an Izzy and NOT an Isabelle (unless she's in trouble with her mother). We even taught her how to write "Izzy" and are now panicked that we need to show her the REAL way to spell her name now that she's starting school as that's the first thing they learn--how to write their proper name (I've got 2 weeks left to drill it into her!).

  19. I couldn't name a kid Edward within the next, oh, five years, just because of the ridiculous popularity of the Twilight series. No thanks. Which isn't to say that I didn't devour all four within a few weeks, reading feverishly and hating Bella all the time (altho, incidentally, I rather like the name Isabella and the nickname Bella, but it won't be used for the same reason). So that's not happening.

    I'm Meredith, and despite a couple of attempts at Merrie, the only nickname I've ever had is Mer. But even the friends and family who call me Mer when they're trying to get my attention (i.e. "Hey Mer, can you get the door for me?) usually refer to me as Meredith if they're talking about me (i.e. "I'm going out to dinner with Meredith tonight").

    Just an anecdote, not actually helpful. I've always loved my name, though, and I like the whole thing. I do also like the nickname Mer. It's probably good that Merrie never caught on, since out loud it's identical to Mary, and I know a few of them plus a couple of Marilyns, one of whom goes by Mare. But the core people I hang out with, I've always enjoyed having a name that almost no one else has, and so it's always been special when I've met another Meredith.

    My favorite name is Matilda, but the hubs does not like it at all, so it's probably not in the running. For a boy I like Jonas, but I wouldn't want him to be Jon. We haven't agreed on any names yet, really. But we haven't had any prolonged discussion about it either, so I'm sure in a year-ish once I'm actually pregnant we'll find something we both love.

  20. I love names that have nicknames. I feel that it allows a person flexibility in social situations and it's just a lot of fun.

    My given name is Alexndra and though generally I go by Alex, I can use Alexandra in professional situations to add more weight, I can go by Alie on my blog and have it maintain some semblance of anonimity but still have it be *me*.

    While I tend to stick to a basic few associated with Alexandra, there are a bunch to choose from. It's a lot of fun.

  21. The only real nickname for me is Lace. Which is fine. Very few people call me that though, mainly Dave, my parents, and my best friend. However we already have a boy name picked out for future children, after Dave's dad who passed away years ago. James. But I will NOT let anyone call him Jamie or Jim. Blech. It will be James and thats it.

  22. I don't mind if people shorten my name, but most people don't. I guess maybe it sounds kind of funny...

  23. I'm not a fan of nicknames for ME. Or my daughter, which is why I named her something that doesn't really have one. It doesn't suit me.

  24. I'm Lynn and it's pretty much nickname proof. My older sister used to try for "Lynnie," but NO. I can't say I've ever lusted after a nickname, really, I like Lynn fine.

    Our three kids have Indian names as my husband is Indian, so in English they don't have any associated nicknames. We are finding now, though, that their close friends and siblings do call them by the first syllable only. It's weird for our son -- it's kind of like his name is "Noah" and people call him "No" -- doesn't quite fit. Our daughters' names aren't much better. Something to watch for, I guess -- even names without a traditional nickname will always be shortened by people who use their names all the time.

  25. My nickname is actually longer than my given name...heidi was lengthened to heidikins when I was a kid and my siblings, parents, extended family and several of my friends always call me heidikins. I like it. :o)


  26. we've had many discussions about names at work when talking about what we want to name our kids. a few in my group think it's horrible to name a kid, only to use a nickname instead. me? i like it. someday if I have a boy- his name will be Benjamin because I like the name Ben. I could simply call him Ben, but if he decides he wants to be called Benjamin, that's fine too- it might be good for professional use.

    anyways... my name is Amy and there's not many nicknames from it. Some people call me "Ame", but mostly it's just Amy. I do get annoyed though when people automatically assume they can call me Ame if we've barely talked before.

  27. I'm Stephanie, but most people call me Steph. Just like you, even if I introduce myself as Stephanie, it always ends up getting shortened. Most of my family and a few close friends call me Stevie. (It's kind of short for Stephanie, plus I had a really low husky voice as a kid, which sounded like Stevie Nicks). A good friend of mine loves the name Anderson, which could easily be shortened to Andy, but then she realized it could also be shortened to Sonny, which, HELLO, sounds a bit silly.

    I absolutely HATE it when people call me Stephie. UGH.

  28. It drives me bonkers when folks name a kid a nicknameable name, but refuse to let people use nicknames. Like I had a little teeny cousin named CassONdra. Not Cassie. Not Sandy. Not Cass. CassONNNNNdra.


    Anyway, when I named my kids I made damn well sure I could live with the nicknames of the names I chose. Because, dude. Someone somewhere is going to use them and I won't always be around to chirp CassONNNNdra at them.

  29. Ughh! Ambar has no possible nicknames whatsoever!!!! However I've managed to get a few. My close friends from elementary school call me Bambi [don't ask] and some college friends call me Ambarlicious [you sooo don't want to know]. My mom calls me something different and CRAZY every day stuff like watermelon moon and the sort. My bf kinda does the same thing except less crazy.. honey bunny is one of my faves, and yes I'm perfectly aware that 99% of girlfriends get called honey bunny as well.

  30. I love nicknamable names. Growing up I hated that people assumed they could shorten it, but loved "Em" from people I knew my whole life. now I've just accepted that if people feel close to you, they'll probably try to shorten your name, so I now I love it!

  31. My name does not have a nickname option, even though in grade school one year, everyone was telling the teacher their name preferences and they all had nicknames, so when it came to me I said I preferred to be called "Shaun."

    I like names that have nickname options, but only if I like ALL options.

  32. I went my Mandy until I started school. Then I was too shy to tell them I didn't actually go by Amanda. My husband calls me Gail. It's in no way related to my name, but it's an inside joke and I enjoy it.

    I named my daughter Allie a common nickname for the name Allyson or Alexandra. I just liked Allie. However, the problem is that people are always asking her first name. She's all, "MY NAME IS ALLIE!"

  33. I'm a Stephanie, so naturally I'm a Steph. My family often calls me Stephie, a nickname from childhood. Sometimes my friends call me that too, it's an affection thing. My best friend is also a Stephanie, and I often call her "Stephie". She almost exclusively goes by "Steph", and I more often introduce myself as "Stephanie" these days... but naturally, am called Steph within two minutes because almost everyone has a Steph in their life somewhere.

    I find the automatic nickname thing really depends on the name. Michael to Mike? It's so NATURAL, because almost everyone has a Mike in their life. Matthew to Matt? Same! How do you call your brother "Mike" and then call all other Michael's, "Michael". (Mind you, I'm one of those people that love calling people by their long-forms... even calling my friend Mark, "Marcus" - which isn't even on his birth certificate, LOL).

    Anyway... for my children, I'd like them to have a nickname because I'm a nicknaming type of person (my friends get called so many different things by me, not just based on their names, lol). I do know that names we like right now (mind you, I'm not yet married but I've been with my boyfriend for nearly 5 years so we discuss this)... are:

    Sophia (but we'll call her Sophie, I'm sure! Or probably "Soph").

    Owen (no particular nicknames spring to mind other than "Owe")

    And I really love Isabella nicknamed Bella, but just like a previous commenter... I'm not sure I could do it because of the Twilight craze (I also read all four books in a frenzy, but I think the movie sucked). But perhaps I'd still do this if I ever had a second daughter, it'd be enough years away I think.

  34. Oh my. You just made an Anne of Green Gables reference. No wonder I love you.

    My given name is Jennifer and I go by Jennie, but I'm actually not a big fan of nicknames. I like using the whole name, yet I don't want to be called Jennifer. Funny how that works.

  35. As a Samantha, I had a brief childhood foray into Sammy, but the only people who call me that now are the ones who won't not. For a time in high school some people called me Spam, which I really don't recommend.

    As an adult, people call me Sam, but I only ever introduce myself as Samantha. I don't feel like a Sam.

  36. My name's already too short for a nickname; shortening it to Sar just sounds...unfinished I guess!

    Different people have called me by different names (Rara when I was a kid and my toddler siblings couldn't pronounce my real name), but otherwise I've always been Sarah!

  37. I've always gone by Janssen, but my mom also has lots of non-logical nicknames for me like Louis or Janey-Lou.

    I've liked it that way.

  38. My name is/was: Karyn Elizabeth.

    I had a very famous last name (think famous store in the mall).

    Everyone called me Karrie Beth. I HATED IT. But I loved my last night.

    So when I got married I dropped Elizabeth - and moved my last name into my middle name position and took my new last name.

    Every once in awhile my hubby will call me LIZ to encourage me to bare my teeth at him GRRRRRR

  39. My name is Christina, and that's what I go by. My family always called me Chrissy (though my mom has had the decency to move to just calling me Chris). In first grade I decided I was much too mature for Chrissy. I was mortified in 2nd grade when someone who had been in my kindergarten class came in and called me Chrissy. "I like to be called Christina now." Heh.

    My son's name has a pretty obvious nickname, but he goes by his full first name. We'll let him choose if/when he wants a nickname, and he has several friends who also go by their longer first names, rather than the common associated nickname.

  40. My family and long time friends call me Kris. But I realized when I went to college that all my friends called me by my full name. I guess it's because if I introduce myself to someone, I use my full name and the college people just never really shortened it on their own. L calls me Kris, but I guess that's because when we met, I started introducing myself to some people that way. If my parents call me by my full name it sounds weird to me.

  41. My name's Andhari and naturally lots of people call me Andie, easier even for non asian's tongue. Some spell it Ndee. LOL. And with my pen name Lolita they call me that too, even give me Lo as nick name :p

  42. My name doesn't seem long enough to get any nicknames out of it, but my parents call me "Air" and a few friends called me "Rinny" when I was a kid. I didn't particularly like either of those names. My last name is humorous (think nickname for male anatomy) so most people call me that or something that rhymes with that.

    For kid's names I want to name a daughter Cecelia. She could go by Cici (Seesee) or Celia. For a boy I want Oliver. He could go by Ollie.

  43. I have a good friend Jess (as you may remember because I once thought your comment was hers) who I've never called Jessica in my life. And yet every time I introduce her to someone, I say, "This is Jess" and she says, "Hi, I'm Jessica." Obviously she wants her nickname to be used by those who know her, but feels that people need to get there slowly, but I can't imagine introducing her as anything but Jess.

  44. I'm fine with my nickname, and our kids' names have flexibility in their nicknames, so they can decide for themselves later.

    But my sister, who's full name is Elizabeth, always went by Beth until about a year ago, at which point she decided to drop the nickname. Which I can understand, because 'beth' isn't nearly as pretty I think, but after calling her 'beth' for 32 years it's really tough to change.

  45. My name is Elizabeth, which has roughly 1,000 different nicknames-- and I cycled through all of them as a young teenager! I was called Lizzy until I was 14, but then rebelled. I considered Lily and Ellie before settling on Litza (pronounced leet-sa). Though the name Elizabeth is a bit over used, I love having options for nicknames!

  46. I'm Kelley... Kell, Kelley Belly, Kelley Jelly Belly, Kellster, KelMay... (The 'Belly' nicknames, not so nice - thankyouverymuch.)

    When I was young, I hated it when people called me Kell... especially my family. (I thought they should have named me Kell Lee, Lee is my Dad's middle name.) Now, I don't mind if the people close to me call me Kell.

    My son is Asher. No way to shorten it really, besides Ash which I don't care for. My husband and I currently call Asher "Repeat" which is self explanitory for a 2 year old; but nothing to do with his birth name.

  47. I like names with nicknames, too, definitely, and I usually like names with several possible options. For instance, Margaret is one of my favorite girl names, and I like that I/we could choose between Margie, Maggie, Greta, etc. (those are my favorites, I think). And for boys I like William for the same reason.

  48. My name is Kathryn but only my mother calls me that but it is the legal name that I use. I always went by Kathy growing up, which I hated, I think it sounds so dumb. Close friends and family would shorten it to Kat, which seems to suit me. Strangely, professionally I use Kathy even though I don't like it. Weird.

    When I was pregnant with my youngest, the older boys and my husband wanted to name him Cal. I didn't think that was a proper name so we looked up what it was a nickname for and discovered Caleb was one of them. I compromised and said we would name him Caleb but they could call him Cal. He's almost 16 and he has always been Caleb, just wasn't a Cal.

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