Oh I do love a good nickname, some are names that stick after an incident, some are shortened versions of names, some are given to people based on their heritage, looks or personality and some are given in cruel jest.
When I say my name is Nellie I am often asked if it is short for anything. Well in many cases it is – Helen, Fenella, Ellen but I’m not shortened (well I am short), no I’m nicknamed as my real name is Rosemary and I dislike that name for me. I’ve only been called Rosemary a handful of times. Once at a swimming lesson and my brother told the teacher that I don’t answer to Rosemary (as I was drowning), at our wedding Douglas the vicar said he would only call me Rosemary in the parts that really mattered. I was asked what name I preferred when hauled up in front of a Sgt and I said Nellie, I only get called Rosemary when I’m being told off. He called me Rosemary. I’m not fond of my name.
Big Welsh has friends with brilliant nicknames. I think the story I love best is about Janet so called as he used his sister’s satchel and she was called Janet!
At school one of our friends Lucy was nicknamed Lucy in the sky diamonds by another friend’s stepfather who was in the music industry. My friend Lucy has had a variety of nicknames like Bessie, Zee, Princess. I’ve actually really not done any research on what is the most nick named name!
I do laugh when people choose baby names so they can’t be shortened, but they’re very often lengthened!! My girls have a variety of nicknames but I tend to call them each other’s names!
Surnames also attract nicknames, a friend is double barrelled and is known as Julian Double-Barrelled, somehow my surname Pritchard-Gordon was translated as Seahorse-Johnson.
My granny once told me that her friend’s son was called Lloyd at the moment. I thought that was rather strange so questioned if he had a regular name change! She looked at me like I was a fool (yes, I am) and said that what she actually said was he’s unemployed at the moment. He’s still referred to as Lloyd. Names stick!
Sometimes though people grow out of their nicknames but they’re always there at the back of my mind Fiona (Nonie), Rich (Jit Jit), Jeremy (Jumper), Alex (Ally Pally), Alexandra (Tiggy), Nickle (Nick), Emmboo (Emma).
Then there’s the names you only call people in the comfort of your own home, there’s someone from school who is known as she whose name should not be mentioned. Maybe 30 years later we could call her Sally but no she can stick with the name she was given because. Just because.
What’s your experience of nicknames?