Where the HECK did that nickname come from??

I’ve always been fascinated by how certain names got their nicknames.

For example, does anyone know when/where “[name]Peggy[/name]” became a nickname for “[name]Margaret[/name]”?

Or “[name]Dick[/name]” a nickname for “[name]Richard[/name]”?

Neither of these are intuitive to me. There are others but these 2 are the worst offenders.

Funny - [name]Dick[/name] has got to be the worst nickname of all time.
I also have never understood the nicknames for my name, [name]Sarah[/name], which are [name]Sally[/name] and [name]Sadie[/name].

I do believe that the nickname should be a derivative of the actual name.

I would love to know how [name]Maisie[/name] and [name]Daisy[/name] became nn’s for [name]Margaret[/name]. I love both names on their own!

I always wondered how you get [name]Jack[/name] from [name]John[/name]. [name]IMO[/name] [name]Jack[/name] is an entirely different name altogether. I understand [name]Jay[/name] more than I understand [name]Jack[/name].

But, oh, [name]Jack[/name] is one of my ALL TIME favorite names for boys. It was my first true love…

I recently heard someone suggest the nickname [name]Cori[/name] for the name [name]Cora[/name]. I didn’t understand how just changing the last letter made it a nickname. It’s the same length and just as easy to say! I see these two as separate names, not one as a nickname for the other.

I think that in the past, people just came up with random nn’s and they stuck, got carried on to the next generation, and hence are with us today!

This isn’t really an example of that, but I have always found it amusing that my dad, [name]Terry[/name] [name]Dennis[/name], is called [name]Pete[/name] the majority of the time. When he was little, his grandmother called him “Pelo (pee-lo)” and it evolved into [name]Pete[/name]. If you talk with some people and refer to him as “[name]Terry[/name]” they don’t know who he is! I am even thinking of using [name]Pete[/name] as a mn for a future son because I like it much more than [name]Terry[/name] or [name]Dennis[/name] and think it would be nice to use in honor of him.

These nicknames actually go way back to medieval times, before “[name]Dick[/name]” became an unfortunate nickname. :slight_smile:

Back in the middle ages, people used to create affectionate diminutives of common names through rhyming ("[name]Dick[/name]" for “[name]Rick[/name]; [name]Richard[/name],” “[name]Peggy[/name]” for “[name]Meggy[/name]; [name]Maggie[/name], [name]Margaret[/name],” etc.). A somewhat similar use of rhyme has survived to modern day times in the form of cockney rhyming slang.

Resistance to the difficulty of [name]Norman[/name] pronunciation in medieval [name]England[/name] also contributed to the odd application of nicknames, as the populace tended to change or even discard the [name]Norman[/name] “r” consonant in many names.

“[name]Jack[/name]” is also a medieval diminutive. The ending “-kin” on medieval words and names affectionately meant “little.” Names such as “Jankin” and “[name]Jenkin[/name]” (meaning “[name]Little[/name] [name]John[/name]”) were eventually shortened to “[name]Jack[/name].”

As for the question of how “[name]Daisy[/name]” came to be a nickname for “[name]Margaret[/name]”… A French name for the daisy is “marguerite,” and the English naturally made the connection in names. However, the French name “[name]Marguerite[/name]” is derived from the same source as the English “[name]Margaret[/name]” – a Greek word meaning “pearl.” The pearly white of the daisy is easy enough to see for the floral connection. “[name]Maisy[/name]” for “[name]Daisy[/name]” was just another clever early application of morphing the name of “[name]Margaret[/name]” into the literal meaning of “daisy” for the French marguerite.

– [name]Nephele[/name]

It is believed that [name]Hal[/name] being used as a nickname for [name]Harry[/name] inspired [name]Sally[/name] being a nickname for [name]Sarah[/name] (like with [name]Peg[/name]/[name]Peggy[/name], it probably started off as [name]Sal[/name], and then became [name]Sally[/name]).

What about [name]Harry[/name]/[name]Hank[/name] from [name]HENRY[/name]? I just don’t get that at ALL! I hate [name]Hank[/name], but adore [name]Harry[/name] and [name]Henry[/name].

[name]Nephele[/name] - thanks! That is exactly the kind of info I was looking for.

Most of these nicknames come from a time when parents would name their children after themselves, their parents, and their siblings. This would mean that one ‘[name]William[/name]’ could have a son called [name]William[/name], an uncle called [name]William[/name] and eventually, several grandsons called [name]William[/name] after him etc etc.

The nicknames went to the obvious sound first i.e [name]Rick[/name] from [name]Richard[/name]. But when both ‘[name]Richard[/name]’ and ‘[name]Rick[/name]’ were used in the same family, people had to get a but creative. That’s when the first initial started to get swapped (so [name]Rick[/name] became [name]Dick[/name]).

Here are some examples:

[name]Margaret[/name] > [name]Meg[/name] > [name]Peg[/name] > [name]Peggy[/name]
[name]Margaret[/name] > [name]Daisy[/name] (from French marguerite) > [name]Maisie[/name]
[name]Mary[/name] > [name]Molly[/name] > [name]Polly[/name]
[name]Martha[/name] > [name]Matty[/name] > [name]Patty[/name]
[name]Ann[/name] > [name]Nan[/name] > [name]Nancy[/name]

[name]Richard[/name] > [name]Rick[/name] > [name]Dick[/name]
[name]William[/name] > [name]Will[/name] > [name]Bill[/name]
[name]Robert[/name] > [name]Rob[/name] > [name]Bob[/name]
[name]Edward[/name] > [name]Ed[/name] > [name]Ned[/name] > [name]Ted[/name]

Yeah, [name]Jack[/name] was always the one to puzzle me. Thanks for clearing it up [name]Nephele[/name]! All good info to know.

I’ve recently discovered here on this site thanks to brilliant minds that [name]Sasha[/name] is a nn for [name]Alexandra[/name]. [name]Just[/name] yesterday I saw that [name]Jessie[/name] was a nn for [name]Janet[/name].
[name]Ted[/name] for [name]Edward[/name]. Where is the “T” in [name]Edward[/name]?

I know it’s strange, but it sounds RIGHT for [name]Peggy[/name] to be a nn for [name]Margaret[/name]. Sometimes, when the nns start, they don’t cut off. But since when are names logical? :slight_smile:

My first love, too

I spent some time in [name]England[/name] in college and they love to use -ez or -az nicknames there with the first initial. For example, [name]Heather[/name] was Hez and [name]Garreth[/name] was Gaz.