To think that deciding on a shortening/nickname for a DC's name is actually quite common?

(205 Posts)
Thurlow Thu 05-Jun-14 15:53:32

Apologies, this is half a thread about a thread. Or lots of threads.

I feel like I read loads on times on Baby Names comments that 'nicknames develop over time', or how you shouldn't start with a shortened version and work out to a longer name.

Obviously this applies when your child is still known as Moo because she made a noise like a cow when she was a baby... But not when you're thinking that you want to call your daughter Katie, and then work out to decide of they should be a Katherine, Kathryn etc.

Is it just me, or is it actually quite common in RL to decide at the start that you want a Benjamin nn Ben, William nn Billy, Elizabeth nn Libby etc?

(I should qualify that this isn't exactly bothering me. I'm slightly bored this afternoon...)

JoeyMaynardsghost Sun 08-Jun-14 12:33:56

My DD is never called by her name. Which is a very short name, in fact when we registered her birth, the registrar asked what it was short for, to which I replied "nothing"he looked over his glasses and said "how can it be short for nothing?"

I replied "it is short for nothing as it is a short name - not abbreviated!"

He wasn't happy about it especially as it has an accent in it and he couldn't figure out how to do that on his computer!

Over the years DD has been known as "name-ster" "name-name" (repeated) and her friends have even managed to abbreviate it which I didn't think was possible. She's had nicknames too which are nothing like her real name - the latest which has stuck firmly is one that I called her in jest because she wasn't listening to me and I called her the last word I had heard on TV as in "you're a hobnob" (hobnob isn't the nn, just an example) and she actually liked it and now is "hobnob" "hobnobster" "The Hobnob" etc.

My name is a long name and friends call me by the short version. At work I am the long name - I think it sounds more professional. My last team leader did call me a longer name which is not mine - he thought that as my short name was "Egg" (example) that my full name was Eggletina and not Eggnog. He even went and checked with HR what my bloody real name was as he didn't believe me!

If someone I don't know well calls me Egg when I have introduced myself as Eggnog, I do correct them.

NatashaGurdin Sun 08-Jun-14 11:41:31

Cardinal
So if you hate the nickname Joe, but want to use Joseph, I don't think you've got a cat in hells chance.

My cousins have long names that have popular short forms, my aunt and uncle were determined they would not be called the short form but of course that went out of the window as soon as they went to school.

My Dad is David officially but everyone calls him Dave and that's what he calls himself when introducing himself. It's because he looks like a Dave not a David! smile

My brother and sister in law were the same as my uncle and aunt (long names with a popular short form) but my nieces did the same as my cousins.

I have a three syllable first name that has several well known short forms and a two syllable second name. The latter is a family name my Mum wanted to use and the long name complements the second name, the short forms don't suit it. My first name is a really well known one but for some reason not a particularly popular or unpopular one. Think the short forms of it are used more often these days. I use the long form officially and the short form for everyday. (Although I did change the spelling (though not the pronounciation) of my informal name when I was a teenager to one I preferred and use today).

2rebecca Sat 07-Jun-14 14:58:15

I gave Neil as an example of a name that didn't have options, not a name that was a nickname, sorry worded it badly.

No-one ever calls me by my full first name, not even my parents (they call me by a nickname that isn't even related to my real name!), but I'm glad I have my full name on my birth certificate, because I do have options when I grow up (it's one of those shortenings that some people think only works on little kids - think Abby, short for Abigail kind of thing)

shockinglybadteacher Sat 07-Jun-14 14:47:25

You can't shorten my name either, Writerwannabe. I have a tiny tiny name and all my nicknames have been off my surname rather than my first. I have a middle name which I strongly dislike and never use. But people wouldn't assume - my first name is a full name with no possibility of it being a short form. If to continue the example you put your child's name down on the birth certificate as "Dave", he's going to get Davided throughout his life and constantly have to correct people.

Mrsleo Cornelius is actually a brilliant name! I think it's a different derivation than the Scots Neil though. Neil is anglicised - the Gaelic says "Niall".

friendface Sat 07-Jun-14 14:01:41

To be honest I don't really like my name, but it's just me IYSWIM? Maybe it's because it's far more unusual than the example I gave so my only close encounter with my name is 'me'! But yes, I can imagine if you strongly disliked your name that would be someone you're more likely to consider.

Both of my boys have short names which cannot be shortened or lengthened, so no chance of them using a different variation. However if they, say, changed their names by deed poll or started using their middle names I suspect their would be a part of me feeling hurt by their decision, rightly or wrongly (probably wrongly).

PhaedraIsMyName Sat 07-Jun-14 13:28:45

I'm not convinced Neil or Niall as it's often spelled and which is a very common name in Scotland is a diminutive of Cornelius.

From wiki.

The Gaelic name was adopted by the Vikings and taken to Iceland as Njáll (see Nigel). From Iceland it went via Norway, Denmark, and Normandy to England

lecherrs Sat 07-Jun-14 13:05:35

I should say I tolerate being called my full name by family members. That sounds better.

Friendface, I suspect you're right and most people don't find the need to change their name, and as I said before probably worrying about it is a waste of time for the vast majority of cases. If you like your name, then of course you wouldn't change it.

However, for me it was the 'what if my child hates her name?' I guess my concern for this was coloured by the fact that I hate my name so it was much more of a priority for me. You say it is unusual eventuality to consider - but of course, for me it is not as I've done exactly that, so for me it was a very real possibility.

Flowerfae Sat 07-Jun-14 13:03:13

Our youngest is called William.. but we had always called him Billy right from when he was born, it just completely suits him. Our other two are called Bradley and Isabelle though and they haven't ever had their names shortened smile

mrsleomcgary Sat 07-Jun-14 12:56:11

Long version of Neil - Corneilius. The name my cousin had inflicted upon him at birth (after our papa. However papa was always con and my cousin is Neil. Again, the long version went on his birth cert even though my aunt and uncle had no intention of ever using it)

Same aunt and uncle called my other cousin Jeremiah yet he is known by Patrick. No explanation for that one!

Mrsantithetic Sat 07-Jun-14 12:54:19

I have an Elizabeth who I assumed I would call Beth but she so isn't a Beth.

She gets Lillibut or Lizzie loo.

I'm extremely common smile

lecherrs Sat 07-Jun-14 12:51:32

I've done exactly that friendface.

My family called me a pet name when I was a child. It was quite a boyish pet name. When I went to secondary, I didn't want to use that pet name any more, so I went by my full name (even though I never really liked it). Over my teen years, I played around with various different names and before eventually settling on the name I use now (and really like). However, most people knew me by my full name, and so it was difficult to get them to change so when I went to uni, I just introduced myself by my shortened name.

So now,

A few family members still use my original pet name (mostly my brother!)
Extended family tend to call me by my full name, and distant friends who remember me as a child, but I don't see very often.
Close friends and everyone I've met since the age of 18 call me by my shortened name.

These days, I don't mind my original pet name used within family circles. Its kind of cute and familiar. But I wouldn't want it being used all the time.

I tolerate family members who use my full name, but correct most other people who try to use it.

I suspect, if you like your name this is an angst you've never probably even thought about or considered. But for me it was a big thing because I spent a long time being lumbered with a name I hated. My DD1 likes her name, but even she has played around with her name, and currently is called one name at school, and another name by her friends out of school. She is currently deciding what she wants to be known as when she goes to secondary next year. I think she will go with her shortened name (although not the one we originally used, it developed later!)

ViviPru Sat 07-Jun-14 12:34:14

friendface I could be classed as that person you describe I go by 3 names that are quite distinct from eachother. My full name, a diminutive and a shorter diminutive. Very much along the lines of Penelope, Penny and Nel.

I have been known generally by 'Penny' for pretty much all my life. I've never really liked it, but it just stuck. Very close friends and family use the 'Nel', which I prefer. I feel though uncomfortable with very new acquaintances using 'Nel' or it being used professionally as it feels very affectionate and familiar so since I started working I've always introduced myself as 'Penelope' professionally and socially, then that may drift into 'Nel' over time which is fine.

It's got to the stage whereby the only people who use 'Penny' are old friends and distant family who really don't know me that well any more. Last year I decided I'd had enough of it for once and for all so made it known I don't really like it. To some people it was as though I'd changed my name from Sarah to Jane! So to them its as though I have changed my name halfway through my life...

friendface Sat 07-Jun-14 12:22:03

Pressed send too soon.

Obviously some people would be comfortable changing their name so drastically, but I don't really see the point in preparing for what is quite an unusual thing to do.

friendface Sat 07-Jun-14 12:20:41

See, I just can't imagine deciding half way through my life that I wanted to be called something else! I have a name that gives 'options' I suppose and have always been known by one nickname, think Beth from Elizabeth. IMO it would just be weird to one day decide I wanted to be called, say, Ellie! It's a completely different name and I can't imagine I would ever feel the need to do that. Obviously some peo

PhaedraIsMyName Sat 07-Jun-14 12:15:33

2Rebecca and Lechers I agree completely (but puzzled by "Neil" ?)

lecherrs Sat 07-Jun-14 11:55:42

No, I think it means you haven't got options (which you may not even want anyway) and that is all. No more, no less.

For example, if a parent likes the name Beth. Decide whether to just use Beth or put Elizabeth on the birth certificate.

Child A. Grows up and loves the name Beth. No problem whatsoever.

Child B is called Beth on the birth certificate. Grows up and hates the name. What alternatives has she got? Well, she could go for Bet, but that's not very different. She's still largely stuck with the name or she has to choose something completely different and go through the hassle of deedpoll etc.

Child C is called Beth, but has got Elizabeth on the birth certificate. Grows up and hates the name Beth. So, she decides to call herself Liz. A completely different feel for the name, and something that is easy to do (no deed polls, no great explanations). I actually had a friend at school who did this at uni (but the other way round).

Neither is right or wrong, it is just different priorities. Some (many?) people grow up loving, liking their names or feeling indifferent about them. In which case, worrying about options is a complete waste of time. It may be something that just doesn't occur to people to think about.

However, I'm someone who does not like their name, so it was something that was important to me. That doesn't make it better or worse, just different priorities. I had friends who worried about the meanings of names, and chose names that had specific meanings, or meant something to them. They put a lot of thought into that. I couldn't give two stuffs about things like that. Does that mean my name choice was deficient in some way? Of course not! That just wasn't a priority for me when choosing a name, but that's not to say that it shouldn't be a priority for other people. We're all different and we all bring our life experiences with us when choosing a name.

Some people prioritise giving the name they really like (its the gift they give to child, and something they want to choose something they love), other people want to choose a name that reflects their heritage, others again choose names that have significant meanings, and others again choose names that have flexibility should the child not like the name. No one name is going to tick all the boxes, so parents tend to prioritise the aspect that is most important for them. And they're all fine.

Writerwannabe83 Sat 07-Jun-14 11:16:45

So those of us who don't have 'option names' are you saying we have been deprived of something in someway?

That because our parents chose to give us a non-option name it means they have denied us opportunities?

shockinglybadteacher Sat 07-Jun-14 10:15:52

2rebecca exactly. An American friend put it as "What name would you want to be read out when they're confirming you as a Supreme Court Justice"? Probably not Dave, in those circs grin

Having said that, Neil is a proper name not a nickname. I couldn't even imagine what the longer name would be for a Neil :D and I'm related to a few of them. Neil is an oldfashioned Scots name with a meaning something like "victor" or "winner".

2rebecca Sat 07-Jun-14 10:06:13

Scrap Megan I was thinking Morag, Megan can be Meg, although the Megans i know are Megans.

2rebecca Sat 07-Jun-14 10:05:11

The options thing is important when your chuild is an adult. Nicknames are fine for kids and informal occasions but Daniel looks more formal and mature on paper than Danny and sounds it if you say the name. Putting Danny on the birth certificate removes the option of a more formal name for your child when he is older and may want one.
Yes some names don't have options but they are usually recognisable "proper" names to begin with not nick names like Megan and Neil.
Prince Charles' sons may be known as Wills and Harry but no way would those names have been put on the birth certificates.

SanityClause Sat 07-Jun-14 07:39:21

Sorry, in the last sentence, "she" refers to your DD, not mine! blush

SanityClause Sat 07-Jun-14 07:38:32

Princess, DD1 is 15 and in the past year or so has chosen a nickname for herself loosely based on her name. She introduces herself to everyone by this name, and has asked all her friends to call her that.

I always call her by her given name. I asked her if she wanted me to call her by this nickname (I figure she's old enough to choose what she wants to be called!) but no, she is happy for me to call her by her given name. She likes her given name.

So, she may always be happy to be known as the long name by you and the short name by your DH.

halfdrunktea Sat 07-Jun-14 07:28:28

We've done this - DS has a 'long' version of his name that we never used and we have used the shortened version from the outset.

PrincessBabyCat Sat 07-Jun-14 03:03:10

I picked out my daughter's name and want it to be kept long. DH wants to give her a shortened nick name. It's the source of light bickering. I predict in the future that he'll be calling her by her nick name and I'll be calling her by her full name until she states a preference.

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