One of the great things my father did was to name me Roger, which does not engender a lot of nicknames. He also did not name me after himself, also good. That might have gotten m called Junior, or Bud (like on the TV show Father Knows Best).

I was thinking about this because Rob Hoffman wrote about nicknames, and specifically about how certain names are more prone to variations.

“Elizabeth – (Betty, Beth, Liz, Lizzie, Betts, Bette) This name provides a lot of flexibility. Elizabeth is royal, while Betty is a fun neighbor with a silly laugh. Liz is a ‘good-time,’ but Lizzie is downright dangerous.)” Which is why, when naming our daughter, Elizabeth was totally off the table, despite being the name of the only British monarch in my lifetime AND my late mother’s middle name.

Mom, BTW, was named Gertrude, after her mother. She was usually called Gertie by her cousins, which she disliked less than her formal name, but not by much. As an adult, though, she became Trudy and THAT suited her.

My father was named Leslie, but he always was Les in my reckoning. Les is also the shortened form of Lester, though, and some people, in an attempt to be formal, referred to him with that moniker. You could see him bristle.

Roger doesn’t really lend itself to shortening, other than Rog, and I like that. There have been attempts to give me nicknames, and I always fought them off. When I was a janitor at Binghamton (NY) City Hall in the spring and summer of 1975, one of the other custodians tried to dub me “Flash”, because I got my core work done in six hours, and then would do the extra stuff, such as buffing the floor, and still have time to talk to the police captain, or read, or clean the doors yet another time – glass doors always have fingerprints.

He and his colleague took as long as they could, never did work beyond what was required, and sometimes not even that. So they called me Flash, I acted as though I didn’t hear them. Eventually, they gave up.

For ABC Wednesday

16 Responses to “N is for Nicknames, names one nicks”

  • Your father was a wise man 😉

    My father did not have a choice, the women in his life (his wife and his mother and mother-in-law) set my name… which I very much dislike by the way. How strange how just 4 letters can irritate one, is it not?
    thankfully almost nobody calls me by my real name, most of them leave the last two away..and I am okay with that.

    Have a splendid, ♥-warming ABC-WEDNES-day / – week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

  • Alison Craig says:

    I had several nicknames and none are currently in use. We did learn something interesting about our Dad’s name, which didn’t exactly fit his nickname of Zeke. His mother wanted to combine her and her sister’s names, thinking she would have a girl. Fortunately, she had to alter that decision and choose Zelna as an alternative to Hazelena, a name I think no girl would have appreciated. The family mystery was solved!

  • Roger says:

    I always wondered about Zelna Earl!

  • Rajesh says:

    People are more popularly known by their nicknames.

  • leslie says:

    I have one (now distant) friend who always insisted on calling me “Les” and I hate it, always have, always will. Not me at all.


  • Klara S says:

    I’ve had several nicknames through years. Some of them I liked, some of them I hated…

  • Anita says:

    Nicknames are interesting . In Archie comics,’Betty’ does fit your description 🙂

  • Hildred says:

    Oh, Hildred doesn’t lend itself to nicknames, – my mother, Dorothy, was called Dolly, and my daughter, Dorothy, is called Dot.

  • Indrani says:

    Nicknames are part of life, they come unwanted fortunately or unfortunately.
    Happy ABCW!

  • Hazel says:

    I will remember Roger as someone with good time management.

  • Ann says:

    My first name is Rebecca–always called by my middle name Ann. BUT I hate being called BECKY.

  • Margy says:

    Nicknames got me in trouble at the doctors the other day. They kept calling for Peg. I’ve never answered to that name, but Peg and Peggy are nicknames for Margaret. How they got that written on my chart I’ll never know. I go by Margy pronounced with a hard “g” not like Margie. – Margy

  • Wonderful post about nicknames, yours , your family ~ creative choice for N ~ ^_^

    A ShutterBug Explores ~ aka (A Creative Harbor)

  • Jesh StG says:

    Great N post – fortunately I only had to deal with shorten-ings of my name. And Jesh for the internet was my own, because I got tired of typing 9 letters:)
    Thanks about your comment – all around us are fires, N. N-E, and E. Very thankful we are spared, but it’s too healthy to stay outside for long, because of inhalation of the smoke, as soon as I step out the door.

  • zongrik says:

    soon nicknames will go the way of pronouns, illegal and arrest-able

  • My favorite nickname was given me by my godfather. He was the only who called me it. Sing. I think it was a Filipino diminutive of Susing, which is a diminutive of Susie.

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