Thursday, June 6, 2013

Stand-Alone Nickname-Names Vs. Proper Given Names

Baby Under The Towel by Vera Kratochvil
Many parents today choose long, proper names for the birth certificate but they call their little ones by a nickname. For girls, nicknames that end with -ie have always been popular.

For example, perhaps you love the idea of having a little Maggie but you aren't comfortable with Maggie as a given name. What do you do? Name her Margaret.   Now, some parents are skipping the proper name and using the nickname on its own.

While Maggie is a nickname for a specific name, some "nicknamey-names" could be short for any number of names.  What if you wrote Sadie or Callie directly on the birth certificate? And what about names that seem nicknamey but don't have an obvious long-form like Bonnie?

In the 1880's, Minnie, Annie, Bessie and Nellie ranked in the Top 20 as a whole name. So it begs the question, which of these nicknames can stand alone today, and which require a proper given name? 

Of course, there is no right or wrong answer but I will list some of the nicknamey-names that could possibly stand on their own for a modern girl.  I will break it down into three categories and put their possible long-forms in parenthesis, if applicable. 

Probably So:
Abbie (Abigail)
Allie (Alexandra, Alice, Allison)
Annie  (Ann, Anne, Anna, Annabelle, etc)
Callie (Caroline, Charlotte, Calista, Calliope)
Cassie (Cassandra, Cassidy)
Edie (Edith)
Ellie (Eleanor, Elizabeth, Eliana, Estelle, etc)
Elsie (Elizabeth/Elspeth)
Evie (Evangeline, Evelyn)
Josie (Josephine, Josette, Joslyn)
Maisie (Margaret, Mary, Melissa, Marissa)
Millie (Mildred, Millicent, Camille)
Sadie  (Sarah)
Tessie (Tessa, Theresa)

Hattie (Harriet, Henrietta)
Lettie (Letitia)
Lottie (Charlotte) 
Mamie (Margaret, Mary)
Minnie (Wilhelmina, Minerva)
Nellie (Helen, Ellen, Eleanor, Penelope)
Tillie (Matilda)
Trudie (Gertrude)

Possibly Not: 
Bessie (Elizabeth)
Effie (Euphemia)
Lizzie (Elizabeth)
Trixie (Beatrix)
Vinnie (Lavinia)

There are also names that are legitimate French names or variations of names that end with -ie. These are considered full/real names as opposed to a nickname. Some of those include:


Of course there are probably many other examples that I missed. What do you think of the nicknamey-names?  Would you use any of these as a stand-alone or do you believe in a proper given name?

For a longer list of names ending in -ie, take a look at this article: Trendy Girl Names From 1900. This style of names was actually high-fashion at the time and they were all given names as opposed to nicknames! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Surprisingly, a common search term for my blog is "What is Bonnie short for?" It never occurred to me that Bonnie sounded like a nickname (it seems so obviously a word), and I still don't really get it - although I have seen people use it as a short form of Bonita.

Most of the Maybes are quite firmly established as "real names" here.


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