Canadian Blog House

What’s In A Name Nick? Nicky? Nicholas?

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The “Name Game” started a couple of years ago when my boyfriend and I were newly in love and still getting to know each other.

Treating ourselves to a night away from home, we checked in at the front desk of our chosen hotel.  I handed the desk clerk my VISA card, and as she handed it back to me she said “Thank you. Here’s your card, Sandra.”

Suddenly my boyfriend blurts out “I didn’t know your name was Sandra!!”  Between the look of surprise on my boyfriend’s face, and the look of shock on mine, one could only assume the naughty things that were running through the desk clerk’s mind as she grinned from ear to ear.

For the record, my boyfriend was not some stranger I had just picked up and brought back to my room.  Instead, it seemed as though I had failed to tell him that, although he knew me by my name Sandy, my formal name is Sandra.  You see, I’ve never gone by the name Sandra, except under certain circumstances – like at the doctor’s office, dentist’s office, or on official documents where they want your formal name.  The only other people who have ever called me Sandra are my parents – and only when I was in trouble.  SANDRA!!!

I have nothing against the name Sandra, in fact I quite like it.  It’s just that it’s not “me”.  I’m a pretty informal kind of person, so I happen to like my nickname better.

Silly me though.  I just assumed that everyone knew that Sandy was a nickname, or short form, of Sandra. Apparently, as I found out, that isn’t the case!

My boyfriend and I still chuckle over that hotel incident from time to time.  It came up in a recent conversation again the other day after I was talking about a couple of family members by name.  It seems I’m not the only one whose formal name is “THIS” but they go by “THAT”.  My boyfriend pointed out that it seems to be somewhat of a pattern in my family.

Here’s the evidence (various members of my family):

Marjorie Suzanne – goes by Sue

William – goes by Bill

Margaret – goes by Peggy

Richard – went by Dick

Eleanor – goes by Ella

Isabelle – went by Izzy

Robert – goes by Bob

James – goes by Jim

Of course, many names are shortened into names that make more sense:

Gregory – goes by Greg

Marilyn – goes by Lyn

I really never thought of it until now, but seriously…

Robert.  I get it.  You can be Rob or Bert.  But Bob? Bobby? Where do those extra B’s come from? Oh, and the Y?

Margaret.  Your name baffles me.  Sure, you’ve got a G and an E in your name but…Peggy?  Really?  I guess someone just decided to add a G, P, and a Y to morph Margaret into Peggy. Hmmmm…even Greta is a stretch for Margaret.  I guess it works….if we are talking anagrams (and even then, you don’t use all the letters)!

William.  Will I get.  Willy too.  Even Will I Am.  But Bill?  Billy?  If you can replace a W with a B, why not a PH for Phil? Oh, I guess that’s because Philip has already claimed that nickname (which actually makes sense).

Richard. Rich, yes.  Rick, Ricky, ok.  Still odd given that you have to add a random K and a Y, but somewhat understandable.  But Dick?  Really? I’m not even going to try to figure that one out. I was a little afraid to highlight this variation of the name Richard for fear of this post being censored for using a bad word. But back in the day when my Uncle Dick was born, Dick was a man’s nickname, not his body part, lol.  I hear you snickering dear readers!

I am certain if I Googled all these nicknames I could easily find their origin and how they evolved from the names that they did. I’m sure there is a logical reason behind all of the odd variations of names I have mentioned.  After all, nicknames are a very common thing, and probably a large percentage of us are called a nickname instead of our formal name.  Not sure why.  I guess maybe it is just easier for us to shorten a name down to something with less syllables, that is easier to say.  Or maybe a nickname makes you sound stronger or smarter? Many names morph into something with a Y at the end of the name.  Does this Y make our names sound cuter,  younger or sexier? Some say it does.

Whatever their origin, nicknames are everywhere.

What about you? Do you go by a nickname?


Disclosure:  Canadian Blog House did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.

  1. February 4, 2014


    my name is Ashley – but my family generally calls me Ashe, have from a very young age. Sometimes even strangers will just call me Ashe from the beginning (without me telling them to) although I still introduce myself as Ashley. My hubby’s name is Jason, but he goes by J…. My oldest is Julien, but we call him Jules (it wasn’t set out that way, but it just happened) most of the time…. my youngest is kyle, and he gets ky about half the time, and kyle the other half

    • February 4, 2014


      Hi Ashley! Or should I saw, Ashe? 🙂 There’s another good nickname, Jules from Julian. I like that one. Very interesting that ll of your family’s names get shortened in some way. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  2. February 4, 2014


    This made me giggle!! It is so true, it is funny that once you get to know someone by a nick name, it is weird to learn or call them by their full name!

    For instance, I met my husband with everyone calling him Les. When I first went to see his family no one called him that, they called him Leslie – is full name. I always think it is so funny to hear that! I couldn’t get used to it and still call him Les 😉

    • February 4, 2014


      Glad it did, Crystal 🙂 Yes, I have friends who go by nicknames and I just cannot rap my brain around calling them by their formal name. I also have one friend who grew up being called her formal name by all of us, then decided to start going by a nickname when she was in her 30’s. I had a hard time with that, but finally got used to it, lol. It was also a nickname that was one of those “oddball” ones that doesn’t match up with her formal name. LOL…I’m the same way with my bf, Crystal. I call him a nickname, he has a formal name…and his mother calls him something else 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. February 4, 2014

    Amanda @TheMommyMix

    My mom calls me by my name Amanda when she means business and Mandy when she’s not mad at me.

    • February 5, 2014


      Hehehe….sounds like a lot of us get called by our formal names when our parents are mad at us 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting, Amanda!

  4. February 4, 2014


    My name is Annemarie and my dad called me chicky and friends Anne. But a funny thing some people call me Susie cause they say I look like a Susie. But if u ask me I like Annemarie

    • February 5, 2014


      I like Annemarie too 🙂 LOL…but I do like chicky, that’s cute. Love how you got a nickname just because you look like a “Susie”. What does a Susie look like? lol. Thanks for reading and commenting, Annemarie!

  5. February 4, 2014


    LOL! ! Your post made me laugh!!! Nick names are silly! My nick name is JENN from Jennifer which makes sense. WE call Tyson by Ty, Hayden by Hay, and Paige by P. That’s it!

    • February 5, 2014


      Glad my post made you laugh, Jenn 🙂 Your nicknames all make sense..but I love how Paige gets shortened to P 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. February 4, 2014


    I’m happy with Lyn. It’s better than what Mum called me when I was small, Lynnie.

    • February 5, 2014


      LOL!!!! She probably still does call you that, Lyn 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!

  7. February 4, 2014


    Funny post! A few special people in my life call me Mel, but for the most part I’ve always been Melissa. NEVER MISSY. NEVER.

    I was determined that my children would be Nicolas and Oliver and never anything but. They still get called Nicolas and Oliver but just as often, Nick and Ollie.

    My husband is the lucky one…. who ever heard of a short form for Adam?

    • February 5, 2014


      LOL! Your response made me laugh, Melissa! NEVER Missy 🙂 Good for you for trying to keep your kids using their formal names. I find it’s usually the friends that end up shortening the names at some point. Hehehe…very good point about your hubby. Hmmm…Addy? lol Thanks for reading and commenting!

  8. February 4, 2014

    Tammy @inRdream

    I am totally with you where do the extra letters come from? I am Tammy but through high school my close friends called me Tamatha! haha.

    • February 5, 2014


      LOL, I like that, Tamatha! That’s actually cute 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting, Tammy!

  9. February 5, 2014

    Jenna Em

    Yes, I do sometimes go by a nickname. I remember when an old boyfriend (who had been a boyfriend of many years), asked me how to spell my name. 5 years later, somehow he did not know how. But I digress, I only use my birth name some of the times. 🙂

    • February 6, 2014


      Five years? that’s a long time, Jenna 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!

  10. February 7, 2014

    Dani @ lifeovereasy

    My name is Daniela, and that just seems to feel too long for people. It always ends up getting shortened in some way. These days I am Dani, and I’m pretty good with that.

    • February 8, 2014


      I like Dani, that’s cute! Yes, it seems like anything over 2 syllables often gets shortened. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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