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  #1  
Old 12-04-2000, 11:28 AM
bserum bserum is offline
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JFK stands for John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Why have I sometimes heard him referred to as Jack Kennedy? Or am I confusing him with another of the Kennedy clan?
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  #2  
Old 12-04-2000, 11:34 AM
TomH TomH is offline
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Jack is a conventional nickname for people called John, just like Harry for Henry.
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Old 12-04-2000, 11:35 AM
JSexton JSexton is offline
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Well, Jack is a fairly common nickname for John. Witness Tom Clancy's books: Jack Ryan is really John Patrick Ryan. As for JFK specifically, I dunno.
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  #4  
Old 12-04-2000, 11:35 AM
G.B.H. Hornswoggler G.B.H. Hornswoggler is offline
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"Jack" is a nickname for "John." (Or perhaps "Jonathan," if we're being formal.)

Possible tangent #1: what possible use is it to have a nickname that's exactly as long as the original name?

Possible tangent #2: Remember when parents knew that "Jack" was a nickname, not a full name, and didn't name their kids that?
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  #5  
Old 12-04-2000, 11:49 AM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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Ace, FYI Jonathan is not another version of John, "formal" or otherwise. They are two totally different names.

John comes from Hebrew Yo Hanan, 'God is Gracious'.
Jonathan comes from Hebrew Yo Nathan, 'God's Gift'.

The Yo in both cases, spelled yod vau, is an abbreviation for the Tetragrammaton (four-letter Name of God) Yod He Vau He, which the King James Bible rendered as "Jehovah."

Blokes named John do not appreciate it when people confuse their name with Jonathan, and vice versa.
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  #6  
Old 12-04-2000, 12:09 PM
Running with Scissors Running with Scissors is offline
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Quote:
Tomh wrote:
Jack is a conventional nickname for people called John, just like Harry for Henry.
Harry is a nickname for Henry? AFAIK, Harry is short for Harold and Hank is short for Henry...

And yes, it's always bothered me that a nickname like Jack serves no real purpose - it's no shorter in terms of sylables or letters then the original name. Someone have any more information on it?
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  #7  
Old 12-04-2000, 12:10 PM
straykat23 straykat23 is offline
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From a google search

Believe it or not, a whole book has been written on the subject: The Pedigree of Jack and Various Allied Names by E.W.B. Nicholson.

The history of Jack as a pet name for John is a long and tangled one, as these things usually are. Most people assume that Jack is derived from the French Jacques, and that Jack should therefor be short for James rather than John. Nicholson debunked this notion, claiming that there is no recorded example of Jack ever being used to represent Jacques or James.

Jack is actually derived from the name Johannes, which was shortened to Jehan and eventually to Jan. The French were fond of tacking the suffix -kin onto many short names. French nasalization resulted in a new combination being pronounced Jackin instead of Jankin. The name Jackin was shortened to Jack.

By the fourteenth century, Jack had become a synonym for man or boy , and later was also used as a slang name for sailors.

In the United States, Jack became a popular Christian name. Jackie, for a short period, even became a unisex name. For a short time, the name Jack gained much prominence, especially after the U.S. elected a popular president named John, whose pet name was Jack.
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  #8  
Old 12-04-2000, 12:17 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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C. S. Lewis's name was Clive Staples Lewis. He hated the name Clive, so he had everyone call him "Jack."
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  #9  
Old 12-04-2000, 12:24 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Quote:
Harry is a nickname for Henry? AFAIK, Harry is short for Harold and Hank is short for Henry...
In Shakespeare's Henry V Henry is called "Harry".
Quote:
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself, Assume the port of Mars
Quote:
KING OF FRANCE: Think we King Harry strong
Quote:
MESSENGER: Ambassadors from Harry King of England Do crave admittance to your majesty.
Quote:
KING HENRY V: ...Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'
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  #10  
Old 12-04-2000, 12:58 PM
gigi gigi is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by frogstein

Harry is a nickname for Henry? AFAIK, Harry is short for Harold and Hank is short for Henry...[/B]
I always thought of Hal as short for Harold and Harry or Hank as short for Henry.
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  #11  
Old 12-04-2000, 01:13 PM
Spritle Spritle is offline
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Why is JFK called Jack

Call him whatever you want; he won't answer!
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  #12  
Old 12-05-2000, 12:01 AM
DRY DRY is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Johnny L.A.
Quote:
Harry is a nickname for Henry? AFAIK, Harry is short for Harold and Hank is short for Henry...
In Shakespeare's Henry V Henry is called "Harry".
In Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part One, the man who would someday be Henry V is called "Hal" by his associates, Poins and Falstaff:
Quote:
PRINCE HENRY
What, a coward, Sir John Paunch?

FALSTAFF
Indeed, I am not John of Gaunt, your grandfather;
but yet no coward, Hal.
(From Act 2, Scene ii)

However, his father calls him "Harry":
Quote:
Why, Harry, do I tell thee of my foes,
Which art my near'st and dearest enemy?
(From Act 3, Scene ii)

Within the same play there exists a Henry Percy, a.k.a. "Hotspur". He is called both "Harry" and "Henry", mostly the former.

John Falstaff is referred to more as "Jack" than "John" in the same play, for what it's worth.
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  #13  
Old 12-05-2000, 01:22 AM
melchizedek melchizedek is offline
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I heard Jack as a nickname for James, as James is the English version of Jacob, but Jack for John?

So was Jack Shit really called John?
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  #14  
Old 12-05-2000, 05:02 AM
matt_mcl matt_mcl is offline
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I have never heard Jack used for James, but if it is, it's probably due to the French version of James, "Jacques".
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  #15  
Old 12-05-2000, 05:13 AM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Quote:
Possible tangent #1: what possible use is it to have a nickname that's exactly as long as the original name?
It's quite handy if you have John L. Smith, and John D. Smith, for instance, in the same family. One or the other can be Jack, which helps immensely when they live in the same house, and share a phone.
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  #16  
Old 12-05-2000, 07:05 AM
melchizedek melchizedek is offline
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Yes Matt,

Jacobean period in English history was King James, the Union Jack, the British flag is so nicknamed as it was King James tht first unified the falg as such. It should be called the Union of King James, but we shortened it to Union Jack.
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  #17  
Old 12-05-2000, 07:18 AM
hibernicus hibernicus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by melchizedek

Jacobean period in English history was King James, the Union Jack, the British flag is so nicknamed as it was King James tht first unified the falg as such. It should be called the Union of King James, but we shortened it to Union Jack.
Whoever told you this was wrong. Go and kick them on the shin for letting you make a fool of yourself in public.

King James did not unify the flag. The Union took place in the "Augustan" period when King James I, II and III were all dead.

The flag should therefore not be called the "Union of King James".

In any event, the flag is not correctly called the Union Jack, but the Union Flag.
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  #18  
Old 12-05-2000, 07:36 AM
melchizedek melchizedek is offline
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That was the Act of Union.

James I 1603-1615 combined the Cross of St Andrew with the Cross of St George then added the Cross of St Patrick ( who shouldn't have a cross as he was never martyrd.

Who was James III?
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  #19  
Old 12-05-2000, 07:56 AM
TomH TomH is offline
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hibernicus is right, at least about the Union Flag. The Union Jack properly refers to the small verion of the flag flown from ships. "Jack" in this context is a naval term for the flag which indicates the ship's nationality and has no connection with anybody called John, James or Jack.

I'm not so sure about the "Augustan" period, though. I had always taken this to refer to a period of literary, rather than constitutional, history.
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  #20  
Old 12-05-2000, 08:06 AM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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According to Flags of the World: United Kingdom:

- The crosses of George and Andrew were placed together by royal edict in 1606 for use as the Navy standard.

- The cross of Patrick was not added until 1707. This happened as part of the Act Of Union of 1707, joining England and Scotland. (Prior to 1707, the king (when he wasn't being executed or run out of the country) was the sovreign of both nations, jointly, but they were not joined as a single country.)

- No on knows exactly why the Union Flag is known as the Union Jack, although it is thought that "Jack" as a diminutive (and term of endearment) is the most likely cause.

- The Union Flag has never been adopted as the official flag of the Nation (although its traditional use has given it the weight of law).
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  #21  
Old 12-05-2000, 08:24 AM
hibernicus hibernicus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by melchizedek
Who was James III?
James Francis Edward, Known variously as James III of England, James VIII of Scotland, the Old Pretender, the Melancholy Pretender... Deprived of his throne by the coup d'etat which deposed his father and installed William and Mary, and later by the Act of Settlement.

As for the "Augustan" period, like TomH I have never heard this term used for a historical period, but i believe it is correct.

The point is, King James did not invent the Union Flag, and that's not why it's popularly called the Union Jack.
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  #22  
Old 12-05-2000, 08:31 AM
hibernicus hibernicus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by tomndebb
According to Flags of the World: United Kingdom:


- The cross of Patrick was not added until 1707. This happened as part of the Act Of Union of 1707, joining England and Scotland.
The cross of St Patrick would have been added in 1801, on the Act of Union that joined the Irish and British parliaments.
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  #23  
Old 12-05-2000, 08:42 AM
don Jaime don Jaime is offline
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Straykat's post is from either Imponderables or Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise?, copyright David Feldman.

And, getting back to the Original Post™, Kennedy was known to family and friends as "Jack".
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  #24  
Old 12-06-2000, 12:51 AM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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You know, hibernicus, 1801 makes more sense to me. I remember that paintings from the U.S. War for Independence show a "simpler" British flag (since it did not have the fimbriations (extra lines) called for by the addition of Patrick's cross.

(I read too hastily as I got hit with an abend and a bad compile as I was posting and never got back here.)
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  #25  
Old 12-06-2000, 06:58 AM
hibernicus hibernicus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by tomndebb
a "simpler" British flag (since it did not have the fimbriations (extra lines) called for by the addition of Patrick's cross.
Fimbriations! That's a great word. Can't see myself getting a whole lot of use out of it, though.

I was wrong about one thing; James III was not dead at the Act of Union; he lived to a ripe old age.

Has anyone noticed how British monarchs tend not to survive long into a new century?
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  #26  
Old 12-06-2000, 07:01 AM
Gyrate Gyrate is offline
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I remember having the same confusion about JFK in high school and asking my teacher about it one day, much to the amusement of my classmates as my first name is "John". I'd never heard that "Jack" was a nickname of "John" and certainly no one had ever called me that, so it's hardly a natural assumption, yes?

Incidentally, my father-in-law is named Jack. They were going to name him John, decided everyone was going to call him Jack anyway, and put "Jack" on the birth certificate.

As for "Henry/Harry", I believe young Prince Henry of Britain is widely known as Harry, much as his older brother is called Wills.

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  #27  
Old 12-06-2000, 12:15 PM
Fiver Fiver is offline
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It's worth noting that in the United States "Jack" as a nickname for "John" is very common in the Northeast (including New England), but less so in the Southeast.

Case in point: My good friend Jack, who's from McRae in southern Georgia, spent a few years living in New Jersey. His coworkers, perhaps not wanting to seem unduly familiar, at first tried to call him "John" and he had to explain that his name is Jack, just Jack.

John, in fact, is one of his brothers. So that the two names are interchangeable to Yankees clearly never even occurred to their parents.
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  #28  
Old 12-07-2000, 04:34 AM
TomH TomH is offline
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There's a Restoration Comedy, either The Beaux Stratagem or The Silent Woman, I think, in which one of the running jokes is about a character called John Daw. It's never explicitly stated, but there are lots of bird jokes, which suggests that the idea that Jack = John would have been quite familiar to an audience of that time.
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  #29  
Old 12-07-2000, 10:32 AM
Fretful Porpentine Fretful Porpentine is online now
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... based, I suspect, on Ben Jonson's Epicoene; or, the Silent Woman, in which Sir John Daw is called "Jack Daw" a good bit of the time.

Not that this has a whole lot to do with the OP, but I rarely get a chance to work Jonson into a topic.
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  #30  
Old 12-07-2000, 11:42 AM
TomH TomH is offline
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Actually, Porpentine, I think that was what I was thinking of. It's a good ten years since I saw it and my memory is a little hazy. Why on earth I confused it with The Beux Stratagem, though, I don't know.
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