View Full Version : Origin of Common Nicknames.

Jim B.
10-27-2007, 08:29 PM
What are the origins of the nicknames Jim, Peg and Chuck for the proper names James, Margaret, and Charles respectively. I have wondered this for some time now. Think about it, "James" doesn't have an "I" in yet, yet "Jim" does. And "Margaret" doesn't begin with a "P", yet "Peg" does, and so forth. I am looking for the etymological origins of these names.

By the way, at least one mystery I have wondered about has been solved for me. For some time now, I have known "James" is ultimately derived from the Latin "Jacobus". But I never knew where the "M" in "James" came from. Well, a couple of years back I got Webster's New World College Dictionary (which I highly recommend). And they explain in their etymology that "James" is actually derived from the later Latin "Jacomus", hence the "M". No etymology is given for "Jim" though, so I still don't know where the "I" comes from.

Thank you all who reply :)

10-27-2007, 08:45 PM
And "Margaret" doesn't begin with a "P", yet "Peg" does, and so forth.

The Master speaketh. (http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mdick.html)

Rhyming nicknames were also fairly common in the 12th and 13th centuries, and so we also have Hitch from Rich, Hick and Dick from Rick, and Hicket from Ricket.

Margaret-> "Meg"-> "Peg"

Also note: Robert-> "Rob"-> "Bob"

10-27-2007, 08:51 PM
Just notice that's not Cecil, it's Dex!!! Oops!
Well, I didn't say Master of what . . .

Here's another relevant Thread, this one from Cecil. (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a3_268.html)

10-27-2007, 09:43 PM
What are the origins of the nicknames Jim, Peg and Chuck for the proper names James, Margaret, and Charles respectively. I can answer for Chuck, of course.

The name comes from either the verb "to chuck," meaning "to gently touch someone's chin" or the noun "chuck," meaning dear one (the two may be interrelated). It seems to derive from calling someone "my chick." The OED shows the noun form in Shakespeare.

1588 SHAKES. L.L.L. V. ii. 668 Sweet chuckes, beat not the bones of the buried. 1599 Hen. V, III. ii. 26 Vse lenitie sweet Chuck.

Thus, you loved one was "my chuck."

At some point, the word attached itself to the name Charles, probably because they both had a "Ch" in the beginning.

Siam Sam
10-28-2007, 02:02 AM
Why is "Bluey" a common name for redheads in Australia?

Ice Wolf
10-28-2007, 02:20 AM
Why is "Bluey" a common name for redheads in Australia?According to an Aussie government site (http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/slang/) it could just be an example of a "perverse reversal" found in Aussie slang. As writer, poet and member of the modernist literary and artistic movement the Angry Penguins, Max Harris points out in his book The Australian Way with Words , 'one of the Australian ratbag traditions is to take a word and perversely use it as the opposite of its intended meaning.' A well-known illustration of this is the word 'bluey', a nickname for someone with red hair.

Siam Sam
10-28-2007, 02:34 AM
"Ratbag traditions"?

Ice Wolf
10-28-2007, 02:40 AM
I noticed that phrase, too, but decided to leave the quote as-is. "Ratbag" is usually a mild insult, just short of calling someone a bastard. Also someone who does things just to be different and cause annoyance -- so I guess that's what's meant by "ratbag traditions". Just doin' it different 'cause they're Aussies.

10-28-2007, 05:23 AM
Don't redheads often have blue eyes ?

10-28-2007, 05:53 AM
Don't redheads often have blue eyes ?
Yeah, but even if their eyes are green they can still be called Bluey. It probably makes more sense when you see them with their mates Slim (the fat guy) and Curly (the bald guy).

-- Caz (daughter of a Bluey)

Siam Sam
10-28-2007, 07:21 AM
In Thailand, lots of people are nicknamed Frog or Pig among other unflatteirng names. Seems there's a belief that if you name a baby something offensive, the evil spirits will think there's something wrong with it and thus will not steal it away.

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