Full name is Melissa Jeanette Franklin, but she’s refered to as “Missy Franklin” in the media, why? Since when is Missy short for Melissa?
What else would it be short for?
It’s just a nickname, and there’s probably some personal story behind it.
It was that way 35 years ago when my then-niece was called “Missy” even though she was “Melissa.” I doubt it was new back then.
Doesn’t sound unusual to me either.
I’ve known a handful of girls named Melissa that went by Missy. No personal stories behind it, it’s just the normal nickname for Melissa.
I found it in Google News Archives as far back as 1968. Probably older than that, but it pushes the date back quite a bit for the OP. ETA: Which is concident with that name’s peak in popularity, according to the Social Security Baby Name Index.
I recall many Melissa’s called Missy. I know one called Mel. I knew a woman called Isa (ee-suh), but never learned if it was short for anything or a full name.
Actress Melissa Sue Anderson, who played Mary on Little House on the Praire always went by Missy, which is how I became familiar with the nickname 40 years ago.
There’s also rapper Missy Elliott, whose full name is Melissa Arnette Elliott.
I think it is a little rare for this younger generation. That may be part of the confusion. I could be wrong, but when I think “Missy” I think 35-60 year old lady.
Since well before you were born, I’d venture.
I’m 32, the ones I know are all my age and younger and I’ve known them all since I was in kindergarten. Well, I knew the first one then, the younger ones I knew as I got older.
Maybe it’s a demographical thing. I’ve never not known that Missy was short for Melissa* and since then it’s been “common knowledge”. Maybe it’s just less known in other parts of the country, or maybe your 35-60 needs to be changed to 25-60 to catch my generation, though I didn’t think age factored into it. I didn’t think the name Missy was fading away, but I really hadn’t been paying much attention to it.
*Well, that is, once I found out that the Missys in my school were actually Melissas, but after that…
An alternate diminutive - or an utterly lovely name in its own right - is Lissa.
I once knew a Lissa who was going to be named Melissa until her parents realized that Melissa plus their 6-letter surname would have 13 letters.
Just a little anecdote here, although it doesn’t really address the OP.
The first time I ever encountered the name “Melissa” was in a story in a comic book, when I was a child (early 1960’s or so, as best I recall). But I never saw that name again, let alone the nickname “Missy”, until a great many years later. At the time, the name seemed utterly alien to me.
The comic book was a Superboy comic, with the ORIGINAL Bizarro story! Melissa was the little girl who didn’t run away screaming when she encountered Bizarro. In that story (which was neither a sequel to an earlier story, nor lent itself to having future Bizarro sequels), Bizarro is created one day and dies the following day when Melissa gets run over by a dump truck and Bizarro lifts the truck off of her, sacrificing himself in the process.
In the final scenes (Melissa is injured, recovering in the hospital), all the remaining mysteries of the story are revealed.
Melissa didn’t scream because she is blind. She only heard Bizarro’s voice and words, which she found to be mellifluous and kind-hearted. The dump truck was carrying the radioactive shards of the mal-functioning duplication machine that created Bizarro, which affected him like Bizarro-Kryptonite. Superboy debates with himself whether to ever tell Melissa the truth about Bizarro, and decides not to.
Who else remembers that story?
The Bizarro character became so popular that the DC writers later re-invented him (as a creation of Luthor, I think). That became the better-known Bizarro of the planet Htrae.
22 years old here. I went to school with two girls named Melissa, nicknamed Missy. I also knew one MelMel and one Lissa. Melissa is a very common name for people my age.
I had two Melissas who went by Missy in my class in school.
The popularity girls’ names (at least in the United States) varies tremendously from year to year, but boys’ names tend to remain more constant.
According to the Social Security Administration, the name “Melissa” was not very popular until the 1960s. (In 1920, it ranked 957 among girls’ names.) In 1961 it finally broke the top 100 (at number 95) and headed straight up the charts until it peaked at number 2 for 1977 through 1979. It left the top 10 in 1985, but stayed in the top 100 until 2005. It fell to 184th place by 2011.
So the Melissa-boomers would be in their 30s about now.
Here’s one for ya. When my mom needed a babysitter for my brother she met a woman named Elinore. My brother fell completely in love with Elinore and started to call her “Mommy.” Both Elinore and my mom were unamused, but Elinore immediately was christened his “Missy.” When Elinore had her first daughter (a girl my age,) she named her Melissa and hence forth we had Big Missy and Little Missy as part of our extended family.
Although it was never really spoken aloud, all of my sibs and me probably loved Big Missy and her Husband Pop (aka Ron) a bit more than our folks. She was always love and kindness and her cookie drawer always had a cookie in it for us. She never had a reason to punish us and her love was always unconditionally full out for us.
I miss Big Missy…
In 1933, James Thurber (b. 1894) wrote about a relative named Melissa, who would have been elderly in his youth.
I wasn’t popular. Not “it didn’t exist.” I found Melissas as far back as the 1830s, but it seemed to be pretty uncommon for the longest time.