People who abbreviate their first name…

…and use their full middle name. T. Boone Pickens is one that immediately comes to mind.


I get that they may not like their first name, simply prefer their middle name, or use it to avoid confusion with someone else, etc., but why not simply just use the middle name and completely exclude the first?

Just curious as to the decision-making behind this, because it seems like a pretty major thing to do. Also, I believe I’ve only ever seen men do this. Are there examples of women that do?

E. Jean Carroll, the woman who has accused Trump of raping her.

Google’s failing me for a specific explanation in Pickens’ case, but his full name was Thomas Boone Pickens Jr. My guess would be that “T. Boone” was a family name for him, to distinguish him from his father.

One of my doctors doesn’t seem to like his firstname, but apparently his profession doesn’t like middle names.

He is listed in directories as Firstname M. Lastname.
He signs documents as F. Middlename Lastname.

I know someone who uses their first initial and their full middle name. He states he doesn’t like his first name. (He thinks it sounds easy to ridicule, or something.) I can understand that. What has puzzled me is that his father had the same first name, also used his first initial and full middle name for similar reasons, yet still gave that name to his son. :shrug:

Also, another woman who goes by her first initial and middle name is actress S. Epatha Merkerson.

The S stands for Sharon, according to IMDB, which also has this quote from her on her name:

Madame P. goes by “C. Kathleen”. Her first name is Carrie. It was also her mother’s name, and she was called Kathy to keep 'em straight. It gripes her no end to get mail for Carrie.

I knew a woman who went by E. Joan Smith (Joan Smith made up me). Turns out the E stood for Elizabeth, she didn’t like the name or any of it’s common nicknames.

My wife does this on some of her professional papers - since she has a ‘gender-neutral’ middle name, and it, sadly, helps to not obviously have a female name in the scientific field if you don’t want condescending advice on your research.

Not a happy thing though.

S. Christa McAuliffe was also Sharon Christa McAuliffe, but she always went by Christa.

When you said “abbreviate their first name,” I thought you meant things like “Thos.” for “Thomas” or “Jos.” for “Joseph.” I didn’t think anybody even did that anymore. Maybe they don’t.

Is assume it’s to make it clear that the name they are commonly called is not their official first name.

Every person I know to do this writes articles for psychology journals and I kind of assume it’s to signal to people in the same profession that they interact with that they’re that [J.] Ethan Smithe.

Has she ever said why she doesn’t simply go by her middle name? I’ve wondered the same thing as the OP.

An ex-bf of mine was named after his grandfather, but was always called (and from the start intended to be called) by his middle name.

I wouldn’t be surprised if some of that is going on. Wanting to honor a family member, but not wanting to actually use the name.

This was my mother, named for her mother and then called something else so they weren’t confused. Mom preferred her nickname, so legally changed it after her mother died. Her older sister had fits, despite the fact that she, too, prefers her nickname. Mom threw it back in her fact and Aunt accepted the reality check rather than be called Kathleen in public by her sister. Yay Mom!

Our late county executive was best known as “L. Brooks Patterson.” Of course, when he filed for divorce it was as Lawrence B. Patterson.

I have a friend whose first name is William but goes by his middle name, “Harrison.” He styles himself Wm. Harrison Lastname. He’s the only one I know who does this.

It makes sense to me when they do it in places where you would normally include your middle initial. But it is a bit weird otherwise, unless that first initial is special.

My dad treats his middle initial that way. But that’s because he has a common name, where there are like 6 people with his first and last name here in my town and general area. His middle initial is thus important for disambiguation. (This is also why I have a unique first name, and his first name as a middle name.)

I suspect the man in the OP has the initial to seem a bit more distinguished. I associate that format F. Middle Last with “high falutin’” folk.

I would speculate that with some people it’s to avoid confusion.

Let’s say your full name is John Paul Jones and you choose to go by your middle name. If you style yourself Paul Jones, there will be situations in which there is a reference to J. Jones and people are going to think “Well, that can’t be Paul. He’s P. Jones.”

By calling yourself J. Paul Jones, you’re establishing that you wish to be called Paul. But you’re also letting people know that you have another name that might appear at times.