Re: Why is Peggy the nickname for Margaret?

On this page one of your respondents suggests the name ‘Daisy’ is derived from the name ‘Margaret’. I would venture that this is almost certainly not true. According to Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, the word daisy comes from Old English meaning literally ‘days eye’ - in reference to the closing of a daisy’s petals at night. Although the French ‘marguerite’ and English ‘daisy’ share the same meaning, the words evolved separately.

More likely, if anything, is that the pet form of Margaret (or Scots-Gaelic ‘Mairead’), ‘Maisie’ was derived by the marguerite > meaning daisy > rhymes with Maisie route, similar to Meg > rhymes with Peg.

Also, it should be noted that, although Margaret and marguerite do both stem from the Latin for pearl, the Latin is derived from the Greek for pearl, which in turn is derived from the Persian or Sanskrit.

Welcome to the Straight Dope MEssage Boards, Stylee, we’re glad to have you with us. That column was written a lonnnng time ago; Cecil doesn’t do much with etymology nowadays, with so many competing websites. So I have no idea whether he’ll want to revisit that old column, or just leave it to fester in the Archives.

I don’t think you’re disagreeing with anything the respondent stated - they’re not talking about the *etymology *of the word ‘daisy’, but rather, the connection of the names Daisy and Margaret, on which point, they appear to be in agreement with you.

The respondent said, “…showed some astonishment that Daisy derived from Margaret. It is, in fact, the origin of the name…”

I disagree with the above, in that the name Daisy did not derive from Margaret and that Margaret is not the origin of the name. It seems supremely likely (to me) that the name Daisy is derived from the flower named daisy and not from Margaret, or marguerite.

I think you’re missing the point. Yes, people are called Daisy as their given name - and only a simple explanation is required for that. Daisy is the name of a flower, and people get given flower names. No mystery.

But also, people whose given name is Margaret are sometimes called Daisy as a nickname - in which case, it seems plausible that Margaret>Marguerite>Daisy is how this (the phenomenon of Margarets being nicknamed ‘Daisy’) came about.

I think the respondent probably just meant to say “it is the origin of the nickname”

OK - yes it makes sense that people named Margaret are sometimes called Daisy, after the French for a daisy. I just wanted it to be clear that the name Daisy originated without any connection to Margaret.

Thanks for helping to hone the point!

Am I missing something? The entire discussion is around the name “Daisy,” while the initial question is about the name “Peg.” Peg is only mentioned as an illustration.

An old girlfriend had a friend whose mother’s name was Margaret. She called her ‘Butter’. (Margaret => margarina => margarine => butter.)

I’ve known three people named Daisy, and they are all just Daisy, no Margaret or anything.

I always thought Margaret being called Daisy was an older thing (i.e. something done in the past a lot but not much anymore), such as Francis being called Frank or John being called Jack. I’ve never heard of any Francis going by Frank (other than Frank Sinatra, who’s dead anyway), and the only Johns I know of who are Jack are very old. And even then, a lot of the old Jacks are just Jack.

You’re right - it would be a bit weird if English-speaking people only started naming their daughters by the English names of flowers after they had already been naming them by the French names of flowers.

Although the “Margaret” family certainly does come from Latin margarita (“pearl”), it should be noted that margarita comes from Greek μαργαρίτης (“pearl”), although, amusingly enough, Modern Greek μαργαρίτα means “daisy”.

It’s also interesting to note that, at least as late as Perle (late 14[sup]th[/sup] century), an English poet could assume that his reader would understand that a “margary” was a pearl.

Anyone have a theory as to why Molly and Polly became such common nicknames for Mary?

I don’t think Francis is used as a name all that often anymore, but I knew a Frank in Junior High that was really Francis. As well as a Joey that was really Giuseppe (if I remember right - it was Italian). And cute.

Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II was sometimes called “Daisy” by her family when she was a child. The nickname is still used from time to time, usually by the pro-royalty celebrity magazines and such.

What I can’t figure out is how “Brenda” is derived from “Elizabeth.”

As far as I know, it isn’t; it’s generally believed to derive from the Norse word for “sword”, which occasionally turns up in English as brand (which adds a layer of meaning I never before considered to the early Ibsen play that made Patrick McGoohan’s reputation).

As John says, it’s not. It’s just a nickname bestowed by the British mag Private Eye, for no apparent reason beyond sounding ridiculously non-royal. Wikipedia says that the Duke of Edinburgh is “Keith”, the Prince of Wales is “Brian”, and the Princess Royal is “Yvonne”.
Powers &8^]

My mother’s name was Margaret, and all her nieces and nephews knew her as Aunt Pug.

She had no idea why and neither do I, to this day.

Private Eye, eh? I suspected something of the sort, but, as a Yank, couldn’t place it.

Someone asked why Peg or Peggy was nickname for Margaret; ths was my mom’s name, she was the child of irish immigrants to the U.S.
I read somewhere Paighan is the Gaelic form of Margaret and it comes from there?