The nickname "Elvira"......should someone be offended

The factual answer is that, if she was simply informed, on a piece of paper that she had no idea where came from, that someone thought of her as Elvira - then it would depend on what she thinks about Elvira. Possibly she thinks that Elvira is awesome. Maybe she doesn’t. I don’t know her.

But, presuming that she knows that it’s you giving the name, she would probably guess that your intention was to be insulting, either way.

From that point, either she’ll either come to the conclusion that you’re a moron with no penis (presuming that you’re male) and there’s no value in caring, let alone getting angry, given that the world has already punished you well in advance. Or she’ll get angry and everything about her that annoys you now will get turned up and you’ll have just accomplished making your own life worse, because you’ve gone from dealing with someone being “bitchy” to dealing with someone being “mega-bitchy”.

Ultimately, none of this is a win for you. If you want to improve your life, improve yourself first and that’s probably going to do you a lot better.

But you are, of course, free to do as you want.

Ah. Thanks, Darren and Tzigone.

Ignorance fought!

– but I still think my reasons for it being in general offensive are valid.

While we are at it, you probably missed a couple of references I made.

And in case thorny locust doesn’t know, the 2 references are unrelated to each other. The song came out in 1966 and the Mistress of the Dark didn’t become popular until the 1980’s.


I thought you were taking off on Vampirella; but then, it looks like Booberella was doing exactly that.

I used a nickname for a girl behind her back.

But that was in 4th grade.

This. It seems a very childish thing to do.


Being a fan of both the song and Cassandra Peterson/Mistress of the Dark I would say no.

I don’t get it. If you intend to cause offense in a passive agressive way because they’re a bitch, yeah sure, calling somebody a nickname that doesn’t want it will cause offense. But then that makes you a dick.

Maybe it won’t cause offense. I had a guy call me multiple variations of my name during a conversation, and when it was done, a person said “why did you let him call you that”? I didn’t even notice it, because I’m used to nicknames and/or don’t find them offensive.

My wife, (who has a 4 syllable name with tons of variations) absolutely HATES any other variation used. She won’t correct people, but insists that I call her the full name. I get no pet names for her, oh well.

I think you can be a fan of a character and still be legitimately offended if someone calls you that name. I’m a fan of Pee-wee Herman, but I wouldn’t want to be called Pee-wee.

“Elvira” pings “Mistress of the Dark” imagery–I’m thinking you’re calling the person an overexposed, busty airhead. Whether or not that’s offensive depends entirely on your relationship with the person in question. Alternatively it might ping that godawful song, but it’s been out of circulation long enough I’m not sure I’d know why the connection was made.

But above all, referring to someone by a nickname they are not privy to gives them the right to read the worst into your intentions when they finally learn what you’ve been up to. Whether or not this makes you a childish asshole is beside the point–you’re setting yourself up for a retributive attack and you’ll have no access to any sort of high ground. In the end, your feelings about the other person will be irrelevant because they will be totally in the right as they even the score against you.

I agree with this. I have had a comparable experience - back in 1988 or so, I overheard someone refer to me as “Weird Al”, and was definitely not intended as a compliment. At the time I had long hair and a mustache, and while I felt my hairstyle was more like John Mellencamp, I also thought Weird Al Yankovic was awesome (still do) and wasn’t offended at all.

I don’t find the name inherently offensive, but I still wouldn’t want to be called that (because I’m a guy). Whatever, if she doesn’t like it, you probably should stop calling her that, unless you intend to be offensive. I don’t know the context, but if she’s a coworker, it could cause problems you don’t want to deal with.

I have nicknames we use privately when referring to some awful people my wife deals with at work. Is this childish? Maybe, but the world would be pretty boring if no one was ever childish. These would certainly never get back to the people in question, which I think is the important distinction

The title says "Should someone be offended? "

The only way they could be offended is if they knew about the nickname.


  1. Are you planning on calling her this to her face?
  2. Are you planning on calling her this to other people?
  3. Are you planning on referring to her as Elvira in your own mind?

Most importantly, do you mean it to be a derogatory term?

What is your purpose here? Cause what it sounds like to me is that you think the person would be offended-- or just displeased – and you’re looking for validation that there’s nothing offensive about being called Elvira.

If I started calling someone Dan, most of them would just think I’m confused. If a friend heard me call someone Dan and it wasn’t his name, they’d know out was an insult. If i called my brother Dan (not his name), he’d know he’s about on my last nerve and it’s time to shut it. It’s the name Dan offensive on its own? No. Am I intending to insult someone by using it? Oh, hell yes. Does it convey that intent to insult to anyone else? Only the friends and family who remember my ex husband named Dan.

So again: what are you trying to achieve here?

Well, you could have saved us a bunch of time and phrased your OP as follows:

There’s this woman that’s a pure bitch. She’s not a friend, and her first name begins with “E”, so I refer to her as Elvira when I talk about her. Do you think she would find that name offensive?

Well duh.

I would be very offended. I love Dolly Parton, I think she is an amazing trailblazer and a legend, but I would be offended for the same reason if someone suddenly called me Dolly as a nickname.

Wait, so this is a nickname you just use in your own head? Or you use with other people behind her back but not to her face?

Meh, it’s juvenile, but I’ve known plenty of people to do that. There’s nothing specifically rude if your not doing it where they know about it. However, if someone drops the dime on you, then yeah, it’s a bit rude, because they found out you’ve nicknamed them.

Is “Elvira” an offensive nickname? What do you mean by it? I assume the reference to the Mistress of the Dark, and so maybe you mean a booby ditz? Uh, that’s mildly offensive. In particular, you seem to mean it as an insult, so yeah, I’d say it would be annoying.

The Rat is indeed Sage.

I agree, what is your purpose with this thread? Are you looking for some sort of vindication that calling her a nickname in your head is okay? That “Elvira” is sufficiently insulting of a nickname to use in that way? Why don’t you just call her “Pure Bitch” in your head? Skip the middleman, so to speak? Or do you think you’re being creatively funny? In which case, whatever floats your boat, you’re only doing it for your own amusement.

I’m familiar with the Oak Ridge Boys song and the camp-goth television presenter, and I’ve read this thread, but unless the woman in question typically dresses in a “Sexy Morticia Addams” costume I don’t understand why labelling her “Elvira” even makes sense.