What Names Are Most Automatically Shortened To Nickname?

See title.

Strangers, on first acquaintance, frequently call me by a nickname form of my first name. I never use the nickname form, so they’re not following my lead, but most people quickly or eventually end up using it – usually quickly.

I’d imagine this happens all the time for Thomases or Fredericks too.

Some names, though, people seem to tend not to abbreviate right away, or without hearing someone else who knows you call you by the nickname version. Maybe because they are not obvious contractions (Jack for John), or because there are multiple possible nicknames for a given name (Rob, Bob, Bobby).

Your experience?

People never call me George because my name is Peter. But they never call me Peter either. It’s usually ‘Pete’


eh… from “jessica” down should be:

Debbie or Deb

I’ve also found that everyone wants to abbreviate “Elizabeth” as “Lizzie” and “Gabrielle” as “Gabby” even though there are other names that can come from them.

I’m Jennifer, but within minutes of meeting someone new, it gets snipped down to Jen. Except with this one moron at work who keeps calling me Jane. :confused:

I don’t mind it, but God help the poor soul who tries using “Jenny” with me. There are maybe three people on the planet who have that right.

Christopher is pretty much always Chris, and Jonathan usually ends up being Jon.

It’s like people can’t handle a name with more than one syllable. Are we in that much of a hurry that we can’t use people’s two- or three-syllable names anymore?


I’m Kimberly, and insisted on being Kimberly for many years from Jr High through college. It was a losing battle completely, so in my 40-something old age, I’ve accepted that I am Kim. Period. Nothing I can do about it.

We have a son named Michael. We have never called him anything except Michael, and he calls himself Michael. But lots of people automatically call him Mike or Mikey.

I don’t remember this happening very often, if ever, with our daughter (who was Alexandra for a few yeas, then decided to be Kathryn), though. It anyone has ever referred to her as either Alex or Kathy, I’ve never heard of it.

You should see the look on some people’s faces when I drop the awful bomb that my name is Anastasia. I’m often immediately asked, “Is there a nickname for that?”

Which is either Stasia (preferred) or Stacey (meh). Or hell, a few use “Ana”, but I don’t respond to that so much, not realising it’s me. shrugs


CURSE YOU!! Family Guy!!

My late brother’s first name was Robert. Everyone in the family called him Robert. He always called himself Robert. It used to bother him that, after he introduced himself as “Robert [Surname],” many people would immediately start calling him “Bob” or “Rob.” I don’t understand this. If a person says “Hi, I’m Robert,” shouldn’t it be assumed that he prefers to be called by that name, and not by a nickname?


I don’t shorten other people’s names unless they do it first, they’re introduced that way, or I’m christening a good friend with a nickname. A lot of people seem to live by different rules. My son’s name is Douglas. He likes that name. Yet, it seems like every other time I introduce him to someone, it goes like this:

ME: This is my son, Douglas.

I didn’t say his name was Doug. His name isn’t Doug. He doesn’t like the name Doug. Yet about half of the people we meet automatically shorten it. It’s rude.

If there is one commonly used diminutive for a name, that name is almost always going to be shortened.

Male: Thomas has to be way up there. There’s not much choice but Tom for short, and so few Thomases use the full name. Similarly with Stephen (Steven), Timothy, Kenneth, Bradley, etc. James used to be one of these names, but there’s been a trend towards just being James (at least according to James Lileks, who squeezed an entire essay out of renouncing his Jimhood).

Female: Patricia is Pat (Patty, Patti) 95 times out of 100. Some become Tricias or Trishes, but Tricia is also a given name. Joan is short and sweet, but I haven’t met a Joan yet who didn’t answer readily to Joany (sometimes Joni). Janice or Janis almost always becomes Jan. And was there ever a Gwendolyn who wasn’t called Gwen?

I’d have thought of Doug, too, except it’s not my real first name. (My real first name is too short to shorten.)


I think Benjamin, as well.

Hooray for the irish. Siobhan is wonderful, because whilst there are ways to shorten it (mainly Vawn, if you want to get phonetic), most people don’t figure that one out and don’t bother trying.

The downside, of course, is that if someone’s reading it they can never figure out how to pronounce the damned thing.

It’s funny. We tend to shorten long names and lengthen short ones.

My sister Joan will forever be Joanie Baloney to me.

People always call me Robert when I first meet them, and they keep calling me Robert as long as I don’t tell them anything else. Some people (mostly outgoing, friendly types) occasionally shorten it to “Rob” on their own.

I always tell anyone who is not a co-worker, student, or professor of mine to call me Robby, since that’s what I go by with my friends. I don’t bother with my professors because I don’t really care what they call me (I’ve had two professors who actually called their students Mr. or Miss Lastname), and I prefer to be called Robert at work because I teach and “Robby” sounds somehow too unprofessional or childish to me for a teacher.

My RA in the dorms a couple of years ago called me Bob. I never knew why, but I didn’t mind.

Two of my kids have one-syllable names, but quite a few people, grandparents most notably, insist on adding -ie to their names. The other kid has a two-syllable name but folks tend to lop off the second syllable. My brother has a two-syllable name that, as far as I know, has never been modified at all.

My wife has a name that my parents insisted was a nickname, but it’s what’s on her birth certificate. Billy Bob Thornton insists that’s how his birth certificate reads.

Names are weird critters.

My name is Richard and a few people will call me Rich. I usually cringe, but put up with it.