Why are you a Dick?

To be exact, how is it that Richard came to be shortened to Dick by many people? I know a lot of shortened names don’t make sense - Peggy for Margaret comes to mind - but this one really perplexes me.

Also, what came first - Dick as a name for a person, or dick as an unflattering character accessment of a person?

Yer pal,

Complete WAG here, but…

Richard – Rich
Rich – Rick
Rick – Dick

Seems like it would make sense, but I’m probably wrong.

Satan, why do most of your posts have something to do with dick? :smiley: I’m sure some expert will post when dick became synonymus with penis and therefore,an insult. Me,I don’t know. That is not my area of expertise :wink:

The poster beneath me is really smart!

Actually,I thought this was a personal post to jodih!

It’s baby talk. Young toddlers just learning to talk have more problems with some sounds than others; “r” is difficult, “m” also mildly difficult.

Margaret becomes Maggie or Meg (drop the ‘r’) and then Peggy (switch out m for p).

Richard becomes Dick (switch out r for d).

Molly becomes Polly (m to p again).

Robert becomes Bob (r to b.

and so on.

Designated Optional Signature at Bottom of Post

I don’t know about many people, but my ex was named Richard. Toward the end of the marriage, he became Dick to everyone. Years later people still call him Dick… and he wonders why.

Celtic words mutate. Names don’t always but mh is the nasla mutation of the letter P in Welsh. I don’t know what it would be in Irish or Scotch Gaelic. Margo, which Margeret could have derived from, is an Irish name. My WAG would have it that Irish Gaelic would have p be a mutation of m. Probably the Irish equivalent of the soft mutation in Welsh since it is the most common.


Move over Satan. :wink: Now there’s something meatier. http://smallwonder.simplenet.com/COC.html

The one that puzzles me is Jack, for John.

I don’t know anyone named Jack, so i’ll ask here. Is anyone called Jack really named John, or is Jack also short for something else (Jackson?).

It is too clear, and so it is hard to see.

My father was named Jack–not John or Jackson, but people often assume it is a nickname. I also have an uncle named Joe, not Joseph.

cher3: I also have an uncle named Joe, not Joseph.

I remember Uncle Joe. Wasn’t he the one afraid to cut the cake? :slight_smile:

We have a new coworker whose name is John (and that’s the way he signs it) but who goes by Jack.

Obviously, this is because it’s shorter, like most nicknames…

No, not that Uncle Joe. The other one. You know, the one who’s moving kinda slow, down at the junction.

It figures sqrlcub would know about dick :wink:

I approve of the nickname Jack because my first name is John and my middle name is Daniel. It might seem kind of unusual, but it usually gets a cheer at frat parties when I’m introduced as Jack Daniel and hold up a bottle of whiskey.

Somebody’s got to ask, and nobody has, so here goes:

What about the etymology of Dick Trickle, famous racecar driver? Has anyone examined the psyche of a man named Richard Trickle who says to himself, “Rather than Richard, or Rich, or Rick, or Richie, or Rickie, or Napoleon Boneaparte, I think I would like to be called Dick. Dick Trickle. Yep - that’s me to a T.”

Or was he actually given the name Dick, rather than Richard, in which case the question is transferred to his parents.

More likely, once the first kid taunted him, people thought it was even funnier when he tried any other name; His Dick was stuck, so to speak. So he gave up. And right now he’s reading this and plotting revenge. “I can buy all of you Straight Dope bastards and feed you to my ravenous pit crew, over whom I enjoy the absolute authority due me as their God.”

Probably, but let’s look at this. The key issue is the Rick – Dick transition. The real question is, was this done because of the penile implications of Dick, or did that come (he he) later?

Hmm. This tricky Dickie is a bit of a sticky wicky.


Nice guess but wrong. There are two possible mutations to an initial consonant sound in Irish: lenition and eclipsis. Lenition puts an h after the m, which changes the sound to either v or w. M cannot be eclipsed.

If people are going to make fun of your name, why not confront it head on? If you go by “Dick Trickle”, then it won’t make much sense to taunt you by calling you that.

FWIW, I went to high school with a kid named Richard Hair.

It could be worse - my town has a well-known business established by a family named “Hole”

  • Harold Hole is one of them.

Guess what his name was shortened to.

What were his parents thinking?

Give me ambiguity or give me something else.

I had a professor named Richard Wiener…ouch!

I believe this has turned into another “funny name” thread. Can we please stick to Dick?