Theresa and her husband are expecting their first baby in a few weeks. They love the name Victor, but, as she wrote,
“I’m dying trying to come up with a nickname that I love for Victor. Vic is the obvious one … but we both sort of feel like it’s a very grown-up nickname for a little boy. We’d rather that he grow into it. But we LOVE nicknames … All of our other favorite names generally have nicknames that would end in a strong E sound, but I’m not tied to it if we can find something else for Victor that we love (Vic-y just sounds way too feminine.)“
You all know how I feel about nicknames! So I was really excited to tackle this one, and I think I’m pretty good at coming up with new and different nickname options, but I found Victor to be a little bit of a stumper!
My parents actually fostered a baby Victor when I was growing up, and we called him Victor or Vic exclusively, so in my mind Vic suits a little boy well (which is probably why I never thought of coming up with something different, despite the fact that I’ve had Victor on my list for a while). But I totally get why it strikes Theresa as grown-up — it has a little bit of an old-world, old-man kind of feel to it.
So this is what I came up with as possible alternatives:
(1) Vicster, Vic-Man, Vicker
Nicknames ending in a long E sound seem such a natural fit for a baby, and Vicky being too feminine for a boy reminds me of the possibility of one of my favorite nicknames, Gus, turning into Gussy, which I don’t care for because it seems similarly feminine (despite my dad’s protestations, since he had a friend [boy] growing up who was called both Gus and Gussy). I’d thought Gusty and Guster could fill that need for Gus, which made me think of Vicster and Vicker for Victor (is Vicker too like vicar though? Or if it is, is that a bad thing?). And “Man” seems a natural add-on to a boy’s name, at least in my house and with my nephews as well. I can totally see Vic-Man working, too cute!
(2) Vito, Vin, Vinny
I know, none of those is directly connected to Victor, and they’re so Italian sounding (which might be great for an Italian family, not so much for other ethnicities?). But Vito has all letters from Victor, and Vin(ny) could be from the letters of Victor+a middle name that has an N/last name with an N.
(3) Vicho, Victo, Vico, Vitty, Vio
I also came across Vicho and Victo (supposedly Spanish nicknames for Victor), and Vico (unknown), and the Italian version Vittorio made me think of Vitty, and one of my books says there’s a St. Vio and when I googled him I did find a Chapelle de St. Vio in France but no other info … but Vio? Kind of cute?
(4) Middle-name nickname
I suppose going by a nickname for a middle name might kind of defeat the purpose of choosing a first name you love and want your child to go by, but if the idea is to have an at-home/within-family everyday nickname to bridge babyhood with the age at which Vic becomes appropriate, a nick of a middle is as good as any other option, right? Victor John might go by Johnny, for example. Some of my boys have funny little family nicknames we use almost exclusively at home (like the -Man idea above), but we’d never introduce them that way to anyone, and at school they don’t go by them, so I think it’s easy enough to, for example, alternate between Victor and Johnny at home, but only introduce him as Victor (or Vic, when the time comes) outside the house. I promise the baby won’t be confused! (Though everyone else might be.)
(5) Last-name nickname
For example, a boy with the last name Callaghan could go by Cal; Sullivan could go by Sully; Monticello or Montgomery by Monty. It’s certainly not unheard of for a boy to go by a nickname of his last name, even within his family (though I do see how this could be problematic of there are more than one boy in the family).
(6) Sporty/attribute/snookums-type nickname
I brought up Theresa’s dilemma at my parents’ dinner table recently, and my dad came up with two great ideas: Champ and Jock. Champ because he was trying to think of names that meant the same as Victor — I thought Champ was pretty inspired. I have a bunch of boy baby clothes that say something about “champ” on them, so it’s definitely kind of a common boyish reference. Jock from the idea of Victor and and a J- middle name flipped — it’s a traditional nickname in Scotland I believe, for John I think (like the scottie Jock in Lady and the Tramp!), and easily takes a -y without being feminine — Jocky. Especially cool if you’re into horses. 🙂 His ideas also made me think of some of the traditional attribute nicknames, like Red or Rusty for a redhead, or Sis/Sissy for a big sister, that kind of thing. And of course parents often seem to come up with crazy cutesy little nicknames, like (as I call all my boys) Lovey and Sweetie Petey. Siblings too — one of my brothers often calls me Blu. These are the type of nicknames that you can’t plan for, though, which is frustrating to parents wanting to decide the nickname ahead of time.
(7) Totally unrelated nickname
I know a John who goes by Gus, a Gregory who goes by Duke, a Jonathan who goes by Jeb, an Edward who goes by Zeb, and a Gerard who goes by Sam. I love a great formal name for the birth certificate and diploma and marriage invitation — well thought out, nicely balanced, good distinguished feel, taking into account faith and family and heritage — but then I really love a friendly, accessible, easy everyday name. There’s no real reason why the formal name and the everyday nickname have to be connected. Even when they are, there’s no guarantee that everyone a person meets will know that (as someone I know named Elizabeth, who goes by Betsey, recently discovered. Who doesn’t know Betsey is a traditional nick for Elizabeth? More people than you might realize). This idea opens up a whole lot of opportunities — you and your husband love the formal name Benjamin but you really want to honor your grandfather who went by Cap? No reason you can’t have a Benjamin nicked Cap.
Well! I think this is a decent list of ideas — what do you all think? Do you think my suggestions are usable, are just crazy? Do you have any other ideas for Victor nicknames, and/or do you know any Victors that have nicknames besides Vic?