A mama emailed recently with a slightly different dilemma, on which I’d really like to get your collective input:
“Our firstborn’s name is Lafayette and he also goes by the nickname Fayte (rhymes with Nate). I like his combination of a longer classic name (though not common) and a spunky nickname … We lucked out with our son’s name since both the longer form and the nickname were old family names, so we didn’t come up with them ourselves. I’m trying to figure out if we can get a similar combo for this baby without it being too forced.
There are three names (one boy, two girl) that I’m a little stumped about:
Judith is the first girl name. It’s a family name, we like the religious meaning, and the sound of the full name. We aren’t thrilled with Judy since that seems to date the name more and has the confusion issue with the family member we’d be honoring. I’ve seen Jude as the only other recommendation, and while I like it a little better, I’m not thrilled with the unisex-leaning-male aspect of the name.
Elodie is the other girl name. I think Ella/Ellie is a cute nickname, but a little more common than I’d like since it seems there are many other in vogue names that lend to those nicknames. I probably like Ellie better of the two. Seems like there should be other options though!
Alister (or Alistair) is the boy name. We haven’t landed for sure on the spelling we’d choose, so could potentially be flexible if it lended itself to a good nickname. Al or Aly are the only suggestions I’ve seen, and aren’t wild about either.”
I looooooove thinking up unusual nicknames!! And I love Lafayette nicked Fayte, and how awesome that they’re both family names?!
First up: Judith. I did a spotlight post a while back on Judith and in it I said:
“Behind the Name gives several variants of Judith (Jutta, Judyta, et al.), but you know it’s the nicknames I get most excited by! Judy is super cute, but maybe still feels a little dated? It has its own history as a given name, peaking a few years later than Judith but dropping out of sight quicker, so it might have a little more of a date-stamped feel, but it’s not the only option: Jody/Jodie are possibilities, according to behindthename, which makes me also think of Jo and Josie (especially, maybe, with an S middle name? Judith Siena, for example, could easily be Josie) … or maybe pair it with an N middle name for Junie or Juno? Maybe Judith Noelle? Even Julie for something like Judith Louisa? Am I scaring you yet? Haha!”
Looking back on this again, I do love the idea of something like Judith Siena nicked Josie, or Judith Noelle/Naomi/Noemi nicked Junie or Juno. Or Jennie? Judith Marie could be Jamie? I often find that, with first names that are hard to nickname, looking at a firstname+middlename mashup-type nickname works really well.
Elodie is a gorgeous name, I just love it, and I agree that Ella and Ellie are cute nicknames, but yes, fairly common. Possible alternatives:
- Lola—originally a nickname for Dolores! But the Lo- of Elodie totally makes it do-able.
- Nell—if I understand correctly, Nell (and Nancy and Ned) came from the old English way of saying, “Mine El” for Eleanor/Ellen/Elizabeth (or “Mine Anne” for Anne, or “Mine Ed” for Edward), so I think Nell could then work for any El- name. And how sweet that its origin is “Mine El”—so endearing!
- Edie—just drop the “lo” in the middle of Elodie!
- Dicey—apparently an old nickname for Edith (Edie made me think of Edith)
- Liddy—the way I say Elodie sounds pretty close to “EL-liddy”
- Didi—from the last syllable
- Dolly—if it can work for Dorothy, it can work for Elodie, which actually has “dol” within it (though backwards)
- Dodie—another old nickname for Dolores; I could totally see something like Dodie arising organically from Elodie
- Edda—like Etta
- In smushing-with-the-middle-name fashion, what about something like:
— Evie for Elodie Victoria
— Elsie for Elodie Siena, Elodie Seraphine, Elodie
— Dot(ty) for Elodie Therese
— Dixie for Elodie Beatrix or Elodie Xavier (Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini could be patron instead of St. Francis Xavier, if parents like Xavier but didn’t want to be too gender bending. Of course Mother Cabrini chose the name after St. FX, but still)
Alister/Alistair I had the hardest time with! I did a bunch of research looking for ideas and came up with a few:
- Ace—my first idea and the only suggestion I came up with on my own! I think it could work just for Alister/Alistair, as they have the A and the S sound, but something like Alistair Clement would make a lot of sense, with the A+C
- Alec—I saw several places that Alec is often used as a nickname for Alistair, since it’s a form of Alexander. As with Ace, a C- middle name could make more sense of it to others
- Aston/Astin—I wanted to suggest Astor, but the comments I saw online made me think it would skew more feminine for most people (like the girl name Aster, which also sounds similar to the girl name Astrid), but then I thought maybe Aston/Astin? Like the Aston Martin or actor Sean Astin
- Ari, Arlo, Alfie—I really liked Ari when I saw it online—a mom considering Alistair for her son was considering Ari as a nickname, as well as Arlo and Alfie
- Abe—someone else online was considering Alistair with a B middle name and planning on Abe as the nickname. I love that! Alistair Benedict/Benjamin, Alistair Beau, Alistair Brendan?
- Art—Alistair has all the right letters for Art!
- Ladd(y)—with a switch to the Alasdair spelling, Ladd or Laddy could work. The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond, chef on Food Network)’s husband’s name is Ladd, and Laddy feels really Scottish!
- Ty—because Alistair has the prominent T in it, I think something like Ty could work
- Tad, Taz—these might make more sense with the right middle name … Alistair Daniel? Alistair Xavier? Alistair Zachary?
- Iss—crazy, right? But I saw Iss online as a nickname someone had heard used for Alistair! (I also saw Eck used for Alexander, and Ish for Aloysius!)
And those are all my ideas! How about the rest of you? What unusual nicknames ideas could you offer for Judith, Elodie, and Alister/Alistair?