No nickname? Not happening.

My sister has just gone through a namey thing that I couldn’t wait to tell you all! I’ve talked quite a bit on here about how, these days, children are increasingly being given names that the parents don’t intend to nickname — a little Thomas is more likely to be Thomas always than Tom or Tommy, for example, and people in general are much less likely to assume a nickname when meeting someone or to bestow a nickname that the person hasn’t specifically said he or she goes by. To those parents who still worry that their little one might be called by a nickname, I’ve advised them to be firm and consistent in correcting people, every time.

Well. My sister’s name is Elizabeth and her whole life she’s gone by a nickname of it — my parents named her Elizabeth both for the full name and equally so because of the chosen nickname, which is used quite a bit in our family tree. But something that’s driven her crazy as an adult is that her nickname is constantly misheard by others at work, causing her to constantly correct her coworkers and other people she interacts with in a professional setting (with varying degrees of success), so she decided to go by the full Elizabeth in her professional life, and she just started a new job, so it was the perfect time to make the change.

Since starting her job, she’s been firm and consistent about introducing herself as Elizabeth, never once letting on that she goes by a nickname. However, more than one person has said that Elizabeth is “too long” and doesn’t she go by a nickname? She tells them no, every time — that her name is Elizabeth, no nickname.

Some of her new coworkers have refused to accept this! They told her that they’re not going to call her Elizabeth, but instead are going to call her by a nickname of her last name. They’re definitely doing it in a jovial buddy-buddy kind of way, like teammates would — and her husband has cheerfully told her that nicknames like this mean she’s being accepted and that she should just go with it (“If they call you Bob, you go with it!” he said 😂😂😂) — but she’s just shaking her head over the whole thing. After all the frustration about her actual nickname being butchered all the time, and making the deliberate decision to go by her full name, only to have her new coworkers pooh-pooh that and come up with their own nickname (which, incidentally, is the same nickname her husband always goes by) … what can you do but shake your head??


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

21 thoughts on “No nickname? Not happening.

  1. I introduce myself as Barb. I use that nickname everywhere – but my family (parents, siblings, nieces/nephews, cousins) do not use that, or any, nickname for me. But there are some people outside my family who insist on calling me Barbara … I just don’t get it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Apparently my nickname is too short, so people like to add stuff to it. Catnip is what one of my coworkers calls me. I’ve also gotten everything from Katmandu to catamaran. There’s a John at my work that some coworkers call Jonathan, even though he’s just John. Seems if you have less than 2 syllables, but more than 3, certain people can’t handle it.

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  3. I am Anastatia. I haven’t used a nickname in over 20 years. My sisters still call me Stacy, which I can live with, but it drives me nuts when my sister’s mother-in-law does. Incidentally, I always wanted my nickname to be Ana or Annie, but my mom is Anne and hated being called Annie Get Your Gun, so I got a nickname I am still trying to shed. In college, a boyfriend decided my name was too long. I decided he wasn’t worth getting to know better.

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  4. Wow, I am amazed by the arrogance of the people who insist on giving a nickname when it was clearly asked for none.
    My suggestion is to (be slightly funny about it) but ignore all attempts to get her attention until the full name is used. “Oh, were you talking to me?” Etc….

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  5. How crazy! I’ve been the full Elizabeth my whole life, with few exceptions. (Great grandpa always called me Libby, elementary school best friend Liz, middle school best friend Lizzie for a few years…now that we’re adults we dropped our nicknames for each other lol.) I do get asked often “do you go by Elizabeth?” (Hospital, dentist office..) but I have never had anyone insist it’s too long. My mom did fear it would be too long for a kindergartener to learn to write—she thought I’d end up as a Beth Ann (from my middle name Annette) Thank goodness that didn’t happen, so not *me.* ha!

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  6. As an Elizabeth I am very curious what she goes by! There are so many nicknames for our name. I have been Liz or Lizzie by those close to me for my whole life. In college I tried to change to Elizabeth but I’d forget after a while and call myself Liz and then everyone would follow suit. I tried to pull off Libby in elementary school but, again, I’d forget and the teachers would get annoyed with me calling myself different names.

    My son is Benjamin and everyone calls him Ben when they first meet him. He seems to be transitioning to being Ben by his friends but his whole family still calls him Benjamin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll have to ask her if she minds if I share her nickname, I’m just always careful of putting people’s identifying info on the blog if they haven’t given me permission. My oldest is like your son — he’s always gone by the full name we gave him and introduces himself that way (he’s 15) but most of his friends and teachers at school and on sports teams call him by the natural nicknames of the name. He doesn’t mind, and they’re starting to feel really endearing to me, since they’re used with affection.

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  7. I have an Elizabeth in my class at school (very few students at our school have nicknames, funnily enough. They almost ALL go by their christened name) , and my own middle name is Elizabeth. My family-which is NOT a nickname family (brothers Matthew and Michael are just that, no Matts or Mikes) actually tended to lengthen my name by calling me Lalabeth, Elizabeth, or Bisabis (the latter based upon my own babyish mispronunciation of my middle name).

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  8. That’s crazy that people are refusing to call her her real name (albeit jokingly)! Alas, I feel your pain, fellow Elizabeth. I am an Elizabeth that has practically always gone by Lily (or Lilybet in my family at times). But I am surprised and somewhat annoyed when people see my name and automatically assume a nickname (usually Liz). While Liz is a totally fine name, I feel absolutely no connection to it. Do people not realize there are like 200 nicknames to Elizabeth and they just assume mine would be Liz?? haha, anyway, stay strong, Elizabeth! I think the full name is so beautiful and not often enough used in its fullness 🙂

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  9. Reblogged this on Sancta Nomina and commented:

    *Update to my post of the other day regarding my sister’s nickname woes*

    My sister said it’s fine to include the particulars, as I told her a bunch of you were curious about what nickname she has and how it could be butchered so badly: She’s always gone by Betsey (that spelling appears quite a bit in my dad’s genealogy), but at work she got Becky, Betty, and Beth instead of Betsey all the time! She also reminded me of adults calling her Liz when she was small, even though she’s never gone by Liz, which people at work are also now calling her, in addition to the nickname of her last name. Whether Betsey or Elizabeth, the poor girl just can’t win!

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  10. As a Kathryn, people always want to shorten my name to Kathy. I’ve never been a Kathy and I hate when they assume they can call me that. It’s a huge pet peeve. My preferred nickname and the one given by my parents is “Katy.”

    Liked by 1 person

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