Friday, October 19, 2012

Names - Billy

Billy the Kid
Names like Billy and Tommy and Jimmy seem to have fallen out of favor. But they used to be very popular. Sure they were usually nicknames, but they were so popular they began to be the child's full given name. My great-uncle was named Tommy Dick. Not Thomas Richard. In fact, the popularity of these names spread and girls were given these as their full names as well. Vernie and Jimmi and Billie could all have worked in Mel's Diner as waitresses with Alice.


Billy (and Bill, Willie, Will) comes from William
Bobby Brady
Bobby (Bob, Robbie, Rob, Bert, and Bertie) comes from Robert
Tommy (and Tom) comes from Thomas
Jimmy (and Jim, Jamie, Jem, Jack) comes from James
Vernie (or Vern) comes from Vernon
Dick (Dicky, Rick, Ricky, Rich, Richie) comes from Richard
Jack (or Jacky) - can come from various names, John, Jacob, James
Joey (or Joe or Josey or Joss or Jose) comes from Joseph
Mikey (Mike, Mickey, Mick) comes from Michael
Andy (or Drew) comes from Andrew
Johnny comes from John, but could come from Jonathan as well

Little Ricky
Johnny and Jimmy are great. I love that they are nicknames and we think of nicknames as shorter versions of a longer name, though the fact that they come from shorter names - John and James - shows that nicknames are not just shorter versions of a name. They are pet forms of a name, which means they are a name someone uses to indicate a close or casual relationship with you. They are a way of indicating that the person knows you well enough to call you something other than your formal name.

Jackie Cooper
To me these names suggest an innocent little boy. Well, not so innocent, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn innocent. They might be very mischievous, but they are still children, in the classic, Norman Rockwell vision of innocent childhood, rather than a more modern, inundated with adult innuendo and knowledge childhood.

I have to admit that I prefer the long forms of the name with the nicknames as possibilities, but not set in stone. I only like some. Joey and Johnny are very sweet.

Little Mikey
Any favorite nicknames? Any nicknames you think should come back in style? Stay out of style? Names you can't think of a nickname for? Do you have a nickname? Does it have a story? What do you think of naming a child Billy or Joey for a given name (and not just as the nickname)?

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