Why You Should Consider Potential Nicknames Before You Choose a Baby Name

Finding the perfect name for your baby becomes even more of a struggle when you consider potential nicknames. Will your child be called by his or her full name, or is the name long enough that it will get shortened? Longer names have the tendency to be shortened, even if a child prefers to be known by his or her full name.

It is therefore important to consider which nicknames may be associated with your son or daughter as he or she grows older.

Keep in mind that you will not always be able to control the nicknames that your child chooses. This is because your child will eventually have more say over how he or she wants to be known. If you do not want your baby to be associated with a certain nickname, it may be best to steer clear of the original name altogether.

On the other hand, selecting a nickname for your baby before he or she reaches preschool may establish the name in a positive light. If your child already has a nickname, other kids may be less interested in giving him or her a new one. Below are other reasons to think about nicknames, and several examples that can have positive or negative associations.

Names that Are Easy to Make Fun Of

Unfortunately, it is important to remember that children in grade school and teenagers in high school are unforgiving about unique names and may bully their peers. It is sometimes easy for children to add rhyming adjectives to a name to turn it into an insult.

For example, nicknames such as Ellie and Meli are very cute and feminine sounding names, but often invite the insult “smelly Ellie” or “smelly Meli.” However, these insults should not deter you from the root names Elizabeth, Helen, Ellen or Melissa. You may consider calling your child by a different nickname instead, such as Elle or Liza.

Some names that are traditional and common, such as Will or Hugh, may seem less likely to be made fun of. On the other hand, traditional names often become the punchlines in jokes because they are easy to rhyme. Ultimately, no name will be bully-proof, but there are ways to prevent certain insults from occurring. As always, remember to think about any rhymes that could be associated with the name.

Unique Nicknames for Common Full Names

As a parent, you may want to give your child a unique name without straying too far from tradition. An unusual nickname may be the perfect solution, as it will give your child a little more choice in the name as he or she grows older. A few uncommon nicknames for popular full names include:

  • Mara for Meredith
  • Leni or Lina for Gwendolen, Madeline or Eleanor
  • Coby for Jacob
  • Mila for Emily
  • Evie for Evelyn
  • Rina for Katherine
  • Sonny for Mason
  • Zeke for Zachary

You can even create your own unique nickname to go with your baby’s name. In fact, the nickname does not even have to match. Giving your child one unique name and one traditional may be the best of both worlds.

Common Nicknames for Unique Full Names

On the other end of the spectrum, you may want to give your child a unique birth name but a more common nickname. In this circumstance, your child may use the nickname when he or she is younger and may become more comfortable with his or her full name later on. A few examples of common nicknames with unique full names include:

  • Aly for Alyssa
  • Jess for Jessamina
  • Max for Maddox
  • Ani or Annie for Aniyah
  • Hallie for Mahala
  • Andy for Anders
  • Ella for Aurelia
  • Nick for Nicasio

As with uncommon nicknames for common full names, your child will be able to choose which name he or she prefers. This may give him or her the opportunity to explore both names and see which one works best.

Nicknames that Do Not Sound Like their Full Names

There are many nickname and full-name pairings that may seem unusual, but are actually very traditional. For instance, Dick is a very common nickname for Richard, even though the two do not sound similar. Other examples of popular full names with unusual but common nicknames include:

  • Bill for William
  • Sally for Sarah
  • Nancy for Ann
  • Ted or Ned for Edward
  • Peggy for Margaret
  • Jack for John
  • Chuck for Charles
  • Buffy for Elizabeth

Some of these names have become classics, such as Bill or Jack, while others are more old-fashioned, such as Peggy or Sally. It is important to be aware of the common and uncommon nicknames associated with traditional names, because you will have more nicknames to choose from and may be better prepared for school bullies.