Posts Tagged ‘Harry’

Almost but not quite, everyone has a nickname.  Babies get temporary nicknames like sweetie pie, bunny, cookie face, doll baby.  As these little babies grow up their given names may also evolve into some shortened version albeit a nickname that is easily recognized as an abbreviated take on their actual name.  For example just in my own and extended family, Janet became Janie, Ellen became Ellie, Chiara became KiKi, Lorraine became Lori and Alyson became Sonny.

And then there are some nicknames that have historical origins and our Thursday’s Top Ten List will explore some of them.


The name Richard is very old and was popular during the Middle Ages. In the 12th and 13th centuries everything was written by hand and Richard nicknames like Rich and Rick were common just to save time. Rhyming nicknames were also common and eventually Rick gave way to Dick and Hick, while Rich became Hitch. Dick, of course, is the only rhyming nickname that stuck over time. And boy did it stick. At one point in England, the name Dick was so popular that the phrase “every Tom, Dick, or Harry” was used to describe Everyman.


There are many theories on why Bill became a nickname for William; the most obvious is that it was part of the Middle Ages trend of letter swapping. Much how Dick is a rhyming nickname for Rick, the same is true of Bill and Will. Because hard consonants are easier to pronounce than soft ones, some believe Will morphed into Bill for phonetic reasons. Interestingly, when William III ruled over in England in the late 17th century, his subjects mockingly referred to him as “King Billy.”


The name Henry dates back to medieval England. (Curiously, at that time, Hank was a diminutive for John.) So how do we get Hank from Henry? Well, one theory says that Hendrick is the Dutch form of the English name Henry. Henk is the diminutive form of Hendrick, ergo, Hank from Henk. Hanks were hugely popular here in the States for many decades, though by the early 90s it no longer appeared in the top 1,000 names for baby boys. But Hank is making a comeback! In 2010, it cracked the top 1,000, settling at 806. By 2013 it was up to 626.


The name Jack dates back to about 1,200 and was originally used as a generic name for peasants. Over time, Jack worked his way into words such as lumberjack and steeplejack. Even jackass, the commonly used term for a donkey, retains its generic essence in the word Jack. Of course, John was once used as a generic name for English commoners and peasants, (John Doe) which could be why Jack came became his nickname. But the more likely explanation is that Normans added -kin when they wanted to make a diminutive. And Jen was their way of saying John. So little John became Jenkin and time turned that into Jakin, which ultimately became Jack.


“Dear Chuck” was an English term of endearment and Shakespeare, in Macbeth, used the phrase to refer to Lady Macbeth. What’s this have to do with Charles? Not much, but it’s interesting. However, Charles in Middle English was Chukken and that’s probably where the nickname was born.


The name Margaret has a variety of different nicknames. Some are obvious, as in Meg, Mog and Maggie, while others are downright strange, like Daisy. But it’s the Mog/Meg we want to concentrate on here as those nicknames later morphed into the rhymed forms Pog(gy) and Peg(gy).

Edward "TED" Kennedy

Edward “TED” Kennedy


The name Ted is yet another result of the Old English tradition of letter swapping. Since there were a limited number of first names in the Middle Ages, letter swapping allowed people to differentiate between people with the same name. It was common to replace the first letter of a name that began with a vowel, as in Edward, with an easier to pronounce consonant, such as T. Of course, Ted was already a popular nickname for Theodore, which makes it one of the only nicknames derived from two different first names. Can you name the others?


Since Medieval times, Harry has been a consistently popular nickname for boys named Henry in England. Henry was also very popular among British monarchs, most of whom preferred to be called Harry by their subjects. This is a tradition that continues today as Prince Henry of Wales , as he was Christened, goes by Prince Harry. Of course, Harry is now used as a given name for boys. In 2006, it was the 593rd most popular name for boys in the United States. One reason for its upsurge in popularity is the huge success of those amazing Harry Potter books.


There are no definitive theories on how Jim became the commonly used nickname for James, but the name dates back to at least the 1820s. For decades, Jims were pretty unpopular due to the “Jim Crow Law,” which was attributed to an early 19th century song and dance called “Jump Jim Crow,” performed by white actors in blackface. The name “Jim Crow” soon became associated with African Americans and by 1904, Jim Crow aimed to promote segregation in the South. Jim has since shed its racial past, and is once again a popular first name for boys all by itself, sans James.


Sally was primarily used as a nickname for Sarah in England and France. Like some English nicknames, Sally was derived by replacing the R in Sarah with an L. Same is true for Molly, a common nickname for Mary. Though Sally from the Peanuts never ages, the name itself does and has declined in popularity in recent years. Today, most girls prefer the original Hebrew name Sarah.

May 24, 2010 – 5:07am

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English: Opening logo to the Star Wars films

My grandson turned six this month and I had it in my mind that something Star   Wars would be a good gift.  So we sent him a couple of boxes of Star Wars themed Legos.  I also thought sending him the original Star Wars movie would be a good idea.  Well getting the DVD was a bit harder than I thought.  I went  to Target, Walmart, Amazon.com and a couple of other places and all I could find were copies of the new Star  Wars and mostly in Blu Ray.  So of course I turned to my very favorite online shopping mall – eBay!  We bought the Trilogy and decided that before we shipped it out to California we should treat ourselves to a viewing of each one.

So the other night we sat down and watched A New Hope known better to us as just Star Wars.  Goodness this is a long intro.  If you’re wondering where I’m going with this…I’m about to begin.

In the first 10 minutes of the film, I was struck by the similarity between Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter.  So, uhmmmm I thought, could it be possible that J.K. Rowling saw Star Wars way back when and then she created Harry Potter?  Well it’s only a thought….

Luke is seemingly orphaned and lives with his Uncle and Aunt.

Harry’s parents are dead and he lives with his Uncle and Aunt.

Luke has to help out on the farm, all he wants to do is to go to the Academy.

Harry is living under a stairwell and all he wants to do is go to Hogwarts.

Luke finds himself alone and by chance he meets up with Princess Leia who realizes his potential.

Harry is rescued from his Uncle’s house and at Hogwarts Hagrid takes him under his wing.

Luke has special powers.

Harry has special powers.

Luke meets up with Hans and together they form a forceful team.

Harry meets up with Ron and Hermione and they form a formidable team.

Luke symbolizes the Good and he uses his powers to fight evil.

Harry symbolizes the Good and he uses his powers to fight evil.

Luke is a leader.

Harry is a leader.

Luke learns how to use his power through guidance from Yoda

Harry learns wizardry from Dumbledore.

Luke stays true to his principles.

Harry stays true to his principles.

Success and triumph of good over evil falls on Luke’s shoulder.

Harry is the main defender of good over evil.

The night I watched the movie, I knew I should have taken notes OR at least tried to write this within a couple of days after viewing the film.  Alas I did neither so this is where this blog post ends.

May the Force Be With Each and Every One of You!

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