Posts Tagged ‘Jim’

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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This evening we participated in a very special event! You might say we held an Irish wake, sort of…several of Susan and Jim’s friends gathered at beach tonight to honor the memory of Isabelle, their beloved Weimaraner who passed away last week.  Susan thought it would be a fitting tribute to Isabelle if we met at the beach and toasted Izzy as she was known to me and Belle as Jim affectionately called his girl. It was a great idea!

Jim Taylor, Ocean Grove,

She Was My Girl For Sure

People came with their dogs and with memories of furry loved ones gone.  And fitting it was to have the dogs racing around through the sand, tails wagging wildly, barking, yapping and loving every minute of this last minute freedom to do so.  Tomorrow is the beginning of Ocean Grove’s NO DOGS on the BEACH or the BOARDWALK policy which is in effect from May1st to October 1st. Actually there were quite a few last fling before the season begins dogs and owners on the shore tonight.  Big dogs, little dogs, black dogs, tiny dogs, dogs wearing neckerchiefs, dogs splashing along the shore nipping at each others’ heels – All in Fun!

French bulldog, Sammy and Harry, Ocean Grove, Jersey shore

Getting to Know You!

Cindy who owns The Dawg Joint in Asbury Park showed up with all the dogs that had not been picked up when she left to join us.  She brought Bubbles, a big fluffy two year old Bernese Mountain dog. Chakra, a lovely white Boxer mix as well as Remi, her own Lab Rhodesian Ridgeback mx.  Maggie Mae, Flo, Sammy and Harry were all in attendance and even a couple more.

Sophie Taylor, rescue dog, Jersey shore, Ocean Grove

Sophie Taylor Looks On

Susan spoke from the heart, about the life of Izzy while she was with them, the joy she brought to both of them, but especially her affinity for shadowing Jim, to whom she was very attached and vice versa I might add.  I didn’t know Izzy very well but I certainly will not forget the picture in my mind of her sprawled out on the end of the couch, snoring, while Susan would straighten out my latest disaster in knitting.  We all had the opportunity to say a few words about those pets of ours that have died.  Peter thoughtfully suggested we bring a picture of Murphy Brown and so we did and took our moment to remember the joy that big orange ball of a cat brought into our lives.

As the last rays of the rapidly retreating sunshine disappeared, we gathered up our stuff, wine bottles, glasses and blankets and with lots of hugs and kisses bid each other all a good evening and then we were gone!

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