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Posts Tagged ‘Sarah’

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.

1. WHY IS DICK FROM RICHARD?

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.

2. WHY IS BILL FROM WILLIAM?

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.”

3. WHY IS HANK FROM HENRY?

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.

4. WHY IS JACK FROM JOHN?

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.

5. WHY IS CHUCK FROM CHARLES?

“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.

6. WHY IS PEGGY FROM MARGARET?

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

7.  WHY IS TED FROM EDWARD?

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?

8. WHY IS HARRY FROM HENRY?

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.

9. WHY IS JIM FROM JAMES?

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.

10. WHY IS SALLY FROM SARAH?

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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It’s only Saturday morning and already this weekend, I am struck by the assortment of friends and acquaintances I have in my life and the different world we all live in.

First and foremost because of the gravity of the situation, there’s my friend, Josh.  Josh called me (actually woke me up) this morning with a phone call and one sentence, “Turn on CNN and call me at the office!”.  Groggily I went into the den, and tried to remember what channel CNN was on.  OMG what a horrible shock – an MAJOR earthquake in Santiago, Chile.  Josh’s partner and my friend, Ricardo lives in Santiago.   Josh had spent the holidays there and was expecting to meet Ricardo in Prague on this coming Tuesday.  Thank God, Ricardo called Josh’s cell phone at 3:00 am and had left a message that he was safe as was his father who lived even closer to the heart of the city.  No further communication from Chile; you can’t get through on the phone, you can’t reach LAN airlines, the airports are closed and since Ricardo is a chief resident at the hospital, we can only assume he is there.   Please keep Chile in your prayers, it is so upsetting that this event is following so closely on the heels of Haiti.

ANOTHER EARTHQUAKE – My nephew Justin, lives in Japan and I have just tried to reach him thru Facebook because I’m not sure how close he is to the epicenter of the earthquake that struck there.  Apparently that quake hit offshore and the major concern is a tsunami – I know he surfs so he must be somewhat close the shoreline.  As I type  this and listen to the CNN minute by minute coverage in Chile, I am learning how quickly a tsunami can spread from shore to shore, country to

The volcanic Ring of Fire

country and even continent to continent – especially if the country is in the Ring of Fire (see photo). Do I have to worry about my own surfer son, Joel, who lives in San Diego and lives well within tsunami wave range?

Closer to home, several of my friends are clearly living in worlds apart. Last night I took Peter and his lifelong friend Murray out to celebrate their joint birthdays.  After a delightful dinner at Compass, a restaurant on the Uppper West Side, we went to see the show, BAWDY at the Triad BAWDY is an old time burlesque show; complete with bumps, grinds and tasteful striptease.   The show is headlined by Jesse Lutrell, a very talented, very energetic and very gay performer.  He is a gifted young song and dance man and he sings in a story-centric style, so reminiscent of the cabaret and nightclub acts dating back to the American birth of vaudeville.  SO how did we happen to be at this show?  In two words; Grace Gotham.  It so happens that Grace Gotham a/k/a Sarah Liston is a friend of ours.  We hadn’t seen Sarah and her husband, Dave in quite a while and were we ever surprised to learn that our friend, wife of an Episcopalian  Deacon and member of our local Community Board, was actually performing burlesque!!! Well why not? Sarah is a published writer and you can read all about her journey into burlesque in an article published in the magazine, Marie Clare which I have published on this blog.  She’s a hoot and very good I must add – and yes she really can make her tassles twirl.

Then this is the weekend that The Glen Beck show airs where my sister-in-law, Juanita is in the front row of the audience.  She sent an email blast to all of us with the air times.  I told you she wasn’t a blood relative!! So I am DVR’ing this program (with explicit promises to Peter that we will only just see her and shut it off) at a time when I’m sure it won’t interrupt another really important show I might be watching like Grey’s Antatomy!! LOL Now we know she is in another world.

Next, my dear friend and mentor, Joyce is in the hospital recovering from knee replacement surgery.  She is in her mid-seventies and has the body and muscle tone of the someone 20 years younger but any surgery as you get older is serious.  I’m happy to report that she seems to have come through it very well and may even be home tomorrow.  And then rehab starts.

Lastly, we are leaving in an hour to get out to Port Jefferson, LI to attend a surprise birthday party for my daughter’s mother-in-law.  Because of the misery of the snow, our car is snowed in and this being Manhattan, even if we dug it out (good thing we bought that extra shovel last week!), we would never find a parking place when we got home.  The streets in Manhattan are very messy because when they plow, all the snow builds up around the cars.  We have to take the LIRR and to board that train, we have to go diagonally across town to Penn Station.  Believe it or not, we will be leaving our apartment at about 1:55pm and should arrive in Port Jefferson Long Island at 4:40pm.  In that amount of time, I could have driven to the Jersey Shore and back or to Connecticut.  And then we have to come home again.  It’s going to be a long day….

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Story of Politicians Wife Working as a Burlesque Dancer – Marie Claire.

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