Social Question

AshlynM's avatar

Why is Bill a nickname for William when there's no B?

Asked by AshlynM (6475 points ) December 14th, 2012

I’ve also heard Polly is a nickname for Mary. That one really stumps me.

Care to discuss?

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17 Answers

Only138's avatar

How about DICK as a nickname for Richard? Holy shit! ;)

bookish1's avatar

I’ve heard that Peggy is a nickname for Margaret, which I have always found mind boggling!

But hey, look at this neat webpage I just found that seems to explain all of these nicknames, and more, in historical and linguistic terms!

bkcunningham's avatar

This is pretty interesting and might help explain the answer to your question.

bkcunningham's avatar

Oh, nice site, @bookish1. Good find. Thanks for posting.

AshlynM's avatar

Yes, that clears things up. What a strange world we live in. Thanks for the links guys.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Jack for John

Ted for Edward

Betty for Elizabeth

AshlynM's avatar

Never heard of Betty for Elizabeth.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Three girls I went to school with, in high school were Betty for Elizabeth.

mangeons's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I can see Betty for Elizabeth, it has the “bet” in there that corresponds. There are some nicknames that really just seem to make no sense to me, though!

ETpro's avatar

@AshlynM I’d explain it better than @bookish1 & @bkcunningham did, but then I’d have to send you the Bill.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Some of these I understand, or at least am used to. Bill for William, Dick or Ricky for Richard, Bob for Robert, etc.

However, Jack for John, Ted for Edward, Betty for Elizabeth, Peggy for Margaret? I haven’t encountered any if these. Ted for Theodore, Ed or Eddie for Edward, Liz or Lizzy or Beth for Elizabeth – those I get, but the aforementioned just make no sense.

Oh, and Polly for Mary? What the hell is that? Not only is it not similar, but the nickname is longer than the full name. Craziness…

mazingerz88's avatar

I’m glad no one calls me Dick even if I really am a…“dick”. Lol. But seriously, Dick for Richard makes sense. The letters d, i, c, h…could be pronounced as Dick, see-?

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Sadie and Sally can be nicknames for Sarah.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Senator Edward Kennedy was known as Ted.

Betty Ford President Ford’s wife was Elizabeth.

John F. Kennedy was known as Jack to friends and family on Cape Cod.

ucme's avatar

Nicknames have their own rules, like twathead tosspot for Donald Trump, anything goes really.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@mazingerz88 Maybe if your name was Dichard. My name is Lyndsey…would Sendy be my nickname? Just because the letters are present doesn’t mean the nickname makes sense. Nicknames aren’t anagrams of full names.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@mazingerz88 . Nice to meet you, Sendy!

My name is Lori. There’s not a whole lot of nickname potential there. But, my husband managed to shorten it to “Lor,” which he’s been calling me since we first met.

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