Our Obsession With Nicknames

I know, I know, the tagline of my blog might lead you to believe that I have something against shortening names…but I don’t.  I do, however, find it interesting that for the most part we all like to shorten our names to one syllable…two at the max.

Here are some examples just from people I know…

  • Kenneth = Ken
  • Richard = Rich
  • Stephen = Steve
  • Catherine = Cathy
  • David = Dave
  • Lucas = Luke
  • Benjamin = Ben
  • Michael = Mike
  • Bradley = Brad
  • Jennifer = Jen
  • Robert = Bob
  • Candace = Candy
  • Elizabeth = Liz
  • Christopher = Chris

And, of course, a lot of people like to shorten my name to “Dan”.  Honestly, I don’t mind all that much being called Dan.  I just find it interesting that even when I introduce myself as “Daniel” that many people immediately come back with “Nice to meet you, Dan.”

Why is that?

Are we all just that lazy?

Are we in a hurry?

This phenomenon is partly why we named our kids the way we did.  Their names are not naturally shortened: Dylan, Lydia, and Caleb.

I am guilty of this, too. So, I’m not judging. I just find it an interesting phenomenon. I wonder if people do this in other languages…

A quick google search didn’t yield much, but I did see an article that explained how Richard came to be shortened as Dick…

But it was really long and I didn’t feel like finishing it.

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