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Must the Nickname Match the Given Name?

Normally I'm against the idea of calling a child by a name other than what you actually named her, but I'm wondering if it's socially acceptable to do it. My husband and I have agreed on a particular name for a few years, but this whole pregnancy I've been referring to the baby as "Daisy." Would it be totally off the mark to give the baby a first and middle name that in no way relate to Daisy, but still call her that?

–Name Her, Name Her Not

This kind of nicknaming is not only accepted, but classic: think Eldrick "Tiger" Woods, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, or Mary "Sissy" Spacek. You're right that it’s less common today than it once was. Contemporary parents often favor full names without nicknames: James but not Jimmy, Elizabeth instead of Beth. Or they go straight for the nickname, especially in the U.K., where names like Rosie, Evie, and Lexi are climbing popularity charts.

Still, there is plenty of precedent for the unrelated nickname strategy. You would have to do a bit of extra explaining when you first introduce your baby (or she goes to school), but most people will roll with it easily—especially when presented with a familiar name like Daisy.

But if going against your innate naming rules and style just feels wrong, you don't have to ditch Daisy—although you may have to ditch the other name you had chosen. You could set aside the agreed-upon name and run with Daisy instead, or with Margaret: Daisy has traditionally been a nickname for Margaret because "marguerite" is the French word for daisy. You could use the previously chosen name in the middle slot, or save it in case you have a second daughter someday.

Sometimes the right name takes us by surprise. In your case, you've had a name selected for years, but now that the time has come to use it, an unexpected replacement has appeared. Bestowing the original name while using Daisy as a nickname is one way to resolve the conflict, but it's also an attempt to have your cake and eat it too. If the original name no longer means as much to you as Daisy does, it's okay to give it up—even if doing so feels a little sad.


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April 20, 2015 5:20 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Daisy is a perfectly fine name on its own, and a good option if you plan to always call her that.

April 21, 2015 10:59 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

If you're going to call her Daisy, name her Daisy. It's a legitimate name in its own right.

April 22, 2015 12:25 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Consider using Daisy as a middle name (if you already have a middle name picked out, you could even add Daisy in as an additional middle name) and then calling her Daisy. Plenty of people go by their middle names, and this approach makes a little more sense because then at least it will be part of her legal, given name.

April 26, 2015 12:22 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

If you think that is right for your baby then i think no problem in the name Daisy. This name also looking good for him/her.

April 27, 2015 10:02 AM
By Sabrina Michaels (not verified)

Do you want everyone to call her Daisy or is it OK for it to be just a family nickname? If everyone, then I would at least use it as a middle name.

May 1, 2015 1:18 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

It's a lovely name, but I will say this: once you meet her-- and in the first few stages babies grow through-- you might even rest on something else. If you still like the original name set, perhaps you should keep it. Daisy will always be a name to you that recalls that special time she was kicking around in you tummy.

June 23, 2015 4:59 AM
By Courtney (not verified)

so ironic that I stumbled upon this post! when I was pregnant with my daughter, my 3-year old niece named her "daisy," before we even knew she was a girl.. I hadn't taken the little nickname seriously, and I named her Madison Taylor.. she is now 10 years old, and most of her teachers and classmates don't even know her real name, because she just goes by Daisy!

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