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I Love the Name, but Hate the Nickname

We love the name Edmund for lots of reasons. We strongly dislike Eddie/Ned (I still don't understand where people get Ned from Edmund). We can bear people once in a while asking "how's little Eddie," but it is not our intention for him to be called anything other than Edmund on a regular basis, unless we develop a cool nickname between his first and middle name. At this point, the middle name will either be Phillip or Charles. Any suggestions on things to help avoid Eddie/develop a cool nickname? - Edwhat

It's time for a gut check. Do you love the name Edmund more than you loathe Ed and Ned? You have to be honest with yourself about this, because I can't promise you'll be able to keep Ed at bay. Sure, you might be able to keep your in-laws and preschool teachers on the straight Edmund path, but there's one person who can scuttle your best-laid plans: your son.

By third grade or so, most kids start thinking about how they want to be known. A lot of boys with very formal names try to shed them, often with the help and urging of their buddies. Distraught parents have surprisingly little say in the matter. (Just ask the proud mother of a young Cornelius who suddenly finds herself with a Corny.) Barring intervention, some Eddie time may be in your future.

You're right that starting off with a different, cool nickname can help prevent this. An Alexander called Xander, for instance, seldom turns into an Alex. The trick is that Edmund doesn't give you a lot of natural options, and Phillip and Charles make for tough combos. (Nedchuck?) You can always use your son's initials, or take a nickname like Flip or Chaz straight from the middle name. Or you could dream up one of those jazz-musician nicknames that never have anything to do with any names at all -- Boots or Doc or Spike.

The farther you get from Edmund, though, the more you have to question the choice. It's easy to be both Alexander and Xander, but with Edmund and Spike it becomes an either/or. If your son chooses 100% Spike, you've lost your beloved Edmund altogether.

That leaves you with two surefire alternatives. You can choose another name with more appealing nicknames or you can name him Edmund, call him Edmund and accept that at some times in some places he may choose Ed. Hey, at least it's not Corny.


Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

November 10, 2009 3:49 PM
By anna (not verified)

I'm surprised you didn't take a moment to explain "Ned." It comes from the same process as "Nan" and the like, doesn't it? "Mine+name starting with a vowel" is what I've heard.

November 10, 2009 3:51 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think if you start early enough with a non-standard nickname it will pick up and you can avoid Ed. Also, although rare in our parents era, many kids and adults these days go by full names and it is not as much of an issue, just as many folks are officially named what used to be considered nickname only names like Jack, Katie, Emmie, Chris etc. I know plenty of boys who correct if you shorten their names!

November 10, 2009 4:52 PM
By Kayt (not verified)

I had the same debate with myself over my son's name. I like James, and I like Jamey on a little boy, but I can't stand Jim or Jimmy at all. He's only eleven months old right now, but so far, it's been pretty simple. We refer to him as James, and people call him James.

November 10, 2009 8:47 PM
By Deborah (not verified)

I'm with the Name Lady 100%

You really can't exert that level of control over your offspring.

My brother Michael started calling himself Mick in his teens, and it is what he generally goes by now except at home. Our parents hate the name Mick, but they had very little say in the matter.

November 12, 2009 10:58 AM
By Zoerhenne (not verified)

I kind of like Neal as a nn for Cornelius. It's much better than Corny. On a related note, we named our dd Nat@lie because we liked the sound of it. Intended on her nn to become Alie but it never stuck. So she is just Nat@lie. We can't stand the nn Nat and don't want anyone to call her that. When it has slipped out a few times from teachers and such we have corrected them. Friends late on in HS I know I will not be able to correct. So I will just silently cringe and hope she is happy.

November 12, 2009 5:24 PM
By Elizabeth (not verified)

My parents never liked nicknames in general. They were determined that I (Elizabeth) would never be Lizzy, my sister Amanda would never be Mandy, my brother Christopher would never be Chris. Well, it worked... sort of. I was coached from a young age not to tolerate Liz or Lizzy. Instead my most commonly used nickname, courtesy of my younger sibs, is... Baba. Amanda will absolutely not answer to Mandy, but at a young age she started calling herself Meena. And Christopher? Well, we mostly just call him Kid.

Oh, and my other two sisters, Misty and Rachel, names that have no natural nicknames, should have been safe, right? Yeah. Moose and Chel.

I have a friend named April who I know solely as Deni, the name of a fictional character in a story she wrote in grade school.

Nicknames have a life of their own, I'm afraid. You may end up with a son that scorns Ed but is known to one and all as Stinky.

November 12, 2009 5:35 PM
By Jennie

Elizabeth, those are some very creative nicknames. My sister Melissa wound up with the nickname Moana (don't ask!) and my brother Joshua has experimented with all sorts of nicknames over the years, ranging from Jose to Jack, which is what he is currently known by to most of his business associates. (he's in his 40s)

November 13, 2009 7:17 PM
By Sebastiane (not verified)

I thought of Mundy as an alternative nickname to Edmund. It is definitely a stand out and has an appealing sound.

November 16, 2009 9:53 AM
By Laurie (not verified)

I named my son Anthony because I loved how strong it sounded. I hate the nickname Tony!!! I just told everyone from the beginning its Anthony not Tony and can only hope that raising him calling him Anthony will continue into school instead of using the nickname, for my next child I like the name Andrew but do not want to call them Drew in fear of Anthony using a nickname!

November 16, 2009 8:30 PM
By Kerri (not verified)

My oldest son has a non-nn name, but leave it to a 2.5 yr old brother and now he has a family nn... I wonder if it will last? And I have to admit that I am happy if it does because I am a nn kind of person and always thought it was a bit of a shame we didn't give him a name with some options.

For our next son, due in Jan, I really like Philip, though hate Phil, so I'd plan on using Pip to circumvent that nn. DH not completely sold though.

November 18, 2009 7:06 PM
By Laura Marie (not verified)

Kerri- don't use Philip if you don't like Phil. Phillip is my husband's name and my mother-in-law despises Phil, yet everyone calls him that. She tried so hard for people to call him Phillip, but failed. Go with a different name because he WILL be called Phil

November 20, 2009 5:10 PM
By Hil (not verified)

Unfortunately I'd say that Ed is one of those nicknames that very likely can't be avoided. My partner is Edward - his family call him Edward but to the rest of the world, including me, he is usually Ed. It's a tough one to avoid because it comes so naturally, and as pointed out, there are no real nn alternatives.

November 22, 2009 11:03 PM
By Becky (not verified)

I agree that you need to find a new name. Try as you might, his friends will call him Ed in school. I love the name Charley, but I know he'd get called Chuck by his friends...

November 23, 2009 6:01 PM
By Sabrina (not verified)

I think you could use the name Charley. Chuck is an old fashion nick name and not a natural nn. Plus, if you name him Charles than Charley will be what he is called.

November 27, 2009 11:26 AM
By elemengee (not verified)

To the mother-to-be who loves the name Edmund but hates its derivatives, listen to the Name Lady. If Edmund wants to be called Eddie or Ned or Ted or Teddy, there's not much you can do about it. When my parents allowed me to name my brother, I chose Richard. I did so because I liked the nickname Dick. At the time, I was unaware of how the word (and eventually the name) would be used. I absolutely did not like Richie, so I persistently called him and introduced him as Dick. Guess what, he adopted Richie, and I and my family were outnumbered, and he insisted that we call him Richie. So there you have it. Accept Eddie or come up with another name.

November 27, 2009 12:25 PM
By Becky (not verified)

My son was named after my husband's family tradition of flip flopping first and middle names for the first born son. My husband is Michael Thomas and my son is Thomas Michael. As I have a lot of Thomas' in my family I did not want to use the name Tom or Thomas for my son. We chose another old Irish family nickname, Mickey. Despite all the famous Mickey's out there, people seem to think that we named him after the Mouse. I have people who refuse to call him anything but Thomas or Thomas Michael. It causes confusion in situations where he needs to be recognized by his given name, like at the doctor's office. I am beginning to think that he will eventually have problems in school,too, because his name is Mickey. If I had to do it over I would probably rethink my decision or just resign myself to calling him Tom. As a person who grew up hating their name, don't tag your child with a name they hate. Unless you have a good reason or sentimental attachment to the name Edmund, find a different name or just call him Eddie. The calling of your child by his middle name will just cause a lot of problems and confusion in the long run.

November 27, 2009 5:56 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Take it from a mother whose parents both went by their middle names and who names her son James Cameron (James after my dad) - but we have ALWAYS called him Cameron or 'Cam' - Middle names can be a real pain - - he is Cameron, but his school records are J Cameron, his driver's license James Cameron, his medical records - some are J Cameron, some are James C - you never know what name to give. My mom and dad went through the same headaches - told me not to do it, but did I listen? Of course not!

Also - Name your child what you are going to call him or her - don't name them one thing only to have a nickname already planned ahead - why the name to begin with if it isn't good enough for you to use it on a daily basis. Neighbors named their daughter Elizabeth. She is Elizabeth and has always been Elizabeth. She decided she wanted to go by 'Beth' in high school. Even when her family called her Beth, she would forget to respond. Pick a name you are proud of, that your child can be proud of, and one you will all want to use on a regular basis.

By the way, nicknames happen. My daughter Maggie is Mannie, because that is what her brother called her when he was really little. Cameron? Became Camaroon, which became 'rooner' which evolved into 'Roo' - I'm the only one that calls him that. He's 19 and still responds. Oh yeah, my dad called him 'Buckboard' go figure.

November 27, 2009 9:43 PM
By KarenFidei (not verified)

Nicknames will always find a mother wanted to name my sister Michelle, but my father was calling her Mickey before she was born. Mom switched to Loraine Michelle, so my father started calling her Lori (which still sticks, by the way.) To circumvent my father, my mother named me Karen, a name which has no nicknames. My father always called me Susie. People who like nicknames will make one up, if need be...whether or not it sticks is NOT up to the parents, it is up to the recipient.

November 27, 2009 11:31 PM
By Salvatore (Sal) (not verified)

I have 3 wonderful kids who not only have great names their nicknames are awesome as well they all have deceased granparent middlenames also. Angelica Josephine (AJ) Salena Francesca (Sal) and my son Matteo Salvatore(Matt or Teo) Teo is what his sisters call him.

November 29, 2009 6:24 PM
By Mandy (not verified)

Regarding Philip/Phil - I wouldn't worry about people calling a baby boy Phil. It just sounds too old. But yeah, as he grows up I can see where you would be concerned.

For Edmund - I think if you can be OK with Ed, you won't have to worry as much about Eddie. You can get your son on board with Ed and he can correct people who try to call him Eddie. Just a thought. And as someone previously said, "Ed" does come out very naturally in conversation.

December 4, 2009 10:08 PM
By Mea (not verified)

Edmund is going to be shortened to Ed, Eddie or Manny. I named my son Christian worrying it would be shortened to Chris. It never was and he is still Christian. We were blessed that there were several Christophers in his class and they became Chris and he never did. Over the years some of his friends have tried to shorten his name but he goes by Christian Miles.

December 11, 2009 11:20 PM
By Amy (not verified)

My mom picked my name (Amy) so that there wouldn't be any possible nicknames. However, by the time I was three, my parents most commonly called me Jo or Joey (my middle name is Nicole, so I'm not sure where it came from).
Nicknames are pretty much inevitable, no matter what the name is.

December 12, 2009 3:07 PM
By Andrea (not verified)

My mom chose my name-Andrea so she could use the nn Andie, but when I was little, I couldn't pronounce Andie and it came out Annie. I am known by family and friends as Annie. My professors call me by Andrea. The only time someone close to me uses my given name is when I am in trouble.
I like both my formal name and nn, but you also have to remember how a child is going to pronounce his/her name when growing up or how a sibling is going to pronounce it. My brother is Justin and I have always called him Jussie, even though we are in our late 20s.

December 16, 2009 12:54 AM
By Roxi (not verified)

My full name is Roxanne but I've always gone by Roxi, toddlers usually cant pronounce the "x" and end up calling me Rocky:) I have 3 other sisters named Tandi (my mother sometimes calls her Tand), Camille (she goes by Cami) and Rochelle (she goes by Shelley, which my mother tried to avoid). I also have a brother named Brandon which my mother usually calls Bubba. So i agree with everyone, nicknames are nearly unavoidable. I was considering the name Constance for a little girl when i have children but i also cant stand the nicknames (connie, teeny,...) can anyone think of any nice ones?

December 22, 2009 8:10 AM
By Heidi (not verified)

As a teacher, I'd like to point out that giving a child a nickname that has nothing to do with their "real name" causes problems later too.

If you like a name, name your child that. One of the tests that they give children entering school includes knowing your name. If you've always been called Pip or Spike, at four, you might just think that's your name.

December 28, 2009 11:07 PM
By Mamma Mia (not verified)

On the same note- if it is not a common name ( and what is wrong with common names?) please spell it in a way that makes sense! As a teacher I have seen kids in tears because the new teacher/sub/ aide called their named the way it was spelled only to discover silent letters and letters that are pronounced like other letters, following no known rules of english ( or Russian, spanish, or any other language spoken by our students) Parents think this makes thier child unique- but it just makes them the poor kid with the flakey parents who can't get attention any way other then by embarrassing their child! Think of how people will respond to the name, nicknames included and name your child something that won't cause them stress.

December 29, 2009 2:02 AM
By Nichole (not verified)

My advice to you is not to worry about nicknames at all. If you name your child Edmund, then call him that. You will ot need to worry about the nicknames unless you choose to call him that. Shall in the future when he gets older and he chooses to be called Eddie or Ned by his friends, then that would be his choice, but it would not change you always calling him Edmund. My sister-in-law's name is Andrea. However, it is not pronounced as you may think. If you've ever seen the 90's show, Beverly Hills 90210, you will recognize the character Andrea Zuckerman. Well, my sister-in-law's name is pronounced just the same (just in case you're not familiar with the show, it's pronounced Aundera) My mother-in-law did this because she didn't want to have an "Andie". But instead, she has a daughter who has her name mispronounced DAILY!
Please choose the name you like, and don't worry about nicknames that you have no intention on using :)

February 16, 2010 1:06 PM
By Bojana (Boy-ana) (not verified)

Our daughters name is Ava Elizabeth and we just always call her Ava. You would think her name couldn't be shortened anymore then it already is, but it can. She's been called Aya (when she couldn't pronounce the v and thank God it never stuck) to Ayv or just plain old A! She is almost 5 now and decided she wants to go by Bella... She is still Ava to us or Ava Elizabeth when she gets in trouble. Our second child is due soon and we decided to name him Miles Christopher and plan on strictly calling him Miles even though he may end up a Milo... Coming from someone who had their name ruined during school (I'm Eastern European)... almost any nickname is better then giving them a name that's going to be butchered because kids or teachers can't pronounce it. Also give your child a strong name they can be proud of and that's nice for when they are little, but also something that grows with them and doesn't sound childish when they are in their 40's. I also think when people are choosing names for their unborn children, they should focus more on the fist name then on what their nickname may or may not be. Matter of the fact is that when your child gets older and is applying for jobs you want them to get called in for an interview and not have their application thrown in the trash just because of what their name sounds like. People still stereotype.

April 24, 2010 7:26 PM
By Sarah (not verified)

While it's definitely true that you don't get the final say on what your son will choose to go by, you've got at least one thing in your favor. There's a current trend towards going with the full name instead of a nickname. You see a lot more Williams and Roberts than you used to. A lot of boys are going by their full names. Same with Elizabeths and Margarets. So that might be at least one point in favor of the name staying at "Edmund." But personally, I think its England-stuffiness (don't get me wrong, I love the name myself) might make it more likely to be nicknamed than some others.

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