AI: Nicknames

In Australia, I’m known as “Kaz”.

In a quirk of Australian English, most Karens are known as Kaz, and Sharons are similarly known as Shaz. Barrys are Baz, and Darrens are Daz. Kazza, Shazza, Bazza and Dazza are also acceptable.

In the States, I’m known as K.

What’s your nickname and why?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

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  1. For a while in junior high I was known as “Swirl.”

    When I joined the football team I shaved my head, and the cowlick on the very front of my head became very visible as a tornado-like swirl. The logic was it looked like I’d been given a swirly (head stuck in toilet and toilet flushed for anyone that somehow doesn’t know what that is).

    A year or two of having my hair cut really short apparently straightened the cowlick out and it stopped being visible. I took the name in good humor while it lasted, though.

  2. “Dude”

    I took over the management of an ostentatious private resort and I wanted the employees to relax a little. I told them I wasn’t the General Manager to them, I was the Head Dude. Dude just stuck.

  3. My favorite was “Spot” in high school, after a case of rekettsial pox.

    Currently I’m “Pops”, because I’m a 42 year old surrounded by 17 – 20 year olds, who damm well better stay the hell off my lawn…

  4. It’s not just an Australian thing, Kazza, although maybe they started it and we in England have copied.
    My son Harry is Hazza to my in-laws. Then there are my mates Gazza (Gary), Chaz (Charles) and Loz (Lorraine).

  5. ‘Worzel’
    Looked back upon fondly, but I hated it at the time. It was high school, and due to my love of secondhand clothes shops.
    I think perhaps the suit was a mistake.

  6. Amanda has a billion variations (or maybe just 5: Manda, Mandy, Mander, Manders, Amanda Hugandkiss), but none ever stuck to me. For some reason I was always just Amanda.

    However, my initials do spell ALF, so that and Alfie were nicknames given to me by my sisters. I’ve also been called by my last name, Fox, because I know so many other Amandas. A group of friends also refer to me as “Late” Amanda because I am so often punctually challenged.

    I’m so unused to having a widely used nickname, that I’m about 70% sure I’m going to go by my real name when I (finally) make the local roller derby league. The fun names are great, but I guess nicknames just aren’t my thing.

    (I do have a derby name picked out, but I won’t share it until I make the league and decide whether or not to use it.)

  7. When I was little my parents called me “Whitney Pooh” referring to the children’s cartoon Winnie the Pooh. Some people call me “Whit,” others “Whit-bit.” Sometimes they call me “Houston” after Whitney Houston (definitely my least favorite). A few people from England have called me “Whitters.” There’s about a million nicknames associated with Whitney depending on location and popular culture.

  8. @Gammidgy: I think its slowly spreading to the US, too. At least Chaz seems to be, my (late) uncle Charles was known as Chaz for the whole time I can remember and I’ve also known other Charlies who go by Chaz. Though, I’ve never met anyone here who goes by any of the other -z ending nicknames.

    For myself, other than a brief bit of Jr. High when I was called “Fishie,” for reasons that still elude me, I’ve only ever been known by mundane variations on my first name (J / Jak / Jake).

  9. I’m “Joey,” which is short for a common enough female name. I got this nickname playing poker with my guy friends in college and it just stuck. In real life this doesn’t cause too many problems but when I’m interacting with people solely over email, sometimes I need to use my full name if my sex is an issue. (For example, if I’m writing to a politician and I want to be filed under the correct demographic.)

  10. At my school the “Oxford -er” was standard (of course we didn’t think about it at all least of all in depth) and my nickname was “Suggers”

    @Merchickety: “Whitters” would be the typcial nickname of anyone who’s surname was “Whitney”.

    The exceptions are “Chalky” for White or Wight, “Chippy” for Carpenter, “Dusty” for Miller.

  11. My name is Hal. My father gave me a short name because he never wanted me to have a nickname ( he came from a family of odd nicknames ). Because of my name’s brevity people have always asked me what is Hal short for. Thus I’ve been cursed with having to explain my name for decade after decade.

    I finally got a real nickname , initiated in the gym by people who are my patients, comfortable enough to goof with me, but not comfortable enough to drop my title.

    Thus … I’m “Doc” to some.

    Um … because I’m a doc.

  12. My name is Sydney. My dad calls me Squiddles. My friends usually just call me Syd. but I was named Sydney on purpose so employers wouldn’t discriminate against me based on my gender. Same with my sister Jordan (who I call Jord or Fluffy)

  13. For some reason, I came to be called Time one summer (my real name is Tim); until, one day, one of my friends, in a fit of giggles, suggested I become a priest “so that we can call you Father Time!” Amongst that circle of people, the name has kind of stuck.

  14. i’ve had various nicknames throughout my life: there were those who called me care bear (and a few who still do), and then there’s my work nickname. many people in my trade have a nickname, as i’m sure is the case with other blue collar union cultures. mine is derived from my dad’s. he got his nickname, rhino, i’m told, as a result of a drunken attempt at knocking over bar stools with his head. i have been dubbed rhinette, though thankfully almost no one actually calls me that.
    most people nowadays call me carr (pronounced care) for short.

  15. – Mum calls me Bug.
    – Dad calls me Peanut.
    – Sister called me Tissue-Ty-Huey when she was little. No idea why; that’s just how it was.
    – Husband calls me Kiddo.
    – My name is Sara where the first ‘a’ sounds like the ‘a’ in sari (i.e. the clothing) or the ‘o’ in ‘sorry.’ So naturally one uninvited nickname is ‘Sara’ pronounced the way most people in the West pronounce it. Oh well…

  16. @halincoh: My uncle has a similar deal. His parents named him Billy. Not William, or Will, or Bill, or Liam. Billy. And he really likes it! So when people try to be proper or something with him and they call him William for Bill he gets playfully fussy about it.

  17. @SJBG: @halincoh: , When my mom naturalized to this country she chose the name Jenny. I have an aunt who finds it necessary to formalize it to Jennifer, although that isn’t her first name. I also have an aunt Margie. Not Margaret, Margie.

    What nickname I have is dependent on the situation I am in. My Mom and immediate family call me Michael (no nickname there) my second, third, fourth etc cousins on my dad’s side and my Mom’s brother call me Michael J (first name, middle initial, I don’t know why my uncle feels this is necessary, but for the rest of the family, this largely has to do with the fact that my dad is Michael, and my grandfather’s nickname is Mike despite not being named Michael). At work, amongst friends, etc I’m often called Mike. My dad calls me Buford.

  18. Nope, no real nickname at the moment. I despise “Andy” (my next door neighbour when I was a kid used to call me “Andy Willy” and I could never get up the guts to tell her that I hated it). I’ve been called “Gouldie” especially in school, which is simply adding a suffix to my surname. I prefer to be called by my initials – “AG” – and this is how I sign things like emails. My online name is Arthwollipot, which people commonly shorten to Arth, but I rather like “Wolli” (a name given me by a particularly skillful troll). Most people in the real world simply call me Andrew.

  19. Cammie. Real name Janice. Cammie comes from childhood when I always wore a cameo ring. Kids thought the word cameo was funny sounding so, as kids do with funny words, they got all sing-songy with it and out came Cammie.

  20. My name is Jacob (the whole James Fox thing is another story) so some people call me Jake which is fine. My dad was Jake and my grandfather was also Jake so I ended up being called Jacob to avoid confusion. No nick names except the short lived ones in college that arose circumstantially. However I’m a third, (III) my father being junior and my grandfather being senior, and when young my sister could not pronounce ‘third’ so she would call me ‘turd’ which still seems to be used occasionally at family gatherings.

  21. Jennifer is such a common name that I’ve always had a lot of nicknames. Like most Jennifers, I usually go by Jen.

    I became Chimbit in university. I vaguely recall a drunken midnight quest to acquire a box of timbits. My bf calls me Chimmy. This is the one nickname that has really stuck, and I don’t mind.

    I’ve also been called Fleur, which came from Jennifleur. One friend still calls me that.

    My best friend and I are also Bluzen and Cluzen, respectively. We even have a little theme song, loosely based on Blue’s Clues. It’s precious.

  22. Nicknames that I’ve had at old jobs:

    JB: Because there were several other Jason’s already working there.

    Tippy Toes: Because I walk funny. I think that it’s because one of my legs is ever so slightly longer than the other.

    Weird Boy: Because I was.. uh, weird.

  23. I don’t know why, but for some reason, people back in Venezuela has called me this really horrible name to tease me:
    Inboksiño gauchon
    (Inbok is my first name, and they added those horrible stuff afterwards)

  24. “Nexx” to a number of friends and even my ex-wife on occasion. I started using it when I first got on-line in ’95, because it had bad-ass connotations if you’re an RPG geek (being from the Shadowrun game book “Paranormal Animals of North America”, where it was the name of an assassin, and also the species name of a magical diamondback rattler… we’re also told it means “violent death”, making it ultra-bad-ass). Since then, I used it more or less constantly, in one variation or another (Nexx; Nexx Many-Scars; Pope Nexx; Mr. Nexx), in different on-line fora until about 2-3 years ago, when I started using my real name.

    So, a fair number of people know me primarily as “Nexx”.

  25. My mom calls me Pumpkin despite repeated requests not to.
    For some reason, male coworkers frequently and spontaneously call me “Meg”. Female coworkers don’t do this, that I can recall, or if they want to shorten my name they ask first. Male friends don’t seem to do it either. Just men I work with.
    To a very small and select group of people, I’m Muffin. From these people, it’s a term of affection. From anyone else it’s an invitation to kick them in the shins, and I wear heavy boots.

  26. “Doctor” because I like to fix stuff (I’m not a real doctor!)
    “Mr Wolf”, the character in Pulp Fiction, for the same reason. I have never cleaned brains out of a car though.

  27. For a couple of weeks in high school I was ‘Bandicoot’ due to my last name sounding like that if you mispronounce it (and everyone does mispronounce it). But somehow I quickly became known as ‘Schmuck’. Was weird in final year when a mate sat down and said “hey Schmuck”, and a girl nearby who only knew me by my real name got all offended on my behalf :p

  28. My name is Jeff (or I suppose it’s technically my nickname, but I don’t even think about it). Jeff Dunham is my mortal enemy, for reasons which are probably obvious.

    With moderate frequency I am called Jeffie by girls, or my roommate. Jeffery is slightly less common, and for some reason bothers me, despite it being a legitimate mistake. I come off as crazy or absurdly blunt often enough that I feel no need to correct people there.

    People may mangle my last name however they please. Despite having been complimented on how precisely I speak, people often misunderstand my surname to start with a B instead of an M.

    People that have worked with me for a while may call me Bob Barker due to one such misunderstanding. They also freaked out when they discovered I had no idea who he was.

  29. My nickname in highschool was Boogie, though that’s not how it’s actually pronounced. Add a “dj” in between the syllables. For those that can read the IPA, it’s pronounced something like bÊŠd dÊ’i.

    I got that name because of a t-shirt I wore to school that had an image of a boogieman on it. “Boodjieman” was a playful adaptation of pronounciation, which was shortened to “Boodjie”. But it’s spelt Boogie.

  30. My best friend’s wife used to call me “Floppy,” on account of how I used to slouch when I sat around.

    Despite repeated requests from myself and her husband to cease and desist, she continued to call me Floppy for some years.

    Eventually, other guests, upon hearing Mrs. Best Friend call me Floppy, started asking how she would know, and then questions about our sexual practices.

    At that point, she stopped calling me Floppy.

  31. Back in my high school days I earned the nickname Jesus after I dyed my hair blond. Never really understood why that was…

    These days, I have no nicknames. But since I’ve never cared for my real name, I actually prefer it when people just call me Dude.

  32. My mom carefully chose our names so they couldn’t be abbreviated. I am Sarah. Therefore I have been called:

    CS (crazy Sarah)
    MC Spanky
    Therapy (Sarah P sounds a bit like it)

    Oddly, both my brother and my husband ended up being called picks, a short version of pickleman.

  33. My first name is actually Marilee but my family has a habit of calling meMary and they are unwilling to call me by my REAL name, as are some of the friends I grew up with. Hate itttt, but I let them have a pass since they are family.

    Otherwise I’m known as “Crush” or “Crushie” because of my original online screen name, but that’s only by certain people.

  34. I’m a nerd. My nickname reflects my nerdyness. Eowyn is from Lord of the Rings. Redleaf is from The Deathgate Cycle by Tracy Wise and Terry Hickman (a very good books by the way) and the combination of a three syllable first name and a two syllable last name composed of two words comes from Kender namaing conventions of Dragonlance. Most people call me Eo (prononced Ao), some people call me Leaf.

    My given name is Sarah, which, as others have mentioned, is genrally not reducable.

  35. My nickname is Kitty. Way, way back in the 80’s, I was a militant feminist, vegetarian, environmentalist whose only friends had either known me before I got political or worked on the same fanzine. I went by Kat. Nice dramatic, hard-clipped syllables to scare the Reaganites with.

    Then I fell for this goofy punk-rock drummer who called me Kitty. The name was so out of character that it stuck. (Kinda like calling a chihuahua “Killer”)

    It hasn’t always served me well. People tend to underestimate the noun-named. And when I was a licensed massage therapist, ferget it! When your name is Kitty, you can’t even go near the word masseuse.

    But hey, anything is better than “Kathy.”

  36. @eowynredleaf: “My given name is Sarah, which, as others have mentioned, is genrally not reducable.”

    Actually, I knew a girl whose given name was Sarah but she went by Sally, insisting this was a legitimate nickname for Sara/h. I’ve heard it other times since then, too, so I guess she’s not crazy. Makes about as much sense as using Jack for John, but whatever.

  37. In high school, a couple guys were trying to come up with something that rhymed with my name. They couldn’t come up with anything but “Bean”, which my friends thought was cute, and it stuck. I went by it for many years, but having a slightly unusual name (Sharene) I don’t really need a nickname. I used bean (I insisted on the small b) for a long time because people constantly mispronounce my name. I do my best to pronounce it clearly and distinctly when I first meet someone, but often they don’t listen. I’ve been called Sharlene, Sharee, Sherice (I hate that one the most) and the only one I didn’t mind, Serene. I don’t really go by my nickname anymore.

  38. I wound up getting called by my last name a lot, probably just because Ryan doesn’t really shorten to anything, and there were so bloody many Ryans around.

    Now that I’m sporting a longer last name thanks to hyphenation, most people have stopped that, except the people who think hyphenation is odd.

  39. I’ve been called “Sherry” – not because of my first name, which is Biblical and rare, but short for Sheherazade. [I’m a good story teller.] This gets confusing, because my sister is Sharon, normally addressed by family as “Toots”.

    My son is nicknamed “Roo”, from Winny-the-Pooh. Only his father and I get to use it.

  40. Dad calls me Squirt, No doubt due to some distressing diaper changing incident,

    My older brother calls me Li’l Kid. He used to introduce me to his friends that way. There are people out there that know me only as ‘Li’l Kid’. He still calls me this, refusing to pass the name to his own kids while I’m still living. Given that I’m now 37 and he’s 44, this shows how hard a nickname is to shake, no matter how much it no longer applies.

    My nickname now is Tequila Sheila. Pretty much self-explanatory.

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