ALISON f English, French
Norman French diminutive of Aalis
). It was common in England and France in the Middle Ages, and was later revived in the 20th century. Unlike most other English names ending in son
, it is not derived from a surname.
ARLIE f & m English
From a surname which was derived from a place name meaning "eagle wood" in Old English. This name can also be a diminutive of ARLENE
AUDREY f English
Medieval diminutive of ÆÐELÞRYÐ
. This was the name of a 7th-century saint, a princess of East Anglia who founded a monastery at Ely. It was also borne by a character in Shakespeare's comedy 'As You Like It' (1599). At the end of the Middle Ages the name became rare due to association with the word tawdry
(which was derived from St. Audrey
, the name of a fair where cheap lace was sold), but it was revived in the 19th century. A famous bearer was British actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993).
BILL m English
Short form of WILLIAM
. This spelling was first used in the 19th century. The change in the initial consonant may have been influenced by an earlier Irish pronunciation of the name. Famous bearers include basketball player Bill Russell (1934-), comedian Bill Cosby (1937-), American president Bill Clinton (1946-), and Microsoft founder Bill Gates (1955-).
BILLY m English
Diminutive of BILL
. A notable bearer was the American outlaw Billy the Kid (1859-1881), whose real name was William H. Bonney.
CHANCE m English
Originally a diminutive of CHAUNCEY
. It is now usually given in reference to the English word chance
meaning "luck, fortune" (ultimately derived from Latin cadens
CHARLIE m & f English
Diminutive or feminine form of CHARLES
. A famous bearer is Charlie Brown, the main character in the comic strip 'Peanuts' by Charles Schulz.
CHERRY f English
Simply means "cherry" from the name of the fruit. It can also be a diminutive of CHARITY
. It has been in use since the late 19th century.
CIARÁN m Irish
Diminutive of CIAR
. This was the name of two Irish saints: Saint Ciarán the Elder, the patron of the Kingdom of Munster, and Saint Ciarán of Clonmacnoise, the founder of a monastery in the 6th century.
CLINT m English
Short form of CLINTON
. A notable bearer is American actor Clint Eastwood (1930-), who became famous early in his career for his western movies.
DAISY f English
Simply from the English word for the white flower, ultimately derived from Old English dægeseage
meaning "day eye". It was first used as a given name in the 19th century, at the same time many other plant and flower names were coined.
DICK (1) m English
Medieval diminutive of RICHARD
. The change in the initial consonant is said to have been caused by the way the trilled Norman R
was pronounced by the English.
DOLLY f English
Diminutive of DOROTHY
were used from the 16th century, and the common English word doll
(for the plaything) is derived from them. In modern times this name is also sometimes used as a diminutive of DOLORES
EGIL m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From the Old Norse name Egill
, a diminutive of names that began with the element agi
"awe, terror". This was the name of a semi-legendary Icelandic warrior.
EMMETT m English
From an English surname which was derived from a diminutive of the feminine given name EMMA
ETTA f English
Short form of HENRIETTA
and other names that end with etta
. A famous bearer was the American singer Etta James (1938-2012), who took her stage name from her real given name Jamesetta.
FRANCE f French
From the name of the country, sometimes considered a feminine form of FRANK (1)
or short form of FRANÇOISE
, both of which are ultimately related to the name of the country.
HANK m English
Originally a short form of Hankin
which was a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. Since the 17th century in the United States this name has also been used as a diminutive of HENRY
, probably under the influence of the Dutch diminutive HENK
. A famous bearer is the American former baseball player Hank Aaron (1934-).
IKE m English
Diminutive of ISAAC
. This was the nickname of the American president Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), based on the initial sound of his surname.
JACK m English
Derived from Jackin
), a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. It is often regarded as an independent name. During the Middle Ages it was very common, and it became a slang word meaning "man". It was frequently used in fairy tales and nursery rhymes, such as 'Jack and the Beanstalk', 'Little Jack Horner', and 'Jack Sprat'. American writers Jack London (1876-1916) and Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) were two famous bearers of this name. It is also borne by American actor Jack Nicholson (1937-).
JACKIE m & f English
Diminutive of JACK
. A notable bearer was baseball player Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball.
JUDY f English
Diminutive of JUDITH
. A well-known bearer of this name was singer and actress Judy Garland (1922-1969).
KATE f English, Croatian
Diminutive of KATHERINE
, often used independently. It has been used in England since the Middle Ages. This was the name of the woman who Petruchio marries and tries to tame in Shakespeare's comedy 'Taming of the Shrew' (1593). A famous bearer is the British actress Kate Winslet (1975-).
LENORE f English
Short form of ELEANOR
. This was the name of the departed love of the narrator in Edgar Allan Poe's poem 'The Raven' (1845).
LILY f English
From the name of the flower, a symbol of purity. The word is ultimately derived from Latin lilium
LOU f & m English, French
Short form of LOUISE
. Famous bearers include the baseball player Lou Gehrig (1903-1941) and the musician Lou Reed (1942-2013).
MAJA (2) f Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Slovene, German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Polish, Czech, Slovak
Diminutive of MARIA
MARNIE f English
Possibly a diminutive of MARINA
. This name was brought to public attention by Alfred Hitchcock's movie 'Marnie' (1964), itself based on a 1961 novel by Winston Graham.
MICHEL m French, German, Dutch
French form of MICHAEL
. Michel de Notredame, also known as Nostradamus, was the 16th-century French astrologer who made predictions about future world events. This is also the German diminutive form of MICHAEL
MILOŠ m Czech, Slovak, Serbian, Slovene, Croatian, Macedonian
Originally a diminutive of names beginning with the Slavic element milu
"gracious, dear". This was the name of a 14th-century Serbian hero who apparently killed the Ottoman sultan Murad I at the Battle of Kosovo.
MOLLY f English
Diminutive of MARY
. It developed from Malle
, other medieval diminutives. James Joyce used this name in his novel 'Ulysses' (1920), where it belongs to Molly Bloom, the wife of the main character.
MONTE m English
Either a diminutive of MONTGOMERY
or from the Spanish or Italian vocabulary word meaning "mountain".
NATASHA f Russian, English
Russian diminutive of NATALYA
. This is the name of a character in Leo Tolstoy's novel 'War and Peace' (1865). It has been used in the English-speaking world only since the 20th century.
NELL f English
Medieval diminutive of names beginning with El
, such as ELEANOR
, ELLEN (1)
. It may have arisen from the medieval affectionate phrase mine El
, which was later reinterpreted as my Nel
NINA (1) f Russian, Italian, English, German, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Dutch, Polish, Slovene, Czech, Slovak, Croatian, Serbian
Short form of names that end in nina
, such as ANTONINA
. It was imported to Western Europe from Russia and Italy in the 19th century. This name also coincides with the Spanish word niña
meaning "little girl".
ODETTE f French
French diminutive of ODA
. This is the name of a princess who has been transformed into a swan in the ballet 'Swan Lake' (1877) by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
OTHELLO m Literature
Perhaps an Italian diminutive of OTHO
. Shakespeare used this name in his tragedy 'Othello' (1603), where it belongs to a Moor who is manipulated by Iago
into killing his wife Desdemona
PEGGY f English
Medieval variant of Meggy
, a diminutive of MARGARET
. The reason for the change in the initial consonant is unknown.
PETRONILLA f Italian, Late Roman
From a Latin name, a diminutive of Petronia
, the feminine form of PETRONIUS
. This was the name of an obscure 1st-century Roman saint, later believed to be a daughter of Saint Peter
PHIL m English
Short form of PHILIP
and various other names beginning with Phil
, often a Greek element meaning "friend, dear, beloved".
PIP m & f English
Diminutive of PHILIP
. This was the name of the main character in 'Great Expectations' (1860) by Charles Dickens.
ROBIN m & f English, Dutch, Swedish
Medieval diminutive of ROBERT
. Robin Hood was a legendary hero and archer of medieval England who stole from the rich to give to the poor. In modern times it has also been used as a feminine name, and it may sometimes be given in reference to the red-breasted bird.
RUE f English
From the name of the bitter medicinal herb, ultimately deriving from Greek ‘ρυτη (rhyte)
. This is also sometimes used as a short form of RUTH (1)
SONYA f Russian, English
Russian diminutive of SOPHIA
. This is the name of a character in Leo Tolstoy's novel 'War and Peace' (1869, English translation 1886).
STACY f & m English
Either a diminutive of ANASTASIA
, or else from a surname which was derived from Stace
, a medieval form of EUSTACE
. As a feminine name, it came into general use during the 1950s, though it had earlier been in use as a rare masculine name.
STEVE m English
Short form of STEVEN
. A notable bearer was American technology entrepreneur Steve Jobs (1955-2011).
TERRY (2) m & f English
Diminutive of TERENCE
. A famous bearer was Terry Fox (1958-1981), a young man with an artificial leg who attempted to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He died of the disease before crossing the country.
WENDY f English
In the case of the character from J. M. Barrie's play 'Peter Pan' (1904), it was created from the nickname fwendy
"friend", given to the author by a young friend. However, the name was used prior to the play (rarely), in which case it could be related to the Welsh name GWENDOLEN
and other names beginning with the element gwen
meaning "white, fair, blessed". The name only became common after Barrie's play ran.