“Alternative” Names

James. The name is a mere 5 letters, doesn’t seem like there’s any real need for abbreviation. However, some genius before me decided James needed some simplification or something because then the name Jimmy came into use instead of James. My question is this… James is 5 letters. Jimmy is 5 letters. It’s an alternative name, that’s true, but people insist on calling it a nickname, but how can it be? The prefix “nick” implies a shortening. A nick knack is a small souvenir. “In the nick of time” means with a small amount of time to spare. It only follows that a nickname should be a shortened name. Jimmy is no shorter than James. So what do we call it? Calling it a nickname would just be a straight up lie as I’ve already proved. Anyone else have any ideas? Because frankly, I think “alternative name” sounds kinda lame, so I’m open to suggestions.

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9 thoughts on ““Alternative” Names

  1. Hmmm… familiar or friendly name? Acquainted? As in, “My friends call me Jimmy” or “Jimmy’s from the neighborhood”. I see your point and think that the appropriate word should indicate familiarity with the person rather than the shortening of the name – since, as you’ve proven, the name clearly is not being shortened.

  2. Don’t forget that you could also be called Jamie which ALSO has 5 letters…
    I like the “familiar” name suggestion…but it also sounds terribly formal for being familiar.

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