Help! I need nickname advice!
I'm adopting a baby this Spring, and if it's a boy, I'd like to follow a family tradition and name him John after my father, my brother, my grandfather, you get the picture. The problem is that my father (Jack) and my brother (John) both live within a mile or so, and that's a lot of people running around with the same name (since I'm single, it will be the same first and last names).
So what I'm looking for is a good nickname for John that isn't Jack. I'm a big fan of traditional names - it's important that it's a name that will work for an adult as well as a kid.
If the baby's a girl, I'm going with Elizabeth, another family name. I'm leaning toward Bess or Lily as a nickname.
Any brilliant suggestions?
Help me, Swistle!
Tough one, Kate! The usual nicknames are Johnny and Jack and that's ALL, so we're really going to need to call upon The Powers of the Internet for this one.
Option the First: Go with the initial and call him J.---I had a friend in high school who did this. To the ear, it's "Jay."
Option the Second: Call him by first and middle names together: John William, for example. My brother was called by his first and middle names together when he was a child---and not just when he was in trouble, but all the time. At first it feels a little awkward, but then it blends into one name.
Option the Third: First and middle initials: J.W., for example.
Option the Fourth: Call him by his middle name outright. I'm pretty sure my friend Mairzy disapproves of this idea, but I think it's a good work-around when you are highly motivated to use a particular name but run into problems such as the one you're encountering. I went to school with several guys who went by their middle names, and other than the annual "roll call correction" ("John Abrams?" "Actually, I go by Will"), it wasn't a problem.
Option the Fifth: As I understand it from novels about rich people, people with a long-running family name used to turn to nicknames such as Trey and Trip for the youngest of three people with the same name. I think that's cute and appealing.
Let's ask Mairzy!
In this corner we have Good Idea: Name son the family name to give him an immediate sense of family identity.
In this corner we have Bad Setup: His grandfather and uncle, who live in the same area, will have exactly the same name.
Possible solution: Come up with a nickname.
The trouble with this solution, of course, is that traditional nickname for John is already in use. (I remember getting very indignant with a first-grade classmate, Johnny, who claimed that he and his father had the same name. I knew very well his dad's name was Jack. Who was he kidding?) If you do use the name John, he'll get called Johnny or Little John just to distinguish him from his uncle. If you call him Jack, he'll be Little Jack or (not at all appealing to me) Jackie. And he might just get called Junior, a nickname that makes me want to curl up and cry.
Possible solution: Use a variant of the name John.
This way, you honor the family name, but avoid the confusion and headaches that come with repeating names. You're lucky to be working with the name that shows up in practically every European language. You can choose from Jonathan, Sean, Evan, Ian, Giovanni, Ivan, Jaques, Johann, Jonas, Shane, Sion, and Yancey. (List courtesy of behindthename.com, which includes a whole lot more options.) Obviously a few of the names are heavily ethnic, which may not fit with the surname. I just included them because, well, I like names. I'd love to use the name Jaques, for instance. But my surname is in the same category as Johnson. Jaques Johnson! The world laughs. Anway, getting back to the matter at hand.
You could consider naming him Jake and calling it a variant of Jack/John. It's not traditional, but you could squeeze by with it.
(For Elizabeth, which you mention briefly at the end of your question: I think Bess is cute, and I'm ready to see it come back again. Lily is not a name I think of as being a nickname for Elizabeth, so I probably wouldn't go that route: if I wanted Lily, I'd go with Lilian/Lillian or just flat-out Lily.)
Help Kate out: What would YOU do if you were using the name John in this situation? Would you name him John and use one of Swistle's solutions? Or would you name him one of Mairzy's variations?
John; call him J.: 11 votes, roughly 14%
John; call him first + middle names: 8 votes, roughly 10%
John; call him first + middle initials: 17 votes, roughly 21%
John; call him by his middle name: 13 votes, roughly 16%
Use a variation such as Jonathan or Ian: 20 votes, roughly 25%
Jake, and pretend it's a variation of John: 3 votes, roughly 4%]