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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Baby Naming Issue: A Nickname for Zechariah

Holly writes:
Hi! My husband and I are expecting our first child in late August (our last name is Miller). At this point we don't know if it's a boy or a girl but we do plan to find out in a few more weeks. For a girl, we both like/agree on the name Montgomery though I can't decide yet on a middle name. Since Montgomery is pretty long, I thought about Emory or Emery as a nickname. My husband seems okay with this and I really love it. Now, the bigger issue is a boy name. My husband LOVES and desperately wants to name a boy Zechariah. I'm still debating whether or not I like it (it's starting to grow on me) but the main issue I have is that it's also a long name and doesn't seem to have any good nicknames. The obvious one would be Zech or Zeck but does this sound too weird? If someone introduced themselves as Zech to me, I think I would say "Zek? Zach? what?" I don't really want our son to have this issue every time he meets someone and using the full name Zechariah all the time again, seems too long to me. My husband said we could go with Zeke as a nickname but that makes no sense to me. Zeke doesn't relate to Zechariah in anyway, does it? Just to clarify, we would pronounce it ZEchariah not ZAchariah, so Zach or Zack is out. Thanks!

Are you sure you don't want to consider Zachariah? It solves the issues, and the two are barely-different variants of the same name.

If you definitely want Zechariah, I don't think Zeke (or Zach) is any more of a stretch than Emory/Emery is for Montgomery. Both nicknames take into account some of the sounds/letters from the name, while changing/dismissing others.

23 comments:

Meg @ Mr.C and Me said...

that's a toughy because if you're set on Zechariah someone will definitely call him Zech/Zeck. I totally think Zeke works although they might think his first name is Ezekiel too. Otherwise possible nicknames for Zechariah could be Z, Ri (pronounced Rye), maybe pull in his middle name ie: if it was David his nickname could be Zed?

LiciaLee said...

I like Zeke. And honestly, NNs will come as baby grows. DDs FN is Clara and we usually call her Carebear or Critter. LOL.

StephLove said...

I agree. Zachariah offers the readily recognizable nickname of Zach/Zack. And I also think Zeke is not too much of a stretch for Zechariah. Or you could use Ezekiel, but that's getting further afield from your original choice. I think Zekariah (nn Zeke) is most likely to satisfy all parties.

Gail said...

Zeke completely works for me, here.

Anonymous said...

I definitely think Zeke works. You could also use Ari (like Jeremy Pivens character on Entourage). Good luck!!

The Captain's Wife said...

Zeke was my very first thought for a NN.

lasselanta said...

I know of a baby Zechariah who goes by Riah. Very cute, and feels familiar because of Ryan.

andrea said...

i thought of the nn zeke before i even read the part about your husband suggesting it. i think it totally works, and is a great nn. i wouldn't hesitate to use it.

mabelgold said...

How about Zebediah? You could call him "Zeb."

Patricia said...

I think Zeke works very well as a nn for Zechariah, while Riah could be problematic: so similar to the girls' name Rita and could lead to a teasing name - dia-Riah.

I'm wondering if you like Zechariah and Montgomery as sibling names. I don't see any compatibility between the two names. It's something to consider as you begin your family.

Jan said...

I also thought "Z" and "Z"ke or Zeke is not too far of a stretch from that. You could also think about first plus middle name or first plus last name equaling some kind of nn. Zechariah Miller = Zim?

Anonymous said...

I agree with pp's comment about Montgomery and Zechariah being so different. If you use Montgomery for a girl (which reads very boy/modern to me) would you feel restricted to this name style for future children? And since Zechariah is such a rare/biblical name, would you feel forced to stay with this style? Just something to consider. If the difference in style doesn't bother you, then I think Zeke would be fine as a nn, although I do think you (and your son) will spend a lot of time correcting people since Zachariah is so much more common.

Anonymous said...

Ari?

Beckye said...

On the t.v. show, Parenthood, the Craig T. Nelson character name is Zeek. I think it's pronounced as zEEK which would elimated the Zach problem. Just another option.

Patricia said...

Wondering what the Parenthood character Zeek Braverman's given name might be, I think the logical conclusion would be "Ezekiel". So if your son goes by Zeek or Zeke, he'll still be explaining at times what his full name is.

Zek would probably be what I'd use if I was set on Zechariah. It's a natural shortening and the explanation of it, when asked for, makes sense: "full name is Zechariah, goes by Zek".

I noticed on the SSA website that Zechariah is a fairly common boys name, first appearing in the Top 1000 names in 1986 and ranking mostly in the 600s since 2000.

Some other impressions of the name: it's interchangeable with Zachariah and while some editions of the Bible use Zechariah others use Zacharias for the same person, particularly the father of John the Baptist. Zacharias is the Greek form of this name. The Catholic Encyclopedia refers to him as Zachary.

Too, it seems the name Zechariah may be favored by strongly religious parents looking for a biblical name for their son.

I would suggest Tirzah as a sister name for a boy called Zechariah ("Zek"): Zek and Tirzah. (Tirzah is an Old Testament biblical name too and was the sister of Judah Ben Hur in the movie Ben Hur.)

Patricia said...

I came across an interesting history of the name Montgomery in [wiki]name.com: http://wiki.name.com/en/Montgomery

"The name began as a place name meaning “hill on top of which Gomeric lives.” ...The hill was in an area of France called Calvados in Normandy... Gomeric, a 9th century Viking, traveled south into France... Gomeric’s ancestors then took it as their surname and is still very popular as one. It is less popular as a male first name and even less so as a female name..."

This article suggests that the more recent use of the name as a first name is "likely attributed to American actor Montgomery Clift who received his first Academy Award nomination for The Search in 1948."

(The actor's full given name was Edward Montgomery Clift. His mother was a granddaughter of Montgomery Blair, Postmaster General under President Lincoln.)

If this baby is a girl and you go with Montgomery for her name, I'm wondering what boys name would be compatible for your second child, boy or girl. Of course, the names don't have to go well together, but many parents look for that when choosing sibling names.

Amber said...

I like Zeke, as others said. I also thought of Kai or you could even spell it Cai.

Anonymous said...

I think Zeke is perfectly reasonable. :)

Laura said...

Zeke is what I immediately thought of when I first began reading your letter. I also agree that if you have a daughter next and use the name Montgomery, stylistically they would not be a good match.

plantingoaks said...

Wait, nicknames have to relate to the given name now? Better call all the Jim/James', and Bob/Roberts, and Bill/Williams and Jack/Johns and tell them they're doing it wrong.

I'm only sort of kidding. As far as logic goes, I think you're fine with Zeke, or Zak (and variants), or the edgier Z or Zed.

The real question is whether the nn Zeke still has enough of the qualities that your dh liked about Zechariah to begin with. Does it remind YOU of the name you liked? If so, I wouldn't worry about it being too much of a stretch for daily use. (and I agree, Zek/Zech is awkward)

Anonymous said...

I know a Zey (rhymes with hey or say), and love the nickname, though I'm not sure what it's short for. There's also a writer who goes by Ze, which is pronounced the same way.

Amanda said...

I would absolutely use Zeke as a nn.

We have a Zachary and we call him, Zack, Zacky, Zeke - all of those. Mostly his nn is Zack but when there were three others on his soccer team one year, he was a Zeke and it has stuck.

liz said...

Zeke makes as much sense for Zechariah as Ike does for Isaac (or Dwight).

I say go for it! Zeke or Ri (rye) or Ari or Zed.