I Love the Name, but Hate the Nickname

Filed under: Baby Names

Dear Name Lady:

We love the name Edmund for our son but we strongly dislike Eddie/Ned (I still don't understand where people get Ned from Edmund). We can bear people once in a while asking, "How's little Eddie?" but it is not our intention for him to be called anything other than Edmund on a regular basis, unless we develop a cool nickname from his first and middle name. At this point, the middle name will either be Phillip or Charles. Any suggestions on things to help avoid Eddie/develop a cool nickname?

- Edwhat

It's time for a gut check. Do you love the name Edmund more than you loathe Ed and Ned? You have to be honest with yourself about this, because I can't promise you'll be able to keep Ed at bay. Sure, you might be able to keep your in-laws and preschool teachers on the straight Edmund path, but there's one person who can scuttle your best-laid plans: your son.

By third grade or so, most kids start thinking about how they want to be known. A lot of boys with very formal names try to shed them, often with the help and urging of their buddies. Distraught parents have surprisingly little say in the matter. (Just ask the proud mother of a young Cornelius who suddenly finds herself with a Corny.) Barring intervention, some Eddie time may be in your future.

You're right that starting off with a different, cool nickname can help prevent this. An Alexander called Xander, for instance, seldom turns into an Alex. The trick is that Edmund doesn't give you a lot of natural options, and Phillip and Charles make for tough combos (Nedchuck?) You can always use your son's initials, or take a nickname like Flip or Chaz straight from the middle name. Or you could dream up one of those jazz-musician nicknames that never have anything to do with any names at all -- Boots or Doc or Spike.

The farther you get from Edmund, though, the more you have to question the choice. It's easy to be both Alexander and Xander, but with Edmund and Spike it becomes an either/or. If your son chooses 100% Spike, you've lost your beloved Edmund altogether.

That leaves you with two surefire alternatives. You can choose another name with more appealing nicknames or you can name him Edmund, call him Edmund and accept that at some times in some places he may choose Ed. Hey, at least it's not Corny.

Did you think about nicknames when you chose a name? Share your experiences! And if you have your own question to Ask the Name Lady, drop her a line!

Related: Combining Names: George + Edward = ?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.