Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Name Slang

Every name has stereotypes, some more pervasive or negative than others. For some unfortunate names, stereotypes eventually turn into slang, or even accepted formal words!  Names with unpleasant associations tend to fall out of use, sometimes permanently (this is especially true for feminine names).
Up until relatively recently, you didn't want your daughter to be an Abigail. And I'm guessing you've never even met any Parnels and Fannys, or seen a Gaye younger than 50.

  • Abigail--noun, "maidservant"
  • Barney--noun, "brawl" or "mistake"
  • Biddy, a nickname for Bridget--noun, "fusspot, nag" or "maid"
  • Bobby, a nickname for Robert--noun, "policeman" [U.K.]
  • Doll/Dolly, a nickname for Dorothy--noun, "plaything, figurine"
  • Fanny, a nickname for Frances--noun, "buttocks" [U.S.] or "vulva" [U.K., vulgar]
  • Guy--noun, "male"
  • Hick, a nickname for Richard--noun, "awkward, unsophisticated person"
  • Jenny, a nickname for Janet/Jane--noun, "female [esp. of birds or donkeys]"
  • Maudlin, a form of Madeline/Magdalene--adjective, "excessively tearful, mawkish"
  • Moll, a nickname for Mary--noun, "female criminal or accomplice"
  • nance, from Nancy, a nickname for Anne--noun, "effeminate male"
  • Parnel, a form of Petronilla--noun, "mistress, harlot"
  • Philander--verb, "flirt, be promiscuous"
  • Renard/Reynard--noun, "fox"
  • Sawney, a nickname for Alexander--noun, "a Scotsman" [derogatory] or "fool"
  • tawdry, an elision of Saint Audrey--adjective, "tacky, cheap"

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