21 August 2007

What's in a Name?

I've always had a nickname. Really, I was born with one - I was named something formal with the intent, acted upon, of calling me something else. But then, as names beget nicknames, my nickhame has begotten what are really secondary nicknames. My boss calls me Magnesium. Lots of people have called me Magnolia. But for as long as I can remember, one of my nicknames has been Magpie.

magpie (noun)*
Etymology: Mag (diminutive for Margaret) + Pie

  1. any of a number of birds (genus pica) of the crow family, related to the jays and characterized by black-and-white coloring, a long, tapering tail, and a habit of noisy chattering
  2. a person who chatters
  3. a person who collects odds and ends

I'm not a bird. I'm not much of a chatterer. But I am very much a collector of odd bits and pieces. Did I become that way because of my nickname?

*Webster's New World Dictionary, Second College Edition ,1970


niobe said...

I seem to attract nicknames as well, though most of them have no relationship whatsoever to my actual name. My favorite was Fluffy. Because, well, I'm just not.

S said...

My name doesn't allow for a nickname.


Girlplustwo said...

i've always wanted a nickname. Jen is just laziness from Jennifer. But to be called Tiger, or Sparky. Now that's a nickname.

And Magpie. Now that is something.

painted maypole said...

I was called Shorty for a while, in the ironic sense, because I am not. I haven't had much in the way of nicknames, otherwise. My child has lots of nicknames, though, most notably my husband calling her "weasel." And she does often behave like one.

Maewen Archer said...

I've never had nicknames, really, but I've always wondered how much someone's name contributes to her personality -- am I quirky because I have an unusual name?

My kids -- they have about eight hundred nicknames each. I'm not even sure they know what their names actually are (not really, they do).

NotSoSage said...

I've often wondered this, myself. I remember reading a story about twins separated at birth and one of the coincidences when they found each other later in life was that they'd both married women with the same first name. What is in a Name? Would people look at me differently if my name was different?


I, however, have a slew of nicknames...as does my daughter.