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Using Nicknames as Baby Names

I recently received a great question from a BellaOnline reader. It had to do with using nicknames as legal names (instead of just using nicknames informally). The reader wondered if she should go with a nickname-name for her baby, or stick to a more formal name that can be shortened to a nickname.

Specifically, this reader wanted to know how well the names Mattie and Ettie would "suit a 50/60/70 year old women." Would they sound appropriate, or would they sound childish? And, if they didn't sound quite right, what longer names could be shortened to Mattie and Ettie?

Here's my answer. Personally, I love versatility. I mean, think of Swiss Army knives. They're incredibly useful because you can use them for all sorts of different purposes.

Same with names that have nicknames. You can use the longer form in some settings (at work, let's say) and the nickname in others (among friends and family). Or you can just stick to one form, or to the other--you have those options as well.

So I'd cast my vote for using a longer, more formal name as the legal name, just to give your child more options.

I do think Mattie and Ettie would be just fine as names for older adults. I don't think they sound childish necessarily. I just think those adults would appreciate having a more formal name to fall back on in certain situations.

And now the second part of the question. Here are some full names that can be shortened to Ettie and Mattie:

ETTIE - This one can be a nickname for just about any name ending in -ette or -etta, such as Annette, Antoinette, Benedetta, Clarette, Claudette, Colette, Coretta, Cosette, Elisabetta, Henrietta, Juliette, Loretta, Marietta, Nicolette, Odette, Paulette, Rosetta, Suzette, Violette, Yvette, and more.

MATTIE - This one can be a nickname for any name in the Matilda/Mathilde family. It's also really close to Maddie, which can be short for Madeline and other Mad- names.

How do you guys feel about nickname-names? Do you prefer them to more traditional names? Why or why not?

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