Acronames: It's a Formal Baby Name & Nickname All in One

When it comes to naming babies, most of us choose a ..."name." You know, one of those strings of letters, pronounced like a word?

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Before you laugh, try saying the names J.R. Ewing and H.P. Lovecraft aloud. Initials like those aren't pronounced like words. Rather, the letters' names form the sound. Those are the two main name modes, though you can mix them up for a hybrid like J. Paul Getty or today's new punctuation-based mashups like K-Den and J'Lah.

In this spectrum from word to initials, where would you place Jeb Bush? His name Jeb occupies a different kind of middle space, the same space that the word laser occupies between LED and lightbulb. Jeb is an acronym -- or if you like, an "acroname" -- for John Ellis Bush. It's initials, pronounced like a word.

That's a common story for men named Jeb, from Confederate General James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart to soccer player John Eli "Jeb" Brovsky. Jeb is something of an orphaned nickname, without a natural parent name. (Nope, not Jebediah. That name isn't nearly as traditional as you may think.) Some families just go with Jeb as a full name, but the acroname option opens up new possibilities, for Jeb and beyond.

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Plenty of parents fall in love with a nickname but don't like the formal options. Let's say you're drawn to Wes, but find Wesley and Weston a little stuffy. Wyatt Ethan Samuel, perhaps? Or maybe you want to name your daughter after Grandma Meg without using Margaret. Marlowe Emry Grace could do the trick.

Any short name could work as an acroname. 19th century writer Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte Southworth had a string of hit novels under her initials, as E.D.E.N. Southworth. If you get lucky with letters, you might even use an acroname as a namesake for all four grandparents without actually calling your kid by any of their names: "Jerome Anita Stewart Eileen" = Jase. For extra flexibility you can include your surname initial or leave it off. It's one more potential pathway on the journey to the perfect name.

Do you know anyone with an acronym nickname?

 

 For more great baby name ideas, visit BabyNameWizard

Image via Oksana Kuzmina/shutterstock

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