ducky asked in Arts & HumanitiesGenealogy · 1 decade ago

how do get the name dick out of the name richard?

k ive been wondering this for a whil. i was reading a teen titans fanfic when someone asked y ppl call richard (robin) dick... and iv never stopped thinking bout it. so anyone care to explain?

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  • ?
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Richard = Rick = (through wordplay) Dick or Dickon. at certain times in English history, it seems as though the pool of acceptable names was (for some unknown reason) very small. for instance, three of Henry VII's wives were named Catherine (or Katherine), and when you start looking at the names of Queen Elizabeth I's courtiers, you find a whole mess of Henrys, Edwards, Roberts, and Christophers (which makes Peregrine Willoughby a real stand-out), on the female side, you've got Janes, Catherines, Elizabeths, and Marys (which makes Philadephia Carey a real stand-out.) i don't know why this happened.

    in any case, all of the common names developed a number of diminutives (Kat, Bess, etc.) as well as nicknames (Elizabeth often referred to Robert Dudley as "Robin".) Elizabeth herself took things a step further by giving nicknames entirely unconnected to the person's name -- Robert Dudley was her "Eyes", Christopher Hatton was "Sheep" or "Mutton" (and occasionally "Mushroom" which wasn't entirely complimentary because it was based on the fact that he popped up out of nowhere -- the way a mushroom will appear overnight. Hatton was "new money" -- the first in his family to attain that high a level in society.) and, she referred to Sir William Cecil (her most faithful advisor, who was with her from the first day of her rule until his death, when his son, Robert Cecil, stepped into his shoes) , as her "Ears." Robert Cecil was "Monkey", which was also a nickname she gave to an attendant of one of her suitors (a French prince, whom she referred to as "Frog") -- the attendant's name was Simier, which is close to simian, which is a latin name for a monkey.

    also, Dick didn't have the same snicker-snicker connotation that it does in modern society, so calling someone Dick didn't imply that it just *might* be short for '********'.

    Source(s): UCDavis BA in History; 20 years of working for the Queen's Court Guild at the Northern and Southern Renaissance Pleasure Faires (i played, in turn, a Jane, a Mabel, and a Catherine.)
  • Elaine
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Dick: Medieval diminutive of RICHARD. The change in the initial consonant is said to have been caused by the way the trilled Norman R was pronounced by the English. Bill: Short form of WILLIAM. This spelling was first used in the 19th century. The change in the initial consonant may have been influenced by an earlier Irish pronunciation of the name. Bob: Short form of ROBERT. It arose later than Dob, Hob and Nob, which were medieval rhyming nicknames of Robert. I hope that helps!

  • In Medieval England, when folks talked, they talked in rhymes; every speech was a poem. Richard can be shortened to Rick; Dick rhymes with Rick.

    Robert = Rob = Bob

    But, Robin was the most popular form of Robert, coming from the French and other sources.

    Likewise, an insect called the flutterby (because it fluttered by you) was redubbed the butterfly (which it is still called).

    Source(s): life; history
  • 1 decade ago

    How do you get Jack out of John? It's just as long so how could it be a nickname? I've always wondered about that, too.

    Anyway, Dick isn't that different from Rick, which obviously is a nickname for Richard...

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