How is Dick a nickname for Richard?

I get how Rick works (duh) but not Dick. And same goes for Bill and William. Will is obvious... But Bill? I don't know, that's been confusing me for a while, I only learned the association a while ago but I still don't get how it works out or why those nicknames exist. Can anyone tell me? Oh and if you know of any other nickname/full names that don't make sense either can you tell me those too? Just to help clear up this confusion.

If you can clue little ol' me in on any this, that would be great.

Please and thank you!

10 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Have you ever wondered how Jack became a nickname for John? Apart from the first letter, the two names have nothing in common. There are several names in the English language that have no apparent correlation with the

    standard nickname. Here are some of those names and how the nickname came about.


    One of the most famous bearers of this name, John F. Kennedy, was known to friends and family as "Jack." But I wonder if he knew how much history that name had? John is a name with history stretching back far into Biblical times. However, during medieval times, the name John was altered slightly in the Germanic tongues to Jankin or Jackin. Out of that, we get the nickname Jack.


    Just as with the previous name, medieval times brought about Dick as a nickname for Richard. The Normans, descendents of Vikings who resided in northern France, had a unique way of trilling their "r" sounds. When the English attempted to pronounce Richard as the Normans did, it was reported that they could not quite do it correctly and the "r" came off sounding like a "d". Thus Dick became a pet name for Richard.


    Just as with John, Hank was derived from Hankin, a form of Jankin. Originally Hank was a nickname for John but over time it became closely associated with Henry.


    Harry was the Medieval English form of the Germanic name, Heimiric or Henry.

    James-Jim, Jimmy

    The medieval pet form of James was Jim. Many of the names in medieval Europe were altered like this because of the conflicts in languages. In England for a time, there were contradictory Romance languages of the Norman French and the harsher, guttural languages of the Germanic tribes: the Danes, the Saxons, and the Celts. When one couldn't pronounce the name exactly, a new name was born. But the original name never went away completely. This is also how you get Molly as a nickname for Mary.

    Margaret-Megan, Meg, Peggy

    Margaret was derived from a Romance language (Latin) so it did not translate easily into Welsh (a Germanic-derived language.) Megan was the form the Welsh used and Meg/Peg/Peggy were nicknames for Megan. Today, most use

    Megan as a formal name but some do use it as a nickname for Margaret.

    Sarah-Sadie, Sally

    Sadie most likely came about as a nickname for Sarah based on the medieval English attempt to pronounce the Norman trilled "r". (See Richard-Dick) The "r" came off as a "d" sound in English. Sally probably came about due to similar circumstances. Some Germanic languages may have attempted the trilled "r" and it came off as an "l" sound.

    Edward-Ted, Teddy

    Again, Edward was derived from the Norman French and English/Germanic speakers interpreted it as Ted or Teddy.


    Susannah is also a Romance language name and Sukie was the closest pronunciation the Germanic tribes could associate.

    The list is extensive and most can be traced back to the conflict in the Romance languages versus the Germanic tongues. So if you are curious about a name and nickname pairing, check to see what language they are derived from. And most likely, you will have found your answer.


    Nicknames are typically a shortened form of the full name; however, names that begin with a vowel or semi-vowel often have a consonant substituted for the first letter, rendering the nickname easier to pronounce. The "W" in "William" is a semi-vowel; the shortened form, "Will" still (obviously) begins with a semi-vowel; the "W" is replaced by a consonant, "B", to make it easier to say.

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  • alarid
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Nickname For Richard

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  • Karen
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Dick is the nickname for Richard so we can all have a good laugh!

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  • 9 years ago

    Maybe because it has the word 'hard' in it, lol.

    Truthfully I don't know, but Dick is a very old nickname for Richard, so I guess it's kind of traditional now. I personally like the nicknames Richey or Ricky. :-)

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  • 6 years ago

    Because everybody knows that all Richards are *****

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  • Apogee
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    A quick and dirty look up suggests:

    Dick was a medieval diminutive in origin, probably Dickon to start. The change from R to D is said to have been caused by the way the trilled Norman R was pronounced by the English.

    As for Bill. The spelling was first used in the 19th century. The change from W to B may have been influenced by an earlier Irish pronunciation of the name.

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  • Ciara
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    It's not that different to Rick which isn't much different to Rich. Which is just Richard - ard!

    The name with the strangest nicknames is Margaret:

    Maggie, Mags, Peggy, Peg..

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  • JK.
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    I'm always confused as to how Harry is a nickname for Henry.

    I mean, they're the same length and sound completely different. It just doesn't make sense at all.

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    William.. Will.. Bill.. Billy.. Goes on..

    Richard.. Rich.. Rick.. Dick.. Dicky.. Goes on..

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  • ?
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    in the 1800s the lesbians had nicknames for mean men and queen elizabthe's husband King Richard III was mean to her and she's all "he's a dick"

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