The Logic of Italian Boys’ Names

For as long as I can remember, I gave my furry friends nicknames based on their real names.

  • My dog Maverick became Maverickaronyravydoodlenoodlebug, which then became Doodlebug or simply The Doodle.
  • My cat Kudzu became Kudzucchini (sometimes followed by Big Fat Weenie, but the poor thing doesn’t deserve to have *that* posted on the Internet).

Now I have Luna, aka Luna Balloona aka Luna Baboopa aka Boopers aka The Boop.

Stella? A similar pattern. Stella Bella aka Stella Bellamoopers aka The Moop.

So yes, I often call my girls, who are so *not* excited by the gorgeous view behind them and only want to be untied so they can run freeeeeee, (right to left),

The Moop and The Boop:

My girls unimpressed with the view on Flickr

Little did I know that this fascination with changing real names into something somehow related and yet not was actually in my blood.

You see, here in Calabria, most guys are named one of, oh, ten or so names. And yet they go by all different versions of those names, so for us non-natives, if someone is suddenly called by their real name, it can get confusing.

Here are, from my perspective:

    The Top 7 Most Common Male Names in Calabria
    and Some of Their Related Nicknames:

1. Antonio: Tonino, Toni, Totò, Nino, Antò
2. Domenico: Mimmo, Mico
3. Francesco: Checco (KEH-koh), Ciccio (CHEE-choh)
4. Giuseppe: Peppe, Pino, Pinuccio (pee-NEWCH-oh) (not Pinocchio!)
5. Pasquale: Pasqualino, Pascal, Pascala
6. Salvatore: Salvo, Turi
7. Vincenzo: Vincenzino, Cenzo (CHEN-zoh), Enzo, Cece (cheh-CHEH)

Note that although these names are spread throughout Italy, nicknames often differ by region, so do check with a local before trying to show off your nickname knowledge. And also note that this is completely separate from the sopranome system.

And in case you’re wondering about my P?

Well for his Paolo, he doesn’t like to be called anything but Paolo, but sometimes the older generations call him “Paolino” or, *very* local to us as it’s only used in this town, maybe one or two others, Paolehru (powl-EHR-oo). How cute is that?

Do you do nicknames?

Buon weekend!

52 Beans of Wisdom to “The Logic of Italian Boys’ Names”
  1. Gil

    I’ve heard of most of the nicknames for Giuseppe as I know many people named Giuseppe or Joseph. The most I know about nicknames in the US is that Joseph might be Joe, Joey or Seph. As you must know we only shorten names and don’t get as creative as they do in Italian.

    Signed: Gilbert!

    Seph is cute; I haven’t heard that!

  2. casalba

    (Yes, but it’s too embarrassing.)
    Gil’s comment is reminding me of the three Giuseppes who came to fix our fence. The day went like this: “Where’s Beppe, Beppe?” Or, “Beppe, pass me Beppe’s hammer”.

    I can *so* see that! Hah!

  3. joanne at frutto della passione

    The only nickname I have ever had is Jo which seems to have disappeared over the years. I have on the other hand developed dozens of nicknames for my son that followed the same type of evolution that got you to The Moop and The Boop. However, seeing as my son will be choosing the old age home I will end up in, I will not (strictly for the sake of self preservation) record any of those nicknames here. (But they are all sooooo cute !)

    joanne at frutto della passione’s last blog post..The Apple Pie Story

    You are a very kind Mamma 😉

  4. 01.30.2009

    Oh I absolutely love italian niknames. We do nicknames in Greece, too, but they are not as fun and do not sound like a song as the italian ones do.

    Gotta love the Italian language….

  5. 01.30.2009

    For one of the dogs we had all sorts of nick names – the kennel name was Reeses Pieces which became Reesie, Reese, Reeser, The Reeser Man, Buddy and Budfordshire (not sure how they came about) but sadly he was deaf so he pretty much responded to any loud sound. The other – our Egyptian girl – had such an unusual name – Bundnie-arabic for brown – that she didn’t need a nickname.

    For humans – not really though my own name has had several variations – William John – became Billy or Billyjohn (all one word) when I was growing up; Bill as an adult; Will when I moved to a new city because I wanted a complete change. And Will is the one that has stuck.

    Laurent has always been called Laurent except by his French Canadian family who call him Larry – go figure. There are a few other nicknames that we use privately but this is a family website so….

    And what about you madam? Any nicknames?

    I just love reading these…I’m so glad I asked!

    As for me, well mostly just Mich among high school/college friends…one person calls me Mishy, another Shelly or Shell Shell, P calls me something I won’t share since I use it as a password a lot of the time (it’s half English and half Italian but nothing dirty), and then there was a time when my brother, for no apparent reason, called me Muttonhead. I don’t want to talk about that 😉

  6. wunschdenker

    How enlightening!! My father (1st generation Italian – parents, as you know, from Guardia Piemontese, CS and Fagnano Castello, CS) was a nicknaming fanatic!! Everyone had a nickname. Mine? He started calling me Tone the Bone by about age 8. Until the time they passed away, both he and my mother would call me Bone, address letters and cards to Bone…it simply be*came* my name. From oldest to youngest we were, Michele (Meeshell), Lennie (Lennie the Dennie), Nancy (Flicka – after the dark maned, wild horse of the time), Carla (Hurricane – after the hurricane of the time), John (Giovanni), Frank (Frank the Crank), Dino (Buck, after Buck Rogers from the 20th century cartoon character who urged kids to brush their teeth regularly or Buckarogatofromachicago, or Dean the Dream…but mostly Buck and it stuck – I still call him Buck). It didn’t end with us! All of our friends had nicknames, his bowling buddies had nicknames, our aunts, uncles, cousins, his nieces and nephews – nicknames. Something I’ve definitely inherited, but I’m afraid it may drive some people crazy…. And, what, pray tell, is your nickname?

    Hah, your family was *definitely* into the nicknames. Love it! My nicknames are below 🙂

  7. Scicchi

    I love nicknames! Always fun giving them out as well.

    When I was born, because of my size, my Pap called me Dobe(after Conrad Dobler- a big-sized football player in the 70’s). In my family, that is who I was to everyone on my Dad’s side.

    Others in my family:

    Denise-Bert(after Bert and Ernie)
    Tara-Hotely (after Tara Huate, Indiana)
    Scott-Carp(My Dad took him fishing and the name stuck)
    Kelly-Kelly Root or just Root(no idea)
    Mandy- Mandoolina(sounds funny I suppose)

    My Dad is the main nick-namer in our family.

    My two boys:
    Michael- Sal, Salvo(middle name)
    Matthew- Carmine, Googootz, Moon(Carmine’s his middle name, googootz afer the song Cucuzza, and Moon from my Dad because the two would always look for the moon together in the early evening)

    There could be a book written of everyone’s nicknames in our region!

    This is so true…especially where we’re from, so few people went/go by their real names! Your list is quite impressive 🙂

  8. Carla

    Like your P, my dad (from Montepaone) is Paolo, but they only call him “Lino” (from Paolino). My mom (from Trapani) is Giovanna, but her nickname is “Giannina”. I used to call Francesco “Fra” or “Fran-ce’ ” (sorry I don’t have the proper accent marks!). Certain people call me “Carlina” or “Carlotta”…
    And related to nicknames, poor Calabrese singer Beniamino Reitano, who just passed 🙁 went by the name “Mino”…

    Have a good weekend, Michelle.

    Carlotta is cute; I know one Lino but he’s from Naples so I think it comes from Pasquale…can’t remember right now. And yes, very sad about Mino 🙁

  9. 01.30.2009

    My sis did the same thing with her pug. Name was Zoe. Know as- puggles, pugsly, puga-wuga, zo-zo and so on.

    And I am known as Robina, and Robinawitz to some- or by my full name when my Mom was mad at me as a child 🙂

    My Melange’s last blog post..Love Thursday: Purple Heart

    Too cute that Robinawitz! Love it!

  10. carol

    Loved the segue from pup names to people…..For years, I never knew who my mother was talking about. It wasn’t till I actually got to Calabria and met the guys did I begin to recognize the various Tonino’s, Pino’s, Ciccio’s……but I always knew when they were talking about Mario……haven’t heard a nickname for him.
    Great post. Happy weekend.

    Yeah, here Mario is just Mario I think….

  11. Avril

    My dog Baci is sometimes called Bobo, Chichi, Boo, and the short and simple B.

    And isn’t it amazing how they answer to all of them?

  12. ally bean

    Great question. I’d never thought about it before. I’ve got nicknames all over the place with friends and my husband’s family. It becomes a quick, shorthand way of remembering how long you’ve known someone when you’re able to call them by some ancient, goofy name.

    But my family is much more formal, so no such thing exists. We all go by our Christian names. Although I’ve always had lots of alternate names for my pets such as “shrimp toast” for a skinny cat or “madame ” for a more demanding elderly feline or “callie alley” for a cat with the propensity to roam.

    Aw see you *do* have nicknames around…shrimp toast is pretty darn cute 🙂

  13. Yup! We have lots of strange nicknames in this house. They seem to evolve, some stick some don’t. To spare the blushes I won’t reveal the human ones here but as for the animals, well:

    The dog is named Tartufo, which becomes Tufo, which becomes Tufo Babufo, which becomes Bufo, which becomes Bufino and finally Fino. Yes, believe it or not he answers to all of these names, the fact that he also answers to Chew Stick is neither here or there.

    Big cat is named Melven, he also answers to Melvis and Melvis the pelvis!
    Medium cat is named Mitzy Mittens and for some reason she doesn’t seem to need any other name.
    Small cat is called Munkey aka Tiddly Feet (he doesn’t seem to mind)!

    And so it goes…LOL

    Have a great weekend

    amanda@A Tuscan View…’s last blog post..Brace yourselves…

    I literally did LOL here Amanda…Melvis the Pelvis…gaaaaaaaaah!!

  14. 01.30.2009

    Great Post! My nicknames are many. My true name, Lucia, rarely do I get called Lucia, I get Luce, or Loose (don’t like that one) Lu-zee(by Italian relatives and who spell it Lusy in letters) who can’t say Lucy, Luch, Lucille by my sister and only by my sister (Lucille makes me cringe). Sometimes when people see my name on paper, they pronounce it with the soft c, like they do down in the south Lu-shaa, that’s okay but I do prefer the hard c version of my name. Cheers have a fabulous weekend.

    lucy’s last blog post..

    See I *love* the name Lucia. I don’t know that I’d mess with it….

  15. Jozet at Halushki

    Sometimes, people try to call me Josie. Sometimes, I let them live to tell about it. 😉 For a while, I was also called Jozo and Jose. Sometimes, just Jo. Although, since there were 8 males in my extended family also named Joe (we’re not too creative, ya see), it became problematic. So then it was either Big Joe or Little Joe or Old Joe or Young Joe or Josey or Joe Jr. or Joe Sr. or, occasionally, The Gol Damned Joe.

    Personally, I like the nickname Che. Also, Pino. Because I’m a child and it makes me snicker.

    Jozet at Halushki’s last blog post..If I’m Not Blogging, I Must Be….

    In my family we had three Bernies, so there was Big and Little and my dad in between…always fun fielding phone calls!

  16. 01.30.2009

    Nicknames are so common that I don’t think I know most people’s real names. Growing up my Zio Giuseppe was also Zio Peppino and the towns people sometimes call him Mastro Peppe ….he’s pretty handy and can do just about anything 🙂

    LuLu’s last blog post..Italian Fashion: Hollywood Milano

    Paolo’s dad is Mastru Turi…which is actually Paolo’s “sopranome” 😉

  17. 01.30.2009

    Technically I’m an Elizabeth, rather than a Liz 😉 My friend in Rome, Eugenio, refuses to let me call him anything but; however, my friend Erica can’t pronounce his name well, so she calls him “Hey You” to which he always responds with a facepalm and begs me to teach her properly before we get to Rome in September! 🙂

    Hah, yes pronunciation issues can definitely spark interesting nicknames as well….

  18. 01.30.2009

    Marco totally has this going on in his family — but the names don’t seem to be diminutives of their real names at all!! I can’t figure out WHAT the relation is!!

    His Uncle Mario’s real name is Gaetano.
    His mother’s name is Letteria, but she goes by Anna.
    His Aunt Giuseppina’s real name is Francesca!!!!!
    Then there’s his cousin Italo, who goes by Pino . . . .

    It was a little hard to learn who all these folks were, much less learn which “second” name went with the first one. “Oh that’s Zia Giuseppina, you know, Francesca . . . .”


    Love the cute names for your pets over the years! Too cute!

    Kim B.’s last blog post..The Strike

    See now I know lots of Irish families that do that weird thing too where it’s just a totally different name…but then again, I also have an Aunt Aurelia who goes by Babe and used to call herself Lisa, so who am I to talk? 😉

  19. 01.30.2009

    I have a Zia Netta (Annetta), Zio Pino (Giuseppe) a cousin Lino (Carmelo) and a cousin Nuccio (Antonio) just to name a few nicknames. My mom is actually Maria Luisa, but ever since she can remember she’s always been called Lisa. Rarely have I ever heard any of them them referred to as their birth names. My brothers and husband call me ‘Lise’ most of the time and our daughter refers to herself as ‘Fia’ which is pretty darn cute if you ask me!

    Have a great weekend!

    Lisa’s last blog post..Happy little 22-month-old!

    Fia is adorable!!!!!

  20. Jeff

    Well Nello goes by “mello nello” when I call him. While the Italian girlfriend tends to call him “merluzzo” or “biondi.” We agree completely on Mara’s official nickname of “blob.”

    Now she has taken up calling me jeffi (as in jeffeeeee). I prefer Jeffo or Zidane!!!

    Jeff’s last blog post..The New Salu…mino

    You do a lot of headbutting? I have to admit I always thought Mello Lello when you wrote of your kitty….

  21. 01.30.2009

    Like your Paolo, my nicknames in Italia are Paolina or Paoletta. In college my friends called me P or PP or PBP which were my initials before I married. My mom’s name is Maria Assunta. In the US people call her Maria, unless they are friends from Italy then they call her Assunta (my father calls her this as well). Her childhood friends in Italy call her Dina derived from Assundina. When I was little I used to correct them because I could not figure out why they were calling her Dina which in no way resembled any of her names!

    My step-cat, JD, has been re-christened Beenie by me and sometimes that turns into Beener.

    My niece Sofia is Cicciolina or CiCi (CHI-chi) for short. Sometimes she is also CiCi Bean.

    Lately I have been calling Simon, Peep. I have no idea why…probably because of his peepee diapers! I call him SPY sometimes too because those are his initials. Who knows as he grows what nickname will stick!

    Paola’s last blog post..My little man

    You’re definitely into the nicknames Paola…thanks so much for sharing!

  22. 01.30.2009

    Yeah, they call me “That scary one.”

    Judith in Umbria’s last blog post..Stupro: rated R

    Not “La Strega?” Hmm…..

  23. 01.30.2009

    My birth name is actually Peppino… not Giuseppe but I go by Joe. Of course my dad Michele aka Miche likes to throw in Peppinialu (Peppi-neil-u) now and then.

    Hee hee…that’s cute 🙂

  24. I’m curious, is there a nickname for Andrea? Or are guys named Andrea just always called Andrea?

    You know I’ve never heard a nickname for Andrea. I’ll have to ask P and get back to you.

  25. 01.30.2009

    Very interesting post. In Greece it is quite similar for names.

    Ivy’s last blog post..Coq au Vin

    Doesn’t surprise me at all Ivy 🙂

  26. 01.30.2009

    I heard somewhere that having a lot of nicknames is a sign that you are well-loved, and I think there’s a lot of truth to that. If I am fond of someone, I rarely call them by their real name; instead I have some affectionate term or other. Nothing schmoopy, just something meaningful between us.

    And my god, how do you not weep with joy every time you look at your surroundings? It’s so pretty there.

    flurrious’s last blog post..Hey, Let’s Talk About Something Else Now!

    That’s a good point about nicknames, and believe me, I’m amazed by the beauty of this place on a regular basis 🙂

  27. a.

    hi michelle! in sicily, toto’ isn’t a nickname for antonio but it’s always, always, always used for Salvatore.

    Yes that’s one big difference between us 🙂

  28. 01.31.2009

    I always give my loved ones special names or nicknames, something that characteristic from them.
    Also, the pets I had, I gave them names too 🙂

    LeelaBijou’s last blog post..Hair Care Tips

    It really is a sign of affection, isn’t it? Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

  29. Carolina

    My husband is from a tiny village outside Cosenza and they call him
    Mar u zzu! They like to add “u zzu” to lots of names- my sons are called Francescuzzu and Raffeluzzu! (the “u” sounds more like the
    “oo” in moon and not a short “u” like cup…)…Not sure if this is just in our little pocket of towns or more widespread…

    Yes they do that here too, as well as uccia/uccio on the end (uzza/uzzo is Calabrese) 🙂

  30. 01.31.2009

    My mom’s nickname for me since I was a child is “Ladybug” and when I was a kid, one of my uncles called me “Little Lulu.”

    Now I guess my screen/email names and blog names are kind of nicknames that I give myself. An old screen name was Lili and I answered to that just like I do now to Anali and Lisa. I used to always wonder how people ended up with an aka, but now I get it. : )

    Anali’s last blog post..Pepsi: What Are You Drinking?

    OK Ladybug is adorable, but all your names are so cute. Great aka’s 😉

  31. 01.31.2009

    OK, if you all promise not to laugh, and not to tell ANYONE….
    My uncle Abby used to call me Ziggety-Zog. Not sure how that came about, or what the heck it means, but from my earliest memory, that’s what he called me.
    My dad (unrelated to my uncle) bless him, used to call me Schlubby. Don’t know why or what it means. But there you have it. Schlubby.
    I guess my family was onomatopoeic…..

    My first love – Pino (for Giuseppe in Rome), used to call me “Tuttina” which is a feminine diminutive of “Tutto” meaning “everything”. How romantic was that? I was his everything!

    My last dog Raleigh (as in not my current dog), who passed a few years ago, got tagged as Raleigh-pants (because he was a little smart-ass). Which soon became “El Pantalon.” I get teary in the retelling. I miss him.

    Let me know when you get to “sopranomi”…….I have some doosies!

    anna l’americana’s last blog post..Me-me…..

    OK I admit I did laugh at your nicknames, but I’m *really* waiting for the sopranomi…we’ll get to those, I promise 🙂

  32. 01.31.2009

    Most people call me Shelly. That’s not unusual for someone named Michele, though. Other variations of my name: Michael, Michelle, Michaela. Yes, for some reason folks have referred to me using these names. I’ve never understood the Michael one and I’m amazed that very, very few people ever spell my name correctly – with one L.


    Michele’s last blog post..Don’t Let Your Past Keep You from Your Future

    That’s funny because lots of people spell my name with one L. They can’t win! I’ve only ever been called Shelly by one person, really–I’ve been Mich since high school 🙂

  33. 01.31.2009

    If I like you I’m apt to give you at least one nickname. The girls have tons.

    Abby is Abs, Abtronica, Abster, Peanut, Peanutowski (the Polish Peanut – that’s the long version) Baby Girl, My Biggest Baby Girl.

    Maya is Maya Papaya, Maya Miss Papaya (she gave herself that one), Little My Pie, Doodle, Doodle Bug, Baby Girl, My Littlest Baby Girl.

    As for me I get Shan, honey, Babe, Lou, Louie, Shanny and Ganins (which is short for Shenanigans)

    I love nicknames.

    Shan’s last blog post..thankful thursday

    It seems we have similar thought processes regarding nicknames as well. I’m not sure that’s a good thing, but it sure is cool 😉

  34. 01.31.2009

    Glad to see I’m not alone in this crazy-Italian-family-naming thing. 🙂 The most prevalent one has been for my dad. His name is Thomas, which is Tommas, which became Masi… And remains such to this day. My son and I have an evil cat named Zeus, who has become “Zeusifer.” I wish I could say we meant it endearingly. 😉


    That is definitely a great name for an evil kitty…good work 😉

  35. 01.31.2009

    best name today——>

    i~just~voted~for~you~for~The~Ninth~Weblog~Award !!!

    it is a long name
    but a good one, don’t you think?


    {{ i do hope you win, missy }}

    somepinkflowers’s last blog post..tourist tuesday and the park guell

    I could be biased, but I *love* that name 😉 Grazie bella!

  36. 01.31.2009

    I don’t call anyone by their real names. Cause I like messing with their minds. But most of them I can’t share here… he he he

    Kelley’s last blog post..I suck. With bullets.

    Duly noted Kelley 😉

  37. 01.31.2009

    ABSOLUTELY – my children each have about three nicknames each! in fact my first born received his first nickname just after my 6 weeks scan and was affectionately dubbed ‘Java’ as he was then the size of a coffee bean! we have since added cooci bello, mr fussy and DJ to the list. my daughter also has several but of late is insisting on only responding to her birth name as thinks that we are ‘silly’ to use such childish names… she is one ‘testa rossa’ (yep that’s one of them)!

    MsGourmet’s last blog post..The journey thus far…

    Hah, too funny about your testa rossa…and you *know* I love Java!

  38. 01.31.2009

    Fascinating! Great post! I don’t really do nicknames, although I have had my name transformed by friends and family. For example,

    Jennifercita (Colombians invented this one)
    Genufa (Spaniards came up with this one)
    JenJen (high school name)
    Jenny (I don’t let people call me Jenny!)

    My Spanish name is Paloma in some circles of friends:


    One question about the above names, a pronunciation question: Cecco. Why is it pronunced with a hard c sound? I thought ce or ci had a ch sound? Is that one of those exceptions that no one can explain?

    Buona giornata a tutti!

    Jennifer Rafferty’s last blog post..The Doctors on CBS Television Need You!

    Easy explanation–I typed it wrong 😉 I will fix it to Checco 🙂

  39. 01.31.2009

    We do the animal nickname thing. Our cat, who died a few years ago, was named Hamlet, which morphed, for unknown reasons, into Ham and Cheese. That became Hammie Cheese and, finally, the poor thing was just called The Cheese.

    Mary DTP’s last blog post..So what’s with the “25 Random Things”

    Aw, The Cheese! I love it!

  40. 01.31.2009

    I do the same thing with pet names. As it is, I go by Jen half the time which is a nickname. The nicknames I threw at C when he was little… well, let’s just say I’m not going to publish them. They were said with love, though.

    jen of a2eatwrite’s last blog post..Help for those suffering from cancer

    Of course, and I’m sure C appreciates your decision 🙂

  41. 01.31.2009

    Oh this is a great post!
    I know these names well…My father was Paolo Domenico aka Mimmo-
    My husband is Francesco aka Ciccio-
    My cousins husband is Antonio aka Toto-
    My Uncle was Salvatore aka Turi or Turutso (Im not sure of the spelling)-
    My son is also Francesco but he has not been given a nickname yet!
    His sister calls him MiMi but I hink he may take over his fathers nicckname of Ciccio or perhaps Cicciutso (again the spelling but little Ciccio) This was fun!

    susan’s last blog post..CHOCOLATE BISCOTTI

    I think you’re looking for the classic Calabrian “uzzo” ending…they love that here 🙂

  42. 02.01.2009

    My father’s name was Salvatore but his family (originally from a town near Genoa) called him Sammy. He had a sister Yolanda whose real name was Viola.

    Grace’s last blog post..Live Blogging: Bare Escentuals on QVC Now

    OK Yolanda/Viola…that’s a stretch 😉

  43. 02.01.2009

    A couple of years before my stepdad came along, my mom lived happily and quietly with her dog, Lilly. Then along came Big D and the names of all the pets began to, uh, alter. Lilly became Lilly Le Douf, and finally DoufDog or just Douf. Go figure! (I wonder what he calls me when I’m not there…)

    Jen’s last blog post..Opening Doors

    Hmm…some things are best left to the imagination 😉

  44. Some of my friends call me Starlene which became shorted to Star. I had to tell folks I did not have the same name as Star Jones. Please.

    Another name was Leneski. A former boss gave me that name. I worked with someone named Maureen and she became Moski. Years later we still call each other by those nicknames.

    My dad was called Pinko. I think it’s because he was the baby of the family. He family left the country when he was 7 and moved to another island because of my grandfather’s job. My parents moved back to their hometown a couple years ago. My dad has not lived there in over 60 years and what does everyone on the island call him? Pinko.

    West Indians love nicknames as well. I wish I could remember some of the more creative ones.

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Flashback Friday – Eddie Murphy/Randy Watson – “The Greatest Love Of All”

    Great stuff, Star 😉

  45. 02.02.2009

    i our house, phil takes all the torture…it goes something like this:

    phil ‘er up!
    let’s have a phil-ibuster
    i’ve had my phil of this
    phil me up buttercup

    & on, & on, & on…


    qualcosa di bello’s last blog post..shakespeare made interesting…

    Hee hee hee 🙂

  46. 02.02.2009

    EVERYBODY in the Philippines has a nickname. The more monosyllabic, the better, and more often than not they are completely unrelated to the person’s name on the birth certificate. Examples:


    Even my name, Ana, has to be shortened — to An or Ans! (i.e. “Hey Ans, how are you doing?”)

    Wonderful topic! Can I steal this idea for a future blog post? 🙂

    bonggamom’s last blog post..Monday Mornings: In my pj’s

    Please do! Looking forward to reading yours 🙂 Too funny that Ana has to be shortened!

  47. 02.03.2009

    Mine is Pete. Seeing I’m a female this would seem a bit strange.

    I’ve never questioned my nickname as I always thought it was my dad’s fading hope for a son as I was the third and final daughter of the family. I happened to be born on Father’s Day, have always been a daddy’s girl, and was the only sibling who did sports – you could say I was a tomboy.

    It wasn’t until a couple of years ago I asked my parents where the nickname came from and guess what, they couldn’t remember. Dang, I waited too long.

    Ice Tea For Me’s last blog post..happy holidays

    Hah! Classic 🙂

  48. kat

    Besides being called Kat, my parents have also called me either “Sugar” or “Bug”. My birth name is actually a “nickname” for a longer name.

    Of course, pets always have to have nicknames. My cat Brandon was Trouble, then TroubleBubble, and then eventually just “The Bubble”. He loved giving my other cat Oliver a bath so of course Oliver (The Big Guy) got “Bubblebaths”, literally. I like to think the Bubble is giving Oliver Bubblebaths in heaven now. My cat Maggie answers to : Maggity, EvilGirl, Sissy, Magpie, and Girlfriend. When I wonder out loud where The Pie is out we all know who I’m talkin’ bout.

    The Pie is pretty darn cute 🙂

  49. 03.03.2009

    Thanks for the list of Common Name for Males. I do research for Female and male names for our baby names:)

    baby names list’s last blog post..Popular Baby Name Trends for 2009

    Fun job 🙂

  50. Sara

    Too funny! This is great stuff! I’m an American living in Florence and I’m married to a Calabrese, I have a brother-in-law called Mimmo, or Dome’ (Domenico) and another called, Giova’ or Gianni (Giovanni) and my husband is Gigi, Gi or Lui (Luigi) and then there is my father-in-law Turu (Salvatore) and the nephew Dodo’ (another Domenico) and Tonnino. I always joke about the fact that Italians only have 10 or so names for men! and then there was my grandmother her name was Sabina and somehow that became Sara. oh it just goes on and on. I love it.

    Then there is our cat Michelangelo who has become Mumu or Michelangeluzzu con il culo che ci puzzu, or even sometimes just Cucuzzu.

    I can’t wait to hear more!

    Haha, this is a great subject indeed; I really should do one on girls’ names, but they just don’t seem as fun, you know? Hmm….

  51. Matt

    In Australia my family uses nicknames because of how the grandchildren are named after the nonni….some of them derive from a cute way of saying their name when they were children like my bisnonna’s name Annunziata, sometimes said Annunziatina, and becuase of I have many aunts and my mum named Annunziata, they’re all called Tina to this day (except my mother who chose Nancy instead at primary school)

    And although me and my brother have non-Italian names, (Matt and Justin), we have been called nicknames deriving from our Italian names – Matteo>Matteuzzu>Uzzu & Augustino>Stuni

    Other names:
    Vitantonio: Vito
    Domenico: Mico
    Francesco: Ciccio
    Vincenzo: Vinzzi
    Maria-Teresa: Matresa
    Guiseppe: Peppe
    Filomena: Menuccia

    So fun! Thanks for sharing, Matt 🙂

  52. francesco

    Haha, I am from the UK born to Neapolitan parents and like Matt hinted at, the naming customs mean that there are a crazy amount of people with the same name in my family.
    For example, there are four Francesco’s.
    My grandfather – Ciccio
    Me – Ciccio – Cheech (its how I would spell it anyway!)
    My cousin – Francu (His father is Sicilian…)
    My uncle – Frankie

    My father Ruggiero is known as Rino and my mother Gaetana is Tania.

    Is there anything more satisfying than a large and loving family? I think not.

    Love it, Francesco! Thanks for sharing 🙂



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