Posted by: dsduffy | June 2, 2009

What’s in a name?

All my life, I wanted a unique nickname. Something that just happened, not the obvious, but something cute. It never really happened. 99% of the people in my life call me Danielle, and some say Dan, while one family member was given the green-light to refer to me as Danny (you know who you are!) Well, 35 years of being referred to as Danielle has come to a screeching halt now that I am living in Australia. Simply put: Aussies love to shorten words. Brekkie, cuppa, arvo (afternoon), Bikkie (biscuits), Ta (thanks again), and chook (chicken).  On top of these normal words, they shorten everyone’s names: Jeremy is Jez, Sharon is Shazza, Gary is Gaz, and so on and so forth. I have a friend Stacey who is Stace and there is a mom at school named Barbara who goes by Barb, but when said with an Australian accent sounds like Bob. Which brings me to my own nickname: Dan or Danny. Which is fine, but I am not used to complete strangers calling me that. And the way they pronounce it (like the a in apple…instead of the a in air) I just don’t respond to it. The other day at the gym, the trainer was calling my name and I didn’t turn around, a friend (a Manhattan girl!) said to him: “Her name is Danielle, she’s not going to answer to Dan.”  The same day, a friend said “Bye, see you later Danny” (all this after I was complaining to her that I can’t stand the nickname situation) she said, “there is just no way I can stop myself from calling you Danny, sorry!”  It must be in their genes.

* Edited to add: Would you believe, just today I was called D. Just the first letter of my name. Now you can’t shorten a name any more than that.



  1. Well this has me laughing! I am the same way; few people call me by a nickname. I am always Stephanie, and sometimes Steph. Can’t even imagine anyone calling me Stephie, however I love my nickname that my adorable nephews call me Aunt “Steshie”!! Shall I just call you “Sis” from now on? No, you probably won’t answer to that either…

  2. Oh no, people will be calling me Kris! Nobody calls me that.

  3. I love my very special “Danny” (yes, I’m the one who got permission!). Now you got me thinking about shortening things. I know I got you playing Scrabble online …. talk about shortening things … these people have their own language — gg, good game; ty, thank you; yw, you’re welcome; gw, good word, etc. Took me a while to figure all these out …. maybe they’re all Australians, ya think??

  4. My name is Hayley I always get called “H” (hach) which I hate. Hayles is ok but H drives me insane. My husband, Henry, also gets called H. It’s pretty common here in Oz.

  5. This is so true. People I have just met start calling me Linds and I have to do a double take… I’m sorry, since when are we buddy-buddy enough for nicknames? I’ve gotten used pretty used to it becuase Linds isn’t too extreme. My flatmate (Sharon or Shazza or Shaz) and her partner (Darren or Dazza or Daz or D) laughed when I brought up the issue of shortening everything… prime example: MCG… the G!

  6. When Heath Ledger died, I couldn’t believe his family called him Heatho. That’s not short for …. anything!

  7. My sister is also Danielle, and she is known as Dani (for girls the spelling is usually Dani and for boys Danny). I am Chantel, and so not very surprisingly am known as Chani (pronounced Shon-ee)!

    Love your blog, hope you are still enjoying Melbourne. As an Aussie overseas I miss it.

  8. After awhile the Aussies just wear you down. Hence…suzinoz. Like you, I never had a nickname, but when I came to Australia my husband would introduce me, “This is Susan.” Then they’d say immediately, “G’day Susie, how ya goin?” Or “Nice to meet ya Sue.” Both variations of my name I’d always hated. So I had to secretly manipulate the Aussies into using the moniker Suz to carefully guide them to the nickname I preferred–although I was quite happy with Susan. Even so, I still get called Susie and Sue–ALL THE TIME by people I’ve only just met and others I’ve known for years. It’s not a battle you can win. It’s as ingrained in the culture as vegemite and meat pies.

  9. Like you, I always wanted a cool nickname, but there isn’t much you can do with Erin. I had nicknames derived from my middle name, but only within my family. When I met my husband (Aussie) I was immediately given an endearing nickname and when he actually uses my real name I am caught off guard by it. I actually had a former co-worker who used to call me Ezza. Ezza? Erin? What are we achieving with Ezza? Nothing. I like funny nicknames, inside jokes, etc. But, I’m not a fan of the shortening of names. Warren= Woz, Lauren= Loz. And god help me, please don’t call me Ezza! 😉

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