Why Is Dick a nickname for Richard (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mullins, Bill AMRDEC Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Thu Aug 13 16:14:20 UTC 2009

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Okay, but how do you get Peggy out of Margaret?  That's the one that's
always stumped me.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
> Behalf Of Laurence Horn
> Sent: Thursday, August 13, 2009 11:02 AM
> Subject: Re: Why Is Dick a nickname for Richard
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> --------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Why Is Dick a nickname for Richard
> --------
> At 11:42 PM +0800 8/13/09, Russ McClay wrote:
> >Hey, my dad was called Dick so I was curious.
> >Here's something I found. Any comments? lol
> If this is a real question and you're seeking a real answer, as
> opposed to those below, I'd look for explanations based on
> articulatory phonetics and acquisition (and maybe a bit of
> markedness). [r] is learned relatively late by children, so a
> neighboring "easier" sound is substituted:  if the child retains
> voicing and articulatory position (alveolar) but changes manner of
> articulation, the [r] turns into [d].  Affricates are tricky too, so
> [k], voiceless velar stop, replaces [C], voiceless palatal affricate
> (in lieu of a palatal stop).  Similarly, for "William", [b] is
> mastered before [w], they're both voiced bilabials, so the former is
> called on to replace the latter.  And enough kids were doing this to
> result in the hypocoristics becoming standardized.  At least that
> seems more reasonable than any of the below.
> LH
> >* * *
> >
> >Q: Why is Dick a nickname for Richard?
> >
> >A: a man named richard from the 40s or 50s nick named dick because
> >he was a Detective named Richard aka DICK RICK
> >
> >The name Richard is very old and it's true origins may well be
> >lost in the depths of time past. 'Richeard' is a name from Old
> >English where 'Ric' meant ruler and 'heard' meant hard. In those
> >days of yore, before word-processors, everything was written
> >down and abbreviations became common and agreed upon. Also in
> >the 13th century rhyming slang became popular so Richard becomes
> >Rich and eventually Rick which rhymes with Dick. Much like
> >William - Will - Bill.
> >
> >'Dick' eventually, like 'Jack', came to mean all men as in
> >"every Tom, Dick, or Harry". Shakespeare uses "every Tom, Dick,
> >or Francis" in Henry IV Part I.
> >
> >I know a guy named Richard, and he was a total dick.
> >
> >http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_is_Dick_a_nickname_for_Richard
> >
> >Russ
> >
> >------------------------------------------------------------
> >The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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