Why Is Dick a nickname for Richard (UNCLASSIFIED)

Randy Alexander strangeguitars at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 13 16:29:32 UTC 2009

On Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 12:14 AM, Mullins, Bill
AMRDEC<Bill.Mullins at us.army.mil> wrote:
> Okay, but how do you get Peggy out of Margaret? Â That's the one that's
> always stumped me.

Similar processes: [m] and [p] are both bilabials, [E] and [ar] are
both vowels, and changing the last syllable or two to [i] (like my
name does: Randolph --> Randy) is common enough.


>> 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: Â if the child retains
>> voicing and articulatory position (alveolar) but changes manner of
>> articulation, the [r] turns into [d]. Â Affricates are tricky too, so
>> [k], voiceless velar stop, replaces [C], voiceless palatal affricate
>> (in lieu of a palatal stop). Â Similarly, for "William", [b] is
>> mastered before [w], they're both voiced bilabials, so the former is
>> called on to replace the latter. Â And enough kids were doing this to
>> result in the hypocoristics becoming standardized. Â 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
> Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
> Caveats: NONE
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Randy Alexander
Jilin City, China
My Manchu studies blog:

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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