I was thinking the other day about how many of my friends have nicknames. It seems that we Southerners are famous for giving nicknames to everyone. When I was a child, I was dubbed Cotton Top because of my white hair. I can remember, even as an adult, walking down the street and hearing a male voice shouting, “Hey Cotton Top,” and finding at the far end of the street my uncle. In my mother’s family, it seemed almost everyone had a nickname. There was a Toad (because she hopped around everywhere), Fat (because he stole the butter off his siblings’ plates), Bill and Ben for two girls (I guess they wanted boys), Celle for Lucille, and Sis (the baby). I have cousins named Ease, for Mary Louise, and Deder, for Margaret.

I had nicknames for my children; they were My Nini and My Pooh Bear. My husband dubbed me with many different nicknames. I think I will keep those to myself. My husband’s friends were all given nicknames, Moons, Rogue, Grimes, Sill, Torch and Rank, to name a few. Yes, we take our nicknames seriously in the South, whether it’s chosen before the baby arrives, or it develops out of a personality trait of which only a few know the true origin. Nicknames that are commonplace in the South are:

Ace (someone that’s seemingly good at everything)

Toots/Tootsie (a popular vintage name for girls)

Sugar/Shug/Shuggy (one of the more popular nicknames south of The Mason Dixon)

Captain (a natural-born leader or just a boy)

Sarahbug, Tommybug, Susiebug, Henrybug (any name with bug attached)

Bubba (brother or a most loved father or grandfather)

Boo (usually a baby or child)

Missy (a daughter)

Bud (buddy or brother and unlikely to insult the person whose name you can’t remember)

Buck (energetic, lively, and wild as a Buck)

Beau (devilishly handsome boy)

Sissy (Usually the oldest daughter)

Source: K. P. Guessen