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Double Trouble: Transformer Names

April 21, 2021 namerology 4 Comments

Double Trouble: Transformer Names

April 21, 2021 Namerology 4 Comments
Two faces of actor Charlize Theron. Photos: Wikimedia,

Nicknames are a change of pace. Any formal name that comes with an appealing nickname can be a 2-for-1 bargain, letting you adjust your name to suit your setting. But some names take the style versatility further: from elegant to bold, from Bruce Wayne to Batman, from banker to buzzsaw.

Call them Transformer names, names that take image flexibility to the extreme. Rather than just offering up two variations, they hit bullseyes on two wildly divergent targets. Imagine a Cornelius who also goes by Crew, or a Lucilla called Lux. It’s a night-and-day contrast in a single baby name. (And if Crew and Lux don’t sound like realistic options, in fact they were given to well over a thousand American babies last year, far more than Cornelius and Lucilla.)

The Transformers aren’t for everyone. Not every parent is drawn to one style extreme, let alone two. But for a select few, the Transformer names will feel like the grand prize of the name hunt. If you’re in the market, the range of Transformer options is surprisingly broad. Some of the transformations are simple shortenings, like Thornton to Thorn or Dashiell to Dash. But you can also get creative—after all, Betsy isn’t just a trimming of Elizabeth. A Christiana could be Crash, a Zechariah could be Ryker.

If you look at a turbocharged name style like the Space Cowboys or the action “doers,” many of them can work as nicknames paired with highly formal names. For instance:

Balthazar ➝ Taz
Veronica ➝ Nixx
Roderick  ➝ Rook
Harrison ➝ Haze
Raphaela ➝ Rip
Reynard  ➝ Raider
Cassandra ➝ Cash/Kazz
Jacobus ➝ Buck
Foster ➝ Fox
Graciella ➝ Racer
Marius ➝ Mars

And turbocharging isn’t the only possible change of pace. You might transform a name of stately elegance with a lively, fizzy nickname: a Seraphina called Fifi or a Charleston called Chip. The key is that you don’t have to give your child a choice of the two identities, you can give them both. After all, don’t we all have a little Cornelius in us, and a little Crew?


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  • lucubratrix April 22, 2021 at 6:09 pm

    Oh, this leaves me sighing happily. This is my very favorite genre of names, and you’ve come up with great suggestions. Graciella to Racer, Raphaela to Rip, and Veronica to Nix, Christiana to Crash and Lucilla to Lux are inspired transformations indeed. I’m so pleased to have been expanding my children’s nickname repertoire!

  • Cnoocy April 22, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    I have a family friend named Marlin who had “Mars” as one of her childhood nicknames.

  • Megan April 26, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    I’ve come across a bunch of excellent examples in books recently. Jericho nn Rico, Onyx nn Nyx, Bellamy nn Bemy, just to name a few.

  • Meagan H May 2, 2021 at 8:42 pm

    A friend just named her son Jethro-nn Jet.

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