So, like my previous posts on Catherine (1, 2) and Elizabeth (1, 2), I’ll be talking about the name Margaret in two parts. First, we’ll discuss nicknames, both domestic and foreign, then we’ll discuss foreign forms of the name.
To start with, I love the name Margaret. If you’re a regular reader of the blog, you might notice that I use it (or a different form of it) in my combos. The primary reason is that Margaret was my late grandmother’s name; she passed when I was about 13 and was the only of my grandparents I knew. I loved her dearly and want nothing more than to honor her in my future child’s name. She was a kind and sweet woman, who never said a bad word about anyone, and was the epitome of Christian charity. Of course, I may be idolizing her, but she really was one of the sweetest people I have ever known. I actually know the story of how she came to be Peggy; her mother admired Princess Margaret (and Queen Elizabeth, her middle namesake), and so named her child after her. I always thought it was sort of neat that there was an actual reasoning behind her name. Anyway, through constant use to honor Grandma, I came to love the name on its own merits; it’s extremely strong yet recognizably feminine, classic, and comes with a mass amount of nicknames, making it easy to personalize. And the nickname possibilities are what I will discuss today.
As usual, I’ll break the nicknames up into predominately English nicknames, and then foreign ones. Hope this list is informative!
- Maggie- Probably the best known nickname more Margaret. Intuitive (although Margie is probably more so if you think about it), cute, easy to spell, it’s an overall solid choice. However, I feel that it’s a bit boring, probably because most younger Margarets use this, if they use a nickname at all. It also reminds me of magpies a bit.
- Peggy/Peg- This was what my grandmother (and most Margarets of her generation, I dare say) went by. It would definitely be unexpected on a young girl these days, because of its over saturation in the older generation. I can see the appeal, though; Peggy is cute for a young girl (although it is unfortunately close to Piggy) and slimmed down Peg is attractive for an adult. I wouldn’t recommend it, though; it still sounds a little matronly. Oh, and for anyone wondering how Peggy became a nickname for Margaret, it went Margaret>Meg>Peg>Peggy. That one confused me for a while, too!
- Meg- Less known as a nickname for Margaret anymore because of the recent influx of Megans (a Welsh diminutive itself). I think it’s charming as a Margaret nickname, and quite refreshing, but just like Jennifers deadened the public to Jenny as a Jane nickname, Megans may have deadened us to Meg as a Margaret one. If you really like it, you could make it work, but expect your daughter to be called Megan all the time.
- Daisy- This flower name seems to be coming into vogue as a full name, but I prefer it as a nickname. Its bright cheery sound and youthful image might be cute for a young girl, but it might not be so fitting on a 30-something business executive, lawyer, or politician. Can you imagine President Daisy Smith? President Margaret Smith sounds a lot more realistic, doesn’t it? Although it’s not exactly intuitive, and may cause some problems, I think Daisy is really worth reclaiming as a nickname; that way you get a dignified, beautiful full name and a girlish, cute nickname. It’s the best of both worlds! And also, for anyone wondering how in the world Daisy became a nickname for Margaret, look no farther than the French version, Marguerite, which is the French word for Daisy.
- Marge/Margie- Marge Simpson. All I have to say. I think Margie is very cute for a young girl, but Marge will be Simpson for a long time. Margie is usually a nickname for Margery, but I think it also works nicely for Margaret, and is very unexpected. If you decide to call your daughter this, she definitely will not share her name with any of her classmates! It reminds me of a fresh spin on Maggie. I’d definitely give Margie two thumbs up, but would give Marge a big fat NO.
- Molly- Usually a nickname for Mary, I became aware of the possibility of it as a shortening of Margaret through the daughter of a woman who posts on the same board I do. It’s not the most intuitive, and not the most distinctive (I’ve known more Mollys than Margarets), but if you want Molly and not Mary, Margaret is a lovely and refreshing alternative.
- May- Like Daisy, May is usually regarded as a name in its own right, but I think it has a lot of potential as a nickname. It’s almost like having two names in one, and gives your daughter a more substantial name in case she decides May isn’t serious enough. Nothing wrong with options, and although people may be initially confused, they’ll catch on really soon, I think. As well, May was originally a Margaret nickname, I believe, so just think about it like this: you’re reclaiming it to its original use! 😀
- Madge/Midge/Mamie- I would advise staying away from all three. Madge is Madonna (Queen of Leotards, not Queen of Heaven), Midge is dated, as well as the name of aThat 70s Show bimbo, and Mamie is just old. I think, out of these, Mamie has the most potential, but it just sounds unpleasant to my ears. These three are only for the truly adventurous.
- Rita- Not a nickname for Margaret, but Margarita. I think it could work as a nickname for the English, however, especially since people are loath to use Margarita (and rightly so!) because it is also an alcoholic drink. It’s a stretch, definitely, but a nice enough nickname, and probably very distinctive anymore. It’s nice and punchy.
- Megan- The Welsh short form of Margaret, Megan became a super-hit as its own name in the nineties. Because of that, I don’t think it would be feasible as a nickname, even if it ever were in the US. I think it’s actually a very charming name, even as a full name, and wouldn’t mind seeing a few babies named this. However, it has reached saturation point, and it’s not going to be a hot name any time soon. Please stay away from “Oirish” spelling Meaghan. It’s not an Irish name, folks, and adding an H doesn’t make it one.
- Greta- I think Greta is thoroughly lovely. I saw a little one in the library recently, and it made me smile. Actually, I think Greta works just as well on its own, in America at least, as it does as a nickname. It’s one of the few names that I think are actually pleasing both as a nickname and a stand-alone. I would love to see more little Gretas around!
- Gretchen- Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, is really what I think of when I hear Gretchen. She was the doctor’s daughter, I think. I know a lot of people dislike Gretchen for its harsh sound and “retch” connotation, but I actually sort of like it. I think it would be sort of difficult to use as a nickname because it seems very much a separate name in the Americas. I don’t know if I’d really recommend it, anyway.
- Gretel- I would say no, if only because of Hansel and Gretel. Also a no to it as a stand-alone. I’ve heard it’s very much a nickname in Germany, along the lines of naming a child Freddie here.
- Greet/Griet/Greetje- Dutch nicknames, pronounced Khrayt, Khreet, and Khray-tyuh, respectively, where Kh is a hard ch, like the ch in loch. Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend any of these nicknames, since they’re not intuivitve for English speakers and many might have trouble even making the Gr sound. I know I do.
- Margot- A well known French nickname which is better known as a full name in the US, Margot presents the same problem Megan does: many don’t recognize it as a nickname. However, I think Margot has a better chance of flying as a nickname than Megan these days, especially if you leave off the t. Margo just looks more nicknamey to me anymore. I think anyone would get it after being told once or twice.
- Meta- Meta is a German nickname, but it’s too much prefix and not enough name here, I think. It could work for the adventerous, but anyone using it should expect a lot of “huh?”s.
- Märta- If you couldn’t tell, Märta is Swedish. I think it’s sweet, but if you want Marta in an English speaking country, just use Marta. It’s a perfectly respectable full name. Also, American (not sure about British) society isn’t very umlaut friendly.
- Maisie- Scottish nickname for Margaret. The sound is adorable, and it’s decently known as a nickname for Margaret (I think), so I wholeheartedly endorse the choice. Just not as a full name, please! It’s way too cutesy for that.
A veritable smorgasboard of nicknames to choose from! Now you see why I love the name. I know these posts always turn out rather long, but I think they’re very informative, so I hope you’ll excuse my long-windedness!
What are your favorite nicknames for Margaret?