21 Surprising Nicknames You Probably Didn’t Know About

Did you know that Sasha Obama’s real name is Natasha?

sasha-obama
Photo by Pool/Getty Images

This past week, former First Daughter Sasha Obama celebrated her 16th birthday, and the Internet celebrated by sharing photos of her celebrating alongside her family. But the discussion online quickly changed course when a Refinery29 writer tweeted a little-known fact about Sasha—that her first name is actually Natasha.

https://twitter.com/iSmashFizzle/status/873915228211249152

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While we were shocked to learn that Sasha wasn’t her given name, we were more intrigued to learn that Sasha is used as a derivative of Natasha. Nameberry, an authoritative name database and blog, provided us with a list of other nickname derivatives you might have never known about. Among them include:

  • Elizabeth—Tibby, Libby, Zibby
  • Florence—Florrie, Flossie
  • Jasmine—Jazz
  • Josephine—Posey, Fifi
  • Katherine—Kiki, Cricket, Erin
  • Matilda—Tillie
  • Penelope—Lola, Nell, Poppy, Polly, Pippa.Elle
  • Rosemary—Romy
  • Susanna—Suki, Zuzi
  • Tallulah—Lula, Lulu
  • Abraham—Bram
  • Alexander—Lex, Xan, Zan, Zander
  • Caleb—Cale
  • Cassius—Cash
  • Edward—Ward
  • Ezekiel—Zeke
  • Frederick—Fritz, Rico
  • Henry—Hal
  • Nicholas—Cole, Nico
  • Sebastian—Baz, Seb

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But when it comes to nicknames overall, parents are moving away from once-popular abbreviations and towards using full names.

According to Laura Wattenherg, founder of BabyNameWizard.com, all-American nicknames are disappearing. According to research on her website, boys given one-syllable nicknames (think Dave, Tom, or Bill), were less than 3,000 per a million births in 2015, down from nearly 25,000 in every million 50 years ago.

“Parents are more likely than ever to resist nicknames and call their little James and Catherine by their full names," Wattenberg explains. “When a nickname is used today, it's usually a direct clipping of the full name. So a young William may be William, Will or Liam today, but seldom Bill. And when parents decide they like a less direct nickname they'll either use it as the given name (putting Jack on the birth certificate instead of John) or extend the nickname to create a more directly linked full name (Jackson).”

If you’re interested in the next big trend in baby names, check out these popular gender-less options.