What’s in a name?


You might not think I come into trouble with a name like Joseph. In fact, as an Indian, people only get surprised because they expect me to have a more complicated name. Once I was in quiz match, and the quizmaster asked for my name. When I told him, he looked a little bemused, and then told everyone a funny story about how some other kid a while back had replied, “Call me Abs.”

Most of my moans come from whether or not to use Joe or Joseph. It’s not really a matter of which I prefer – I don’t even realise the difference when people talk to me and I only realised my sisters called me Joe after a decade or so. :P It’s more the first impression it gives.

Each name has its setbacks and advantages. Joe is more casual, easier to pronounce and less conspicuous, but I’ve always thought Joseph sounds classier. Besides, Joe (believe it or not) is more confusing to spell. In Yr 1, I made the mistake of asking my teacher to call me Joe. Every single time she was marking my work, it was written Jo, a girl’s name. This annoyed me greatly and I tried not to make the same mistake again.

In Yr 3, there was already someone called Joseph – so rather than mess about with initials, I was called Joseph and he was called Joe. I preferred it at the time, but in hindsight “Joe” got the better deal.

Then it came to secondary school. I thought I could reinvent myself, so I became Joe. I think it’s worked pretty well, but now after I’ve gotten to know everyone it doesn’t really make much difference. Joe, Joseph… it’s all the same to me really.

My main annoyance is when people don’t use Joe or Joseph but something entirely novel that I have not authorised. This one time I was at karate and a girl kept calling me Josh and then everyone starting calling me Josh. Luckily I protested and people have started calling me Joe or Joseph again.

I have had various other nicknames, but these have never been as wide spread. In school one of my friends used to call me Ioseph and Jsph (these are actually some real nicknames). Another calls me average Joe (or when I do something good, above-average Joe). Once a teacher (yes the same one from Year 1) called me ‘the baby of the class’ due to my summer holiday birthday.

On the internet I haven’t had many names, but I suppose technophile9 and techno-Joe count.

However most of my nicknames come from my family. Jojo, Mojo Jojo, Bro, Mini-Boy-[sister’s name] and Josephine are all the handiwork of my sisters. My parents used to call me a monkey, but not as much nowadays.

However most of these are ‘extinct’ nicknames, save Joe, technophile9 and more recently bro. I guess I’ve never been much of a nickname person.

What about you? Do you like nicknames? Undoubtedly I have missed some, but I think I’ve listed most of them.


Note: Joseph means ‘God will increase’, which I like. :)


12 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. Techno-Joe…BRILLIANT!
    And I think Joseph is a cool name!
    Mine..PAH. I’ve had oodles of nicknames. God. You can do a LOT with my name.
    Go ahead. I’ll let you invent something new. :D

    • Haha, it wasn’t of my own making, someone else called me that and I quite like it.

      Thanks, I think it suits me. ;)

      Zulekha… Umm, I’m a bit stumped. Z to A?

  2. I tottalllly get what you’re saying….I’m at the other end of the Indian name game tho…..:P
    Awww….you’re nicknamed ‘monkey’, well, hello, nice to meet you – I’m cauliflower…. (jeez, ‘cauliflower’ sounds way better in my mother tongue eeeeeesh)

  3. Out of the ones you mentioned, Mojo cracked me up :P Between Joe and Joseph, I like Joseph- I agree that it sounds classier but of course your name, your choice!

    With me, it was never really nicknames that bothered me but more the pronunciation of my name. I was called several variations of Aliya throughout school but I made a conscious effort at university to make everyone say it properly (ahh-lee-ya not al-lee-ya).

    My parents however have SEVERAL highly embarrassing nicknames for me, the most common of which is Alu which is Urdu/Punjabi/Hindi for potato. Real flattering.

    • Hehe, Powerpuff Girls. ;) See I’m not sure which I prefer, but probably Joe. It’s really to do with the context – for the more serious occasions I’d always go with Joseph, but if I was introducing myself to a stranger, probably Joe.

      Oh, I always thought it was pronounced ah-lie-ah. My bad. :P As for your nickname, it seems there are lots of vegetable oriented nicknames floating around. ;) I suppose my dad has called me his sprout, but only when referencing Daddy Day Care (“you’ve turned my sprout against me!”)

  4. Indians are really brilliant at coming up with nicknames.
    My family used to call me ‘motu’ occasionally (hindi slang for ‘fat’)
    It hurts to admit that it did suit me.
    By the way, ‘Mojo Jojo’ is a brilliant (although probably traumatic) nickname.

    • Ouch… At least it was affectionate. I hope. Nothing wrong with being pleasantly podgy though. :)

      And Mojo Jojo was a brilliant nickname – funnily enough, it wasn’t actually very traumatic. I am now a perfectly well balanced human being. Or not. :P

      • It started out as affectionate, but then just became a way of mocking me.

        Good thing Mojo Jojo didn’t affect you too much. I remember being terrified of him (it?) as a child!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s