Exact placement of nicknames?
November 6, 2012 5:51 PM   Subscribe

As a rule, when writing out a woman's full name in a formal manner, should the nickname, if present, be positioned just before the maiden name, or just before the most recent (married) name? Example: Jacqueline Lee "Jackie" Bouvier Kennedy Onassis vs. Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy "Jackie" Onassis.

Anecdotally, most names I've seen rendered on Wikipedia use the former method, but I haven't found any formal instruction to that effect, there or elsewhere.
posted by The Confessor to Writing & Language (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would prefer the former--putting the nickname in between the real first names and the surnames, because the nickname functions as a first name. It doesn't look right between the two surnames. This is just an editor's gut feeling--I can't cite a source.
posted by scratch at 6:20 PM on November 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Chicago offers no input on where, precisely, to put the nickname in relation to the actual names but in its one example of the sort of thing you're talking about lists it after all the personal names and before the surname:

When used in addition to a name, an epithet is enclosed in quotation marks and placed either within or after the name. Parentheses are unnecessary.

George Herman “Babe” Ruth
Jenny Lind, “the Swedish Nightingale”
Ivan IV, “the Terrible”

I would either put it after the personal names and before all surnames -- Jacqueline Lee "Jackie" Bouvier Kennedy Onassis -- or after the specific personal name it modifies -- Jacqueline "Jackie" Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. I wouldn't under any circumstances put it between Kennedy and Onassis, that just clearly seems wrong.

The former reads much more cleanly and delineates the personal names from the surnames in a more obvious way.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:32 PM on November 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

As Jackie isn't really a nickname just an informal version of her actual name, you might also write it:
Jacqueline (Jackie) Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

I've seen John (Jack) Fitzgerald Kennedy and Robert (Bobby) Fitzgerald Kennedy used to indicate that these men were informally called Jack & Bobby.

I know 3 Richards:

Richard (Rick) David Smith
Richard (Dick) John Jones
Richard Charles Doe
posted by jaimystery at 3:46 AM on November 7, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you, everybody.

Since the system must be standardized, and I can't count on a nickname being at all associated with any first name, I've decided to go with a [first name] [middle names] "[nickname]" [surnames] format.
posted by The Confessor at 5:17 AM on November 7, 2012

For what it's worth, I suggest that nicknames don't belong in "formal" address.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 10:01 AM on November 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

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