Four in ten Brits go by a nickname with Spud and Big Man among the most popular

Research of 2,000 adults found 39 per cent have a nickname, with Big Man, Ginge and Spud the most commonly given.

In fact, 46 per cent of those have more than one - although 10 per cent admit they aren't necessarily keen on some of their monikers.

Names relating to physical size are the most common, with Shorty, Wee Man, Tank and Big Foot among the top 40.

Animal names also feature prominently, with Chicken, Foxy, Spider, Donkey, Ferret and Turtle among the most popular.

It being easy to remember (41 per cent), having a funny story behind it (37 per cent) and only having a few syllables (14 per cent) are key to making a nickname stick.

A spokesperson for luxury chocolatier Lily O'Brien's, which commissioned the study, said:

Just like gifting a special box of chocolates, we give nicknames to the special people in our lives - the ones we really know.
Giving nicknames is a very human thing to do – people will give nicknames to their friends, family, pets, cars, even their kettles. There were some unexpected and ingenious results from our research, like Spud, and our personal favourite, Giggles! The only thing that’s missing is a nickname for Britain’s chocoholics!
Nicknames can be a great shorthand for showing affection, and when you’re given a nickname that sticks and it’s one you’re happy with, it can really help make you feel loved. That’s the ethos in our world of chocolate – sharing something special with loved ones. Karen Crawford, Marketing Director at Lily O'Brien's.

Just over four in 10 (42 per cent) from Lily O’Brien’s study say they only give nicknames to the most important people in their lives.

More than half (53 per cent) of nicknames given are simply variations on someone’s actual name, but 38 per cent are related to something else entirely.

The study also found 38 per cent of people who have known someone with a nickname only knew them by that moniker – and never even learned their real name.

Just over half (51 per cent) think the most appropriate situation to use a nickname is at home with family members.

The second-most appropriate place is in the pub, followed by playing sports, while 33 per cent like them on a stag or hen party.

But 39 per cent would never dare give their boss a nickname, while 29 per cent would shy away from giving one to an in-law.

Of those who do go by something that’s not their given name, 47 per cent consider it a ‘core part’ of their identity.

And 53 per cent of all respondents reckon making up nicknames is a particularly British trait, according to the figures.

Renowned behavioural psychologist and relationship coach, Jo Hemmings, explains: “There are all sorts of reasons people give others nicknames, ranging from them having a catchy, amusing or memorable first name or surname, or a play on their name related to some banter or craic.


“But they are all usually given with a sense of affection and endearment. They can express friendship, love or closeness. It creates both a sense of identity and belonging in relation to those that know them by that name as well as a sense of emotional bonding”.


“What they all have in common – is affection, fondness and a nurturing quality about them and they often tend to stick through life if you move in the same circle of friends and loved ones.”


A Lily O’Brien’s spokesperson added “As with the nickname we give to our loved ones, chocolate is part of the human language of love for so many of us. They both bring us closer together and give us a feel good boost.

40 nicknames Brits commonly go by:

1.       Big man

2.       Ginge

3.       Spud

4.       Shorty

5.       Wee man

6.       Kiddo

7.       Sparky

8.       Chicken

9.       Sunshine / Sunny

10.   Rocky

11.   Tank

12.   Smarty

13.   Foxy

14.   Nugget

15.   Spider

16.   Beardy

17.   Donkey

18.   Ace

19.   Jesus

20.   Toots

21.   Big Foot

22.   Bobby Dazzler

23.   Mardy Bum

24.   Pickles

25.   Gizmo

26.   Boomer

27.   Chuckles

28.   Captain Obvious

29.   Giggles

30.   Gremlin

31.   Teapot

32.   Ferret

33.   Moustache Man

34.   Binman

35.   Guinness

36.   Scout

37.   Turtle

38.   Bibs

39.   Teacup

40.   Megatron

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