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Some people are named "Dick". What does "Dick" mean when it is a name?

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One of Richard Nixon's political nicknames was "Tricky Dick." –  MT_Head Jun 17 '11 at 7:33
...but "Little Richard" chose to never abbreviate his name. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Richard –  Urbycoz Jun 17 '11 at 7:36
@Urbycoz - Can you blame him? –  MT_Head Jun 17 '11 at 17:07

2 Answers 2

Dick is a nickname for Richard. When it’s not a name, dick is slang for a penis or an unkind person. There are a lot of jokes about this.

From Behind the Name:

Means “brave power”, derived from the Germanic elements ric “power, rule” and hard “brave, hardy”. The Normans introduced this name to Britain, and it has been very common there since that time. It was borne by three kings of England including Richard I the Lionheart, leader of the Third Crusade in the 12th century. Famous bearers include two German opera composers, Richard Wagner (1813–1883) and Richard Strauss (1864–1949), as well as British explorer Sir Richard Burton (1821–1890) and American musician Little Richard (1920–).

In the Middle Ages, it was common to use rhyming nicknames of this sort, many of which live on:

  • Richard → Dick
  • Edward → Ned
  • Robert → Bob
  • William → Bill
  • Helen → Nell

See Name Nerds for a list of these and other nickname patterns.

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Meaning of the name Richard: thinkbabynames.com/meaning/1/Richard –  Urbycoz Jun 17 '11 at 7:21
Anything can be a real name if you want it to be. But Jon is right- "Dick" is derived from the English name "Richard". –  Urbycoz Jun 17 '11 at 7:29
@EmreVeriyaz: It's a real name, but most commonly used as a nickname: the majority of people called Dick are actually named Richard legally. –  Jon Purdy Jun 17 '11 at 7:29
When thinking of the fact that "dick" is slang for "penis" or "unkind person", it is very strange to me that people named Richard actually choose to use the nickname "Dick"! –  awe Jun 17 '11 at 11:18
@Jon: I know a Richard from Ireland that actually signs his official company emails with Dick... –  awe Jun 20 '11 at 11:44

Back in the days, people used to shorten their names, Rick for Richard and use a nick name that rhymes with the shortened name, in this case, Dick. Other examples are: Edward-Ed-Ted. Robert-Rob-Bob....

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