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I know "Terry" is used as a given name, and derives from french Thierry. It could also be used as a nickname for e.g. Terence. Here the first syllable of the given name is used as the stem in the nickname. Another way to form such diminutive nicknames is to use the last syllable of the given name for the nickname, as in "Betty" for Elizabeth. Analogue to this, I wonder if Terry is sometimes used for Peter or Walter?

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    Any name can be used as a nickname, but "Terry" doesn't really flow from Peter or Walter—at least I've never heard it used that way. Pete or Walt are the usual ones. – Robusto Dec 14 '19 at 13:44
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    You're confusing nickname (eg 'Satchmo', 'Dipper Mouth' or 'Pops' for Louis Armstrong) with diminutive (eg 'Ted' for 'Edward'). – Edwin Ashworth Dec 14 '19 at 13:53
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    @EdwinAshworth i really don't think I've confused it. I have explicitly written "diminutive nicknames" in the Q – Beta Dec 14 '19 at 14:12
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    I will mildly point out that where I live (UK) 'Terry' is usually the diminutive of 'Terence', which does not, I believe, come from 'Thierry'. – Michael Harvey Dec 14 '19 at 14:42
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    Can 'Terry' be used as a nickname for Peter or Walter? is like asking 'Can 'Groucho' be used as a nickname for Julius? Subject perhaps to laws of decency and or ability to pronounce names, 'Terry' can be used as a nickname for anybody, and anything can be used as a nickname for Peter, Walter, Julius or anyone else. // 'Is 'Terry' a diminutive form of 'Peter' and/or 'Walter'?' is a different matter. One could look first in the Wikipedia article mentioned. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 14 '19 at 16:05
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Terry as diminutive for Walter is not completely unknown. For instance, in this 2017 book, a character scolds another for saying “Terry” instead of “young Walter”.

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  • Could this be a regional thing? The plot is in Ireland. – Beta Dec 14 '19 at 14:24
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    It is actually stated in the text that 'Terry' is here used as a nickname (not a diminutive). It could have been 'Bob', 'Snowball', 'Stilge', 'Boojum', 'Trubshaw' ... (some I remember) – semantically unrelated to the original. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 14 '19 at 14:33
  • Good point, but it’s unlikely someone would use “diminutive” while terrorising their son. – user2474226 Dec 14 '19 at 14:55
  • Yes, but this example does not justify " 'Terry' as a diminutive for 'Walter' is not completely unknown" but rather " 'Terry' used as a nickname for someone with the name 'Walter' is not completely unknown". – Edwin Ashworth Dec 14 '19 at 16:17

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