Nicknames You'll Only Hear in the South

Boy
Photo: di4kadi4kova / Getty

Nearly every Southerner has found themselves in a situation where a person's given name sounds like it belongs to a total stranger since you've only called this person by their nickname.

We take our nicknames seriously in the South, and rightly so. Sometimes formal names reveal themselves on special occasions, but often a nickname acts as permanent as your birth name. These names can emerge as a deliberate choice or develop from a quirky personality trait. Often nicknames are passed down like family traditions but can also be something only your nearest family members know where it originated. These names are commonplace in the South, and here are some of our favorites.

01 of 20

Ace

Ace
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Typically, an Ace is a little too quick-witted for his good. Also, if you've ever known someone that's seemingly good at everything, you've met an Ace.

02 of 20

Beau

Beau Southern Nickname
Johner Images / Getty

Robert, Beaufort, and Beauregard use Beau as a shortened form of their name, but it's also a given name in the South. Or, it can refer to a devilishly handsome boy.

03 of 20

Boo

Boo
ArtMarie / Getty

Boo and Booboo are nicknames used for both boys and girls. While pop culture has made it a popular choice for a significant other, in the South, we're more than likely referring to a baby or child—or any adorable creature (pets included).

04 of 20

Bubba

Bubba
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Northerners might poke fun at this one, but Bubba often refers to a most beloved father or grandfather.

05 of 20

Buck

Buck
George Marks / Getty

Buck means—you guessed it—male deer. If your little tyke is energetic, lively, and all-around spirited, Buck might be just the nickname he needs.

06 of 20

Bud

Bud
D. Sharon Pruitt Pink Sherbet Photography / Getty

Bud is short for Buddy or brother. Can't remember someone's name? In the South, you can call them Bud. Saying, "Hey, how are you, Bud?" sounds casual and friendly—and unlikely to insult the person whose name you can't recall. Robert, William, or Donald also use it as a nickname.

07 of 20

Bugs

Bugs
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Tag "bug" on the end of any given name (i.e., Sarahbug, Tommybug, Susiebug, Henrybug, etc.), and you'll have your very own Southern nickname. Often the Bugs combo name evolves simply to "Bugsy."

08 of 20

Captain

Captain
George Marks / Getty

No, he doesn't need to be Captain of a vessel to earn this moniker. The nickname, Captain, is suitable if he's a natural-born leader—or even if you simply enjoy the name.

09 of 20

Doc

Boy
di4kadi4kova / Getty

No surprise that anyone who bears this name is likely (or at least once was) a doctor, veterinarian, or dentist. There's no need for confusion or to call your doctor by his surname if your small town's only got one of them anyway.

10 of 20

Junior

From Son To Father:
Orlando / Stringer / Getty Images

We certainly didn't invent the concept of a hand-me-down name. But where we depart from the usual convention is neglecting the inherited name altogether. We'll skip the confusion of father and son sharing the same moniker and call him Junior instead.

11 of 20

Lou

little girl painting
Kenneth Rittener / Getty

As with "Bug," you can make any name sound more Southern and familiar by adding "Lou." Is her name Grace? Just call her Gracie Lou. Around here, nicknames don't have to be shorter than someone's given name.

12 of 20

Mimi

Mimi
Constance Bannister Corp / Getty

While Mary is already relatively brief, a Southerner won't pass on the opportunity to bestow another moniker. But, of course, a Southerner won't stop at just one nickname—Mim (pronounced meem) is a nickname for this nickname.

13 of 20

Minnie

Minnie
H. Armstrong Roberts / Getty

Mary and Amelia are familiar, given names associated with Minnie. It can also refer to a daughter who shares the same name as her mother.

14 of 20

Our Favorite Southern Nicknames

15 of 20

Missy

Missy
George Marks / Getty

Sure, it can be a nickname for Melissa, but more commonly, using it occurs to catch the attention of a daughter when she's caught herself in a bit of mischief. Southern girls are all too familiar with, "Excuse me, Missy. Now, where do you think you're going at this hour?"

16 of 20

Precious

Blonde boy pouting, sticking out his lower lip, ready to cry.
H. Armstrong Roberts

This term of endearment is a go-to nickname for little ones who need comfort, consolation, or encouragement. It also makes for a classic grandmother name.

17 of 20

Sass

National Middle Name Pride Day literary figure
Getty/Lambert

Sometimes shorthand for "sister," this one works particularly well for young women with a bit of extra fire in their personalities.

18 of 20

Sissy

Sissy
H. Armstrong Roberts / ClassicStock / Getty

Sissy traditionally refers to the oldest daughter in the family. It's also a nickname for Cecilia.

19 of 20

Sugar/Shug/Shuggy

Shug/Shuggy/Sugar
Constance Bannister Corp / Getty

This is one of the more popular nicknames south of The Mason Dixon—and one that you're not likely to see gaining popularity up North anytime soon. It's a Southern original.

20 of 20

Toots/Tootsie

Thanksgiving Carving the Turkey
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While Toots and Tootsie was a popular vintage name, it's still holding its own as a favored nickname in the South.

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