How common are nicknames like Archie in North America?

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The name of Prince Harry and Meghan’s newborn son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, sparked questions about his “real” first name. With many wondering if Archie was a short moniker for Archibald or Archer.

But, last week’s royal announcement revealed this kid is simply Archie. Boston naming expert Laura Wattenberg says the name is “a quintessentially English choice.” In general, handles ending in “-ie” and “-y” have largely faded over the last century in Canada and the United States.

It’s one of the biggest differences in naming trends between the two continents. Gender plays a role, with “-ie” nicknames growing in popularity among girls, even if they started out as primarily boys’ names — like Frankie, Billie, and Charlie.

That trend has pushed some boys’ parents to look for masculine alternatives, says Wattenberg, who found that “boys are being given new names that literally mean weapons and violence.”

Top baby names registered with U.S. Social Security in 2018 were Emma and Liam. There were only 207 Archies, barely enough to crack the Top 1,000 at 992. Toronto kindergarten teacher Melissa King-Ferman says Archie’s middle name Harrison is far more popular in Canada. (The Canadian Press)