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  1. #1
    Legendary Member daBronzeBomma's Avatar
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    Default When did guys named "Richard" stop going by "Dick"?

    Note I am not asking WHY ("Dick" became synonymous with "penis" in American vernacular) but rather WHEN this new meaning and subsequent aversion took place.

    The youngest Richard I know who still goes by Dick is in his late 50s (58 to be exact). I don't know any Richard's in their 40s or younger who go by Dick. It's always Rick, Rich, Rip or just Richard. Never Dick. When did this happen? Was there a single incident that caused it?

    Comic book - related sidenote: Do you think if the Batverse ever gets a hard reboot (a la Man of Steel by John Byrne for the Superverse in 1986), Richard Grayson will drop the Dick and go by Rick Grayson instead? He looks like a Rick to me anyway.
    Last edited by daBronzeBomma; 09-09-2016 at 05:51 AM.

  2. #2
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    Dick Cheney left a bad taste in their mouths.

  3. #3
    Old school comic book fan WestPhillyPunisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeanvaljean View Post
    Dick Cheney left a bad taste in their mouths.
    Or NASCAR drive Dick Trickle. Yes, such a man did exist:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Trickle

    By the way, last I checked, Dick Van Dyke hadn't changed his name.
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  4. #4
    Guardian Empress of Earth Tami's Avatar
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    OP, you pretty answered your question. The Internet provides a lot of advice to new parents. Among them are naming advice. Among those is the advice to think before you name. If you are going to name a child, you don't want to give them a name that invites ridicule and bulling. Bulling is a big concern these days.

    I have read these, and they talk about all the possible naming mistakes. From using names that rhyme with something young children might use as insults, to initials that spell out something bad, to nicknames that might be swear words or insults, to naming kids after unpopular characters, and so on.

    If Dick is falling out of favor, it's because kids have heard the word used by adults in the derogatory way and are now teasing any other caled it. Parents would find it safer to call their kid Rick, than Dick.
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  5. #5
    Legendary Member daBronzeBomma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tami View Post
    OP, you pretty answered your question.
    Except I really didn't. The when and the impetus are the unknowns here.

    The Internet provides a lot of advice to new parents. Among them are naming advice. Among those is the advice to think before you name. If you are going to name a child, you don't want to give them a name that invites ridicule and bulling. Bulling is a big concern these days.

    I have read these, and they talk about all the possible naming mistakes. From using names that rhyme with something young children might use as insults, to initials that spell out something bad, to nicknames that might be swear words or insults, to naming kids after unpopular characters, and so on.

    If Dick is falling out of favor, it's because kids have heard the word used by adults in the derogatory way and are now teasing any other caled it. Parents would find it safer to call their kid Rick, than Dick.
    But Richard is still a relatively popular legal name in the States. Just that nickname is not. Again, not asking about the why, as that answer is fairly obvious.

    Let me rephrase: do you know any guys named Richard, what nickname do they go by, and how old are they now?

  6. #6
    Guardian Empress of Earth Tami's Avatar
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    Do a Google search for

    name popularity by year

    That should help you answer you question. This is thew kind of question begging to invest a little time in to do research.
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    Latverian ambassador Iron Maiden's Avatar
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    It must have been fairly recent when it got a notorious connotation. I remember the power hitter Richard Allen disliked being called Richie by the press when he came to the majors . Played on the White Sox and Phillies in the 1960s and 1970s. He insisted on being called Dick Allen instead. Most people call the senator from Illinois Dick Durbin.

    Dickon goes back to the Middle Ages at least as a nickname for Richard. Richard III was sometimes referred as that and according to wiki, a painting called Dickon of York is the first literary reference to it being used for Richard.

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    Veteran Member codystarbuck's Avatar
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    If I were to hazard a guess, I would say from the 80s onward. The use of the name as a penis wasn't that prevalent, in popular culture until about then. That's when you see it cropping up in movies; and (amazingly) eventually tv. Once that settled in, the name seemed to disappear from popular use.

  9. #9
    It's been fun. Toodles. Paradox's Avatar
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    People still did it in the '60s, but it was very mockable. My sister used to have a bumper sticker that read "Dick Nixon...before he dicks you." so the synonym was around before that.
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    Aspiring Underachiever Turn the Page's Avatar
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    I've never really got how "Richard" shortens to "Dick" anyway. Neither sounds like the other! Shortening "Jessica" to "Jess" or "Jessy" makes perfect sense, so does "Richard" to "Rich" or "Rick."

    Also any Richard I've met hates being called "Dick." One of which is an old manager who totally was a dick that everyone hated.

  11. #11
    Old school comic book fan WestPhillyPunisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paradox View Post
    People still did it in the '60s, but it was very mockable. My sister used to have a bumper sticker that read "Dick Nixon...before he dicks you." so the synonym was around before that.
    Back then, there was a reason Nixon was called "Tricky Dick".
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    Veteran Member codystarbuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paradox View Post
    People still did it in the '60s, but it was very mockable. My sister used to have a bumper sticker that read "Dick Nixon...before he dicks you." so the synonym was around before that.
    Nixon was first elected in '68; probably more of a 70s thing, particularly from 72 onward, with his run for re-election and the still-going Vietnam War.

    The term was getting used quite a bit, in the 70s; but, hadn't turned up as much in film and tv, due to censoring and a different generation of writers. By the 80s, you have a new generation of writers who were pushing the envelope of language in film. A lot of that followed on from the 70s, where you see independent films and young-turk directors, pushing beyond the studio confines. General use tends to follow use in the mass media.
    Last edited by codystarbuck; 09-09-2016 at 10:02 AM.

  13. #13
    Legendary Member daBronzeBomma's Avatar
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    There is definitely a generational divide on this.

    Most Generation Xers (typically born from 1964 through 1980) and Millenials (typically born from 1981 through 1995) and whatever the next generation (born 1996 to current?) who are named Richard definitely won't refer to themselves as Dick, but most Baby Boomers (born 1946 through 1963) will.

    It seems the cutoff point is if your current age is about 50. Younger than that, you don't go by Dick. Older than that, you might.

    So what happened 50 years ago ... around 1966 or a few years thereafter? Did "Dick" as "Penis" suddenly momentum as slang/insult around that time in America?

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    August 9, 1974.

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    Latverian ambassador Iron Maiden's Avatar
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    Can you imagine the double whammy of going by the name Dick Johnson?

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