Types of names

English personal names generally include a given name, a middle name and a surname.

First name / given name (also, forename, Christian name) is a name that is given at birth and stands first in a person’s full name, for example: John, Peter, William, Anne, Elizabeth, Mary.

Middle name is the second name of a person. It stands between the first name and the family name. The middle name is usually represented by the middle initial in full names, for example: Alan Charles Jones or Alan C. Jones; Laura Tracey Edison or Laura T. Edison

Last name / surname / family name is family name used by the members of the same family, for example: Smith, Higgins, Green, Appleby, Williamson, Mackenzie.

Nickname is a shortened or diminutive form of a given name, for example: Peter – Pete; William – Bill, Will; Anne – Annie, Nancy; Elizabeth – Betty, Liz; Louise – Lou. Many nicknames are also used as given names, for example, Jack as a nickname for John, and Jack as a given name in its own right; Molly as a nickname for Mary, and Molly as an independent given name. Nicknames include pet names, for example, Billy, Willie, Betsy, Lizzie, Lulu.

Note: A nickname is also a substitute name that is given to a person for some reason (as description, characteristic feature, ridicule, etc.), for example: Big Jim, Chubby, Dusty, Monster, Shadow. A nickname is also a pseudonym that is used by Internet users for various purposes.

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Types of names