Talk About Blyton!

Famous Five – Dick means Richard

March 11, 2007 – Mercy says: Is it always Dick short for Richard? I mean, I donīt remember if he is sometimes called Richard in the books. Yes, in Five Get Into Trouble he is kidnapped because of his name, Dick, but even then he isn't called Richard at all. I always asked if Julian's father's name was Richard, and because his son was Richard too, he was called Dick. ;- )
March 14, 2007 – rogoz says: Dick has always been short for Richard in common usage but I think Dick Kirrin is called Dick in all 21 books. Then there's also Richard Kent and Dirty Dick. A father's christian name could normally be used as a son's middle name - except in my family where father & son have the same names - how dumb is that ?
December 30, 2007 – l.i.v. says: I have the annual and that says that his name is Richard, but it does not say in the books it's strange.
January 1, 2008 – Paul says: That's probably because of the bane of modern life: PC - same reason that in the second TV series Aunt Fanny became Aunt Frances.
January 2, 2008 – Nigel Rowe says: Nothing new in that, Paul. In the 1950s film version of Five on a Treasure Island, Aunt Fanny became Aunt Margaret!
January 7, 2008 – Ming says: Isn't it just so weird that Dick HAS to be short for Richard? Surely Richie or even Rich could do. Dick Kirrin isn't called Richard in any of the books; I first saw this in Wikipedia and was pretty annoyed about it. I also never got Bobby short for Henry - whoa! Short forms. It's almost as if, when one has a long Christian name, their "short names" will HAVE to be the same as someone else whose Christian name is the same as theirs - if THAT made any sense.
January 8, 2008 – Fiona says: I really don't quite get what you are getting at Ming! Dick, Richie, and Rich, along with Rick, Ricky and Dickie, are short forms of Richard. Either a kid is christened Richard, and then nicknamed, or the parents choose a short form of the existing name. You are right though that Enid never states his name is Richard, but it isn't really jumping too far to reach a conclusion. I was reading about the practice of shortening name in the paper. There are rules to it! Certain R's become L's - so Sally is short for Sarah, and Dolly for Dorothy. Sally and Dolly would only have been called that at home until the late 1800's when they became accepted names. Before then they were considered "pet names" and wholly inappropriate for young ladies. As for your last sentence - HUH?? It made NO sense to me!
January 9, 2008 – Ming says: What I really mean is this. Suppose I have the long name of Arabella. Now if there were rules to it, my short name would be Bella! Now my parents might not want the name Bella, but Belle, for instance. Wouldn't that be breaking the rules? If the rules were to be followed, my pet name would be Bella - exactly the same as a friend of mine who happens to have the same first name. The "rules" are a bit like, it HAS to be that way.
January 10, 2008 – Keith Robinson says: I get what you mean, Ming, and at least partially agree. I'm not sure who made up the rules, but it's well known that Dick is short for Richard and Bob is short for Robert and so on. I think it would be okay to shorten Arabella to Bella or Belle, the same way you can shorten Elizabeth to Beth, Liz, Lizzie, Liza, Betty, and probably others. But it doesn't make sense for Henry to be "shortened" to Harry. I never understood that! It seems very common, especially in Royal or upper class circles. Prince Harry's real name, for instance, is Henry Charles Albert David. Duh! What's short about it? Why name a child Henry and then immediately start calling him Harry? There's obviously some other logic in play here, that I'm not aware of.
January 14, 2008 – Nigel Rowe says: There is nothing mystifying in abbreviated names, Ming. Maybe it's quintessentially English - I'm not sure. I guess by your confusion, Ming, that it isn't common practice on the Indian subcontinent. There has been much focus on Dick Kirrin - the Five Find-Outers are a much better example. Every child (including Sid, Ern and Perce) has his name changed! It is a sign of affection. Even Fatty's real name is shortened to Freddie by his mother! If someone is popular, their name is often shortened, or sometimes lengthened. A friend of mine is called Lynn, as her mother didn't want it shortened. Some people call her Linnie! I'm called Nige and I know a Tasnuva that I call Tass! In other cases, the surname may be shortened. For example, Keith Robinson may well become Robbie!
January 15, 2008 – rogoz says: I think Blyton was careful with names - Julian became 'Ju'; Georgina became 'George'; Timmy became 'Tim'; Anne and Dick can't be shortened and Dick was never called Richard because some readers wouldn't know the connection. Seems she was right! I've heard Harry shortened to 'Harg' - I'm not convinced there are rules actually; people just make up names as required. Too bad Ming - a universe of Chaos awaits you!
January 22, 2008 – Shagufta says: Nigel: "There is nothing mystifying in abbreviated names, Ming. Maybe it's quintessentially English - I'm not sure. I guess by your confusion, Ming, that it isn't common practice on the Indian subcontinent" Me: Actually abbreviated or pet names are just as common in this part of the world - what Ming was trying to say (I think) is that there aren't any specific pet names that relate to specific proper names, unlike the British style where Dick = Richard. So someone called Sameera for instance may be called Sam, Samu, Sami, etc (any or all variations by different people). She may also be known as something totally unrelated like Guria (doll) or Choti (little one). But there aren't any specific pet names for specific names (If you know what I mean). Just my two and sixpence.
January 24, 2008 – Nigel Rowe says: Oh, I see Shaggy. Thanks for putting me straight. It is so unusual for Ming not to get the hang of something, that I was a bit gob-smacked! A good half-crown's worth to explain Ming in a two-and-eight!
February 21, 2011 – Sofia Aggelidou says: In fact Dick could come not only from Richard. I mean, his name could be Dickory! Only one person knows!
February 27, 2011 – N1BF says: Maybe Dick's parents called him plain old Dick! No offence, Dick! I mean, why does it HAVE to be short for something? That sounds daft. Can't it be possible for 'Dick Kirrin' to be written on his birth certificate?
March 21, 2014 – Robin says: Just a thought upon beginning to re-read the Famous Five Series, is it specifically mentioned anywhere that Dick's real name is actually Richard? Obviously, he is mistaken for Richard Kent in "Five Get into Trouble", but from what I can remember, he neither confirms nor denies that his real name is Richard, whereas with George, it is made clear from the start that her full name is Georgina. Any thoughts?
April 6, 2014 – Ilsa says: In response to Robin regarding Dick's name. At the time the books were written everyone would have known that Dick was short for Richard - it was a well known nickname for Richard. Similarly Harry was a nickname for Henry and it would have been assumed that anyone called Jack would have the name John on his birth certificate. It wasn't until about the 70s or even later that children started to be named Jack, Harry, etc. As their 'proper' name. This is why the men said to Dick "Well Dick is short for Richard isn't it? " We all knew it was!
January 6, 2016 – AEK says: One thing that makes me think it more likely that Dick is just called Dick is that it did not occur to himself straight away that Dick is often short for Richard when he told the men in "Five Get Into Trouble" his name was Dick, when he knew it was a boy named Richard they were after. On the other hand, I'm not sure how likely it would have been to have the name Dick on birth certificates in those days. Perhaps it was Richard on the birth certificate, but because he's never - ever - called that by anyone, he does not identify with it. I wonder what he would put for his initials:D K. Or R. K.?
Fatty says... Fatty says: He would in all probability have been Christened Richard. It is even mentioned in the book that Dick was short for Richard. I agree that his name would definitely have been Richard on his birth certificate.
January 11, 2016 – Yushida Ayumi says: The names don't matter that much though, but I do think EB would've mentioned it like she mentioned Georgina/George so I'm sticking with plain old Dick.
August 9, 2017 – MikeConley says: I think in the Book 'Five Get Into Trouble', the ruffians just made up some excuse to kidnap Dick(Whom they thought was Richard, though they didn't know how he looked) so that they can show him to Rookie. Therefore,they didn't believe Dick when he said that he was Dick and not Richard. No complication required. And BTW,Dick isn't short for Richard(Point to be noted).
Daisy says... Daisy says: I beg to differ, the villains kidnapped Dick thinking he was Richard. And Dick is a shortened version of Richard!

Add a response to this topic

  • Avoid simple comments like "Yes, I agree!" unless you add something else as well.
  • Please check for grammar, punctuation and capitalisation or your post may be rejected!
  • New rule: No childish bickering allowed! Mature, adult discussion only please.

Your Name
Your Email
(no HTML, just simple text in one paragraph)
SpamCheck: To prove you're human, please correctly answer the following:
5 + 5 =