The AtlanticThe Atlantic

An ode to nicknames

By James Parker

10 Mar 2023 · 2 min read

Do you have a nickname? The Atlantic weighs in on what the names given to us by our friends - and our enemies - really reveal about who we are and suggests that we can even learn from them ourselves.

Curated by informed

Here’s what I think about Spare, by Prince Harry.

I think it’s a very interesting book, a feat of psychosensory downloading by the master ghostwriter J. R. Moehringer. But it should have been called Spike. “The Spare”—as in, not the heir—is what members of the Royal Family have allegedly dubbed the brooding prince. “Spike,” however, is his nickname, or his most resonant one. It’s the one used by his more roistering and familiar chums. Spike is who Harry really is. Spike is his punk-rock Etonian ginger essence. Spike, as T. S. Eliot put it in “The Naming of Cats,” is his “ineffable effable / Effanineffable / Deep and inscrutable singular name.”

The news, curated.

Subscribe in our mobile app to continue reading this The Atlantic article

Already subscribed? Sign in

Get world-class journalism from premium publishers, curated by editors and experts. All in one app.

Subscribe now and get 14 days free.