How the Name Dick Came to Be Short for Richard

Today I Found Out host Simon Whistler explains how the name Dick came to be short for Richard. Although “Dick” has gained a few pejorative meanings over the years, its association to Richard goes back much further.

The name Richard is thought by most etymologists to derive from the Proto-Germanic ‘Rikharthu’, meaning more or less “hard ruler” (‘Rik-‘ meaning ‘ruler’ and ‘-harthu’ meaning ‘hard’). This was adopted into Old High German as ‘Ricohard’, and from there to Old French, then Old English as ‘Richeard’, and today as ‘Richard’.