Good Question-Why Was Senator Kennedy Called "Ted"?

By: Jeff Herndon Email
By: Jeff Herndon Email

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tonight on Good Question, a viewer asks, “Why is Edward Kennedy also called Teddy or Ted?” Good question.

The best way to answer this question may have been to simply call Senator Kennedy’s office in Washington. Turns out that wasn’t such a good idea. They didn’t have a clue, except that was his nickname.

Who gave him the nickname?

I found the best answer online.

Edward Kennedy’s mother, Rose, loved her grandfather. His name was Edward and she called him Teddy. But Rose’s husband, Joseph, didn’t like her grandfather and forbid her to use his name. Joseph finally gave in and promised if they had a fourth son, she could name him Edward.

On February 22, 1932, Edward Kennedy was born and because Rose called her grandfather Teddy, she started calling her son Teddy. The nickname stuck.

The practice of letter swapping to create rhyming nicknames dates back to the 14th century. Ted is a common nickname for men named Edward. Ed is short for Edward and Ted rhymes with Ed.

The same formula is used for the name William. Will is short for William and Bill rhymes with Will. So Williams are Bills and Edwards are Ted and so on.

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