I may have satisfied some curiosity by partially explaining the origin of Muff/Muffie, but the rest of the story is funny. When my husband and I were dating, my aunt bought me a new coat and hat as a gift. It was a fake fur that looked quite real. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve always been fairly short (five feet,) and slight (weighing in the low 100s.) Put a fluffy fur coat on such a frame and top it with a matching hat and you get a mental picture of a little brown fur ball!
When my husband – then just boyfriend – picked me up for a date, he saw me in this new outfit. He snickered a lot, then finally burst out and said, “You look like a little muff!” Now, I don’t think he meant the kind of muff one uses to keep her hands warm; nor do I believe he meant a muffin. It was just a term he deemed appropriate to describe me. I think it was complimentary [?]
Anyway, every time I wore that coat, he would say I was a little muff. When my family heard it, they picked it right up, and thereafter, I was Muff or Muffie. I liked it, so it was no problem – it was even a welcome respite from my real name, since I was a part of the Mary + any-other-name generation! It certainly was better than my dad’s nickname for me – Puddin’, shortened to Pudd. I have absolutely no idea how I was assigned that one, but it had been there since I was a baby! Funny that my sister and brothers had no nicknames other than the traditional shorten and add –ie. So I was the lucky one? At one time my brother tried to call me Missy, but it never stuck, and then he died and the name with it.
My own children had nicknames, but they were derivations of their given names. My grandboys have no nicknames – they go by their full first name. Lots of times, I even hear people called by names that have nothing to do with their real names. Two of my cousins went by their middle names, and their signatures just used their first initial and middle name. Dorothy Kay was Kay to us and D. Kay on letters. Grace Ellen was Ellen and G. Ellen. I think that was cool! A mom from my former school just passed away and I was surprised to see her real name. She always went by Libby, but her real name was Jean. My parents had a friend named Tim, but his real name was Anthony.
I get fascinated with nicknames, and I’m sure you either have a cute (or not so) nickname. Tell us, so can