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Bess (F)>

Bess (female)

Pet Name(s):Bessie (F) Bessy (F)
Pet Name for:Elizabeth (F)
Source(s): The Oxford Names Companion, OUP
"Scottish Forenames" - Donald Whyte, FGH, FSG
Personal communication [LP]

English pet name for Elizabeth [q.v.], from an ancient Hebrew name meaning "oath of God", often a given name in its own right.

A correspondent [LP], commenting on the plethora of pet names for her own name, Elizabeth, sent the following anecdote:

  • "My Gran used to tell me this old saying -

            'Elizabeth, Betsy, Betty & Bess, went out to seek a bird's nest. Which one got it?'

    "It took me an age to realise that we were all the same people! I also got called Beth or Bethea. I was a very confused child!"