List of nicknames of Presidents of the United States

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This is a list of nicknames of Presidents of the United States that were in common usage at the time they were in office or shortly thereafter.

Presidential nicknames[edit]

George Washington[edit]

Full name: George Washington

  • The American Cincinnatus[1] Like the famous Roman, he won a war, then became a private citizen instead of seeking power or riches as a reward. He became the first President General of the Society of the Cincinnati, formed by Revolutionary War officers who also "declined offers of power and position to return to his home and plough".[2]
  • The American Fabius[3] for his Fabian military strategy during the Revolutionary War
  • The Father of His Country[4][5]

John Adams[edit]

Full name: John Adams

  • The Colossus of Independence[6][7][8] for his leadership in Congress in 1776
  • Old Sink or Swim for the speech in which he vowed "to sink or swim; to live or die; survive or perish with my country"[citation needed]
  • His Rotundity[9]

Thomas Jefferson[edit]

Full name: Thomas Jefferson

James Madison[edit]

Full name: James Madison

  • Little Jemmy[13] or His Little Majesty,[13] at only 5 feet 4 inches (163 cm), the shortest U.S. president[14]
  • Father of the Constitution[15][16]

James Monroe[edit]

Full name: James Monroe

John Quincy Adams[edit]

Full name: John Quincy Adams

  • Old Man Eloquent or The Abolitionist famed for routinely bringing up the slavery issue against Congressional rules, and for his role later on in the Amistad case. He is the only American President to be elected to the House of Representatives after his Presidency. The nickname gained currency as a result of his campaign against slavery waged as a Congressman, and as the attorney in the Amistad case.[19]

Andrew Jackson[edit]

Full name: Andrew Jackson

  • The Hero of New Orleans[20] for his military victory in the Battle of New Orleans
  • Old Hickory,[21] allegedly given to him by his soldiers for being as "tough as old hickory"
  • King Mob[22]
  • King Andrew[23] for his supposedly excessive use of the veto power
  • Jack Ass Andrew Jackson's critics disparaged him as a "Jack Ass" however Jackson embraced the animal, making it the unofficial symbol of the Democratic Party. [24]

Martin Van Buren[edit]

Full name: Martin Van Buren

  • The American Talleyrand[25]
  • The Careful Dutchman[26] Van Buren's first language was Dutch.
  • The Enchanter[26]
  • The Great Manager[26]
  • The Master Spirit[26]
  • Martin Van Ruin[26]
  • Matty Van from "Tippecanoe Songs of 1840"[27]
  • The Mistletoe Politician, so called by Joseph Peyton of Tennessee, a Whig opponent, who charged that "Martin Van Buren was a mere political parasite, a branch of mistletoe, that owed its elevation, its growth--nay, its very existence, to the tall trunk of an aged hickory" (i.e. Andrew Jackson).[28]
  • Old Kinderhook (OK), a reference to his home town, [29]
  • Red Fox of Kinderhook, a reference to his red hair and home town[30]
  • The Little Magician[31][32] given to him during his time in the state of New York, because of his smooth politics and short stature

William Henry Harrison[edit]

Full name: William Henry Harrison

  • General Mum,[33] as in the expression, "keep it mum". Because of his avoidance of speaking out on controversial issues during his election campaign
  • Tippecanoe or also Old Tippecanoe,[21] a reference to Harrison's victory at the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe; used in the campaign song Tippecanoe and Tyler Too during the 1840 Presidential election
  • Washington of the West,[21] a reference to Harrison's victories at the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe and 1813 Battle of the Thames

John Tyler[edit]

Full name: John Tyler, Jr.

  • His Accidency, a nickname given by his opponents; the first president to be elevated to the presidency by the death of his predecessor, William Henry Harrison[34]

James K. Polk[edit]

Full name: James Knox Polk

  • Napoleon of the Stump for his potent oratory during his campaign for the Tennessee state legislature[citation needed]
  • Young Hickory[35] because he was a particular protégé of "Old Hickory", Andrew Jackson

Zachary Taylor[edit]

Full name: Zachary Taylor

  • Old Rough and Ready[36]

Millard Fillmore[edit]

Full name: Millard Fillmore

Franklin Pierce[edit]

Full name: Franklin Pierce

  • Young Hickory of the Granite Hills[37] "Young Hickory" compared his military deeds (in the Mexican–American War) with those of Andrew Jackson. "The Granite Hills" were his home state of New Hampshire
  • Handsome Frank[38]

James Buchanan[edit]

Full name: James Buchanan, Jr.

  • Old Public Functionary,[39] used by Buchanan in his December 1859 State of the Union address and adopted by newspapers[40]
  • Old Buck, from a shortening of his last name, used later in life[40]
  • Bachelor President,[40] per his unmarried status
  • Ten-Cent Jimmy, derogatory, as a reaction to Buchanan's campaign statement that ten cents a day was decent pay for a worker[41]

Abraham Lincoln[edit]

Full name: Abraham Lincoln

  • The Ancient One,[42] a nickname favored by White House insiders because of his "ancient wisdom"
  • The Great Emancipator[43] and The Liberator[44] for the emancipation of the slaves
  • Honest Abe[45]
  • The Rail-Splitter[45]
  • The Tycoon[46] for the energetic and ambitious conduct of his Civil War administration
  • Uncle Abe[47] for his avuncularity in his later years

Andrew Johnson[edit]

Full name: Andrew Johnson

  • The Tennessee Tailor for his career as a tailor before going into politics[48]

Ulysses S. Grant[edit]

Full name: Ulysses S. Grant — born Hiram Ulysses Grant but enrolled at West Point as Ulysses S. Grant through a clerical error[49]

Rutherford B. Hayes[edit]

Full name: Rutherford Birchard Hayes

James Garfield[edit]

Full name: James Abram Garfield

  • Boatman Jim, referencing his work on the Ohio canals in his youth[52]
  • Preacher President[53]

Chester A. Arthur[edit]

Full name: Chester Alan Arthur

  • Chet, shortened version of his name used by publications of that era[54]
  • Gentleman Boss, as the dapper leader of New York State's Republican party[54]
  • Prince Arthur and The Dude President for his fancy attire and indulgence in extravagant luxury[55]

Grover Cleveland[edit]

Full name: Stephen Grover Cleveland

  • His Obstinacy;[56] he vetoed more bills than the first 21 presidents combined
  • Uncle Jumbo[57]
  • Grover the Good for his honesty and public integrity[58][59]

Benjamin Harrison[edit]

Full name: Benjamin Harrison

  • The Front Porch Campaigner;[60] during the 1888 election, he gave nearly ninety speeches from his front porch to crowds gathered in the yard of his Indianapolis home; this nickname has been widely but erroneously attributed to William McKinley
  • The Human Iceberg,[61] although he could warmly engage a crowd with his speeches, he was cold and detached when speaking with people on an individual basis
  • Little Ben,[62] given to him by Democrats of his era because of his stature; this could also be a reference to his being the grandson of former President William Henry Harrison, who had served fifty years before

William McKinley[edit]

Full name: William McKinley, Jr.

  • The Napoleon of Protection,[63] referring to high tariffs such as the one he wrote in 1890

Theodore Roosevelt[edit]

Full name: Theodore Roosevelt

William Howard Taft[edit]

Full name: William Howard Taft

  • Big Chief[69]
  • Big Lub,[70] boyhood nickname

Woodrow Wilson[edit]

Full name: Thomas Woodrow Wilson

  • The Phrasemaker:[71] as an acclaimed historian, Wilson had no need of speech-writers to supply his oratorical eloquence
  • The Schoolmaster:[71] a bespectacled academic who lectured his visitors[72]

Warren G. Harding[edit]

Full name: Warren Gamaliel Harding

Calvin Coolidge[edit]

Full name: John Calvin Coolidge, Jr.

  • Cautious Cal[74]
  • Cool Cal[75] His reelection campaign used the slogan, "Keep It Cool With Coolidge"
  • Silent Cal[76][77]

Herbert Hoover[edit]

Full name: Herbert Clark Hoover

  • The Great Engineer and The Great Humanitarian[78] He was a civil engineer of some distinction and when the Mississippi burst its banks in 1927, engulfing thousands of acres of agricultural land, he volunteered his services and did extensive flood control work. The latter nickname would later be used facetiously in reference to his perceived indifference to the hardships faced by his constituents during the Great Depression. However, the nickname dates back to 1921, when the ARA under Hoover saved millions of Russians suffering from famine. "It was such considerations that Walter Lippmann took into account when he wrote of Hoover's Russian undertaking in the New York World in May 1922: 'probably no other living man could have done nearly so much.'"[79]
  • The Chief,[80] a nickname picked up at 23 as a geologist surveying in the Australian Outback, that stuck for the rest of his life

Franklin D. Roosevelt[edit]

Full name: Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Harry S. Truman[edit]

Full name: Harry S. Truman

Dwight D. Eisenhower[edit]

Full name: Dwight David Eisenhower (born David Dwight Eisenhower)

John F. Kennedy[edit]

Full name: John Fitzgerald Kennedy

  • Jack,[88] Kennedy was usually referred to as either "John F. Kennedy" or "Jack Kennedy"
  • JFK,[89] most prominent nickname and abbreviation of his full name


Lyndon B. Johnson[edit]

Full name: Lyndon Baines Johnson

  • Bullshit Johnson[90] (Bull Johnson in public) for his reputation for boasting at Southwest Texas State Teachers College
  • Landslide Lyndon,[91] sarcastic reference to the hotly disputed 87-vote win that took him to the Senate in 1949, which became more appropriate following his landslide victory in the 1964 presidential election
  • Light-Bulb Lyndon,[92] because he hated wasting electricity, and would often storm around the White House shutting off unnecessary lights
  • LBJ;[93] he liked to be known by this abbreviation, which was used in the campaign slogan, "All the way with LBJ"; later it would be used in the Anti-Vietnam War political slogan "Hey, Hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?"

Richard Nixon[edit]

Full name: Richard Milhous Nixon

Gerald Ford[edit]

Full name: Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. (born Leslie Lynch King, Jr.)

Jimmy Carter[edit]

Full name: James Earl Carter, Jr.

  • Jimmy, the first President to use his nickname in an official capacity[98]
  • The Peanut Farmer,[99] he owned a peanut farm and fostered this image in his early campaigns, as a contrast to elite Washington insiders

Ronald Reagan[edit]

Full name: Ronald Wilson Reagan

George H. W. Bush[edit]

Full name: George Herbert Walker Bush

  • 41,[107] Papa Bush,[108] Bush 41, Bush Senior, Senior, and similar names that were used after his son George Walker Bush became the 43rd president, to differentiate between the two
  • Poppy, a nickname used from childhood on[109][110]

Bill Clinton[edit]

Full name: William Jefferson Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III)

  • Bubba,[111] common nickname for males in the Southern U.S.
  • Slick Willie,[112] often used in the pejorative to refer to his alleged sexual misconduct with Monica Lewinsky and other prominent female accusers
  • The Comeback Kid, coined by press after strong second place showing in 1992 New Hampshire primary, following polling slump[113]
  • The First Black President, used by Toni Morrison in reference to the African-American tropes surrounding Clinton's candidacy[114]
  • The Big Dog, used by several media outlets in regard to his post-presidential popularity[115][116][117][118][119]

George W. Bush[edit]

Full name: George Walker Bush

Barack Obama[edit]

Full name: Barack Hussein Obama II

  • No Drama Obama,[122][123] for his cautious and meticulous presidential campaign in 2007–08[124] and for his patient, relaxed demeanor[125]

Donald Trump[edit]

Full name: Donald John Trump

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 'Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus: The Perfect Leader?' Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. at parconresearch.com. Accessed 211-10-04. "It's easy to see why history sometimes refers to George Washington as "the American Cincinnatus". Washington too did great things then went back to his farm".
  2. ^ "Anderson House History". Societyofthecincinnati.org. Archived from the original on September 29, 2008. Retrieved November 7, 2008.
  3. ^ Ford, Paul L. (1896) The True George Washington quotes Timothy Pickering as writing, "His great caution in respect to the enemy, acquired him the name of the American Fabius". Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  4. ^ He has gained fame around the world as a quintessential example of a benevolent national founder. Gordon Wood concludes that the greatest act in his life was his resignation as commander of the armies—an act that stunned aristocratic Europe. Gordon Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1992), pp. 105–6; Edmund Morgan, The Genius of George Washington (1980), pp. 12–13; Sarah J. Purcell, Sealed With Blood: War, Sacrifice, and Memory in Revolutionary America (2002) p. 97; Don Higginbotham, George Washington (2004); Ellis, 2004. The earliest known image in which Washington is identified as such is on the cover of the circa 1778 Pennsylvania German almanac (Lancaster: Gedruckt bey Francis Bailey).
  5. ^ Rediscovering George Washington. PBS.
  6. ^ Bergh edition of the Jefferson papers, v 13 p. xxiv
  7. ^ Latham, Edward (1904). A Dictionary of Names Nicknames and Surnames of Persons Places and Things. London: George Routledge & Sons LTD. p. 63. Retrieved July 11, 2013. A surname given to John Adams ... in allusion to his earnest and persevering efforts towards colonial independence in the Continental Congress. Sometimes also called the Colossus of the Revolution.
  8. ^ Freeman, A (1828). The Principles and Acts of Mr. Adams' Administration. Concord, New Hampshire: New Hampshire Journal Office. p. 5. Retrieved July 11, 2013. Yes, John Adams, whom Jefferson pronounced the 'Colossus of Independence,' and who died with the motto 'Independence forever!' on his lips, 'probably desired independence.' So say William Badger and Francis N. Fisk. Shall we believe them? We will — not withstanding the doubt which their expression implies.
  9. ^ "Biography of John Adams". United States Senate. Retrieved October 31, 2012. In describing a bust of Adams made by Daniel Chester French, "... the folds of material at the bottom of the vest suggest the girth that led Adams to be dubbed 'His Rotundity.'"
  10. ^ Green, Thomas Marshall (1889). Historic Families of Kentucky. Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co. p. 73.
  11. ^ Miller Center for Public Affairs, University of Virginia, Academic Programs, American President: An Online Resource <http://www.millercenter.virginia.edu/academic/americanpresident/jefferson>
  12. ^ Dumas Malone (1981). The Sage of Monticello. Jefferson and His Time. 6. Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-54463-9.
  13. ^ a b "The enemies of the fourth President of the U.S. called him "little Jemmy," or "his little majesty," or "withered little apple-John."" Time Magazine Online, November 3, 1961, 'Mr. Madison's War' <http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,897919-1,00.html>
  14. ^ Kane, Joseph (1994). Facts about the Presidents: A Compilation of Biographical and Historical Information. New York: H. W. Wilson. pp. 344–45. ISBN 0-8242-0845-5.
  15. ^ "The LOC.GOV Wise Guide : Who's the Father of the Constitution?". Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  16. ^ "James Madison: Father of the Constitution". Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  17. ^ Miller Center for Public Affairs, University of Virginia, Academic Programs, American President: An Online Resource – In-depth information reviewed by prominent scholars on each president and administration, has full biographical information on Monroe <http://www.millercenter.virginia.edu/academic/americanpresident/monroe> including, his nicknames of the "Era-of-Good-Feelings President"
  18. ^ "Presidents of the United States (POTUS)". Ipl.org. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  19. ^ After the White House: former presidents as private citizens Max J. Skidmore, Macmillan, 2004 195 pages, page 39
  20. ^ Boller, Jr., Paul F. (1984). Presidential Campaigns. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 45. ISBN 0-19-503420-1.
  21. ^ a b c Latham, Edward (1904). A Dictionary of Names, Nicknames and Surnames, of Persons, Places and Things, p. 220. G. Routledge & Sons, Ltd.,
  22. ^ Gordon, John Steele (January 20, 2009). "An Inauguration for the People". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 20, 2009.
  23. ^ {{https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2008661753/
  24. ^ Stamp, Jimmy. "Political Animals: Republican Elephants and Democratic Donkeys". Smithsonian. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  25. ^ Boller, Jr., Paul F. Presidential Diversions. p. 63.
  26. ^ a b c d e Widmer, Ted; Widmer, Edward L. (2005). Martin Van Buren: The American Presidents Series. Macmillan. p. 4.
  27. ^ Norton, The Great Revolution of 1840, 1888 page 74
  28. ^ Warshauer, Andrew Jackson and the Politics of Martial Law, p. 108.
  29. ^ "What is the origin of the word 'OK'?". Oxford University Press. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  30. ^ https://www.loc.gov/wiseguide/dec11/fox.html
  31. ^ "C-Span: Life Portrait of Martin Van Buren". May 3, 1999. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  32. ^ "Today in History: December 5". Library of Congress. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  33. ^ 'Historynet.com: From the World's Largest History Magazine Publisher', American History: 1840 U.S. Presidential Campaign by David Johnson <http://www.historynet.com/american-history-1840-us-presidential-campaign.htm/1> says, "While the Democrats adopted a platform denouncing federal assumption of state debts, opposing internal improvements, and calling for separation of public money from banking institutions, Weed decided to keep Harrison quiet and emphasize his war-hero record and humble character. The Democrats took aim at Harrison's silence, calling him 'General Mum'."
  34. ^ "John Tyler | The White House". Whitehouse.gov. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  35. ^ Miller Center for Public Affairs, University of Virginia, Academic Programs, American President: An Online Resource – In-depth information reviewed by prominent scholars on each president and administration, has full biographical information on Polk, <http://www.millercenter.virginia.edu/academic/americanpresident/polk> including, "Nickname: "Young Hickory""
  36. ^ Thornton, An American Glossary, Lippincott 1912 v.2 page 627
  37. ^ This was used in the title of Roy Nichols' biography, Franklin Pierce: Young Hickory of the Granite Hills (American Political Biography Press, August 1993) ISBN 0-945707-06-1. ISBN 978-0-945707-06-6)
  38. ^ Ayres, Thomas (January 1, 2004). That's Not in My American History Book: A Compilation of Little Known Events and Forgotten Heroes. Taylor Trade Publications. Retrieved December 27, 2016 – via Google Books.
  39. ^ Rethinking the Old Public Functionary, By Russell McClintock, December 30, 2010.
  40. ^ a b c Townsend, Malcolm (1910). Handbook of United States Political History for Readers and Students. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Company. p. 340.
  41. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica. "James Buchanan". Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  42. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved May 6, 2007. Association of Lincoln Presenters, Lincoln Quotes, "LINCOLN had many nicknames such as Honest Abe, the Railsplitter, the Liberator, the Emancipator, the Ancient One, the Martyr".
  43. ^ Wakeman, Wilber Fisk (March 8, 1912). "The Internet Archive". The Defender. American Economist. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  44. ^ Fench, Charles Wallace. "Abraham Lincoln: The Liberator". New York Funk & Wagnalls. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  45. ^ a b Dr. Paul Boyer, Dr. Sterling Stuckey (2005). American Nation: In the Modern Era. Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.
  46. ^ http://www.sparknotes.com/biography/lincoln/section12.rhtml SparkNotes: Today's Most Popular Study Guides, Abraham Lincoln Study Guide, 1862-1864 – Part 2 "During a time of war, the executive always plays a stronger role than usual, and Lincoln was no exception to this rule. His uncompromising style as commander- in-chief, coupled with his ambitious domestic program to preserve and further the Union, earned him the nickname of "the tycoon"."
  47. ^ Library of Congress Presents 'America's Story from America's Library', U.S. Presidents, Abraham Lincoln <http://www.americaslibrary.gov/aa/lincoln/aa_lincoln_humor_2.html>, refers to a song about Lincoln called, "Hey! Uncle Abe, are you joking yet?"
  48. ^ Tennessee Tales the Textbooks Don't Tell : Jennie Ivey, Calvin Dickinson, Lisa Rand, The Overmountain Press, 2002 ISBN 978-1-57072-235-6 pages page 50
  49. ^ Ulysses S. Grant, byLovell Coombs, Kessinger Publishing, 2004 268 pages page 22. Books.google.com. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  50. ^ "Chapter 10: The Civil War, 1862". American Military History. Army Historical Series. United States Army Center of Military History. 1989. p. 213.
  51. ^ Barnard, Harry (1954). Rutherford Hayes and his America. Newtown, Connecticut: American Political Biography Press. pp. 402–403. ISBN 978-0-945707-05-9.
  52. ^ Boller, Jr., Paul F. (1984). Presidential Campaigns. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 143. ISBN 0-19-503420-1.
  53. ^ Bausum, Ann (2017). Our Country's Presidents. National Geographic Society. p. 98. ISBN 978-1-4263-2685-1.
  54. ^ a b Reeves, Thomas C. (1975). Gentleman Boss. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 418. ISBN 0-394-46095-2.
  55. ^ "Chester A. Arthur Quick Facts". MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on April 25, 2009. Chester Arthur was fond of fine clothes and entertainment, earning him the nicknames 'Dude President,' 'Elegant Arthur,' and 'Prince Arthur'.
  56. ^ 'Tall, Slim and Erect: Grover Cleveland' by Alex Forman <"Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 9, 2007. Retrieved May 2, 2007.>
  57. ^ P.O. Box 400406. "American President: An Online Reference Resource". Millercenter.org. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  58. ^ Walters, Ryan S. The Last Jeffersonian: Grover Cleveland and the Path to Restoring the Republic. WestBow Press. ISBN 9781449740498.
  59. ^ Roberts, Robert North; Hammond, Scott J.; Sulfaro, Valerie A. Presidential Campaigns, Slogans, Issues, and Platforms: The Complete Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313380921.
  60. ^ Benjamin Harrison: centennial president Anne Chieko Moore, Hester Anne Hale; Nova Publishers, 2006 178 pages page 69
  61. ^ http://fs6.depauw.edu:50080/~jkochanczyk/president/harrison.html[permanent dead link] "He was known as the "Human Iceberg" because he was stiff and formal when dealing with people".
  62. ^ "The White House". Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  63. ^ Northeast Ohio Journal of History (spring 2005)online Archived November 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  64. ^ The Amazon.com review <https://www.amazon.com/Teddy-Roosevelt-San-Juan-University/dp/0890967717> of "Teddy Roosevelt at San Juan: The Making of a President" by Peggy and Harold Samuels (Texas a & M University Military History Series, September 1997 ISBN 978-0-89096-771-3) by Peggy and Harold Samuels, says that "The authors reexamine the "Hero of San Juan Hill" to find that the heroic legend was manufactured"
  65. ^ Non-Fiction Book Page have a review by Harry Merritt of The Lion's Pride: Theodore Roosevelt and His Family in Peace and War by Edward J. Renehan, Jr. (Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-512719-6), which says "Within six months, Roosevelt, "the Lion" was dead".
  66. ^ "Tammany Denounces Gov. Roosevelt; Col. Gardiner's Removal Called "Infamous" and "Cowardly." Ex-District Attorney Weeps; The General Committee Organizes for the Next Campaign by Electing Permanent Officers" (PDF). The New York Times. December 28, 1900.
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  72. ^ compare to Italian Prime Minister (and former President of the European Commission) Romano Prodi's nickname Il Professore (the professor/schoolteacher).
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