From Hull AWE
- Dotty is a short form of the forename Dorothy. There are two main types of such shortenings: they are convenient for writing, e.g. in lists; or they are essentially spoken pet-names, and thus informal. (See Conventional abbreviations for forenames.)
|Short form||Long form||Informal or written||Other short forms||Remarks|
|Dotty||Dorothy||informal||Doll; Doth; Dodo||Dorothy is the same name as Dorothea (and the obsolete Dorate), and the same abbreviations are used for both.|
- Note that any informal form may be spelled in different ways. Notably, any spelling listed that ends in '-ie' may be written with the ending '-y', and vice versa.
- The adjective dotty means
- literally: 'covered with dots', or 'spotted'. The painting technique pointillisme, as practised for example by the French artist Seurat is dotty: it consists of creating a perception of mixed colour by applying a series of small spots of pure colour. (Wikipedia has more at [].)
- Figuratively, dotty means 'scatter-brained', 'eccentric': [showing] behaviour that appears unusual, often absent-minded. It is not seen as mental ill-health: it is the more extreme forms of normal forgetfulness, or unusual patterns of behaviour.
- The derivation of the figurative meaning from the literal is through a pattern of walking: a person limping, or possibly inebriated, will walk with an unsteady pattern, with legs "dotting around". This used to be called colloquially a "dot and carry one" gait. The mental 'dottiness' resembles this: a dotty person may find it hard to keep conversation ina straight line.