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Ted or Teddy is a shortened form of two different names, both of which give rise to colloquial words with meanings that may be of interest to readers of AWE.

  • It may be short for Edward
Ted is a short form of the forename Edward. 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
Ted Edward informal Ed(die); Ned(dy)

There is a list of similar names at Conventional abbreviations for forenames, as well as the category:short names

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.
King Edward VII of Great Britain gave the name Teddy boy (informally 'ted') to a teenage group who favoured a style of clothing said to be that of his reign. The 'Teddy-boy' fashion, which seems to have been named in 1953, peaked in the 1950s, when it became associated with rock and roll music, originally that of Bill Haley and the Comets. It led to the formation of gangs, involved with some kinds of violence such as riots at the film The Blackboard Jungle (1955) and the Notting Hill race riots in London in 1958. The singer Elvis Presley adopted much of the teddy boy look, particularly in his early years. The Times of 27 July 1955 5/1 (cited in OED), introducing the first 'teen craze', said that the look "is understood to be that of the long, draped-fronted jacket with velvet collar, and tight trousers shortened to show white socks at the ankles." It also included slicked back greased hair - the Elvis style.
  • It may be short for Theodore - and usually is, in the United States, where Ted is short for Theodore, which in the UK is more usually shortened to Theo.
The American President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919; President 1901-1909), who was a keen hunter, gave his name to the popular stuffed toy, the teddy bear, after a widely publicized trip shooting bears in 1902. A. A. Milne appeared unaware of this when he, as the knowing adult writer/father, called Christopher Robin's toy 'Edward Bear' in Winnie the Pooh. See also AWE's article on diminutive.
      • There is also a verb (unrelated to the names) 'to ted'. Its only current meaning is agricultural: 'to turn over grass lying in the fields to improve its drying into hay'.
      • The noun 'a ted', is a short form of teddy, a type of all-in-one underwear for women. "The Hartford (Connecticut) Courant said in 1977 "Teddys are no longer synonymous with teddy bears alone. They also represent the sexiest lingerie around... The teddy is a camisole and tap pants set combined", although it is also suggested that the garment got its name from its resemblance to a teddy-bear