From Hull AWE
Tommy is a short form of the forename Thomas. 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|
|Tommy||Thomas||informal||Tom; Tam(my); Thos (written)|
- 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.
- A 'tommy' is an ordinary soldier (a 'private') in the British Army. More fully, he was Thomas Atkins, the name used as a sample private in instructions on how to complete various army forms in 1815. This is doubtless because the nickname was used as early as 1743, according to the Imperial War Museum ([], accessed 04/03/10). The name was popularized by Rudyard Kipling in his poem 'Tommy', published in Barrack-Room Ballads (1890), which comments on the different reception given to soldiers in peace-time and war. Perhaps 'squaddie' is more current in the British Army of the twenty-first century.
- A tommy-gun (named after General John T. Thompson, a soldier and entrepreneur) is a sub-machine gun, designed by Theodore H. Eickhoff, Oscar V. Payne, and George E. Goll in 1918. The hand-held weapon, recognizable by its vertical 'drum' (cylinder) magazine, is familiar form many gangster films of the 1930s.