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List of United States Presidential names

List of United States Presidential names contains lists of nicknames, name origins, and the first, middle, and last names of each President of the United States. Most of the nicknames listed are political, such as "Tricky Dick", which belonged to Richard Nixon, initialisms like '"T.R." (Theodore Roosevelt), personal nicknames, as in James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. or personal endearments, such as "The Gipper", given to Ronald Reagan.

Presidential nicknames

George W. (Walker) Bush

  • 43, B43, Bush II, Bush the Younger, Bush the Lesser, Bush Jr., and Bush fils All used to distinguish George W. Bush from George H.W. Bush
  • Shrub Coined by Molly Ivins. George W. Bush named his oil company Arbusto because he said "arbusto" is Spanish for "bush". The literal translation from Spanish to English is, in fact, "shrub".
  • Temporary Bush's nickname in Skull and Bones, never altered by Bush
  • AWOL Bush Often rendered as aWol Bush: referring to an alleged period of unauthorized leave of absence by Bush during his Vietnam War service in the Texas National Guard
  • The Decider and The Decider-In-Chief From remarks Bush made about Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on April 18, 2006
  • The Commander Guy Bush gave himself this nickname on May 2 2007, saying "My position is clear - I'm the commander guy."
  • The Velcro President A contrast to the "Teflon" nicknames given to Reagan and Clinton; most scandals appear to "stick" to Bush.
  • War President A name he used to describe himself during his 2004 re-election campaign. This name, or the variant "War Criminal President", is used by some critics for his involvement in the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars and the controversies at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.
  • Bush the Arrogant
  • BaagelA name derived from a bagel incident while visiting Mountlake Terrace, WA.

Bill (William Jefferson) Clinton (name at birth: William Jefferson Blythe III)

  • Bill Generally went by his first name during his time in office and was only formally called 'William J. Clinton' or 'William Jefferson Clinton'.
  • The First Black President Used by Toni Morrison in reference to Clinton's noted support from and rapport with African Americans.
  • The Comeback Kid Coined by press after strong second place showing in 1992 New Hampshire primary, following polling slump due to Gennifer Flowers' revelation.
  • Slick Willie Coined by Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, as a comment on perceived incongruities between Clinton's rhetoric and his record during his unsuccessful 1980 campaign for a second term as governor of Arkansas.
  • Teflon Bill Unimaginative reworking of "Teflon Ron," the nickname given to President Ronald Reagan a decade earlier; Teflon referred to a "non-stick" quality of public image, in that both presidents' personal approval ratings remained high even as prominent scandals brought disfavor on their respective administrations.
  • Bubba Nickname that suggests a pejorative cultural stereotype for natives of the rural Southern United States.
  • Klinton A name used by Clinton detractors from all sides of the political spectrum to evoke German orthography, therefore painting Clinton as a Nazi.
  • Clittin A name coined in reference to Clinton's sexual allegations as president.
  • Count Taxula: Nickname given by Rush Limbaugh.

George H. W. (Herbert Walker) Bush

  • George I, Bush the Elder, Bush père, Daddy Bush and Papa Bush Only applied to him after his son became president, in order to distinguish between the two of them
  • The Wimp President Given to him by Newsweek in 1988. In June 1991, Bush remarked that he would "never forgive" the magazine for their insult

Ronald (Wilson) Reagan

  • The Gipper After his role as George "The Gipper" Gipp in the film Knute Rockne, All American. Gipp's exhortation to his teammates to "Win one for the Gipper" came in useful during Reagan's election campaigns.
  • The Great Communicator As much an attempt by media pundits to account for Reagan's electoral success as a compliment
  • The Great Prevaricator A less-complimentary play on his "Great Communicator" nickname
  • Dutch Because of his haircut when he was a youth
  • Bonzo From his role in the film, Bedtime for Bonzo. Reagan played Prof. Peter Boyd, opposite Bonzo the chimpanzee.
  • Ronnie Raygun Joking reference to the "Star Wars" Strategic Defense Initiative
  • The Teflon President or Teflon Ron Because none of the scandals during his administration seemed to stick to him.

Jimmy (James Earl) Carter (Jr.)

  • Jimmy First President to use his nickname in an official capacity. He was known as ‘Jimmy Carter’, ‘James Earl Carter’, or ‘James Earl Carter, Jr.’. He was never called ‘James Carter’ or ‘James E. Carter’
  • President Malaise - a reference to his speech on July 15. 1979, where he talked about a "crisis of confidence," and alluded that the US was in decline. Three days after the speech, Carter asked for the resignations of all of his Cabinet officers, and ultimately accepted five. By asking the entire Cabinet, it gave the appearance that the White House was falling apart.

Gerald (Rudolph) Ford (Jr.) (name at birth: Leslie Lynch King, Jr.)

Richard (Milhous) Nixon

  • Dick When he announced his (short-lived) retirement from politics after failing to become Governor of California in 1962, he told the media, "You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around any more".
  • Tricky Dick (also, Tricky Dickie) Coined by Democratic politician Helen Gahagan Douglas during the 1950 U.S. Senate race in California, in reference to Nixon's alleged use of dirty tricks during the campaign. Occasionally this name is also applied to current Vice President Dick Cheney.
  • The Trickster A variant of "Tricky Dick"
  • The Mad Bomber Reference to Nixon's large-scale bombing of Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam during the Vietnam War; this was partly a self-cultivated image, intended to inspire fear in the leaders of North Vietnam (and other countries) in order to achieve a peace agreement on terms favorable to the United States.
  • The Mad Monk Given to him by White House aide John Ehrlichman.
  • Iron Butt Law school nickname because he studied so hard
  • Gloomy Gus Another nickname awarded by his fellow students at Duke University School of Law, referring to his serious nature

Lyndon B. (Baines) Johnson

  • L.B.J. He liked to be known by this abbreviation, which was used in the slogan, "All the way with L.B.J." Coincidentally, when he married Claudia Taylor, who had been nicknamed Lady Bird since infancy, her initials also became L.B.J. Their two daughters Lynda Bird and Luci Baines shared the initials, and he even called his dog "Little Beagle Johnson".
  • Landslide Lyndon Sarcastic reference to the hotly-disputed 87-vote win that took him to the Senate in 1949
  • Light-Bulb Lyndon Nicknamed so because he hated wasted electricity, and would often storm around the White House shutting off unnecessary lights.
  • Uncle Cornpone Derogatory reference to him as an older man from the rural South.

John F. (Fitzgerald) Kennedy

  • J.F.K. Most prominent nickname and abbreviation of his full name.
  • Jack Kennedy was usually referred to as either "John F. Kennedy" or "Jack Kennedy", only very rarely as "John Kennedy"
  • The King of Camelot Two weeks after Kennedy’s assassination, his wife, Jacqueline, revealed that the score from the 1960 musical Camelot, had been one of her husband’s favorites to listen to. Parallels were then drawn between the “one brief shining moment” of King Arthur’s reign (in the musical) and the mood of idealism and optimism that had characterized Kennedy’s presidency

Dwight D. (David) Eisenhower (name at birth: David Dwight Eisenhower)

  • The Kansas Cyclone His football nickname at West Point
  • Ike

Harry S Truman

  • High-Tax Harry
  • The Senator from Pendergast Reference to his ties with Missouri political boss Tom Pendergast

Franklin D. (Delano) Roosevelt

  • F.D.R.
  • The New Dealer Referring to the Roosevelt Administration's "New Deal for the American people".

Herbert (Clark) Hoover

  • The Great Engineer and The Great Humanitarian 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.
  • Hoo-Yah and Really Damn Two nicknames that he picked up while in China

(John) Calvin Coolidge (Jr.)

  • Cool Cal His reelection campaign used the slogan, "Keep It Cool With Coolidge"
  • Cautious Cal
  • The Sphinx of the PotomacSuggesting that he was as enigmatic as the mythological creature
  • Silent Cal

(Thomas) Woodrow Wilson

  • The Schoolmaster in Politics He was a bespectacled academic; compare to Italian Prime Minister (and former President of the European Commission) Romano Prodi's nickname Il Professore (the professor/schoolteacher).
  • The Phrase-Maker As an acclaimed historian, Wilson had no need of speech-writers to supply his oratorical eloquence

William Howard Taft

Theodore Roosevelt (Jr.)

  • T.R. He liked to sign communications this way. The first president to be known by his initials.
  • The Cyclone Assemblyman Elected to the New York State Assembly at only 23, he campaigned energetically against political corruption and for civil service reform, becoming minority leader within a year
  • The Hero of San Juan Hill He led his Rough Riders up San Juan Hill during the Battle of Santiago de Cuba in 1898
  • The Lion
  • Old Four Eyes He was so myopic that he could only function wearing glasses
  • Theodore the Meddler He was too active and legislative a president for some people's tastes

William McKinley (Jr.)

  • The Napoleon of Protection He was keen on protective tariffs
  • The Major A reference to his American Civil War rank: used by friends and family rather than publicly

Benjamin Harrison

  • The Human Iceberg Although he could warmly engage a crowd with his speeches, he was a very cold fish when you met him one-on-one
  • Kid Gloves Harrison He was prone to skin infection and often wore kid gloves to protect his hands
  • The Front Porch Campaigner 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

(Stephen) Grover Cleveland

  • The Hangman of Buffalo As Sheriff of Erie County, New York, which has Buffalo as its county seat, he had personally hanged two men
  • His Obstinacy He vetoed more bills than the first 21 presidents combined
  • The Beast of Buffalo Because of false rumors that he was a wife beater, spread by political opponents during the 1888 election
  • The Stuffed Prophet and The Elephantine Economist Given to him by hostile newspapers during the 1892 presidential election, by which time his weight had gone up to 250 pounds

Chester A. (Alan) Arthur

  • Prince Arthur, and The Dude President He was renowned for his fancy attire and indulgence in extravagant luxury
  • Walrus for having strange looking facial hair mostly touted by children

Rutherford B. (Birchard) Hayes

  • Granny Hayes and Queen Victoria in Riding Breeches Hayes did not drink, smoke, or gamble, and, together with his temperance-supporting wife, "Lemonade Lucy", maintained a very strait-laced White House much to the disgust of some members of Washington society
  • President De Facto
  • The Great Unknown He had been an obscure candidate for the Republican nomination

Ulysses S. (Simpson) Grant (name at birth: Hiram Ulysses Grant)

  • Unconditional Surrender Grant His uncompromising demand for unconditional surrender during the Battle of Fort Donelson in 1862 got a lot of favorable publicity. The fact that his initials suggested the words "unconditional surrender" led to it being used as a nickname
  • Sam Given to him at West Point because of his 'Uncle Sam' initials

Abraham Lincoln

  • The Liberator and '"The Great Emancipator"' For the emancipation of the slaves
  • Uncle Abe Lincoln was a kind and friendly man who in his later years came across as avuncular
  • The Ancient One A nickname favored by White House insiders because of his "ancient wisdom"
  • The Tycoon For the energetic and ambitious conduct of his Civil War administration
  • Ignoramus Abe
  • Honest Abe originating as early as the 1830's in New Salem from his reputation for honesty. He was there reputed to have on several occasions walked miles to return to customers a few cents overpaid in error
  • The Rail-Splitter from the Illinois State Republican Convention at Decatur on 9 May 1860, when colleagues marched into the convention hall with two fence rails placarded, "Abraham Lincoln, The Rail Candidate for President in 1860." Lincoln had, at one point prior to entering into law and politics, worked splitting logs into rails

James Buchanan (Jr.)

  • Ten-Cent Jimmie A reference to his notorious claim during the 1856 election campaign that ten cents a day was enough for a working man to live on

Franklin Pierce

  • Young Hickory of the Granite Hills "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
  • The Fainting General A sneering reference by political opponents to an incident during a Mexican War battle when an artillery blast blew the saddle off Pierce's horse and drove the saddle-horn hard into his abdomen, causing him to lose consciousness for a few minutes

James K. (Knox) Polk

  • Young Hickory Because he was a particular protégé of "Old Hickory" Andrew Jackson
  • Polk the Plodder The validity of this nickname was disproved by his foreign policy when he became president
  • Napoleon of the Stump Because of his potent oratory during his campaign for the Tennessee state legislature.

William Henry Harrison

  • General Mum 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 A reference to Harrison's victory at the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe. This nickname was used in the campaign song Tippecanoe and Tyler Too during the 1840 Presidential election.
  • Washington of the West A reference to Harrison's victories at the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe and 1813 Battle of the Thames.

Martin Van Buren

  • The American Talleyrand

Andrew Jackson

  • Sharp Knife Given to him by the Creek Indians whom he fought in 1814
  • The Caped Crusader Given to him for being the only President to wear a cape in his Presidential picture
  • Old Hickory Allegedly given to him by his soldiers for being as "tough as old hickory."

James Monroe

  • The Era of Good Feelings President "The Era of Good Feelings" was the period following the War of 1812, during which America became less divided politically, to the extent that the only opponents of the ruling Democratic Republicans, the Federalist Party, went out of existence. It was not until resistance to Andrew Jackson's policies produced the Whig Party that oppositional politics resumed in the United States

James Madison (Jr.)

  • Little Jemmy or His Little Majesty At only 5' 4", he was the smallest president ever. The average adult male American at the beginning of the 19th century was about 5' 8" an inch and a half shorter than today

Thomas Jefferson

John Adams (Jr.)

  • The Duke of Braintree A sarcastic reference to his grandiose airs
  • The Colossus of Debate Given to him by Thomas Jefferson for his ability to argue a political case
  • 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"
  • Your Superfluous Excellency Said by Benjamin Franklin when Adams was Vice President

George Washington

See also


  • Paleta, Lu Ann, and Fred Worth. The World Almanac of Presidential Facts. Pharos Books, 1993.
  • DeGregario, William A. The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Barricade Books, 1991.
  • The White House website

Presidential lists

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