25 Presidential Nicknames And Where They Came From

Posted by , Updated on November 8, 2017

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It can be hard to get away from nicknames, even for a US president. Although nicknames are sometimes negative, they don’t have to be. Many of the names on this list (like Uncle Abe), refer to positive attributes or traits. These are 25 presidential nicknames and where they came from!


25

His Obstinacy - Grover Cleveland

His Obstinacy - Grover ClevelandSource: encyclopedia.com

He vetoed more bills than the first 21 presidents put together.

24

The Phrasemaker - Woodrow Wilson

The Phrasemaker - Woodrow WilsonSource: history.com

Thanks to his eloquence, he didn’t need speech writers.

23

Boatman Jim - James Garfield

Boatman Jim - James GarfieldSource: history.com

He worked on the Ohio canals when he was younger.

22

The Peanut Farmer - Jimmy Carter

The Peanut Farmer - Jimmy CarterSource: rd.com

He owned a peanut farm.

21

The Great Communicator - Ronald Reagan

The Great Communicator - Ronald ReaganSource: encyclopedia.com

Because, you guessed it, he was a great communicator.



20

Poppy - George H. W. Bush

Poppy - George H. W. BushSource: mentalfloss.com

It was a nickname ever since his childhood.

19

Bubba - Bill Clinton

Bubba - Bill ClintonSource: rd.com

This is a common nickname for males in the southern United States.

18

Dubya - George W Bush

Dubya - George W BushSource: encyclopedia.com

This is based on the Texas pronunciation of the letter “W”.

17

No Drama Obama - Barack Obama

No Drama Obama - Barack ObamaSource: npr.com

This was largely due to his cautious Presidential campaign in 2007 and his relaxed demeanor as President.

16

Rutherfraud - Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherfraud - Rutherford B. HayesSource: britannica.com

After the disputed 1876 election many people didn’t consider his presidency to be legitimate.

15

Unconditional Surrender Grant - Ulysses S. Grant

Unconditional Surrender Grant - Ulysses S. GrantSource: rd.com

He became a hero for demanding nothing less than unconditional surrender.

14

The Tennessee Tailor - Andrew Johnson

The Tennessee Tailor - Andrew JohnsonSource: mentalfloss.com

He worked as a tailor before becoming President.

13

Uncle Abe - Abraham Lincoln

Uncle Abe - Abraham LincolnSource: rd.com

He was known for his kindness and friendliness. Kind of like an uncle.

12

Old Buck - James Buchanan

Old Buck - James BuchananSource: mentalfloss.com

It’s basically a shortening of his last name.

11

Young Hickory of the Granite Hills - Franklin Pierce

Young Hickory of the Granite Hills - Franklin PierceSource: npr.com

This nicknamed compared his military victories in the Mexican-American War to those of Andrew Jackson. The Granite Hills is a reference to his home state of New Hampshire.

10

Napoleon of the Stump - James Polk

Napoleon of the Stump - James PolkSource: britannica.com

This referenced his powerful speeches during his run for the Tennessee state legislature.

9

His Accidency - John Tyler

His Accidency - John TylerSource: npr.com

This name was used by his opponents because he was the first person to become president due to the death of his predecessor (William Henry Harrison).

8

Washington of the West - William Henry Harrison

Washington of the West - William Henry HarrisonSource: encyclopedia.com

This was a reference to his victories at the battles of Tippecanoe and Thames.

7

The Careful Dutchman - Martin Van Buren

The Careful Dutchman - Martin Van BurenSource: rd.com

His first language was Dutch.

6

Old Hickory - Andrew Jackson

Old Hickory - Andrew JacksonSource: mentalfloss.com

This was allegedly given to him by his soldiers for being as “tough as old hickory”.

5

The Abolitionist - John Quincy Adams

The Abolitionist - John Quincy AdamsSource: rd.com

He was known for constantly bringing up the issue of slavery against Congressional rules.

4

The Last Cocked Hat - James Monroe

The Last Cocked Hat - James MonroeSource: encyclopedia.com

He was the last president to wear a tricorne hat.

3

Little Jemmy - James Madison

Little Jemmy - James MadisonSource: britannica.com

At 5’4”, he was the shortest president.

2

Old Sink or Swim - John Adams

Old Sink or Swim - John AdamsSource: history.com

Adams once gave a speech where he said “To sink or swim; to live or die; survive or perish with my country”.

1

The American Cincinnatus - George Washington

The American Cincinnatus - George WashingtonSource: npr.com

Washington was often compared to the famous Roman general Cincinnatus because despite defeating all his enemies and basically having ultimate power, he stepped down and became a private citizen. (Cincinnatus did something similar in Ancient Rome)

Image Credits: 1-3. Public Domain, 4-9. These works are in the public domain in their country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or less., 10. {{PD-US}} – published in the U.S. before 1923 and public domain in the U.S., 11. {{PD-US-not renewed}} – published and copyrighted in the United States between 1923 and 1963, with its copyright not renewed, 12-16. {{PD-US}} – published in the U.S. before 1923 and public domain in the U.S., 17. U.S. federal government – Public Domain, 18. The U.S. Army via Flickr CC BY 2.0, 19-22. Public Domain, 23-25. {{PD-US}} – published in the U.S. before 1923 and public domain in the U.S.

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