English pet name, primarily for Elizabeth [q.v.] and also for Beatrice or Beatrix.
Betty can also be a given name in its own right.
There are a number of alternative spellings [see Bettie].
While there is no etymological connection between Beatrice and Elizabeth, anecdotal evidence exists for the names being occasionally interchangeable in Scotland. We think this might possibly be because they share the common pet name, Betty.
A correspondent [LP], commenting on the plethora of pet names for her own name, Elizabeth, sent the following anecdote:
- "My Gran used to tell me this old saying -
'Elizabeth, Betsy, Betty & Bess, went out to seek a bird's nest. Which one got it?'
"It took me an age to realise that we were all the same people! I also got called Beth or Bethea. I was a very confused child!"