About Me

The origin of “Zoot”

Can you believe I’ve NEVER, EVER, EVER told the story of where the name “Zoot” came from? Most people assume it’s because I’m trying to remain anonymous, but in reality? It’s just not that exciting of a story. And not even one that I know the TRUE origin of, because a lot of the variations were in place as far back as I can remember.

This is what I know: When I was in first grade, there was another girl in my class named Kimberly. To keep us straight they called HER Kimberly and ME Kim.

(Just for the record? Her dog bit me one time. BAD. I thought a dogbite reference might make this story seem a bit more exciting.)

Now, I’m not sure where it started, but at some point  my parents and the parents of many of my friends in school started calling me “Kimbo”. (Yes, it later turned into “Dumbo” and “Re-tard-o” and “Bimbo.” Kids are nice.) At home “Kimbo” also took on variations of Boze, Bozie and Bozoot. I think my Mom was responsible for most of those as she’s a nickname generator. She has periodically addressed cards to me as “Bozie” or referred to me as “Boze”. My Dad? Was more prone to use “BoZoot” but he didn’t rely on it as much, and since I lived with him, it didn’t become a nickname that anyone other than family knew about.

(Although “Kimbo” stuck. Several years ago I was at a wedding of a childhood friend. Her Dad called me “Kimbo” when he saw me there. I kinda loved it.)

Fast forward to the early days of the internet when you needed logins/anonymous screenames for things. Kim is such a common name I couldn’t think of any variation of that and so when I was playing around with past nicknames and variations of them I had heard from over the years and decided Zoot was one that I felt had enough roots in truth that it had some reality and some anonymity to it.

Oh my god. That story is sooooo terribly boring. I really should have jazzed it up a bit. Should we go back to the dogbite part and try again? Maybe add in some celebrity encounters and run-ins with the law? I’ll work on that and get back to you.

Update from 2020: I made so many contacts with people on message boards back in the day and through my blog that I kept the “Zoot” part even when the world stopped using anonymous avatars for socializing on the internet. For example, my Facebook is under Kim Zoot Holmes in case anyone from the internet world is looking for me. Now everyone I meet in real life thinks my maiden name is Zoot. 

30 thoughts on “The origin of “Zoot””

  1. cute! i’ve actually wondered, and imagined that it was some sort of variation of your last name..

    I was in Boston a couple weeks ago, and they have “Zoot’s Drycleaners” everywhere–I thought of you every time I saw it!

  2. I’ve been reading you for about a year and a half and I had NO idea that your name was Kim. What else have you been hiding? 🙂

  3. That’s better than my childhood nickname… they used to call me Lin and I would adamantly add the DA onto the end (’cause I didn’t want to be confused with LYNN GETTEMAN!!!!).

    Eventually, they just started calling me DA (which sounds like “DUH!”). Yeah, I’m so special. haha

    I really like Kimbo, though. And is EBeth short for Elizabeth? If so, how cute – I’ve not seen that before…

  4. I thought it was some sort of comic book reference or something, or you were the love child of frank zappa. so happy to know the exact origins….

  5. Aaah! Now you have a real name – I can never think of you the same. 🙂

    I also thought Zoot was some sort of nickname for your last name.

  6. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I know your real name. For some reason, I was thinking about that this weekend. Well, more of why people use fake names on the Internet (myself included). It is odd to me to be known by a different name, which is nothing like my real name. I almost feel like I am denying my real name the love it deserves. And also like I am lying to everyone.

    And I thought the story was good. Interesting how “Kim” becomes “Zoot” in 15 short years.

  7. I always wondered what your name was, but I was too “aware” to ask. I didn’t want to invade your privacy, because I know a lot of people have issues with that online. YAY! hehe I’m so excited now!

  8. You’ll kindly notice that my childhood nickname, Foo Foo, is NOT incorporated into my online name. However, the trauma associated with my relatives’ insistence on continuing to refer to a 31-yr-old woman as “Foo Foo” may be indirectly related to the “mistrust/hatred of humanity” that inspired my online name.

    I liked the Zoot creation story, btw.

  9. Yeah, I’ve been reading you for about a month or so, (have not posted–duh) and Zoot became to me what Mrs. Smith becomes to kindegarten students. When they find out that teachers have NAMES they think it’s the coolest thing ever. So not only do I feel really young, I feel… guilty, almost, for knowing your name is actually Kim.

    Now I feel kinda embarassed and stuff for posting for my first time, but hey, there’s a first for everything, right? Woo! =)

  10. And all this time I thought it was a Monty Python reference or something. You know, Zoot, from the Castle Anthrax.
    But interesting to know nonetheless.

  11. Wow! Thought I was the only one who had weird morphing nickname. I’m Shelly, which become Shelly Bean, which became Beanzo!! How cute when I was 9. At 34, not so cute when your mother calls you that in public.

  12. You know, that clears a lot up for me. I have often wondered where that came from. It’s funny what people will do with a name. I got a lot of variations of Nicole. I even had one teacher call me “half a dime”. That was in high school and I thought he was totally lame. But, now, it makes me laugh.

  13. Now that I know your a Kim, I will never look at you the same way again. Eee- that rymed.

    I’ve never had a cool nickname. Its always been Ash or Ashllie-Bashlie or Assy (which was a fun one since I have no assy). Bah. I want a cool superhero nickname like yours.

    Think up one and get back me.

  14. You think this story is dorky and not cool? I read it and was all, “OH! My name is Kimberly too! How cool is that??” Umm, yeah, loser. (Me, I am a loser.)

  15. I’ll admit that I thought it had something to do with Monty Python too but then again I think everything has to do with Monty Python (what can I say, I’m obsessed). Anywho, it was still an interesting story. I have never had a nickname unless you think being called Manda (instead of Amanda) is a nickname. I think it’s just cause my parents got too lazy to pronounce the first A in my name.

  16. Very funny! Your story is exactly why I didn’t stress too much about rhyming potential with our son’s name – regardless, kids will think of SOMETHING. My name is Kelli and did the kids call me Smelly? Nope – they headed straight for the glasses and called me “Four Eyes”. LOL

  17. I like Zoot. What a great nickname.
    I have long ago banished my two hated childhood nicknames and allow people to use only the one remaining. Yep. People can be cruel.

  18. Oh how cool! I love all of your nicknames, but it was kind of like watching Home improvement when you just want to see Wilson’s face, dammit. So I’ve always just assigned you “real” names in my head & you’ve always looked like a Kathleen to me, so I wasn’t too far off! Ok, I know I’m a freak.

  19. Love it Love it Love it! I have had a totally shitty shitty crazy ass day and this made me smile!

    I have always wanted to ask you about the origin of Zoot and have ALWAYS wondered what your real name was! I love Zoot and Kim!!!!

    Thanks for telling us the cool story! And yes, it was a cool and fun story, you are never boring or uncool! 🙂

    Two weeks! Cant wait and soooo excited for you and everyone else!!!!

  20. I noticed had noticed before that you had KIMBERLY hanging on the wall of your kitchen. Would never have guessed about Zoot though.

  21. I can’t believe you’ve finally outted your actual name! Do you know how many times I’ve wanted to write your name in whatever comment I’ve left?! Now I finally can.

    Hey, Kim! See, see? See how nice that was??

  22. just catching up around here, I’ve been without internet access for oh, about a month now, so I’m a little behind.

    I think that Zoot is much better than what I’ve gotten stuck with from my mom. She calls me “toon” or “toonie” which came somehow from “sweet petunia” when I was a baby.
    And of course, Bella, came from Samantha in college and that started out as Carrie-bell.
    And guess what? sneaky Samantha outed your name to me a long time ago! I don’t know how she found out. But I can’t call you Kim. You are Zoot to me forever, sorry.

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