A nickname is "a usually familiar or humorous but sometimes pointed or cruel name given to a person or place, as a supposedly appropriate replacement for or addition to the proper name.", or a name similar in origin and pronunciation from the original name.

It is not interchangeable with a term called "short-for". It can also be the familiar or truncated form of the proper name, which may sometimes be used simply for convenience (e.g.
A nickname is "a usually familiar or humorous but sometimes pointed or cruel name given to a person or place, as a supposedly appropriate replacement for or addition to the proper name.", or a name similar in origin and pronunciation from the original name.

It is not interchangeable with a term called "short-for". It can also be the familiar or truncated form of the proper name, which may sometimes be used simply for convenience (e.g. "Bobby", "Bob", "Rob", or "Bert" for the name Robert).

The term hypocoristic
A hypocorism is a shorter form of a word or given name, for example, when used in more intimate situations as a nickname or term of endearment.- Derivation :Hypocorisms are often generated as:...

 is used to refer to a nickname of affection between those in love or with a close emotional bond, compared with a term of endearment
Term of endearment
A term of endearment is a word or phrase used to address and/or describe a person, animal or inanimate object for which the speaker feels love or affection...

. The term diminutive
In language structure, a diminutive, or diminutive form , is a formation of a word used to convey a slight degree of the root meaning, smallness of the object or quality named, encapsulation, intimacy, or endearment...

 name refers to nicknames that convey smallness, hence something regarded with affection or familiarity (e.g., referring to children), or contempt.

The distinction between the two is often blurred. It is a form of endearment and amusement. As a concept, it is distinct from both pseudonym and stage name, and also from a title (for example, City of Fountains), although there may be overlap in these concepts.

A nickname is sometimes considered desirable, symbolising a form of acceptance, but can often be a form of ridicule.


The compound word ekename, literally meaning "additional name", was attested as early as 1303. This word was derived from the Old English phrase eaca "an increase", related to eacian "to increase". By the fifteenth century, the misdivision of the syllables of the phrase "an ekename" led to its reanalysis as "a nekename". Though the spelling has changed, the pronunciation and meaning of the word have remained relatively stable ever since.

Conventions in various languages

To inform an audience or readership of a person's nickname without actually calling them by their nickname, English nicknames are generally represented in quotes between the bearer's first and last names (e.g., Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

, Daniel Lamont "Bubba" Franks
Bubba Franks
Daniel Lamont "Bubba" Franks is an American football tight end who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers 14th overall in the 2000 NFL Draft...

, etc.). The middle name is generally eliminated (if there is one), especially in speech. Like English, German uses (German-style) quotation marks between the first and last names (e.g., Andreas Nikolaus „Niki“ Lauda
Niki Lauda
Andreas Nikolaus "Niki" Lauda is an Austrian former Formula One racing driver and three-time F1 World Champion. More recently an aviation entrepreneur, he has founded and run two airlines and was manager of the Jaguar Formula One racing team for two years.- Early years in racing :Born in Vienna,...

). Other languages may use other conventions; for example, Italian writes the nickname after the full name followed by detto 'called' (e.g., Salvatore Schillaci detto Totò
Salvatore Schillaci
Salvatore Schillaci , commonly referred to by his nickname Totò is a former Italian football player. During his career, he played for Messina , Juventus , Internazionale and Júbilo Iwata...

), in Spanish the nickname is written at the end in quotes following alias (e.g. Alfonso Tostado, alias «el Abulense»), and Slovenian represents nicknames after a dash or hyphen (e.g., Franc Rozman – Stane). The latter may cause confusion because it resembles an English convention sometimes used for married and maiden names
Married and maiden names
A married name is the family name adopted by a person upon marriage. When a person assumes the family name of her spouse, the new name replaces the maiden name....


Uses in various societies

In Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

 societies, many people had nicknames heiti, viðrnefni, or uppnefni which were used in addition to, or instead of their family names. In some circumstances the giving of a nickname had a special status in Viking society in that it created a relationship between the name maker and the recipient of the nickname, to the extent that the creation of a nickname also often entailed a formal ceremony
A ceremony is an event of ritual significance, performed on a special occasion. The word may be of Etruscan origin.-Ceremonial occasions:A ceremony may mark a rite of passage in a human life, marking the significance of, for example:* birth...

 and an exchange of gifts.

Slaves have often used nicknames, so that the master who heard about someone doing something could not identify the slave. In capoeira
Capoeira is a Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, sports, and music. It was created in Brazil mainly by descendants of African slaves with Brazilian native influences, probably beginning in the 16th century...

, a Brazilian martial art, the slaves had nicknames to protect them from being caught, as practicing capoeira was illegal for decades.

In Anglo-American culture, a nickname is often based on a shortening of a person's proper name, a diminutive. However, in other societies, this may not necessarily the case.

In Indian society, for example, generally people have at least one nickname (call name or affection name) and these affection names are generally not related to the person's proper name. Indian nicknames very often are a trivial word or a diminutive (such as Bablu, Dabbu, Banti, Babli, Gudiya, Golu, Sonu, Chhotu, Raju, Adi, Ritu, etc.).

In Australian society, Australian men will often give ironic nicknames. For example, a man with red hair
Red hair
Red hair occurs on approximately 1–2% of the human population. It occurs more frequently in people of northern or western European ancestry, and less frequently in other populations...

 will get the nickname 'Bluey'.

Performing arts

Many writers, performing artists, and actors have nicknames, which may develop into a stage name or pseudonym. A bardic name
Bardic name
A bardic name is a pseudonym, used in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany, by poets and other artists, especially those involved in the eisteddfod movement....

 may also result from a nickname. Many writers have pen names which they use instead of their real names. Famous writers with a pen name include Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

, Molière
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature...

, George Sand
George Sand
Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, later Baroness Dudevant , best known by her pseudonym George Sand , was a French novelist and memoirist.-Life:...

, Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson , better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll , was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer. His most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, as well as the poems "The Hunting of the...

, Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

, George Orwell
George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair , better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist...

, Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss
Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American writer, poet, and cartoonist most widely known for his children's books written under the pen names Dr. Seuss, Theo LeSieg and, in one case, Rosetta Stone....

, and Lemony Snicket
Lemony Snicket
Lemony Snicket is the pen name of American novelist Daniel Handler . Snicket is the author of several children's books, serving as the narrator of A Series of Unfortunate Events and appearing as a character within the series. Because of this, the name Lemony Snicket may refer to both a fictional...



In the context of information technology, a nickname (or technically a nick) is a common synonym for the screenname or handle of a user
User (computing)
A user is an agent, either a human agent or software agent, who uses a computer or network service. A user often has a user account and is identified by a username , screen name , nickname , or handle, which is derived from the identical Citizen's Band radio term.Users are...


Nickname is a name to shorten a name. Nick is a term originally used to identify a person in a system for synchronous conferencing
Synchronous conferencing
Synchronous conferencing is the formal term used in science, in particular in computer-mediated communication, collaboration and learning, to describe online chat technologies. It has arisen at a time when the term chat had a negative connotation...

. In computer network
Computer network
A computer network, often simply referred to as a network, is a collection of hardware components and computers interconnected by communication channels that allow sharing of resources and information....

s it has become a common practice for every person to also have one or more nicknames for the purposes of anonymity
Anonymity is derived from the Greek word ἀνωνυμία, anonymia, meaning "without a name" or "namelessness". In colloquial use, anonymity typically refers to the state of an individual's personal identity, or personally identifiable information, being publicly unknown.There are many reasons why a...

, to avoid ambiguity
Ambiguity of words or phrases is the ability to express more than one interpretation. It is distinct from vagueness, which is a statement about the lack of precision contained or available in the information.Context may play a role in resolving ambiguity...

 or simply because the natural name or technical address
Network address
Network address may refer to:*Base address*Classful address*IP address*IPX address*Logical address*Network layer address,*X.25/X.21 address*MAC address-See also:*Autonomous system *Host address*Link layer*Subnet mask...

 would be too long to type or take too much space on the screen
Computer display
A monitor or display is an electronic visual display for computers. The monitor comprises the display device, circuitry, and an enclosure...


Nicknames for people

Nicknames are usually awarded to, not chosen by the recipient.
Nicknames may be based on a person's name or various attributes. Attributes upon which a nickname may be based include:

They may refer to a person's occupation, social standing, or title. They may also refer to characterists of a person.
  • "Bones" for a forensic scientist
    Temperance Brennan (Bones)
    Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan, Ph.D. , is a fictional character portrayed by Emily Deschanel in the American Fox television series Bones...

    , surgeon
    Leonard McCoy
    Leonard "Bones" McCoy is a character in the Star Trek media franchise. First portrayed by DeForest Kelley in the original Star Trek series, McCoy also appears in the animated Star Trek series, seven Star Trek movies, the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and in numerous books,...

    , or mortician
  • "Sawbones" for a surgeon
    In medicine, a surgeon is a specialist in surgery. Surgery is a broad category of invasive medical treatment that involves the cutting of a body, whether human or animal, for a specific reason such as the removal of diseased tissue or to repair a tear or breakage...

  • "Doc" for a doctor.
  • "Sparky" for an electrician
    An electrician is a tradesman specializing in electrical wiring of buildings, stationary machines and related equipment. Electricians may be employed in the installation of new electrical components or the maintenance and repair of existing electrical infrastructure. Electricians may also...

  • "Sarge
    Sarge may refer to:* Sergeant, a military or police rank. Often shortened and used a term of endearment used out of familiarity. Sometimes heard as "Big Sarge", a further term of affection and endearment...

    " for a military Sergeant
    Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organizations around the world. Its origins are the Latin serviens, "one who serves", through the French term Sergent....

     as in the comic strip Beetle Bailey
    Beetle Bailey
    Beetle Bailey is an American comic strip set in a fictional United States Army military post, created by cartoonist Mort Walker. It is among the oldest comic strips still being produced by the original creator...

  • "Lou" for a Lieutenant (for example, a police lieutenant)
  • Similarly, "Chief" for a police or fire chief
  • Moneybags for a wealthy person.
  • Genius
    Genius is something or someone embodying exceptional intellectual ability, creativity, or originality, typically to a degree that is associated with the achievement of unprecedented insight....

     or brains for some one at school who is believed to be a clever person, although it should be said that "genius" in this colloquial sense is not the same as the technical use of the term "genius" in psychology
    Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...


Physical Characteristics, Personality, or Lifestyle
Physical Characteristics
Nicknames can be a descriptor of a physical characteristic, or the opposite of a physical characteristic. It should be noted that in English, such nicknames are often considered offensive or derogatory, unless the nickname is based on a trait that is viewed positively.
Some examples of nicknames related to physical characteristics include:
  • Weight: "Fatso" or "Slim" for a person who is overweight
    Overweight is generally defined as having more body fat than is optimally healthy. Being overweight is a common condition, especially where food supplies are plentiful and lifestyles are sedentary...

     or thin.
  • Height: "Beanpole" or "Short Fry" for a person who is tall or short.
  • Hair colour: "Red", "Ginger", or "Bluey" for a person with red hair. "Blondie" a girl with blonde hair.
  • Type of hair: "Curley" or "Cue Ball" for a person without hair as in "Curley" from "The Three Stooges"
  • Skin Colour: "Pinky" for a person with Rosacea
    Rosacea is a chronic condition characterized by facial erythema . Pimples are sometimes included as part of the definition. Unless it affects the eyes, it is typically a harmless cosmetic condition...

Sometimes nicknames are based on things that alter a person's physical appearance. Such nicknames can be temporary.
  • "Four-eyes" for a person with glasses
    Glasses, also known as eyeglasses , spectacles or simply specs , are frames bearing lenses worn in front of the eyes. They are normally used for vision correction or eye protection. Safety glasses are a kind of eye protection against flying debris or against visible and near visible light or...

  • "Train tracks
    Rail tracks
    The track on a railway or railroad, also known as the permanent way, is the structure consisting of the rails, fasteners, sleepers and ballast , plus the underlying subgrade...

    ", "tin teeth", or "braceface" for a person with braces, such as Sharon Spitz on the animated series Braceface
    Braceface is a Canadian animated series that aired on Teletoon in Canada, and on Disney Channel and ABC Family in the United States. Then Noggin's pre-teen programming block, The N, aired Braceface in reruns from May 2002 to April 2004. It moved in reruns on CBS as part of its KOL Secret Slumber...

  • "Zit" can be a name for someone with pimples
    Acne is a general term used for acneiform eruptions. It is usually used as a synonym for acne vulgaris, but may also refer to:*Acne aestivalis*Acne conglobata*Acne cosmetica*Acne fulminans*Acne keloidalis nuchae*Acne mechanica...


All of the above examples would be offensive in most contexts.


Nicknames can be a descriptor of a personality characteristic, or the opposite of a personality characteristic. These types of nicknames were often used in fairy tales such as "Snow White
Snow White
"Snow White" is a fairy tale known from many countries in Europe, the best known version being the German one collected by the Brothers Grimm...

". Sometimes such nicknames may be indicative of a physical disorder.
  • Talkative:"Motormouth","Chatterbox","Ratchet-Jaw"
  • Cautious: "Nervous Nellie"
  • Tired Demeanor: "Sleepy" as in a dwarf from Snow White
    Snow White
    "Snow White" is a fairy tale known from many countries in Europe, the best known version being the German one collected by the Brothers Grimm...

  • Pessimistic: "Sad Sack"

Mental characteristics
A nickname may allude to a person's apparent intelligence
Intelligence has been defined in different ways, including the abilities for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, emotional intelligence and problem solving....

 (though often used sarcastically):
  • Encyclopedia, as in Donald Sobol's fictional child detective Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown
    Encyclopedia Brown
    Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown is the main character in a long series of children's novels written by Donald J. Sobol since 1963.-Style:...

  • Einstein, referring to the famous physicist.
  • Sherlock, in reference to A. C. Doyle
    Arthur Conan Doyle
    Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger...

    's Sherlock Holmes
    Sherlock Holmes
    Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The fantastic London-based "consulting detective", Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve...

  • Brainiac
    Brainiac (comics)
    Brainiac is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Action Comics #242 , and was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino....

    , as in the fictional DC Comics
    DC Comics
    DC Comics, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment a company of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner...

  • Dopey
    The term "dopey" means stupid, foolish, or clumsy. It may refer to:*Dopey, a character in Disney's 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs*Dopey , an episode of the 1974 U.S. TV series Land of the Lost...

    , as in the dwarf from Snow White
    Snow White
    "Snow White" is a fairy tale known from many countries in Europe, the best known version being the German one collected by the Brothers Grimm...

  • Promiscuity: "Hot Lips" as in the character "Margaret Houlihan" from the novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors
    MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors
    MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors, the original novel that inspired the film MASH and TV series M*A*S*H, was written by Richard Hooker, himself a former military surgeon, and was about a fictional U.S. Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Korea during the Korean War. It was originally published in...


Social group
Sometimes an adjective can become a nickname for a member of a social group that shares a given name with another member of the same group. For example, to differentiate two tennis partners with the same name from each other, the more junior tennis buddy may be given a differentiated name or "nickname". This is, and never will be able to be chosen or even debated by the recipient. It simply is.....allocated. Paul number two in a team may be designated a name starting with the first letter of his surname. E.G.: Paul Haworth may be designated "Harry" and so on.
It is a differentiator and not a statement.
  • "Gay Anthony" or "Little Jake"
  • In a department with two professors with the initial and last name Liu, they may be referred to as "Important Liu" and "Adjunct Liu".

Abbreviation or modification
A nickname can be a shortened
An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or phrase. Usually, but not always, it consists of a letter or group of letters taken from the word or phrase...

 or modified variation on a person's real name.
  • Contraction
    Contraction (grammar)
    A contraction is a shortened version of the written and spoken forms of a word, syllable, or word group, created by omission of internal letters....

    s of longer names: Margaret to Greta.
  • Initials using the first letters of a person's first and last name.
  • Dropping a Letter: With many nicknames a letter, usually R, is dropped: Fanny from Francis, Walt from Walter.
  • Phonetic Spelling : Sometimes a nickname is created through the phonetic spelling of a name Len from Leonard.
  • Letter Swapping: During the middle ages
    Middle Ages
    The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

    , the letter R would often be swapped for either L or D: Hal from Harry, Molly
    Molly (name)
    Molly or Mollie is a pet-name for Mary . It is sometimes used as a name in its own right.-People:*Molly Burnett, American actress and singer...

     from Mary, Sadie
    Sadie, , a black Labrador Retriever, is a recipient of the Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross. She was awarded for detecting an explosive device outside the United Nations headquarters in Kabul in November 2005, and was awarded by the Princess Alexandra on 6 February 2007...

     from Sarah, Robert
    The name Robert is a Germanic given name, from hrod "fame" and beraht "bright". It is also in use as a surname.After becoming widely used in Continental Europe it entered England in its Old French form Robert, where an Old English cognate form had existed before the Norman Conquest...

    : Hob, Dob, Rob, Bob and Nob, from Richard
    The first or given name Richard derives from German, French, and English "ric" and "hard" , therefore it means 'powerful leader' as well as 'King's Court'...

    : Rick, Dick, and Hick; Bill from Will
    William (name)
    William is a popular given name of old Germanic origin. It became very popular in the English language after the Norman conquest of England in 1066, and remained so throughout the Middle Ages and into the modern era...

     (which in turn comes from William), and Peg from Meg (which is derived from Margaret).
  • In the 19th century, frontier America, Mary and Molly were often given the nickname Polly.

Name Portions
  • Front of name:Sometimes a nickname can come from the front: Chris
    Chris is a short form of various names including Christopher, Christian, Christina, Christine, Crissie and others. Unlike these names, however, it does not indicate the person's gender although it is much more common for males to have this name than it is for females. It is the preferred form of...

     from Christopher/Christine, Ed from Edward/Edmond/Edgar/Edwin, Iz or Izzy from Isaac/Isaiah/Isidore/Izale/Isabel/Isabella, Joe or Jo from Joseph/Josephine/Joanna, Marge from Margaret, Nick from Nicholas
    Nicholas or Nikolas is a male given name, derived from the Greek name Νικόλαος , a combination of the words for "victory" and "people" . The name can be understood to mean victory of the people or "power of the people"...

    , Peg from Peggy, Sam from Samuel/Samantha/Samson
  • End of Name: Drew from Andrew, Xander from Alexander, Eth from Kenneth, Topher from Christopher
  • Middle of Name: Liz from Elizabeth or Del/Della from Adelaide
  • Addition of Diminutives to Names:Before the 17th century, most nicknames had the diminutive ending "in" or "Kin", where the ending is attached to the first syllable: Watkin/Walter/Wat-kin Hobkin/Robert/Hob-kin or Thompkin/Thomas/Thom-Kin. While most of these have died away, a few remain such as Robin
    Robin (name)
    Robin was originally a diminutive given name of Robert, derived from the prefix Rob- , and the suffix -in . More recently, it is used as an independent name. The name Robin is uncommon in being a masculine given name, feminine given name, and a surname...

     (Rob-in, from Robert), Hank
    In the textile industry, a hank refers to a unit of yarn or twine that is in a coiled form. This is often the best form for use with hand looms, compared to the cone form needed for power looms. Hanks come in a fixed length depending on the type of material, so the term hank is sometimes used as a...

     (Hen-Kin from Henry), Jack (Jan-kin from John), and Colin
    Colin (given name)
    Colin is a male given name. Colin is usually pronounced , although General Colin Powell chooses to use .Like many given names, it has multiple origins, including:...

     (Col-in from Nicolas).
  • Many nicknames usually drop the final one or two letters and add ether ie/ee/y as an ending: Davy from David, Charlie from Charles, and Jimmy from James
  • In some cases, another name may be used as a nickname.
  • Initialization
    Acronym and initialism
    Acronyms and initialisms are abbreviations formed from the initial components in a phrase or a word. These components may be individual letters or parts of words . There is no universal agreement on the precise definition of the various terms , nor on written usage...

    , which forms a nickname from a person's initials: A.C. Slater from Albert Clifford Slater
  • Nicknames are sometimes based on a person's last name ("Tommo" for Bill Thompson) or a combination of first and last name ("Droopy" for Andrew Peterson, or "A-Rod" for Alex Rodriguez
    Alex Rodriguez
    Alexander Emmanuel "Alex" Rodriguez is an American professional baseball third baseman with the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball. Known popularly by his nickname A-Rod, he previously played shortstop for the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers.Rodriguez is considered one of the best...

  • Loose ties to a person's name with an attached suffix: Gazza for English footballer Paul Gascoigne
    Paul Gascoigne
    Paul John Gascoigne , commonly referred to as Gazza, is a retired English professional footballer.Playing in the position of midfield, Gascoigne's career included spells at Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Lazio, Rangers, Middlesbrough, Everton and Gansu Tianma, where he scored at least a goal...

     (though used more widely in Australia for Gary
    Gary (given name)
    The masculine given name Gary is derived from the word 'spear' in Germanic , meaning a 'spear bearer' and the name is an "acceptable" Anglicised spelling of the Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic personal name Garaidh which, like Gary, is also pronounced gæri.The usage of Gary as a male given name...

    ) and similar "zza" forms (Hezza
    Michael Heseltine
    Michael Ray Dibdin Heseltine, Baron Heseltine, CH, PC is a British businessman, Conservative politician and patron of the Tory Reform Group. He was a Member of Parliament from 1966 to 2001 and was a prominent figure in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major...

    , Prezza
    John Prescott
    John Leslie Prescott, Baron Prescott is a British politician who was Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007. Born in Prestatyn, Wales, he represented Hull East as the Labour Member of Parliament from 1970 to 2010...

    , etc.) for other prominent personalities whose activities are frequently reported in the British press. (See also Oxford "-er" for a similar but wider phenomenon.)
  • Combination of first and middle name, or variations of a person's first and middle name. For example, a person may have the name Mary Elizabeth but has the nickname "Maz" or "Miz" by combining Mary and Liz.

They may refer to the relationship with the person. This is a term of endearment
Term of endearment
A term of endearment is a word or phrase used to address and/or describe a person, animal or inanimate object for which the speaker feels love or affection...

  • In Japanese culture, Japanese honorifics
    Japanese honorifics
    The Japanese language has many honorifics, parts of speech which show respect, and their use is mandatory in many social situations. Honorifics in Japanese may be used to emphasize social distance or disparity in rank, or to emphasize social intimacy or similarity in rank.The system of honorifics...

     are designed so that a term of endearment conveys the exact status of the relationship between two people. However, the recipient of the honorific is allowed to restrict the use when used by a certain person.

To avoid confusion between peer groups with the same given names, surnames may be used.

A nickname can be used to distinguish members of the same family sharing the same name from one another. This has several common patterns among sons named for fathers:
  • The first bearer of the name can be referred to as Senior, Daddy
    A father, Pop, Dad, or Papa, is defined as a male parent of any type of offspring. The adjective "paternal" refers to father, parallel to "maternal" for mother...

     or have "Big", or "Older" placed in front of his given name, as in "Big Pete", or "Older Pete".
  • A son named after his father (but not after his grandfather) is often referred to as Junior, Chip (also a diminutive of Charles, but in this case in reference to "a chip off the old block"), Skip, Sonny, Bud, Buddy, or Deuce. Skip can also refer to a man named after his paternal grandfather, implying that the name "skipped" a generation
    Generation , also known as procreation in biological sciences, is the act of producing offspring....

    . Another common, but much less popular nickname for a son named after his father is having "Little" placed in front of his name, as in "Little Pete
    Little Pete
    Fung Jing Toy, commonly known as Little Pete was a prominent leader of the Som Yop Tong during the Tong wars of San Francisco's Chinatown in the 1890s....

    ", though this tends to be avoided if possible (especially if the son happens to become physically bigger than the father he's named after, and/or when the son becomes a full grown adult, regardless of if he does, or doesn't physically outgrow the father he shares a name with), due to its unpopularity with most sons who share the same name with their fathers. Likewise, a similar, and more acceptable form of this kind of nickname is to have "Younger" placed in front of the son's name instead, as in "Younger Pete".
  • The third generation carrying a name (usually with III after his name) is often referred to as Trey, Tripp, or Trip (from Triple). Skip also is a frequently used nickname for "thirds" because they "skipped" being a "Junior".
  • The fourth generation carrying a name (usually with IV after his name) may be referred to as Ivy, (as in IV) Quad, Quadry, or Dru (from Quadruple
    Quadruple may refer to:* Tuple, a mathematical structure* Quadruple, a term for winning four association trophies* Quad , a figure skating jump* Home run in baseball* Quadruple-precision floating-point format in computing...

  • The fifth generation carrying a name (usually with V after his name) may be referred to as Quint, Quince, Quincy, or Quinton (from Quintuple).

It may relate to a specific incident or action.
  • Capability Brown
    Capability Brown
    Lancelot Brown , more commonly known as Capability Brown, was an English landscape architect. He is remembered as "the last of the great English eighteenth-century artists to be accorded his due", and "England's greatest gardener". He designed over 170 parks, many of which still endure...

     was so called because he used the word "capability" instead of "possibility".
  • Chemical Ali
    Ali Hassan al-Majid
    Ali Hassan Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti , , was a Ba'athist Iraqi Defense Minister, Interior Minister, military commander and chief of the Iraqi Intelligence Service...

     and Comical Ali
    Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf
    Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf is a former Iraqi diplomat and politician. He came to wide prominence around the world during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, during which he was the Iraqi Information Minister under Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, acting as the mouthpiece for the Baath Party and Saddam's regime...

  • Thirteen
    Thirteen (House)
    Remy "Thirteen" Hadley, M.D., is a fictional character on the Fox medical drama House, portrayed by Olivia Wilde. She is part of the new diagnostic team assembled by Dr. Gregory House after the disbanding of his previous team in the third season finale...

     for Dr. Remy Hadley from TV's House MD, because she was assigned the number 13 in her job interview process and continued to be called by her number even after she was hired.
  • Many fictional characters have nicknames relating to events. Examples include the Red Comet
    Char Aznable
    , born is a fictional character from the Gundam franchise. He is originally one of the main antagonists in Mobile Suit Gundam and later becomes one of the protagonists of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. In his final appearance in Char's Counterattack, he assumes leadership of the Neo Zeon movement,...

     and Lightning Baron of the Mobile Suit Gundam
    Mobile Suit Gundam
    is a televised anime series, created by Sunrise. Created and directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino, it premiered in Japan on Nagoya Broadcasting Network on April 7, 1979, and lasted until January 26, 1980, spanning 43 episodes...

  • "Opa" for the Dutch lifesaving KNRM
    Koninklijke Nederlandse Redding Maatschappij
    The Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution is the voluntary organization in the Netherlands tasked with saving lives at sea. For that purpose, it maintains 39 lifeboat stations along the Dutch coast of the North Sea and Wadden Sea and on the IJsselmeer...

    Folk hero
    A folk hero is a type of hero, real, fictional, or mythological. The single salient characteristic which makes a character a folk hero is the imprinting of the name, personality and deeds of the character in the popular consciousness. This presence in the popular consciousness is evidenced by...

     Dorus Rijkers
    Dorus Rijkers
    Theodorus "Dorus" Rijkers was a famous Dutch lifeboat captain and folk hero, most famous for his sea rescues of 487 shipwrecked victims over a total of 38 rescue operations, and at least 25 before joining the lifeboat-service....

    . Dorus became a Grandpa (Dutch:Opa), at the age of 23 (by marriage to a widow with eight children), and soon everybody called him Opa.
  • "The Falling Man
    The Falling Man
    The Falling Man is a photograph taken by Associated Press photographer Richard Drew, of a man falling from the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:41:15 a.m. during the September 11 attacks in New York City...

    " for one of the jumpers during the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center terrorrist attacks.

Famous/fictional character
It may compare the person with a famous or fictional character.
  • Napoleon or Hitler
    Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

     for someone with a dictatorial manner.
  • Pollyanna
    Pollyanna is a best-selling 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter that is now considered a classic of children's literature, with the title character's name becoming a popular term for someone with the same optimistic outlook. The book was such a success, that Porter soon produced a sequel, Pollyanna...

     for someone with a very optimistic view of things.
  • Hawkeye as in Hawkeye Pierce for someone who can make light of a most devastating

situation, from the TV Series, *M.A.S.H*, set in 1950's war-torn South Korea.

Place of origin/residence
It may be related to their place of origin or residence
A home is a place of residence or refuge. When it refers to a building, it is usually a place in which an individual or a family can rest and store personal property. Most modern-day households contain sanitary facilities and a means of preparing food. Animals have their own homes as well, either...

  • Gloucester, Paul from Gloucester or PFG for someone named Paul who comes from Gloucester
    Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

  • Newf or Newfie a person from Newfoundland,Canada

It may be derived from or related to what the person is well known for.
  • The Duke for John Wayne
    John Wayne
    Marion Mitchell Morrison , better known by his stage name John Wayne, was an American film actor, director and producer. He epitomized rugged masculinity and became an enduring American icon. He is famous for his distinctive calm voice, walk, and height...

  • The Angel of Death for Josef Mengele
    Josef Mengele
    Josef Rudolf Mengele , also known as the Angel of Death was a German SS officer and a physician in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. He earned doctorates in anthropology from Munich University and in medicine from Frankfurt University...

  • The Hangman, The Blonde Beast for Reinhard Heydrich
    Reinhard Heydrich
    Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich , also known as The Hangman, was a high-ranking German Nazi official.He was SS-Obergruppenführer and General der Polizei, chief of the Reich Main Security Office and Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia...

It may refer to a person's political affiliation.
  • Dipper for a member of Canada's New Democratic Party
    New Democratic Party
    The New Democratic Party , commonly referred to as the NDP, is a federal social-democratic political party in Canada. The interim leader of the NDP is Nycole Turmel who was appointed to the position due to the illness of Jack Layton, who died on August 22, 2011. The provincial wings of the NDP in...

  • Tory
    Toryism is a traditionalist and conservative political philosophy which grew out of the Cavalier faction in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It is a prominent ideology in the politics of the United Kingdom, but also features in parts of The Commonwealth, particularly in Canada...

     for a person affiliated with the United Kingdom
    Conservative Party (UK)
    The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

    's or Canada's Conservative
    Canadian conservatism
    Conservatism in Canada is generally considered to be primarily represented by the Conservative Party of Canada at the federal level, and by various right-wing parties at the provincial level...


A famous person's nickname may be unique to them:
  • Tippecanoe for William Henry Harrison
    William Henry Harrison
    William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States , an American military officer and politician, and the first president to die in office. He was 68 years, 23 days old when elected, the oldest president elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980, and last President to be born before the...

  • Dubya for George W. Bush
    George W. Bush
    George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

    , a Texan pronunciation of the name of the letter 'W', President Bush's middle initial.

Nicknames of geographical places

Many geographic places adopt nicknames because they can help in establishing a civic identity, help outsiders recognize a community or attract people to a community because of its nickname, promote civic pride, and build community unity. Nicknames and slogans that successfully create a new community "ideology or myth" are also believed to have economic value. Their economic value is difficult to measure, but there are anecdotal reports of cities that have achieved substantial economic benefits by "branding" themselves by adopting new slogans.

Collective nicknames of inhabitants of a geographical place

Besides or replacing the demonym
A demonym , also referred to as a gentilic, is a name for a resident of a locality. A demonym is usually – though not always – derived from the name of the locality; thus, the demonym for the people of England is English, and the demonym for the people of Italy is Italian, yet, in english, the one...

, some cities and villages have collective nicknames for their inhabitants. This tradition is still strong nowadays in Wallonia (Belgium), where this sort of nickname is referred to in French as "Blason populaire
Blason populaire
Blason populaire is an umbrella genre in the field of folkloristics used to designate any item of any genre which makes use of stereotypes, usually, but not always, negative stereotypes, of a particular group....


See also

  • Athletic nickname
    Athletic nickname
    The athletic nickname, or equivalently athletic moniker, of a university or college within the United States is the name officially adopted by that institution for at least the members of its athletic teams...

  • Australian national sports team nicknames
    Australian national sports team nicknames
    In Australia, the national representative team of many sports has a nickname, used informally when referring to the team in the media or in conversation. These nicknames are typically derived from well-known symbols of Australia. Often the nickname is combined with that of a commercial sponsor,...

  • List of nicknames of jazz musicians
  • List of nicknames of United States presidents
  • List of North American football nicknames
  • List of sportspeople by nickname
  • Lists of nicknames in football (soccer)
  • Moniker
  • Pseudonym
  • Regimental nicknames of the Canadian Forces
    Regimental nicknames of the Canadian Forces
    Many regiments have over the years earned nicknames; some laudatory, some derogatory, but all colourful. Sometimes, the nicknames themselves have overshadowed the actual regimental title, e.g. the "Van Doos" for the Royal 22e Régiment...

  • Sobriquet
    A sobriquet is a nickname, sometimes assumed, but often given by another. It is usually a familiar name, distinct from a pseudonym assumed as a disguise, but a nickname which is familiar enough such that it can be used in place of a real name without the need of explanation...

  • Terms of endearment
    Terms of Endearment
    Terms of Endearment is a 1983 romantic comedy-drama film adapted by James L. Brooks from the novel by Larry McMurtry and starring Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, and Jack Nicholson...

  • Victory titles

External links

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