Nickname

Last updated

A nickname is a substitute for the proper name of a familiar person, place or thing. Commonly used to express affection, a form of endearment and sometimes amusement, it can also be used to express defamation of character, particularly by school bullies. 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 hypocoristic is a nickname of affection between those in love or with a close emotional bond. "Moniker" is a synonym. [1]

Contents

Etymology

The compound word ekename, literally meaning "additional name", was attested as early as 1303. [2] This word was derived from the Old English phrase eac "also", [3] related to eacian "to increase". [4] By the 15th century, the misdivision of the syllables of the phrase "an ekename" led to its rephrasing as "a nekename". [5] Though the spelling has changed, the pronunciation and meaning of the word have remained relatively stable ever since.

Conventions in various languages

English nicknames are generally represented in quotes between the bearer's first and last names (e.g., Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower , Daniel Lamont "Bubba" Franks , etc.). However, it is also common for the nickname to be identified after a comma following the full real name or later in the body of the text, such as in an obituary (e.g., Frankie Frisch, "The Fordham Flash" ). Any middle name is generally omitted, especially in speech. Like English, German uses (German-style) quotation marks between the first and last names (e.g., Andreas Nikolaus "Niki" Lauda ). 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 ), in Spanish the nickname is written in formal contexts at the end in quotes following alias (e.g. Alfonso Tostado, alias «el Abulense»), in Portuguese the nickname is written after the full name followed by vulgo (e.g. Edson Arantes do Nascimento, vulgo Pelé) 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.

Uses in various societies

In Viking societies, many people had heiti, viðrnefni, or kenningarnöfn (Old Norse terms for nicknames) [6] which were used in addition to, or instead of, the first name. 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 and an exchange of gifts known in Old Norse as nafnfestr ('fastening a name').

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.[ citation needed ]

In England, some nicknames are traditionally associated with a person's surname. A man with the surname 'Clark' will be nicknamed 'Nobby': the surname 'Miller' will have the nickname 'Dusty' (alluding to the flour dust of a miller at work): the surname 'Adams' has the nickname 'Nabby'. There are several other nicknames linked traditionally with a person's surname, including Chalky White, Bunny Warren, Tug Wilson, and Spud Baker. Other English nicknames allude to a person's origins. A Scotsman may be nicknamed 'Jock', an Irishman 'Paddy' (alluding to Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland) or 'Mick' (alluding to the preponderance of Roman Catholicism in Ireland), and a Welshman may be nicknamed 'Taffy'. Some nicknames referred ironically to a person's physical characteristics, such as 'Lofty' for a short person, or 'Curly' for a bald man. Traditional English nicknaming – usually for men rather than women – was common through the first half of the 20th century, and was frequently used in the armed services during World War I and World War II, but has become less common since then.[ citation needed ]

In Chinese culture, nicknames are frequently used within a community among relatives, friends and neighbours. A typical southern Chinese nickname often begins with a "阿" followed by another character, usually, the last character of the person's given name. [7] For example, Taiwanese politician Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is sometimes referred as "阿扁" (A-Bian). In many Chinese communities of Southeast Asia, nicknames may also connote one's occupation or status. For example, the landlord might be known simply as Towkay (simplified Chinese :头家; traditional Chinese :頭家; Pe̍h-ōe-jī :thâu-ke) Hokkien for "boss") to his tenants or workers while a bread seller would be called "Mianbao Shu" 面包叔 (literally, Uncle Bread). Among Cantonese-speaking communities, the character "仔" (pronounced "Zai") may be used in a similar context of "Junior" in Western naming practices.

Computing

In the context of information technology, a nickname (usually called a nick) is a common synonym for the screen name or handle of a user. In computer networks it has become a common practice for every person to also have one or more nicknames for pseudonymity, to avoid ambiguity, or simply because the natural name or technical address would be too long to type or take too much space on the screen.

People

"I, Jimmy Carter..." James Earl Carter is sworn in as President of the United States using his nickname "Jimmy" in January 1977. Carter-inauguration-large.jpg
"I, Jimmy Carter..." James Earl Carter is sworn in as President of the United States using his nickname "Jimmy" in January 1977.

Nicknames are usually applied to a person and they are not always chosen by the recipient themselves. Some nicknames are derogatory name calls.

Abbreviation or modification

A nickname can be a shortened or modified variation on a person's real name.

Name portions

Relationship

A nickname may refer to the relationship with the person. This is a term of endearment.

Geography

Titles of geographical places

Nicknames of U.S. states, 1884 Nicknames of the states, 1884.jpg
Nicknames of U.S. states, 1884

Many geographical places have titles, or alternative names, which have positive implications. Paris, for example, is the "City of Light", Venice is "La Serenissima", and New Jersey is the "Garden State". It is not correct to call these titles nicknames; these alternative names are often used to boost the status of such places, contrary to the usual role of a nickname. Many places or communities, particularly in the US, adopt titles because they can help in establishing a civic identity, help outsiders recognize a community or attract people to a community, promote civic pride, and build community unity. [9] Titles and slogans that successfully create a new community "ideology or myth" [10] are also believed to have economic value. [9] Their economic value is difficult to measure, [9] but there are anecdotal reports of cities that have achieved substantial economic benefits by "branding" themselves by adopting new slogans. [10]

By contrast, older city nicknames may be critical: London is still occasionally referred to as "The Smoke" in memory of its notorious "pea-souper" smogs (smoke-filled fogs) of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and Edinburgh was "Auld Reekie" for the same reason, as countless coal fires polluted its atmosphere.

Collective nicknames of inhabitants of a geographical place

Besides or replacing the demonym, some places have collective nicknames for their inhabitants. Many examples of this practice are found in Wallonia and in Belgium in general, where such a nickname is referred to in French as "blason populaire".

See also

Related Research Articles

Chinese personal names are names used by those from Greater China and other parts of the Chinese-speaking world throughout East Asia and Southeast Asia. In addition, many names used in Korea and Vietnam are adaptations of Chinese names or have historical roots in Chinese, due to China's cultural influence in the region historically.

Arabic names have historically been based on a long naming system. Most Arabs have not had given/middle/family names but rather a chain of names. This system remains in use throughout the Arab world.

Personal name Set of names by which an individual is known

A personal name, or full name, in onomastic terminology also known as prosoponym, is the set of names by which an individual person is known, and that can be recited as a word-group, with the understanding that, taken together, they all relate to that one individual. In many cultures, the term is synonymous with the birth name or legal name of the individual. In linguistic classification, personal names are studied within a specific onomastic discipline, called anthroponymy.

Unisex name Given name used multiple genders

A unisex name is a given name that is not gender-specific. Unisex names are common in the English-speaking world, especially in the United States. By contrast, some countries have laws preventing unisex names, requiring parents to give their children sex-specific names. In other countries or cultures, social norms oppose such names and transgressions may result in discrimination, ridicule, and psychological abuse.

A diminutive is a root word that has been modified to convey a slighter degree of its root meaning, to convey the smallness of the object or quality named, or to convey a sense of intimacy or endearment. A diminutive form is a word-formation device used to express such meanings. In many languages, such forms can be translated as "little" and diminutives can also be formed as multi-word constructions such as "Tiny Tim". Diminutives are often employed as nicknames and pet names when speaking to small children and when expressing extreme tenderness and intimacy to an adult. The opposite of the diminutive form is the augmentative. Beyond the diminutive form of a single word, a diminutive can be a multi-word name, such as "Tiny Tim" or "Little Dorrit".

Eastern Slavic naming customs

Eastern Slavic naming customs are the traditional way of identifying a person's given name and patronymic name in countries formerly part of the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union.

A hypocorism or pet name is a name used to show affection for a person or object. It may be a diminutive form of a person's name, such as Izzy for Isabel or Bob for Robert, or it may be unrelated.

An honorific is a title that conveys esteem, courtesy, or respect for position or rank when used in addressing or referring to a person. Sometimes, the term "honorific" is used in a more specific sense to refer to an honorary academic title. It is also often conflated with systems of honorific speech in linguistics, which are grammatical or morphological ways of encoding the relative social status of speakers. Honorifics can be used as prefixes or suffixes depending on the appropriate occasion and presentation in accordance with style and customs.

Filipinos have various naming customs. They most commonly blend the older Spanish system and Anglo-American conventions, where there is a distinction between the "Christian name" and the "surname". The construct containing several middle names is common to all systems, but having multiple "first" names and only one middle and last name is a result of the blending of American and Spanish naming customs.

The Japanese language makes use of honorific suffixes and prefixes when referring to others in a conversation. Suffixes are attached to the end of names and are often gender-specific, while prefixes are attached to the beginning of many nouns. Honorific suffixes also indicate the level of the speaker and referred individual's relationship and are often used alongside other components of Japanese honorific speech, called keigo (敬語).

Polish names have two main elements: the imię, the first name, or given name; and the nazwisko, the last name, family name (surname).

Indian names are based on a variety of systems and naming conventions, which vary from region to region. Names are also influenced by religion and caste and may come from epics. India's population speaks a wide variety of languages and nearly every major religion in the world has a following in India. This variety makes for subtle, often confusing, differences in names and naming styles. Due to historical Indian cultural influences, several names across South and Southeast Asia are influenced by or adapted from Indian names or words.

A term of endearment is a word or phrase used to address or describe a person, animal or inanimate object for which the speaker feels love or affection. Terms of endearment are used for a variety of reasons, such as parents addressing their children and lovers addressing each other.

Babu (title) Term of respect or endearment for a, generally older, man

The title babu, also spelled baboo, is used in the Indian subcontinent as a sign of respect towards men. In some cultures, the term 'Babu' is a term of endearment for a loved one as well. The honorific "ji" is sometimes added as a suffix to create the double honorific "babuji" which, in northern and eastern parts of India, is a term of respect for one's father. "Babuji" can also be used as a term of respect for any respected elder or man. Babus are defined as Hindoo gentlemen, or a native clerk who writes English; it is also a Hindoo title answering to Mr. or Esquire.

Jenkins is a surname that originated in Cornwall, but came to be popular in southern Wales. The name "Jenkin" originally meant "little John" or "son of John". The "kin" portion is of Dutch origin (-kijn), which then gained a certain popularity in England.

A Lithuanian personal name, as in most European cultures, consists of two main elements: the given name followed by the family name. The usage of personal names in Lithuania is generally governed by three major factors: civil law, canon law, and tradition. Lithuanian names always follow the rules of the Lithuanian language. Lithuanian male names have preserved the Indo-European masculine endings. These gendered endings are preserved even for foreign names.

Mononymous person Individual who is known and addressed by a single name

A mononymous person is an individual who is known and addressed by a single name, or mononym. In some cases, that name has been selected by the individual, who may have originally been given a polynym. In other cases, it has been determined by the custom of the country or by some interested segment. In the case of historical figures, it may be the only one of the individual's names that has survived and is still known today.

The system of Russian honorifics is used by the speakers of Russian languages to linguistically encode relative social status, degree of respect and the nature of interpersonal relationship. Typical linguistic tools employed for this purpose include using different parts of a person's full name, name suffixes, and honorific plural.

References

  1. "dictionary". merriam-webster.
  2. "eke-name, n.", OED Online, Oxford University Press, June 2017, retrieved 1 September 2017
  3. "nickname", Merriam Webster Online, retrieved 2020-06-05
  4. "nickname", Online Etymology Dictionary, retrieved 2007-08-31
  5. "nickname". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  6. Willson, Kendra Jean (2007). "Icelandic Nicknames".
  7. Liwei, Jiao (12 November 2019). A Cultural Dictionary of The Chinese Language: 500 Proverbs, Idioms and Maxims. ISBN   9781000713022.
  8. "Ronaldo Nazario – "O Fenômeno"". Ronaldo.com. Retrieved 2 July 2021. Nickname: R9
  9. 1 2 3 Muench, David (December 1993) "Wisconsin Community Slogans: Their Use and Local Impacts" Archived 2013-03-09 at the Wayback Machine University of Wisconsin - Extension Retrieved April 10, 2007.
  10. 1 2 Andia, Alfredo (September 10, 2007) "Branding the Generic City" Archived 2008-05-21 at the Wayback Machine , MU.DOT magazine