nickname

noun
nick·​name | \ ˈnik-ˌnām How to pronounce nickname (audio) \

Definition of nickname

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a usually descriptive name given instead of or in addition to the one belonging to a person, place, or thing
2 : a familiar form of a proper name (as of a person or a city)

nickname

verb
nicknamed; nicknaming; nicknames

Definition of nickname (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

2 : to give a nickname to

Other Words from nickname

Verb

nicknamer noun

Synonyms for nickname

Synonyms: Noun

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History of Nickname

It might look like nickname is a compound noun formed by adding nick and name together, but the actual history of this word is a bit more complicated. It was formed by metanalysis, or the changing of the division of words based upon how they sound together. In this case, the Middle English word eke, meaning “also” or “in addition,” was joined with name to form ekename—literally, “also-name,” used for a secondary or unofficial name in the late Middle Ages. Over time, an ekename became a nickname presumably because eke had become less familiar as a word. Needless to say, nick in this case doesn’t mean “also” or anything else, it just represents a comfortable and familiar alternative to the word’s original spelling.

Examples of nickname in a Sentence

Noun His mother gave him the nickname “Winky” when he was a baby. Earvin “Magic” Johnson got his nickname from the way he handled a basketball.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah doesn’t have a nickname preference. Ashley Bastock, cleveland, 8 Jan. 2022 Washington faced pressure from Native Americans, who said the previous nickname was racist, and from corporate sponsors, such as FedEx, which requested the team change its name. Scooby Axson, USA TODAY, 4 Jan. 2022 But that will likely change in 2022 with the opening of a new luxury hotel called Golden Rock -- after the island's nickname. CNN, 1 Jan. 2022 The nickname stuck so soundly that Bell began casting it on the helicopter’s anti-torque pedals. Eric Tegler, Forbes, 23 Dec. 2021 The item — a device used to identify U.S. military personal in the field — was among several that Wang, who goes by the nickname Ivy, obtained for her husband’s resale business through her Navy credentials, according to prosecutors. Kristina Davis, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Dec. 2021 The university says the Ole Miss nickname arose from a university yearbook contest in the late 1800s. al, 18 Dec. 2021 In Kansas, Carolyn Burnett begged her son, who went by the nickname Coach Cheese because of his love of cheeseburgers, to get vaccinated. Heather Hollingsworth, chicagotribune.com, 15 Dec. 2021 In Kansas, Carolyn Burnett begged her son, who went by the nickname Coach Cheese because of his love of cheeseburgers, to get vaccinated. Heather Hollingsworth, Anchorage Daily News, 15 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Your cellmates got word of your crime, and nickname you the Autumn Reaper. Colin Nissan, The New Yorker, 22 Oct. 2021 The hurler, nicknamed Thor, has been among the top pitchers in the Mets’ starting rotation and in baseball. Fox News, 26 May 2020 After his haul is loaded onto the boat, Parker stays overnight with the merchandise, then returns home on the high tide the next morning to restock the shelves in his store, nicknamed ToshCo, with up to $20,000 worth of products. Cathy Free, Anchorage Daily News, 20 May 2020 Rabbit images appear throughout the bar’s exterior and interior; customers are playfully nicknamed conejitos (little rabbits). Eric Velasco, al, 12 May 2020 This started dawning on people after the California Employment Development Department began processing applications for pandemic benefits, nicknamed PUA, on Tuesday. Kathleen Pender, SFChronicle.com, 2 May 2020 English joined Nelson’s band, nicknamed the Family, in 1966 and continued with him for most of his long career. Washington Post, 12 Feb. 2020 As the world was slowly starting to come to terms with our new stay-at-home mandate, the beloved DJ curated a party for thousands of people right in their living room, which was also nicknamed Club Quarantine. Nandi Howard, Essence, 6 Apr. 2020 Microsoft said the hacking group, which is nicknamed Phosphorus, successfully accessed four accounts, though none belonging to current or former government officials. Alyssa Newcomb, Fortune, 4 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nickname.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of nickname

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1536, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nickname

Noun

Middle English nekename additional name, alteration (resulting from misdivision of an ekename) of ekename, from eke eke, also + name name

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Time Traveler for nickname

Time Traveler

The first known use of nickname was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near nickname

nicknack

nickname

nicknameless

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Statistics for nickname

Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Nickname.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nickname. Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for nickname

nickname

noun

English Language Learners Definition of nickname

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a name (such as "Moose" or "Lady Bird") that is different from your real name but is what your family, friends, etc., call you when they are talking to you or about you

nickname

verb

English Language Learners Definition of nickname (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give (someone) a name that is not that person's real name : to give a nickname to (someone)

nickname

noun
nick·​name | \ ˈnik-ˌnām How to pronounce nickname (audio) \

Kids Definition of nickname

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a usually descriptive name used in addition to a person's given name My brother had the nickname "Nosy."
2 : a familiar form of a proper name "Bill" and "Willie" are nicknames for "William."

nickname

verb
nicknamed; nicknaming

Kids Definition of nickname (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give a usually descriptive name to that is additional to a given name

More from Merriam-Webster on nickname

Nglish: Translation of nickname for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nickname for Arabic Speakers

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