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

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Other Words from nickname

Verb

nicknamer noun

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 Zakoby McClain was somewhat confused when defensive coordinator Kevin Steele bestowed a new nickname upon him one day in practice during his freshman season last year. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, "How Zakoby McClain made a ‘household name’ for himself as Ricochet Rabbit," 20 Dec. 2019 The high school will then pull a group of students together to develop a new nickname and new mascot, according to Menomonee Falls School Board President Faith Vanderhorst. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Menomonee Falls School Board votes to change Indians mascot," 9 Dec. 2019 On Wednesday, his teammates gave Galli a new nickname -- SC. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "Mt. Vernon's Cooper Galli banks in buzzer-beater 3, makes SportsCenter's No. 3 play," 4 Dec. 2019 Team ownership opted for consistency and history over a trendy new nickname for the Red Sox’ Triple-A affiliate, which is moving from Pawtucket to Worcester beginning in 2021. BostonGlobe.com, "In the end, the Worcester Red Sox won out.," 26 Nov. 2019 In addition to his new viral fame, Rivera now has a new nickname via social media: #DancingPriest. Gerren Keith Gaynor, Fox News, "Dancing priest wows crowd during surprise routine at Florida high school," 2 Nov. 2019 Owner Ted Lerner, 94, apparently has a new nickname. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "Washington Nationals' World Series celebration in D.C.: Highlights from parade," 2 Nov. 2019 This isn’t the first time Dania has gone on the hunt for a new nickname. Susannah Bryan, sun-sentinel.com, "County’s oldest city gets new nickname to show off new vibe," 29 Oct. 2019 Her persistence in following the flow of money became so legendary, her coworkers gave her a royal new nickname. Breeanna Hare, CNN, "How the 'empress of money laundering' took down a Colombian cartel," 5 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Denverites’ love of nicknaming their neighborhoods is pretty obvious — LoDo, LoHi, RiNo. Saja Hindi, The Denver Post, "What’s UpDo? The Central Business district has a new name and a new plan," 6 Nov. 2019 Aboard the capsule is a dummy nicknamed Rosie, after the iconic World War II figure Rosie the Riveter, which is outfitted with dozens of sensors to measure the G-forces astronauts will endure. Jackie Wattles, CNN, "Boeing just moved one big step closer toward launching humans into space," 20 Dec. 2019 Elk Grove’s beefy offensive line are nicknamed the Hammerheads. Mitch Stephens, SFChronicle.com, "Metro football teams facing elite opposition in NorCal games," 3 Dec. 2019 Iya, the gentle giant nicknamed Beanpole (first-timer Viktoria Miroshnichenko), was discharged for shell shock and suffers strange paralytic blackouts as a result of the trauma. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, "Oscars: International Film Race Puts Spotlight on Extreme Female Characters," 8 Nov. 2019 In October of 2018, Google introduced a new method nicknamed BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers). Quanta Magazine, "Machines Beat Humans on a Reading Test. But Do They Understand?," 17 Oct. 2019 This year, he was given a spot on the judging panel for Etsy’s first-ever Design Awards, affectionately nicknamed The Etsies, which revealed its grand prize winner this week. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Actor Dan Levy Dishes on Judging Etsy’s Inaugural Design Awards," 25 Sep. 2019 George’s moronic gym coach nicknamed him Can’t-Stand-Ya. Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY, "'Seinfeld': 30 ways the 'show about nothing' is still something 30 years later," 3 July 2019 Zin Htet, whose fans have aptly nicknamed her Superman, didn’t let that stop her, though. Leah Campbell, Glamour, "Miss Universe is Breaking Barriers With Its First Openly Gay Contestant," 7 Dec. 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

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Statistics for nickname

Last Updated

9 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nickname.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nickname. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for nickname

nickname

noun
How to pronounce nickname (audio)

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

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Comments on nickname

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to insert between existing elements

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