nickname

noun
nick·name | \ ˈnik-ˌnām \

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

Synonyms for nickname

Synonyms: Noun

alias, byname, cognomen, epithet, handle, moniker (also monicker), sobriquet (also soubriquet), surname

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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

Video of the incident shot by Austin went viral over the weekend, with Ettel earning the nickname #PermitPatty. Paula Rogo, Essence.com, "Oh Well! Woman Who Called The Cops On Black Girl Selling Water Says Backlash Is Hurting Her Marijuana Business," 26 June 2018 Republicans seemed confused about the nickname, too. Maureen Groppe, Indianapolis Star, "8 takeaways from Trump's speech at Elkhart rally," 11 May 2018 In each case, the party accused of profiling has earned a nickname to identify them on social media. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "A video showing alleged racial profiling in Indianapolis went viral. This is the fallout.," 11 July 2018 The trenches resembled a litter of suckling piglets, and thus a nickname was born: pig iron. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 Known by affectionate nicknames like Quiz Daddy or Trap Trebek, Rogowsky—and his puns—are a big part of why so many people hanker for their HQ Trivia fix each day. Time Staff, Time, "The 25 Most Influential People on the Internet," 28 June 2018 The mission was this: to dig up a particularly stubborn Kroger shopping that has earned a nickname after four years of residency buried in the mud between and Clay Wade Bailey and Brent Spence Bridges. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Here are the treasures found during the Covington river sweep," 22 June 2018 Most record-breaking timepieces don’t have catchy nicknames like Paul Newman’s Paul Newman or The Unicorn. Cam Wolf, GQ, "Here's why the vintage watch market is booming.," 26 May 2018 And with all the funny stories come interesting titles and nicknames for the cities within. Ellie Rushing, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Florida towns' claims to fame: We're No. 1," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Beltrán’s impact was impossible for the Nerd Cave—which Sig’s analytics group had nicknamed itself—to quantify, but the young shortstop Carlos Correa attempted to attach a number to it: seven. Ben Reiter, SI.com, "Why Carlos Beltrán Was the Perfect Addition to Aid the Astros' Journey to the World Series," 9 July 2018 The elderly arbor, which has been nicknamed Italus, is about 155 years older than the 1,075-year-old Bosnian pine in Greece that previously held the title of Europe’s most senior tree. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Europe’s Oldest Known Tree Discovered in Italy," 29 May 2018 One boyfriend nicknamed me the Keith Richards of yoga teachers. Jenny Aurthur, Longreads, "Of Breakdowns and Breakthroughs," 4 May 2018 Those in the home noted that another man, nicknamed Butch, also lived there. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "A murder victim's cellphone led IMPD detectives to the suspect's home," 10 Jan. 2018 But the remains of Julius, nicknamed Henry, were only recovered in 1961 by French divers who found them in the vessel's radio room. Fox News, "Twin brothers to be reunited 74 years after dying together on D-Day," 19 June 2018 Anderson Township School was founded in 1929 and was initially nicknamed the Comets. Hannah Sparling, Cincinnati.com, "Anderson's mascot: This may be decision night," 12 June 2018 The rural region of Garzón (nicknamed Uruguay’s Little Tuscany) is located in the heart of Maldonado, just a 30-minute drive inland from the upscale José Ignacio seaside sanctuary. Ian Centrone, Esquire, "The 13 Best Under-the-Radar Travel Destinations for 2018," 9 Jan. 2018 While touting his area’s economic and education success, tech-heavy Huntsville, home of Redstone Arsenal and nicknamed Rocket City for its role in the development of the American space program, has advantages over other areas of the state. Kim Chandler, The Seattle Times, "Battle: ‘We can do things better’," 12 May 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near nickname

nickey

Nicklaus

nicknack

nickname

nicknameless

nick off

nick point

Statistics for nickname

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nickname

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

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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 \

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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