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 Fitzpatrick, who is thirty-six, has earned the nickname Fitzmagic for a shambling style which, on the occasional enchanted Sunday, has produced unlikely positive results. Jody Rosen, The New Yorker, "The Miami Dolphins and the Art of Losing to “Win”," 19 Oct. 2019 The full-service French bakery was inspired by Boul’Mich, the nickname for Boulevard Saint-Michel in the Latin Quarter of Paris. Susan Bryant, sun-sentinel.com, "French bakery La Boulangerie Boul’Mich rising at Boca Raton’s Town Center mall," 11 Oct. 2019 Named after the nickname for the tallest mountain in Texas, Capitan plans to target the Ford West field of the Wolfcamp geological layer to a total depth of 12,000 feet. Sergio Chapa, Houston Chronicle, "Drilling Down: Private equity-backed drillers heat up Permian Basin," 7 Oct. 2019 Many moms and dads have sweet nicknames for their children, and clearly the royals are no exception. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Just Revealed That Archie's Nickname Is "Bubba"," 26 Sep. 2019 President Trump, whose nicknames for his adversaries are more appropriate to a schoolyard than to his office, has elevated it to a grim artistry. Greg Weiner, National Review, "Elizabeth Warren’s Limitless Ideology," 26 Sep. 2019 Nobody wants to be a human piñata … [for] the President who seems to come up with a nickname for anyone. Lissandra Villa, Time, "Mark Sanford Says He's in the 'Final Throes' of Deciding on a Trump Primary Challenge," 28 Aug. 2019 Some officials have developed nicknames for Miller to avoid being overheard saying his name aloud. Author: Nick Miroff, Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, "Stephen Miller has singular control of Trump’s immigration policy," 17 Aug. 2019 English, traditionally a nickname for John or James 56. Maria Del Russo, Woman's Day, "The Most Popular Baby Names, According To The US Social Security Admin," 22 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The haters nicknamed him Beta, after the second letter of the Greek alphabet. Adam Hadhazy, Discover Magazine, "The Top 10 Science Experiments of All Time," 10 Oct. 2019 Roughly a kilometre away, on the Syrian side, is Sleeping Elephant Hill, nicknamed for its shape. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "Iran Entrenches Its “Axis of Resistance” Across the Middle East," 20 Sep. 2019 The city is nicknamed the Rocket City for its role in U.S. space missions associated with the area’s U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Patrick Thomas, WSJ, "Forget Silicon Valley, The Future of Tech Is in These Three Cities," 19 June 2018 In a town known for keeping secrets, the murder trial of Michael Gargiulo, nicknamed the Hollywood Ripper, could reveal a hidden life. CBS News, "The Hollywood Ripper: How "48 Hours" helped crack the case of convicted serial killer Michael Gargiulo," 14 Sep. 2019 The summer is hot, the water warm and people hoping to enjoy a pleasant day on Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers are instead turned away — disgusted at the soupy green blooms appropriately nicknamed pond scum. Lee Bergquist, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "It's peak algae season. Here's what you should know about a toxic form, 'blue-green algae'," 19 Aug. 2019 Damon is 5-foot-10 and nicknamed Mighty Mouse, a basketball star at Wilson High School and University of Arizona before hitting the NBA. oregonlive.com, "Former Portland Trail Blazer Damon Stoudamire tells brother Cam to bet on himself. So he does, as a walk-on safety at Oregon State," 14 Aug. 2019 In the documentary, the men who survived their internment describe nicknaming four of their most brutal guards after The Beatles, because of their English accents. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Jihadi John, Domestic Terrorist," 6 Aug. 2019 The company wants to test the ability of the vehicle (nicknamed Starhopper) to take off vertically and land. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "With a launch and a hop coming up, SpaceX has a big week ahead," 22 July 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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Statistics for nickname

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

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
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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meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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