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

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 That simply earned him the nickname Silent Stan and the wrath of fans who accused him of doing nothing to improve the team. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "The U.S. Sports Origins of Europe’s Soccer Super League," 20 Apr. 2021 Calls to remove the city’s nickname — and the imagery associated with it — began circulating last summer shortly after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked widespread racial justice protests. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Essential California: Placerville nixes noose from city logo," 15 Apr. 2021 Scarlett even joked Clark played like a honey badger, similar to Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu, who earned the nickname while at LSU. Safid Deen, sun-sentinel.com, "Ryan Fitzpatrick gives his take on Tua Tagovailoa’s future with Dolphins; new linebackers excited to join Miami," 22 Mar. 2021 After their first meeting, the striker said he was impressed by the kind nature and work ethic of his new coach, who has long earned the nickname ‘Papi’ for his paternal style of coaching. Julia Poe, orlandosentinel.com, "Brazilian star Pato arrives in Orlando, hopes to find happiness," 12 Mar. 2021 Dont’a Hightower, who earned that nickname from Bill Belichick for his penchant for making momentous plays in Super Bowls, is one of three veterans returning to the Patriots after opting out of last season, according to a report. Jim Mcbride, BostonGlobe.com, "Dont’a Hightower, Patrick Chung, and Marcus Cannon reportedly will return to Patriots in 2021," 26 Feb. 2021 Calls to remove the city’s nickname — and the imagery associated with it — came last summer shortly after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked widespread racial justice protests. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, "Gold Rush past, post-George Floyd present: Placerville again considers dropping noose on city logo," 13 Apr. 2021 Monster is already good, both in nickname and skill. Jon Blau, The Indianapolis Star, "IU's Matthews poised to take command from safety position," 9 Apr. 2021 The outcrop's nickname was inspired by a mountain in southeastern France near the village of Nontron. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "A rare interstellar comet reveals its secrets and 5 other top space and science stories this week," 3 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The hurler, nicknamed Thor, has been among the top pitchers in the Mets’ starting rotation and in baseball. Fox News, "Mets' Noah Syndergaard tries comparing MLB coronavirus deal to his NYC rent fight," 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, "Welcome to 'ToshCo’: Gustavus man travels 14 hours by boat each week to fetch food and supplies for his neighbors," 20 May 2020 Rabbit images appear throughout the bar’s exterior and interior; customers are playfully nicknamed conejitos (little rabbits). Eric Velasco, al, "Mayawell bar familiarizes Birmingham with agave spirits," 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, "Why some self-employed Californians are mad about unemployment benefits," 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, "Paul English, Willie Nelson’s longtime drummer, has died," 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, "Will Smith's Bel-Air Athletics And DJ D-Nice Collaborate On Club Quarantine Hoodie," 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, "How Iran-linked Hackers Tried to Compromise a Presidential Campaign," 4 Oct. 2019 Not many club sides wear green, which probably explains why Saint-Etienne are simply nicknamed as such. SI.com, "50 Greatest Football Shirts of All Time," 28 June 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

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nickname.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nickname. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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

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Comments on nickname

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