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[nik-neym] /ˈnɪkˌneɪm/
a name added to or substituted for the proper name of a person, place, etc., as in affection, ridicule, or familiarity: He has always loathed his nickname of “Whizzer.”.
a familiar form of a proper name, as Jim for James and Peg for Margaret.
verb (used with object), nicknamed, nicknaming.
to give a nickname to (a person, town, etc.); call by a nickname.
Archaic. to call by an incorrect or improper name; misname.
Origin of nickname
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English nekename, for ekename (the phrase an ekename being taken as a nekename). See eke2, name; cf. newt
Related forms
nicknamer, noun
unnicknamed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for nickname
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His parentage was obscure, and he was generally known only by his nickname of Professor.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • My dear sir, perhaps you don't know that my nickname since the age of five has been 'Duffer?'

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • After a joyous ramble, 'Ockley's nickname still sticks to him!'

    Echoes of the War J. M. Barrie
  • We call him the Philosopher, a nickname folks have given him in the neighbourhood.

  • This nickname, which she received full in the face for the first time, fell on her like a blow.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
British Dictionary definitions for nickname


a familiar, pet, or derisory name given to a person, animal, or place: his nickname was Lefty because he was left-handed
a shortened or familiar form of a person's name: Joe is a nickname for Joseph
(transitive) to call by a nickname; give a nickname to
Word Origin
C15 a nekename, mistaken division of an ekename an additional name, from eke addition + name
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nickname

mid-15c., misdivision of ekename (c.1300), an eke name, literally "an additional name," from Old English eaca "an increase," related to eacian "to increase" (see eke; also see N). As a verb from 1530s. Related: Nicknamed; nicknaming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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