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Word of the Day
Thursday, May 10, 2018

Definitions for hypocorism

  1. a pet name.
  2. the practice of using a pet name.
  3. the use of forms of speech imitative of baby talk, especially by an adult.

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Citations for hypocorism
Powsoddy, a now obsolete name for a pudding, was also used as a hypocorism in the late sixteenth century, paralleling the affectionate use of the word pudding itself in our own century, though lovers usually alter the pronunciation to puddin. Mark Morton, The Lover's Tongue, 2003
The addition of diminutive or familiar prefixes and suffixes to the name of a saint to produce a 'pet name' or hypocorism, is common in the Celtic areas ... Karen Jankulak, The Medieval Cult of St Petroc, 2000
Origin of hypocorism
1840-1850
The very rare English noun hypocorism comes from the equally rare Latin noun hypocorisma “a diminutive (word),” a direct borrowing of Greek hypokórisma “pet name, endearing name; diminutive (word),” a derivative of the verb hypokorízesthai “to play the child, call by an endearing name.” Hypokorízesthai is a compound formed from the prefix hypo-, here meaning “slightly, somewhat,” and korízesthai “to caress, fondle.” The root of korízesthai is the noun kórē “girl, maiden” or kóros “boy, youth.” The Greek nouns are from the same Proto-Indo-European root ker- “to grow” as the Latin Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, and its derivative adjective cereālis “pertaining to Ceres,” the source of English cereal. Hypocorism entered English in the 19th century.