Definition of nickname in English:



  • A familiar or humorous name given to a person or thing instead of or as well as the real name.

    • ‘They were using familiar nicknames for each other since the child was very close to his mentor and defender.’
    • ‘But then I also have trouble changing from a full name to a nickname for people.’
    • ‘There are a lot of different kinds of railway cars, their names and nicknames familiar to most people, but there are only a few that bear the name of their inventor.’
    • ‘Most people weren't generally familiar with his nickname; he was too serious a person.’
    • ‘My advice - don't store the email addresses of friends and family under their names, but under nicknames…’
    • ‘Will had given their proper names, instead of their shortened nicknames.’
    • ‘It was his first name, but we always went by nicknames or first names.’
    • ‘Finally, I have to regret the use of first names and nicknames for women, while men are given surnames, honorifics and initials.’
    • ‘The four-times World Cup champions are the only major sporting country in which athletes are most commonly known by their first names or nicknames.’
    • ‘However, the names or the nicknames of the authors, unlike print encyclopaedias, do not appear at the bottom of the articles.’
    • ‘My mom uses baby talk with her, calling her new-found names and nicknames on the spur of the moment.’
    • ‘He told her again, feeling her head jerk as he used her nickname instead of her full name.’
    • ‘Amara is not my real name, it is a cruel nickname forced upon me by the spoiled daughters of the master.’
    • ‘Many Vikings also had a nickname which was used instead of their family name.’
    • ‘Bob Clarke gave me the nickname and instead of discouraging it, I went along with it.’
    • ‘In some places the victims even learn the names or nicknames of those who abused them.’
    • ‘It was clearly ruled that members should be referred to by their correct names, not by nicknames.’
    • ‘He said that people were known by their nicknames rather than their real names, so he would not have known him as Fred.’
    • ‘No, the member cannot refer to members by nicknames or Christian names.’
    • ‘It is not uncommon for an estate owner to be known by a nickname or abbreviated name.’
    sobriquet, byname, tag, label, familiar name, epithet
    pet name, diminutive, term of endearment, endearment, affectionate name
    appellation, cognomen
    byword, eke-name, to-name
    View synonyms


  • Give a nickname to; call by a nickname.

    ‘his fraternity brothers nicknamed him “The Bird” because of his skydiving skills’
    • ‘He had two motorbikes, which he nicknamed Jessie James and Valerie James.’
    • ‘From what I have read, Chicago is nicknamed the windy city for different reasons.’
    • ‘Miss Wilcox had worn the cap almost every day since buying it a year ago and was nicknamed Ted and Edward because of the brand name.’
    • ‘London has been nicknamed Harare North; Edmonton in Canada has been christened Bulawayo.’
    • ‘It's the sort of extreme pronouncement one has come to expect from Chávez, known for nicknaming the stations ‘the four horsemen of the apocalypse.’’
    • ‘Skipjack tuna, or skippies, as they are nicknamed, can be seen flashing their silver just under the surface.’
    • ‘And being nicknamed the Toffeemen isn't harming Everton, currently fourth in the Premiership.’
    • ‘On their barrels the crews have nicknamed their armoured behemoths.’
    • ‘The new entertainment centre has such a distinctive shape the young people around town have nicknamed it already.’
    • ‘He said he nicknamed her ‘eight-ball’ because of the black bruising on her face.’
    • ‘She has been nicknamed the lioness of the African radio waves as she tears into politicians with her no-holds-barred approach.’
    • ‘We nicknamed her Skippy cos she skips around when she dances!’
    • ‘Meantime her relationship with her screen love-interest Richard Gere turned arctic as he grew impatient with her erratic behaviour, calling her unstable and nicknaming her ‘Nervous Nellie’.’
    • ‘Hospital chaplains have even nicknamed the ducklings the 12 disciples.’
    • ‘In the US it is nicknamed the ‘devil's drug’ and blamed for addiction and social problems.’
    • ‘You can answer almost any question people ask, and have thus been nicknamed Jeeves.’
    • ‘He was nicknamed Starlight because his character changed so much once the stars appeared.’
    • ‘Some who have heard the ‘piano man’, as he has been nicknamed, believe he may be a professional musician.’
    • ‘The best that can be said for providing the nickname here is that Bush's propensity for nicknaming everyone is so well known that no one is misled that the ‘Kenny Boy’ nickname means anything.’
    • ‘Her care for children led to her being nicknamed Auntie Joan.’


Late Middle English: from an eke-name ( eke meaning addition: see eke), misinterpreted, by wrong division, as a neke name.