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A nickname is a short, clever, cute, derogatory, or otherwise substitute name for a person or thing's real name (for example, Bob, Rob, Robby, Robbie, Robi, Bobby, Rab, Bert, Bertie, Butch, Bobbers, Bobert, Beto, Bobadito, and Robban (in Sweden), are all short for Robert). As a concept, it is distinct from both pseudonym and stage name, and also from title (for example, City of Fountains), although there may be overlap in these concepts.

A nickname is sometimes considered desirable, symbolising a form of acceptance, but can often be a form of ridicule. Many performing artists and actors have nicknames, which in years past were called a stage name.

Etymology: In Middle English the word was ekename (from the verb to eke, "enlarge"; compare Swedish öknamn). Later, an ekename developed into a nickname when the "n" shifted through junctural metanalysis.

In Viking societies, many people had nicknames heiti, viðrnefni or uppnefi which were used in addition to, or instead of their family names. In some circumstances the giving of a nickname had a special status in Viking society in that it created a relationship between the name maker and the recipient of the nickname, to the extent that the creation of a nickname also often entailed a formal ceremony and an exchange of gifts.

In the context of information technology, a nickname is a common synonym for username and is also known as a handle, especially within hacker culture. A nickname in this context is ordinarily associated with any system that requires a login, such as a website, instant messaging system, or a private network. Such nicknames are routinely employed to enable a certain level of security or anonymity, or for other reasons.

[edit] Nicknames for people

Main article: Personal nicknames

Types of personal nickname: Also known as pet name, shortened name, truncated name, alternate name, name derivative, associated name, hypocoristic form of a name, diminutized name, or diminuted name. Sometimes related to "alias".

It may reference a person's physical characteristics. Examples:

  • Frankie or Curly (ironic) for a bald person
  • Tubtubs or Chubby for a fat person (generally offensive)
  • Lofty, Lanksta or Stretch for a tall person
  • Four-eyes for a person with glasses (offensive)
  • Specs for a person who wears glasses
  • Wheels for a person who uses a wheelchair (generally considered offensive)
  • Justin Gomer=Neon Leon Spinks
  • Carrot-top, Ginger, Red, Rusty, or Bluey (Australian) for a person with red hair
  • Blondie for a person with blond hair
  • Grey for a person who has a very light blue eye color, also called the Grey eye color.
  • Mushmouth (or Mush) for a person with a Southern U.S. drawl.

This is particularly common in Spanish-speaking cultures, with nicknames like Flaco (thin) or Palito (little stick), El Gordo (the fat guy), Chino for anyone who looks vaguely Asian, or Gato (cat) for someone with blue or green eyes.

It may be a sarcastic, or simply ironic, reference, e.g., Curly for someone with straight hair (or no hair at all) - this form was typical in Australian English in the mid 20th Century but less so in current parlance, e.g:

  • Tiny for a very large person
  • Dulz for a cross eyed person (offensive)
  • Shorty for a very tall person
  • Slick for a clumsy, awkward or shy person
  • Slim for a fat person

It may relate to a person's character, imagined or real. Examples:

  • Grumpy
  • Swotty
  • Romeo
  • Weiner

It may relate to a specific incident or action. Example: Capability Brown was so called because he used the word "capability" instead of "possibility". Other examples include: Chemical Ali and Comical Ali. Many fictional characters have nicknames relating to events: Examples include the Red Comet, White Tiger, Desert Tiger and Hawk of Endymion.

It may compare the person with a famous or fictional character. Examples:

It may be related to their place of origin or place of residence. Example:

  • Gloucester, Paul from Gloucester or PFG for someone named Paul who comes from a town called Gloucester.

It may refer to a person's political affiliation. Examples:

It may allude to a person's intelligence, such as:

(These latter two are often also used sarcastically.)

A famous person's nickname may be unique to them:

  • Tippecanoe for William Henry Harrison
  • Dubya for George W. Bush, an exaggeration of Texan pronunciation of 'w', Bush's middle initial.
  • Jack The Dripper for painter Jackson Pollock who created many of his works by dripping paint over horizontal canvas
  • Gazza for English footballer Paul Gascoigne (though used more widely in Australia for Gary) and similar "zza" forms (Hezza, Prezza, etc) for other prominent personalities whose activities are frequently reported in the British press
  • Champion Taylor for Mark Hanson (In reference to the band Hanson)

A person's nickname may have no traceable origin. For example, a person named "Harold" may be nicknamed "Fred" for no apparent reason, or a man who was named after a relative may ask his friends to call him "Chip" (as in "chip off the old block") to avoid confusion.

It may combine a person's name with a traditional association. For example, soldiers in the British army with the surname Smith are often nicknamed "Smudge" or "Smudger" in reference to the soot smudges that blacksmiths often sported as a result of their trade. Similarly, Royal Marines with the surname Miller often find themselves nicknamed "Dusty" or some such variant for similar reasons.

[edit] Nicknames of geographical places

Particularly with geographical places, it is important to distinguish between nickname and title. A nickname is almost always a brief term that is either friendly or derogatory and can be substituted for the real name at will. A title is usually a multi-word term, often created for promotional purposes, sometimes created as a putdown, that cannot be substituted for the real name at will. Most of the terms below are not nicknames; they are titles. For example, Kansas City is titled (or dubbed) 'Heart of America' and 'City of Fountains'; it is nicknamed KC. People will use KC very frequently in everyday speech as a friendly substitute for Kansas City; it is the popular nickname for the city. By contrast, probably only the tourist industry ever uses the term 'City of Fountains'; this is a title, not a nickname.

[edit] Cities

See also: list of city nicknames for a more comprehensive list.

[edit] Regions

  • The Wet Coast - British Columbia, Canada; a play on "The West Coast" because that area of the country rains a lot
  • Red states - states that strongly supported George W. Bush in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections
  • Blue states - states that strongly supported Al Gore and John Kerry in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, respectively
  • The Deep South, Bible Belt - Southern U.S.
  • The Dirty South (usually the South Eastern States but not limited to the whole Old South, usually used among rappers)
  • The Left Coast - the states of Washington, Oregon, and California in the United States; due to their location in the country and general support of "the left" (liberal political ideology).
  • Bridge of the World, Heart of the Universe (Spanish: Puente del Mundo, Corazón del Universo) - Republic of Panama; due to the convergence of the principal trade routes through its Panama Canal
  • The Third Coast- the cities and states that are on the Gulf Coast of the United States. (The term is also used in the film industry to refer to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex due to a large number of movies, commercials, etc. being filmed there – the "First Coast" is implied to be Hollywood and the "Second Coast" being New York.)

[edit] Nicknames for political terms

  • Red - a communist, but can also mean a rebel who is against the government; inclining towards the left wing politically, as in a "Red Tory" in Canada, that is, a moderate conservative; also, ironically, a member or supporter of the United States Republican Party
  • Blue - a member or supporter of the United States Democratic Party; a supporter of the Conservatives in Canada -- and a "Blue Tory" is a right wing conservative
  • Pinko, Trot - a borderline communist
  • Hawk - a person who supports and pursues aggressive foreign policies, such as going to war in order to achieve his/her goals
  • Dove - a person who supports and pursues peaceful means to conduct foreign policy, as opposed to war
  • Tory - a person belonging to the British or Canadian Conservative Party.
  • Grit - a person belonging to the Liberal Party in Canada
  • The Little Red Book - the book that contains quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong, often called that because the book itself has a red cover and small enough to fit into a pocket

[edit] Nicknames for some common items

[edit] Nicknames for professions

  • Blue (southern US), Stripes, Zebra, Sisco - referee
  • Beancounter - accountant
  • Chippie, Wood Butcher - carpenter also a prostitute
  • Cat - Jazz musician
  • Chaps - chaplain in the Navy or Marine Corp
  • Copper, Rozzer (Brit.), Bobby (Brit.), The Fuzz (plural), Cop, Pig/Bacon, Flatfoot, Blueboy, Po-po, Jakes., 5-0, Boy 'dem - police officer
  • Doc, Sawbones, Quack - doctor
  • Fed - agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or, the Federal Reserve
  • Foodie, Food head - chef
  • Geo - geologist or geophysicist
  • Detec - Undercover police officer (specifically for their unmarked vehicles)
  • Loan Shark - an underworld, street corner type money lender with high interest rates and usually enforces re-payment with threats of physical violence - Leg Breaker usually refers to the loan shark's enforcer
  • Narc - an undercover cop
  • Roomie - room-mate, or sometimes an hotel employee
  • Roughneck - oil rigger
  • Sawbones - surgeon
  • Shark, Ambulance Chaser, Shyster - lawyer
  • Shovelbums - archaeological field technicians
  • Shrink, Head Shrinker - psychiatrist
  • Sparky- electrician
  • Spook (usually a plural) - (U.S. military) intelligence agent
  • Techie - Someone who works with, or has a talent for, technology

[edit] Nicknames for companies

  • "Auntie" - British Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  • "The Beeb" "idiots"- British Broadcasting Corporation
  • "Big Blue" - IBM, computer hardware/software manufacturer
  • "The Big Eye" - CBS, broadcasting network
  • "Bloblaws" or "Blah-Blahs" - Loblaws, Canadian supermarket chain
  • "Bloodbath and Beyond" - Bed Bath and Beyond
  • "Bugger King" - Burger King, global fast-food chain
  • "Chevy" - Chevrolet, an automobile company
  • "Crapple" - Apple Computer, a computer, software and consumer electronics manufacturer
  • "Crappy Tire" - Canadian Tire, a Canadian hardgoods retailer
  • "Great Yellow Father" - Eastman Kodak
  • "Ho-Jo" "ho-mo" - Howard Johnson
  • "Home Despot" - The Home Depot, a giant hardware store
  • "Jacques Penné" - JCPenney clothing stores
  • "Jack in the Crack" "Fuck me in the sack" - Jack-in-the-Box
  • "Kentaco Hut" - KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut combo restaurants.
  • "K-Fry", "K-Fried", "shit hole", "the dirty bird" - KFC, American fried chicken restaurant chain
  • "The Little Thief" - Little Chef, UK roadside restaurant
  • "LockMart" or "Lock-Mart" - Lockheed Martin Corporation, Aerospace contractor
  • "Long Juan Silvers" - Long John Silver's and Taco Bell combo restaurants
  • "Lose-It" - Loomis, Canadian courier company
  • "Ma Bell" - AT&T, American telephone company
  • "Marks & Sparks" - Marks & Spencer, British department store chain
  • "Mickey D's", "Golden Arches", "McDeath","shitty D's" "Rotten Ronnie's", "McDogchow", "McDick's", "McConvicts", "MacDo" mainly in France, though former usage common in Australia - McDonald's, global fast-food chain.
  • "Macca's" or "McChucks" - (In Australia) McDonald's, global fast-food chain.
  • "Monkey Ward", "Mental Ward" - Montgomery Wards defunct Department Store chain
  • "M$," various versions of "Micro" plus an expression with or without various $-type signs; i.e. "Microsloth,"; or "The Borg" - Microsoft, software company
  • "Mothercorp" - Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canadian national broadcaster
  • "Needless Markup" or "needle dick's" - Neiman Marcus, American upscale specialty retail department store
  • "Office Despot" - Office Depot, Chain of office supply stores
  • "OOPS" - UPS, American courier service
  • "Pizza Slut", "Pizza Smut" "this is pizza" - Pizza Hut, Global pizza chain
  • "Scan dick", "Scandalic" - Scandic
  • "Skandial" - Skandia
  • "Slev" or "Sleven" - 7-Eleven
  • "Snot Gothic", "Goth Stoppit", "Whiny Hole," "Hot Profit" - Hot Topic
  • "Sooner-or-Later" - Purolator, Canadian courier company
  • "Tar-Get" ("Get" pronounced "zhay")- Target retail store chain.
  • "Timmy's," "Tim's" or "Timmy Ho's" - Tim Hortons, Canadian coffee and doughnut chain
  • "Taco Hell","bloody hell" "Toxic Hell", "Baco Tell", "Buggering bells", "fanny smells", "Taco Smell", "Toxic Bell", "Taco Beelzebub", "T-Bizzy" , " tb" - Taco Bell fast-food restaurant chain
  • "Wally World", "Mall-Wart" or "Wal-Marde" (in Quebec, "marde" being slang for shit) - Wal-Mart, global chain of retail stores.
  • "Weggies" - Wegmans Food Market inc.
  • "Whole Paycheck" - Whole Foods Market

[edit] Nicknames for universities

[edit] Military nicknames

  • Airdales (sometimes Aerdales)-- U.S. Navy term for Air Force pilots or U.S. Navy aviators
  • Barbarians - Derogatory term for members of the U.S. Military, referencing their brutality
  • BB Stackers - U.S. Navy Ordnancemen
  • Biggles - Australian Air Force Pilot
  • Bin rat - Supply technician, Canadian Forces
  • Blanket Stacker - members of Logistics or Engineering units
  • Blue job, wallet head - Canadian Air Force
  • Bootneck - British Royal Marine Commando (source unknown)
  • Bubblehead - U.S. term for U.S. Navy submariners
  • Chairforce, Air Farce, Flyboys, Zoomies - United States Air Force
  • Crab fats, crabs - Members of the Royal Air Force
  • D-boys, Delta boys, Deltas - Delta Force (U.S. Army)
  • Dogface, gopher, grunt, cannon fodder, Bullet Stopper, Bushwacker, 11 Bang-Bang, 11 "Bravo" Infantard - infantry soldier (U.S. Army)
  • Fire Dawgs - American Marine, Air Force, and Army Firefighters
  • Floating Heads and Diggers - Australian Army Soldiers
  • Frogs - Navy Frogmen
  • G-men - government officials (FBI, CIA, DEA, ATF, etc.)
  • G.I. - American soldier , also called "doughboys" before WWI
  • Grunt - Infantry foot soldier
  • Gunbunny - artillery soldier
  • Leathernecks, jarheads, devil dogs, bullet sponge - U.S. marines
  • Matelots, squids, swabbies, deck ape, deck monkey - sailors
  • Pongos - British Army, Australian Army (As in 'Where ever the army goes, the pong goes')
  • Puddle jumpers, shallow water sailors, weekend navy, Knee-deep Navy, puddle pirates, Gilligans - United States Coast Guard
  • Raffies - Australian Air Force Personnel
  • Redcap - British Military Police officer
  • SEAL - Sea Air Land, Navy commando so widely respected and fraternal that no other name is allowed
  • White Mice - Vietnam War term for ARVN MP (after their white gloves, likely an allusion to Mickey Mouse)
  • Zipperhead - armoured tank soldier, derived from their use of "zip up" to close hatches when under fire. A Vietnam War term for the Vietnamese

See also: List of nicknames of British Army regiments; Regimental nicknames of the Canadian Forces

[edit] Sports clubs and their nicknames

Sporting clubs are often given nicknames. These may or may not be incorporated into official names or be used by the club. The names of animals or colours are popular. Examples:

[edit] Football (soccer)

[edit] Australian Rules Football

For players' nicknames, see: List of nicknames used in Australian rules




[edit] Rugby Union

[edit] Rugby League

[edit] Baseball

  • Arizona Diamondbacks - D-backs, Snakes
  • Atlanta Braves - Bravos, America's Team (due to their national coverage on TBS)
  • Baltimore Orioles - O's (fans usually emphize this nickname, even yelling in unision, "O" during the National Anthem), Birds
  • Boston Red Sox - BoSox; "Da Sox"; "The Dirt Dogs"; "Cowboy Up";Olde Towne Team; Red Sux (by haters), Red Cubs, The Sox, Red Flops or Red Sux, derogatory used by Yankees fans. The Idiots, affectionate term coined by team during 2004 Championship run
  • Chicago Cubs - Cubbies; Loveable Losers; Scrubs; Dubs; Northsiders; Build-a-Bears (by haters).
  • Chicago White Sox - ChiSox; Pale Hose; Southsiders; Black Sox (after throwing the 1919 World Series); White Sux (by haters), Sox Suxs (by haters who think "White Sux" is offensive).
  • Cincinnati Reds - Redlegs (a nickname used in the early 1950s during the Red Scare); nicknamed "The Big Red Machine" during the team's run in the 1970's, when they won the division 6 times and appeared in the World Series 4 times
  • Cleveland Indians - The Tribe, Chief Wahoo's Tribe, The Wahoo's
  • Detroit Tigers - The Motor City Kitties, Pinetars
  • Florida Marlins - Fish; Fighting Fish; The Men of Teal
  • Houston Astros - 'Stros, Asstros (by haters), Buttstros (by haters).
  • Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Halos; Seraphs; Wings
  • Los Angeles Dodgers - Bums, the Boys of Summer (both from their Brooklyn days; usage in L.A. has faded with time), Blue Crew
  • Milwaukee Brewers - Brew Crew; Brew-has; Professional Alcoholics (by haters); Beermakers
  • Minnesota Twins - Twinkies
  • New York Mets - nicknamed "The Loveable Losers" when they first started playing, the Kings of Queens; The Amazin' Mets, The Amazins, "Miracle Mets" (during their run in the 1969 season. They eventually won the World Series), Mutts (by haters), Pond Scum (by haters),
  • New York Yankees - The Bronx Bombers; Bombers; The Pinstripes; Yanks; New Yorkers; Dream Dashers; Evil Empire (coined by Red Sox executive Larry Lucchino); Dynasty of Disgrace; The Enemy; Damned Yankees
  • Oakland Athletics - A's; F's (by haters, in reference to academic marks in school)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates - Bucs; Buc-o's (as in Bucaneer's)
  • Philadelphia Phillies - (Fightin') Phils; Phightins; Sillies; Pillies (given when some players were involved in an amphetamine scandal in the early 1980's); Quakers and Blue Jays (alternate nicknames used early in the team's history, the first from the 1880's, and the second from the early 1940's); Whiz Kids (for the 1950 National League Championship team, for their youth); Wheeze Kids (for the 1983 National League Championship team, for their lack of youth
  • St. Louis Cardinals - Cards; Redbirds; Birds
  • San Diego Padres - Pods; Friars; Fathers
  • San Francisco Giants - Jints (rhymes with "pints"); gigantes (Gee-gant-As) which is Spanish for Giants
  • Seattle Mariners - M's
  • Tampa Bay Devil Rays - D-rays; Rays
  • Texas Rangers - Strangers (used when the team is playing poorly)
  • Toronto Blue Jays - Jays (The team has emphized this name rather than "Blue Jays")
  • Washington Nationals- Nats; The Anchors

[edit] NBA Basketball

[edit] International Basketball

[edit] Cricket

[edit] American Football

[edit] Canadian Football

[edit] Sports stadia and their nicknames

[edit] Australia

[edit] South America

[edit] Britain

[edit] Italy

[edit] Netherlands

[edit] United States

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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