Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for...

Nickname. Sobriquet. Just rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it? We've all had or got one, right? Whether it was in school, at home, at the office. All of the above. And, nine times outta ten, you either like your nickname or fiercely hate it.

First, a little background on nicknames. In the fourteenth century, folks used the word ekename, which literally means "additional name." Over time, however, people started mispronouncing the word. Go figure. And so nekename was born and, eventually, what we know today as nickname.

In England, especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, members of the peerage were almost always called by their titles, instead of their given Christian names. For example, John Smith, Lord Camden, would be called Camden. And more than likely his close friends and family would simply call him "Cam." Even today, we refer to Prince William as "Wills."

Some authors and artists use what we refer to as "pen names."  This could be for several different reasons--maybe their real name just any catchy enough, or perhaps they may appeal to a bigger audience with a different name.  Take J.K. Rowling.  Her real name is Joanne "Jo" Rowling, but her agent and editor felt she would appeal to more readers (boys and girls, children and adults) if she used only her initials. She didn't have a middle name, so she merged her paternal grandmother's name, Kathleen, with her first and ... voila! She's J.K. in print!

My given name is Alyssia Nicole, but most know me in person as Nikki. My mother affectionately refers to me as "Lyssa," while one of my very good friends from high school still, to this day, calls me "Red."  Oh, and my critique partner calls me "Q.T." because--she claims--I am the Queen of Tease when it comes to writing. *smile*

Do you have a nickname? And if so, what is it?


Tracy said...

This was quite interesting. Thank you!

I didn't know that about JK Rowling, either.

As for nicknames, I've had a few over time. My family (parents, brothers, sister, nieces and nephews) usually call me "Trace." I'm okay with that. :)

Andrew Leon said...

I've lost count of the number of nicks I've had over the years.
None at the moment, though, amazingly enough.

Anonymous said...

Ha, great post. I was nicknamed "Turtle" in 6th grade after we read The Westing Game. The main character, Turtle, had a habit of kicking everyone in the shins. In my defense, I only kicked boys. And since it was 6th grade, they deserved it!

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