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Nickname is a linguistic term used to designate an epithet that is given to a person to describe them more precisely.

The dtv-Atlas onomnology defines the term nickname as “names in the narrower sense [...] for those epithets that do not belong to the patronymic , place of origin , residence or occupational groups , but from physical, mental, character traits of a person, from events his life story u. Ä. In contrast to the nickname, the nickname is an additional, unofficial part of the name, but this distinction is not made in this sense everywhere in the specialist literature, and the boundaries are often fluid in the development of names: Many of today's family names have changed over time the outgoing unity developed from nicknames over surnames in the strict sense.

Since the era of Mehrnamigkeit the nickname comes within the concept - ie the first name by which the person is really addressed in everyday life, maybe add a diminutive of the first name, a nickname or a pseudonym . The nicknames also include mock names.

Mode of education

Nicknames describe a characteristic either directly, such as curly hair , or as a metaphor such as sparrow for a petite person or metonymically an event such as Sunday for someone who was born on a Sunday.

Linguists divide the nicknames into groups:

  • according to physical characteristics and body parts, such as skinny or head
  • according to mental abilities or character traits, wrede (= grim)
  • after animals, such as fox
  • after plants, tree
  • for objects like a basket or boots
  • after natural phenomena, storm
  • by time of year and day, month and day of the week, such as autumn or Hornung
  • in religious terms like the devil
  • for money, schilling
  • after possession as in emergency
  • according to habits like quenzer (= card player)
  • by parentage and kinship, cousin
  • as a designation for secular and ecclesiastical offices, such as provost or Hofmann / Hoffmann
  • based on moral judgments such as envy

“Many nicknames reflect the aesthetic or moral norms of the community that gave them their name, by identifying people who were perceived as too big or too small, too high or too talkative. Thus, nicknames reflect a kind of ' social control '. Therefore, negative evaluations are often found in them: Whimsical for the strange or moody [...] Hahn for the show-off or contentious person. But quite positive standard deviations are named: Fruehauf , morning sweat [...] for the early birds [...] ".

Web links

Wiktionary: nickname  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Konrad Kunze : dtv-Atlas onenology. First and last names in the German-speaking area . 3. Edition. Munich 2000, p. 139 .
  2. a b Kunze: dtv-Atlas onenology . 1998, Section Classification of Names , p. 11 (on the possible use of the term nickname in relation to a nickname ).
  3. ^ Kunze: dtv-Atlas onenology . 1998, Section Assigning Multiple First Names , p. 49 .