New Word #95: Name

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nickname, sobriquet, alias, aka, moniker, hypocorism

I’ve never seen hypocorsim, sobriquet, or moniker being used, but I’ve seen alias, aka, and nickname very often. We all have nicknames and I just love people’s nicknames more than their formal names. For example, American Indian warriors always have wonderful nicknames like Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Red Cloud, Lone Horn. Let me think what I want to be called, probably Talking Goat. It is said Thai people love nicknames. And a person often creates a nickname for himself or herself. Then after several years, he or she can change it to a new one and the circle of friends and relatives will use the new one. What a wonderful tradition. If I want to nickname myself Talking Goat, can I force my circle of friends to call me that?

  • hypocorism: a pet name, an affectionate name
  • sobriquet: nickname
  • alias: nickname
  • aka: to indicate another name of a person.
  • moniker: name
  • nickname: a more familiar and affectionate name

pseudonym, acronym, synonym, antonym

  • pseudonym: Many authors have pseudonym–an invented name. For example, George Eliot.
  • acronym: Use the first letter of each word in a name to form a shortened name. For example NASA, IMAX, RAM
  • synonym: words having similar meanings.
  • antonym: words have opposite meanings.

eponym, eponymous

  • eponym: a person who lends his or her name to something. For example, a disease can bear the name of the person who discovers it. Alzheimer’s disease is one, Down syndrome is another.
  • eponymous: lending one’s name to something. For example, Thomas Edison is the eponymous hero of the Edison Township of New Jersey.

title, entitle, entitlement:

  • title is the name of a painting, a book, or a paper.
  • entitle is the verb form of title and it can also mean to give rights to somebody.
  • entitlement: it is a special word now and used in special places. When the rich Wall Street firms failed and the government helped them with billions of dollars, it is called bailout or business as usual. When a poor single mother claims welfare, it is called entitlement.

anonymous, incognito

  • I’ve never figured out how to distinguish between the two. They have similar meanings: name unknown. However they are used in different circumstances. You can’t say an incognito author; you have to say an anonymous author or an anonymous source. Also one has to say the famous actor travels incognito or the famous actor has to be incognito when he travels. One can’t use anonymous in this context.

byline, byword

  • byline: the name of the author
  • byword: It means a buzz word or a most outstanding example of something. For example, locally in Edison Township, Nordstrom is the byword for luxury goods.

misnomer: a wrong name

nomenclature: name a group of things systematically, like in a scientific field.

onomatophobia and other phobias

  • onomatophobia: An unreasonable fear of certain names or certain words.
  • Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia: It means fear of long words.

25 thoughts on “New Word #95: Name

  1. Names are fascinating. Have you heard of “nominative determinism”? It’s the theory that people choose occupations etc that fit their names – eg John Frost might become a meteorologist. There are a lot of funny (but real) examples if you do a search. Also one associates certain names with certain traits – possibly just because they’re class or age signifiers, but I sometimes wonder if there’s more to it than that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually I totally agree. The world will be a much better place if parents give their little ones peaceful enjoyable names. Those ambitious names can be very troubling and often results in disappointment or something even worse.


  2. That last word lives up to its definition. Haha! How would you even say it? I don’t have a nickname and am glad. They usually are too silly, embarrassing, or completely opposite to one’s real name. Thanks for sharing these words, Haoyan. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha, actually the Talking Goat have thought about the same thing. I’ve often wondered if all these mountains of English words are just a fiction of imagination and nobody actually really uses them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it is quite funny as the person with this phobia would be afraid of this word: Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia. Great post I always enjoy these so much. 🤗❤️🦋 sending more love and hugs

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you, Joni for your sweet encouragement. Always. Love your feedback. I wonder who would use this word and how anybody can come up with it. English is a quirky language. That’s what I am going to say. A lot of love and hugs.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. You are right my friend. We are always coming up with new words. I love reading your posts about our language. There are always words I don’t know about anymore. You have gotten so sophisticated with your post. Teaching us new words I love it. Great job. Thank you my kind friend. ❤️🤗🦋🌹

          Liked by 1 person

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