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nickname [1].


Pronunciation: \'nik-,n[macron over a]m\


1 : a usually descriptive name used in addition to a person's given name <My brother had the nickname "Nosy.">

2 : a familiar form of a proper name <"Bill" and "Willie" are nicknames for "William.">

Word History: In the Middle Ages there was an English word ekename that meant "an extra name." It was made of a word eke that meant "extra part" added to the word name. It started with a vowel, so an was used with this word instead of a. When an ekename was said fast, it sounded a bit like a nekename. As a result, some people thought the word started with n and began to pronounce it nekename. They did not know they were taking n away from an, adding it to ekename, and so making a new word. From this new word came the word nickname that we use now.

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Title Annotation:Dictionary entry
Publication:Merriam-Webster's Elementary Dictionary
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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