AskDefine | Define hypocoristic

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

From ὑποκοριστικός from ὑποκορίζομαι from ὑπό + κορίζομαι from κόρη.

Adjective

  1. pertaining to a nickname, usually indicating intimacy with the person

Noun

  1. A nickname.

Extensive Definition

A hypocoristic, hypocorism or hypochorisma—from Greek hypokorizesthai, "to use child-talk" is a lesser form of the given name used in more intimate situations, as a term of endearment, a pet name.

Derivation

Hypocoristics are often generated as:
  • a reduction (in English) of a longer word to a single syllable, then adding -y or -ie to the end, such as movie ('moving picture'), telly ('television') or Aussie ('Australian').
  • a contracted form of a given name, such as Tony from Anthony, Romy for Rosemarie or Vicky from Victoria.
  • a baby-talk form approximating the name's pronunciation, such as Bess for Elizabeth.
  • a given name with a diminutive suffix; in some languages diminutive forms of names are used primarily when referring to children and the meaning can oscillate between tenderness and condescension when used for an adult.
    • -(c)ito/-(c)ita or -(c)ín/-(c)ina in Spanish, such as Juanita from Juana. Extra consonants may be interposed as in Carmelina and Carmencita from Carmen, or merged, as in Carmina.
    • -chen, -lein, -(l)i (usually used with names) in German, such as Hündchen or Hündlein (from 'Hund', meaning dog) or Kalli (from 'Karl', a name); a back vowel in the root is normally subjected to umlaut, i.e. shift from u, o, a to ü, ö, ä respectively (e.g. Hund → Hündchen, Arm → Ärmchen, Holz → Hölzchen).
    • a similar form, -etto/-etta, in Interlingua.
    • a parallel construction in Portuguese, with -(z)inho/-(z)inha, as in Aninha from Ana and Joãozinho from João.
    • same in Italian and Italian regional languages, with -ino/-ina and -etto/etta as in Paolino/Paoletto and Paolina/Paoletta from Paolo and Paola. There are also -ello/-ella, as in Donatello/Donatella from Donato and Donata, -uccio/-uccia, as in Guiduccio from Guido. The forms -uzzo/-uzza, as in Santuzza from Santa, are typical of Sicilian dialect.
    • -ĉj- and -nj- affixes (for males and females respectively) in Esperanto; these replace the last consonant (or consonant cluster) of the root, thus patro → paĉjo (father), patrino → panjo (mother).
    • -chan, -tan, or -pi in Japanese, such as Kana-chan from Kana and Aki-chan from Akihiro. Gemination (doubling) of the consonant or lengthening of the vowel before the -chan to provide two moras is common, such as Settchan from Setsuko and Hii-chan from Hiroki.
    • reduplication in various languages, such as John-John or Didi.
    • the addition of a word-final very high tone, or changed tone, in Cantonese and related dialects, sometimes in combination with the addition of the mid-toned prefix a before the name.
    • -ulus/-ula in Latin, most famously in the case of the Roman emperor Caligula, whose moniker means "little boot". He received the name from soldiers in reference to the small army sandals (caligae, singular caliga) he wore when he was young. Likewise the name Ursula is derived from ursa (bear) and means "little bear".
As evident from the above-mentioned examples, hypocoristics frequently demonstrate (indirectly) a phonological linguistic universal (or tendency) for high-pitched sounds to be used for smaller creatures and objects (here as more "cute" or less imposing names). Higher-pitched sounds are associated with smaller creatures due to the fact that smaller creatures can only make such high frequency sounds given their smaller larynx sizes.
The word "hypocoristic" is used as a noun or adjective in English; some other languages prefer to use the original Greek word "hypocoristicon" as a noun. The noun "hypocoristicon" seems to be rarely used in English.

Hypocoristics in a few languages

English

English also forms nicknames in a variety of manners.
Shortening, generally to the first syllable:
  • Abraham → Abe
  • Arthur → Art
  • Calvin → Cal
  • Clayton → Clay
  • Daniel → Dan
  • Danielle → Dani
  • Douglas → Doug
  • Franklin → Frank
  • Gregory → Greg
  • Jeffrey → Jeff
  • Jacob → Jake
  • Janice → Jan
  • Jason → Jay
  • Joshua → Josh
  • Megan → Meg
  • Mitchell → Mitch
  • Peter → Pete
  • Philip → Phil
  • Rachel → Ray
  • Raymond → Ray
  • Trenton → Trent
  • Victor → Vic
  • Zachary → Zach
Addition of the diminutive suffix, -ie or -y. It is often added to the end of an already shortened name. This suffix connotes smallness or endearment. Although most often applied to the names of children, it is not uncommon for an adult to be referred to by the diminutive, especially by family, friends and close acquaintances.
  • Anne → Annie
  • Arthur, Arturo → Art → Artie
  • George → Georgie
  • James → Jamie, Jim → Jimmy
  • Jonathan → Jon → Jonny
  • Robert → Rob/Bob → Robbie/Bobby
  • Timothy → Tim → Timmy
  • William → Will/Bill → Willie/Billy
A short form that differs significantly from the name:
  • Dorothy → Dot, Dottie
  • Henry → Hank, Harry
  • Sarah → Sally
And combinations and variants of the above:
  • Abigail → Abby
  • Albert, Alan, Alastair → Al
  • Alexander → Alex, Lex, Xander, Sandy
  • Alexandra → Alex, Ali, Lexie, Sandy
  • Andrew → Andy, Drew
  • Anthony → Tony
  • Antoinette → Toni
  • Arnold → Arnie
  • Barbara → Barb, Barbie, Babs, Bobbie
  • Bartholomew → Bart → Barty
  • Benjamin → Ben, Benji, Benny
  • Carolyn → Carol, Lyn
  • Cassandra → Cassie, Cass, Sandra, Sandy
  • Charles → Charlie, Chuck
  • Christine → Chris, Christy, Chrissy, Tina
  • Christopher → Chris, Kit
  • Daniel → Dan → Danny
  • David → Dave → Davey
  • Edward/Edmund → Ed, Eddy, Eddie, Ned, Neddie, Ted, Teddy
  • Elaine → Lainie
  • Elizabeth → Bess, Bessie, Bette, Bet, Betty, Beth, Betsy, Eliza, Elise, Elsa, Elsie, Elle, Ella, Lisa, Lisbeth, Lissie, Libby, Lizbeth, Lizzie, Liz, Liza
  • Emily → Em, Emmy, Emma
  • Frances/Francesca → Fran, Franny
  • Francis/Francesco → Fran, Frank, Frankie
  • Frederick → Fred, Freddy, Rick
  • Gerald → Gerry/Jerry
  • Geoffrey → Geoff/Jeff
  • Harold → Harry, Hal
  • Helen → Nell/Nellie, Eleni
  • Herbert → Herb, Bert
  • Howard → Howie
  • Isabella → Izzy, Isa, Bella, Bell
  • James → Jim, Jimmy, Jamie, Jimbo
  • Jennifer → Jen, Jenny
  • Jeremiah → Jeremy, Jerry
  • Jeremy → Jerry
  • Jerome → Jerry
  • Jessica → Jess, Jessie
  • John → Johnny, Jack, Jackie
  • Jordan → Judd, Jordy
  • Joseph → Joe, Joey
  • Josephine → Jo, Joey, Josie
  • Judith → Judy
  • Katherine → Kathy, Kat, Katie, Kate
  • Katrina → Kat, Trina
  • Kenneth → Ken, Kenny
  • Kerstin → Kerstie
  • Kimberly → Kim → Kimmy
  • Lawrence → Larry
  • Leonard/Leonardo → Leon, Leo, Lee
  • Louis → Lou → Louie
  • Lucille → Lucy
  • Madeline → Maddie
  • Margaret → Peggy, Daisy, Maggie
  • Martin → Marty
  • Matthew → Matt → Matty
  • Michael → Mike/Mick → Mikey/Mickey
  • Nathan → Nate
  • Nicholas → Nick → Nicky
  • Oliver → Ollie
  • Paul (or Pauline, Paula) → Paulie/Polly
  • Rebecca → Becky, Becca
  • Regina → Reggie, Gina
  • Reginald → Reggie
  • Renee → Ray
  • Richard → Rich, Richie, Rick, Ricky, Dick, Dicky
  • Robert → Rob, Bob, Robbie, Bobby
  • Ronald → Ron → Ronnie
  • Russell → Russ, Rusty
  • Samuel → Sam → Sammy
  • Stephen → Steve → Stevie
  • Susan → Sue, Susie, Suzy
  • Teresa/Theresa → Tracy/Tracey
  • Theodore → Ted, Teddy, Theo
  • Thomas → Tom → Tommy
  • Tobias → Toby
  • Victoria → Vicky, Tori
  • Vincent → Vinnie, Vince
  • Virginia → Ginny, Ginger, Vergie
  • Walter → Walt, Wally
  • William → Will/Bill → Willie/Billy

Russian

Russian has a wide variety of diminutive forms for names, to the point that for non-Russian speakers it can be difficult to connect a nickname to the original. Diminutive forms for nouns are usually distinguished with an -ik, -ok (-yok) (masculine gender), -chk-/-shk- and -on’k-/-en’k- suffixes. Names can be somewhat more arbitrary, but still follow a loose pattern. A list of common names and their diminutive forms:
  • Aleksey = Alyosha, Alyoshen'ka, Alyoshka, Lyoshik, Lyosha, Lyoha
  • Aleksandr(a) = Sasha, Shura, Sashen'ka, Shurik, Sashka, San'ka, Sashechka, Shurka, Shurochka
  • Anastasiya = Nastya, Asya, Nasten'ka, Nastyushka, Nastyona, Nast'ka
  • Andrey = Andryusha, Andryuha
  • Anna = Anya, Anyuta, Anyutka, Anechka, Annushka, Nyuta, Nyura, Nyurka, Nyusha
  • Artyom = Tyoma
  • Boris = Borya, Boren'ka, Boryusha, Bor'ka
  • Dmitriy = Dima, Mitya, Miten'ka, Dimochka, Mityusha, Dimon, Mit'ka
  • Grigoriy = Grisha
  • Ivan = Vanya, Ivanushka, Vanechka, Van'ka
  • Konstantin = Kostya, Kostenka, Kostik, Kost'ka
  • Leonid = Lyonya, Lyolik, Lyonуchka, Lyon'ka
  • Mariya = Masha, Manya, Mashen'ka, Mashechka, Mashusha, Marusya, Mashka
  • Mikhail = Misha, Mishen'ka, Mishanya, Mishka
  • Nataliya = Natasha, Nata, Natashen'ka, Natusen'ka, Natusik, Natashka
  • Nikolay = Kolya, Kolen'ka, Nikolasha, Kol'ka, Kolyan
  • Oleg = Olezhka, Olezha, Olezhek
  • Ol'ga = Olya, Olen'ka, Olechka
  • Pavel = Pasha, Pashen'ka, Pavlik
  • Pyotr = Petya, Peten'ka, Petrusha, Petyunya
  • Roman = Roma, Romka
  • Sergei = Seryozha, Seryoga, Seryozhen'ka, Seryozhka, Seriy
  • Stepan = Styopa, Styopan'ka, Stepan'chik, Styopushka, Styopka
  • Stanislav= Stasya, Stasyan, Stasik, Stasyuka, Stasenka
  • Bratislav, Vyacheslav and Svyatoslav = Slava, Slavochka
  • Svetlana = Sveta, Svetochka, Svetik, Svetyushka, Svetka
  • Vadim = Vadik, Vadimka, Dima, Vadya, Vadisha, Vadyusha
  • Viktoriya = Vika
  • Vladimir = Volodya, Vova, Vovochka, Voloden'ka, Vovka, Volodka, Vovan
  • Yekaterina = Katya, Katerina, Katechka, Katen'ka, Katyukha, Katyusha, Kat'ka
  • Yevgeny = Zhenya, Zhenechka, Zheka, Zhen'ka, Zhenich
  • Yuriy = Yura, Yurka
Some names can also be modified with a -ka ending to add a further level of familiarity, but are not normally used for adults who are not family members.

Polish

In Polish there are multiple affixes used to create the diminutive. Some of them are -ka, -sia, -cia, -unia, -enka, -śka, -lka for feminine nouns and -ek, -uś, -ciek, -czek, -uń, -eńki, -lki for masculine (among others). Here is a list of common names with some of them:
  • Agnieszka = Aga, Asia
  • Aleksandra = Ola, Oleńka
  • Aleksander = Olek, Alek, Oluś
  • Anna = Ania, Anka, Anusia
  • Antoni = Antek
  • Arkadiusz = Arek, Aruś
  • Barbara = Basia, Baśka
  • Bartłomiej = Bartek, Bartuś
  • Bartosz = Bartek, Bartuś
  • Dariusz = Darek, Dareczek
  • Edward = Edek, Edzio
  • Ewa = Ewka, Ewusia
  • Grzegorz = Grzesiek, Grześ
  • Henryka = Henia
  • Henryk = Henio, Heniek
  • Jakub = Kuba, Kubuś
  • Jarosław = Jarek, Jaruś
  • Jan = Jaś, Janek
  • Janusz = Janek
  • Joanna = Joasia, Asia
  • Katarzyna = Kasia, Kaśka, Kasieńka, Kasiunia
  • Krzysztof = Krzysiek, Krzyś
  • Maciej = Maciek, Maciuś
  • Małgorzata = Małgosia, Małgośka, Gośka, Gosia, Gosieńka
  • Maria = Marysia, Maryśka, Marysieńka
  • Mirosław = Mirek, Mireczek, Mirko, Miruś
  • Piotr = Piotrek, Piotruś
  • Roman = Romek, Romeczek, Romuś
  • Ryszard = Rysiek
  • Sławomir = Sławek
  • Tadeusz = Tadek, Tadzio
  • Tomasz = Tomek, Tomuś, Tomcio, Tomaszek, Tomeczek
  • Władysław = Władek
  • Włodzimierz = Włodek
  • Witold = Witek
  • Wojciech = Wojtek, Wojtuś
  • Zofia = Zosia, Zośka
  • Zbigniew = Zbyszek

Spanish

Spanish forms diminutives by adding one of several diminutive suffixes. -ito/a, -cito/a, -ecito/a, -ico/a, -cico/a -illo/a, -cillo/a, -uelo/a, -zuelo/a, -ete/a, -ín, -iño/a.
  • Juana = Juanita = Ju
  • Jorge = Jorgito = Jor
It is common for a person to be known by 2 first names: Jose Luis, María Teresa, Juan Carlos etc. Combining the 2 names into one is another common way to form a hypocoristicon.
  • María Teresa = Maritere, Marite
  • María Luisa = Marisa
  • María Isabel = Maribel, Marisa
  • Luz María = Luzma
  • María Fernanda = Marifer
  • María Salvadora = Marisa
Many Spanish nicknames, however, are or can seem very unlike the original name. Notice, however, that the -ch- /tʃ/ sound is very common in many of these diminutives.
  • Alberto = Berto, Beto
  • Alfonso = Fon, Fonso, Poncho
  • Anastasio = Tasio, Tacho
  • Aniceto = Cheto
  • Beatriz = Bea, Beti
  • Concepción = Concha, Conchita
  • Consuelo = Chelo
  • Diego = Diegui
  • Dolores = Lola
  • Eduardo = Edu, Lalo
  • Enrique = Quique, Rico
  • Ernesto = Neto
  • Feliciano = Chano
  • Fernanda = Fer, Nanda
  • Fernando = Fer, Nando
  • Francisco = Paco, Pancho, Quico
  • Graciela = Chela, Gra
  • Guadalupe = Lupe, Lupita
  • Guillermo = Guille, Guillo, Memo
  • Ignacia = Nacha
  • Ignacio = Nacho
  • Isabel = Isa, Chavela, Chabela, Chabel
  • Jesús = Chuy, Chus, Chucho, Suso
  • Jorge = Coque
  • José = Pepe
  • José María = Chema, Josema
  • Laura = Lala, Lau, Cuquis, Yaya
  • Lidia = Yiya
  • Luis = Lucho, Güicho
  • Luisa = Lucha
  • Manuel = Manu, Manolo, Lolo
  • María Fernanda = Máfer
  • Maximina = Chimina
  • Refugio, María del Refugio = Cuca
  • Roberto = Rober, Berto, Beto
  • Rosario = Chayo, Charo
  • Santiago = Santi, Chago
  • Sergio = Checo
  • Silvia = Chiva
  • Vicente = Vicen, Chente
Also, several female names may have their endings cut off and the vowel -"i" added at the end in the formation of pet names:
  • Beatriz = Beti
  • Leticia = Leti
  • Pilar, María del Pilar = Pili
  • Susana = Susi
hypocoristic in Catalan: Hipocorístic
hypocoristic in German: Kosename
hypocoristic in Spanish: Hipocorístico
hypocoristic in French: Hypocoristique
hypocoristic in Galician: Hipocorístico
hypocoristic in Italian: Ipocoristico
hypocoristic in Dutch: Koosnaam
hypocoristic in Portuguese: Hipocorístico
hypocoristic in Russian: Уменьшительное имя
hypocoristic in Slovak: Hypokoristikum
hypocoristic in Swedish: Hypokorism
hypocoristic in Walloon: Raptitixhant no d' djin
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