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Where did this term originate from? According to Etymonline.com, it originates from O.E. eaca, which means to "increase". However, I can't see how the "n" got stuck in there too.

Does anyone have any relevant information?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 16 down vote accepted

Metanalysis strikes again.

The regular outcome of OE eaca would be ick, as in ickname. At some point an ickname became reanalyzed as a nickname, and that's how the word has reached us today.

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+1. BTW, I've never met a nalysis before. Are they nice? –  Robusto Apr 18 '12 at 1:51
@Robusto, sparagus is nice but nadders are a bit dangerous –  mgb Apr 18 '12 at 2:06
Does 'icky' follow on the same lines and owe its origins to OE ick? –  Kris Apr 18 '12 at 5:30
OE eaca: an increase. What has increase to do with 'nickname'? –  Kris Apr 18 '12 at 5:40
It is an additional name, which increases the number of names you have? –  kindall Apr 18 '12 at 6:08

It's metanalysis from an ickname to a nickname.

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A more natural, and logical guess by backward extrapolation would be based on nick rather than ick/ eace:

nick: a short cut, a notch. Hence 'nickname', a short name.

Nick: the devil. Whence, apart from the actual name, an endearing term for that little devil, a 'nickname'.

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If you read the full entry at etymonline then eaca makes sense. –  Matt E. Эллен Apr 18 '12 at 9:02
I had read that early on. And yes, it does. Did I say otherwise? What doesn't though is the down vote. –  Kris Apr 18 '12 at 9:08
If you are guessing etymologies, you might think it is a contrast between Nicholas and Nick –  Henry Apr 18 '12 at 9:47
I would hazard a guess that the downvote is because you're just making something up that is directly at odds with reliable source material; the question is "what is its true etymology", not "make-up-your-own etymology". –  Hellion Apr 18 '12 at 13:44
From the movie "Top Secret": "What's your name?" - "Nick." - "Nick? What does it mean?" - "Nothing. My dad thought of it while he was shaving." –  Amos M. Carpenter Apr 20 '12 at 6:55

protected by RegDwigнt Apr 20 '12 at 9:29

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