Trying to name things in a computer data model.

People have a variety of name roles, such as legal name, maiden name, etc.

"The Sultan of Swat" is a nickname or pseudonym of George Ruth. It seems to stand alone. You don't often see him called "The Sultan of Swat" Ruth.

"Babe" is also his nickname, but is often used together with other parts of his name, as in "Babe Ruth". It's more like the "Bobby" in Robert "Bobby" Kennedy.

I've seen "diminutive" as well as "appellation" used.

Are the two kinds of nicknames actually different? And if so, what terms to use?

Update. A few more examples for clarification:

Is Malcolm X a sobriquet, pseudonym, or just his preferred name?

If an Asian student at a western college takes a more western name is that a sobriquet or preferred name?

  • It looks like you need a one-to-many relationship, as they are both nicknames. What would you do if your question were satisfactorily answered and a player had three nicknames? Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 2:25
  • Adding to my previous point, we use "alias" or "AKA" (also known as) for one-to-many references to alternate names. Especially those used by criminals. I can here Howard Cosell introducing them that way right now. Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 2:32
  • I don't know.....your "update" sounds like it should be two new, separate questions....
    – Shokhet
    Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 5:22

2 Answers 2


"Sultan of Swat" is a sobriquet. "Babe" is a moniker or nickname. If he had a name used to distinguish him from other members of his family (although he was George Herman Ruth Jr., he was first called "Babe" when he was already playing ball), it would be a cognomen. If he used a false name to hide his identity, it would be a pseudonym. In the unlikely case he had a name just for baseball, it would be a nom de métier (there are the more specific nom de plume and nom de guerre, but no nom de jeu as far as I know).


Sultan of Swat would be a sobriquet. However, depending on the exact nature of the names you have (do they include the given name, are they self imposed, etc) there may be a better or more generic term.

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