Is there a name for these kind of doubled words?

For example:

  • hanky-panky
  • flim-flam
  • hoity-toity
  • boo-hoo
  • zig-zag

Note that some rhyme and others do not.


2 Answers 2


hanky-panky is an example of rhyming reduplication

zig-zag is an example of ablaut reduplication



I believe the word you're looking for is reduplication.

From Wikipedia:

Reduplication in linguistics is a morphological process in which the root or stem of a word (or part of it) or even the whole word is repeated exactly or with a slight change.

Wiktionary gives specific types:

  • Exact type: acute-null accents; baby-talk-like
    • bye-bye, choo-choo, night night, no-no, pee-pee, poo-poo, etc.
  • Ablaut type: acute-grave accents, high-low vowels, front-back vowels.
    • bric-a-brac, chit-chat, criss-cross, kitty-cat, knick-knack, jibber-jabber, splish-splash, zig-zag, sing-song, etc.
  • Rhymed type: acute-acute accents, varied initials.
    • claptrap, hokey-pokey, honey bunny, razzle-dazzle, slim jim, super-duper, teeny-weeny, wingding, etc.

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