Words suffixed by '-onym' relate to different classifications of word, or more often, name.

They refer to myriad different names from endonym to theronym but I cannot find an appropriate term for a nickname.

Is there one?


3 Answers 3



It appears that I may have gone to EL&U too quickly; upon further inspection of a list of '-onym' words I found

Hypocoronym: A colloquial, usually unofficial, name of an entity; a pet-name or "nickname" (Wikipedia)

While this seems to fit the bill perfectly, it is the only definition I can find and is from Wikipedia. Since Wikipedia is not considered a reputable source for EL&U answer I have tried to find others, but they all seem to have the same text as the Wikipedia source.

Can anyone find a more reputable source?

  • 1
    The reason you had trouble finding definitions is because the more "recognized, traditional" form is hypocoristic, which can be used as a noun as well as adjectivally. But putting aside such pettifoggery, I'd say you've nailed it. Commented Sep 3, 2016 at 16:56
  • 1
    +1; But why is this so? Wikipedia is not considered a reputable source for EL&U answer Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 17:17
  • @alwayslearning Because it can be edited by anyone and is often lacking citation. This doesn't apply to all of Wikipedia, some of it is fantastic, but it's always best to find an extra source. Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 17:58

It's complicated.

The short answer is that there is none. There is no word ending in '-onym' that is equivalent to nickname.

But there are related terms that capture what 'nickname' captures. A nickname, which etymologically means an 'also' name, can be a diminutive of the original name, a street name, an AKA, fanciful or not. Given that, the possibilities are:

  • cognomen - this doesn't have '-onym' as the ending, but it can mean all those things. It's just 'another' name one is known by
  • diminutive - this only covers things like Peggy for Margaret or Sasha for Alexander, but also means any other kind of small thing, like kitchenette.
  • moniker - this means 'nickname' like 'cognomen' is of dubious provenance, but sounds like it could have been derived from 'nym' and metathesis
  • pseudonym - a stage- or pen-name. What one is known as professionally. This has the -nym' suffix, is an alternative name, but is not normally considered a nickname

Some words that do not mean nickname but are close:

  • paronym - a cognate, a word from another language. paranym means euphemism but is not given in M-W
  • hypocorism - is a term of endearment, a pet-name, like 'sweetie' or 'dear'. Close, a vocative of sorts, but not actually a name. Wikipedia gives 'hypocoronym' as a word, but I can't find any evidence elsewhere that it is an accepted word.

The closest to your specifications is cognomen. If I were to make up a word, it would be paranym (purely by literal root meanings) but that is already taken.


Not exactly the same as "nickname", a "pseudonym" is a fictitious name used by an author to conceal his or her identity. It's also called a "pen name"

pseudonym - "a fictitious name adopted, esp by an author" (from Greek pseudōnumon, neuter of pseudōnumos, falsely named : pseudēs, false; see pseudo- + onuma, name)

There are differences between a nickname and a pseudonym, though. While a "pseudonym" is usually chosen by somenone to conceal his identity, a nickname is usually chosen by friends, acquaintances or colleagues. In addition, a nickname can also be used for animals, cities, etc.

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