When and how did nicknames come about

Nicknames: 9 ways to create a name & 4 tips on how to use them

Nicknames say a lot about a person, sometimes quite unconsciously. It is not uncommon for this statement to be negative. This is precisely why it is important that you are careful when handling nicknames. Here we explain everything you should pay attention to.

The word “nickname” comes from the 17th century and contains the word component “Spitz” in the sense of hurtful or mocking. It is now a nickname no longer necessarily negative connoted. Such a name can have many different intentions. However, it often happens that a nickname conveys cultural and sexist prejudices. In this article we explain everything about nicknames in everyday life and professional life and how you can deal with a negative nickname.

How nicknames are formed

How nicknames are formed

Nicknames are often formed similarly, but have not always the sameimportance. Often it doesn't take a lot of creativity to come up with a nickname. They usually refer to a person's actual name or some other noticeable feature. In the following you will find out everything about the creation of a nickname. In addition, we explain to you how such names are created in the first place.

1. Abbreviations: The nickname is limited to the leading or trailing end of the name. (example: The name “Fridolin” becomes “Frido”.)

2nd change: The nickname is created by changing the name. Often the last part of the name is replaced with a vowel. (example: The name “Susanne” becomes “Susi”.)

3rd combination: A name is first shortened and then one or more letters are added. This is often used to better pronounce the name. (example: “Stefanie” becomes “Steffie”.)

4. Duplication: A syllable is taken from the name, which is then doubled. This form is often chosen when a syllable can be extracted that ends in a vowel. (example: The name “Bianca” becomes “Bibi”.)

5. Downsizing: The name is belittled, often by adding the syllable -lein or -chen. (example: The name “Peter” becomes “Peterchen.”)

6. Surname: Sometimes a nickname is also derived from the surname. This variant is particularly popular with young people. (example: The football player's name “Lukas Podolski” becomes “Poldi”.)

7. External: If a person has an external characteristic that stands out in particular, this can also become the basis of a nickname. (example: When Hugo has lots of curls, Hugo's nickname becomes “Locke”.)

8. Character: If a person has a certain character trait that is very noticeable, this can also determine the nickname. (example: Ben is always very excited and doesn't like sitting still. He is referred to by others as "Fidgety Philip".)

9. Situations / memories: Sometimes there is a situation or memory that is so unforgettable that it becomes a nickname. (example: Sina is late for school every day because she overslept. Her nickname is "Sleepyhead".)

Who gives nicknames

Who gives nicknames?

Whoever gives a nickname is ultimately always different. Some people choose the names themselves. There can be different reasons for this. Perhaps the actual name is too long, complicated, or just difficult to pronounce. But it can also be that someone prefers their nickname to their real name.

On the other hand, it is also possible that someone else gives a person a nickname. This is exactly where problems can often arise. Because a nickname doesn't always have a positive or nice meaning. Nicknames can vary in intention, use, and the way in which they are understood.

tip: If you want to assign a nickname yourself, you should keep in mind, especially with names that are meant to be funny, that they do not always go down that way. So think twice about whether the person will find the nickname as funny as you or not. If it could get negative, then it's probably better to leave the name unspoken.

Meaning of nicknames

The function of the nickname has changed over the years and now partly deviates from the original definition from the 17th century. In general, a nickname can have very different functions and intentions. The following functions are often decisive:

  • praise: Expert, problem solver, helping hand, hero
  • joke: Cardboard nose, prankster, nonsense head
  • Teasing: Sleepyhead, bowl, fidgety philippine
  • Mocking: Barbie, blonde, fat
  • Hurtful: Dwarf, fool, fool
  • Belittling: Mäuschen, Schnucki, Hasilein
It is common for politicians to be given nicknames. Most of the time these are mocking. They can be given by the people, a medium or by another politician. Part of it becomes Criticism of the social, economic or political situation voiced. For example, a political opponent referred to the German politician Willy Brandt as “Willy Cloud” because of his ideas.

On the other hand, a nickname can also have the sole purpose of getting superficial about a politician to make fun of. For example, the German politician Helmut Kohl was depicted in a magazine as a pear due to his body and was nicknamed “pear cabbage”.

When to use nicknames

Perhaps you have had some experience with nicknames yourself and have found that they are not always appropriate. Your partner may call you "sweetheart", your mother "Mäuschen" and your friends again. Even if you can come to terms with these names, you should especially in professional life be careful when using nicknames be. Here the probability is particularly high that these will be received negatively.

Working life

Nicknames in professional life

In today's professional life, the working atmosphere in many companies is very relaxed. The collaboration takes place on a personal level with flat hierarchies. How close you are, however, and whether even a nickname is appropriate, ultimately only you can know. Try to get a feel for your company and the usual manners theredevelop. However, nicknames have no place in applications or official documents. You can find out how to write a good résumé here. You can find tips for your cover letter in this article on the topic.

Remember that a nickname is a professional both advantages as well as disadvantage brings with it. Nicknames are usually a sign that there is relaxed, personal interaction between colleagues and that the working atmosphere is generally relaxed. However, a nickname can also mean that you are no longer taken seriously by your colleagues and also in front of outsiders seriousnesslose. So weigh carefully whether a nickname is suitable for your job or not.

However, giving a deliberately hurtful nickname is a clear no-go. Nicknames can be a form of mobbing be. You can find out more about workplace bullying here. If this affects you yourself, we will give you a few possible solutions later on how to deal with your nickname.

Private life

Nicknames are quite common in private life often. In the family, in a relationship, and among friends, nicknames, as well as nicknames, are appropriate, provided the person agrees. Even if nicknames are often given among each other, in most cases they are to be interpreted positively.

Nicknames on the Internet: Nickname

Nicknames on the Internet

Nicknames are also often given on the Internet. However, you usually give yourself your nickname yourself - in the form of a nickname. A nickname denotes a self-chosen pseudonymunder which a person appears on the Internet. But he can also do one Shortening of one's own name or the own name itself be. Basically, he avoids the multiple use of a name and guarantees (depending on the portal) anonymity.

You can let your creativity run free when creating a nickname. You can combine letters with numbers and even special characters. The prerequisite is that the name only appears once on the respective portal. Combinations of first names and year of birth are popular, but fantasy names are also suitable. We explain here how you can stimulate your imagination.

So that you can get an idea of ​​which names you can use as nicknames, we have a few funny nicknames summarized for you:

  1. Anna Lüse
  2. Mario Nice
  3. Rob Otter
  4. Mark Aroni
  5. Volker Racho

What a nickname says about you

A nickname can have very negative effects, especially in professional life. This is why you should be careful when using nicknames, and even better consider whether you want to nicknames yourself.

Nicknames are also problematic because they are often not easy to get rid of. They are often easier to remember than the real name, which can mean that you will only be addressed by your nickname - regardless of the original intention of the nickname. Depending on the nickname, this can have not inconsiderable consequences. In the worst case scenario, your nickname will affect it negative on your career or your mental health.

example: Hans talks a lot and is therefore referred to by his colleagues as a “talk bag”. In the meantime he could get used to it. The name and the prejudice based on it still persists.

How to deal with negative nicknames

How to deal with negative nicknames

Regardless of whether it is for business or pleasure, negative nicknames and bullying are still commonplace. In the workplace, colleagues often give each other negative nicknames and deliberately exclude one person. However, employees can also secretly give their boss such a name. Often the people concerned do not even know that they have such a name. Negative nicknames are often part of insidious gossip.

Negative nicknames and bullying are common discontent. This dissatisfaction can be with you, with the person concerned, or it can have a completely different origin. A nickname, then, is a means of getting aroundReduce anger. Negative nicknames belittle the person concerned and thus ensure that the namesake feel better in the short term.

Especially when several people get together and distribute nicknames, this creates a sense of community. Through collective gossip and ridicule, they feel they belong to a group - but at the expense of others. If you have also been given a negative nickname, here are tips on how to deal with it.

Be polite

If someone gives you a nickname, chances are you don't like it. However, this is not always a reason to get angry outright. Maybe the namesake had a good intention, but missed your taste. Then it is often enough if you tell him that you don't like the name. Even if the nickname is just a well-intentioned joke, you can politely point out that you don't find it funny. A short conversation is often enough to get rid of your nickname.

Ignore the nickname

Ignore the nickname

It gets a little more difficult with nicknames that consciously hurtful should be. In this case, if you point out that you don't like the name, the situation can get worse. It is better to simply use the other people to ignore. Pretend you don't care about the nickname. That takes away the charm of the name for the others. Often times, they'll stop using the nickname all by themselves because it's easy for them no more fun makes.

Be self-deprecating

You can also respond well to negative nicknames with self-irony. Even if you don't like the name that much, you can respond to it with humor. This shows that you are confident enough to keep yourself away from nicknames and other annoyances not to be bothered. You can find tips for increasing self-confidence here.


If your nickname begins to burden you psychologically, you are always free to complain. You can contact your teacher, employer, or other trusted person and explain your case to them. Be completely open and explain how the nickname affects your well-being. You can work on a solution togetherthat is as comfortable and suitable as possible for everyone.

Notice: Even if you may be uncomfortable, you should stand up for yourself. Nicknames can be a form of bullying. You should take action against this and not let the matter rest. Bullying is common not only in school but also in the workplace. So you don't have to be embarrassed to ask for help. Instead, you can be a role model for others and improve conditions for those around you in general.

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