Pet names

Abusive nicknames

A hypocorism ( hy-POK-ər-iz-əm or HY-pə-KORR-iz-əm; from Ancient Greek: ὑποκόρισμα (hypokorisma), from ὑποκορίζεσθαι (hypokorizesthai), 'to call by pet names', sometimes also hypocoristic) or pet name is a name used to show affection for a person. It may be a diminutive form of a person's name, such as Izzy for Isabel or Bob for Robert, or it may be unrelated.

In linguistics, the term can be used more specifically to refer to the morphological process by which the standard form of the word is transformed into a form denoting affection, or to words resulting from this process. In English, a word is often clipped down to a closed monosyllable and then suffixed with -y/-ie (phonologically ). Sometimes the suffix -o is included as well as other forms or templates.

Hypocoristics are often affective in meaning and are particularly common in Australian English, but can be used for various purposes in different semantic fields, including personal names, place names, and nouns. Hypocorisms are usually considered distinct from diminutives, but they can also overlap.

Source: Wikipedia

"Hypocorism" was once briefly a buzzword among philologists who used it rather broadly to mean "adult baby talk," that is, the altered speech adults use when supposedly imitating babies. But what the Greeks likely had in mind with their word "hypokorisma" was simply pet names: diminutives like our "Johnny" for "John," endearing terms such as "honey-bunch," or names from baby talk, like "Nana" for "Grandma." "Hypokorisma" comes from the verb "hypokorizesthai" ("to call by pet names"), which itself comes from "korizesthai" ("to treat with tokens of affection"). English speakers borrowed the noun as "hypocorism" (by way of Late Latin "hypocorisma") in the late 19th century. Once the baby talk issue faded, "hypocorism" settled back into being just a fancy word for pet name.
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