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How to Come Up With Nicknames


When you are close friends with someone, it is only natural that you would want to give them a nickname. Many of the most famous people throughout the ages have had nicknames, and your friends are no different. Your family members may have a nickname for you, and your friends may have a different nickname. At some point, you may want to think up a good nickname for the people closest to you. If you have never done this before, we can help you learn how to come up with nicknames. It takes some time to get used to a new name, so give each nickname you create a chance before you decide that it is not quite right for you.

There are a number of different ways that you can create a nickname for someone. You can use the tips on this list. If that does not work, we also have a number of articles with nicknames for different types of people on our website that you can check out as well.

1. Use Their Real Name

This is one of the easiest and most obvious options. Often, people create a nickname based on the person’s actual names. For example, a number of people named Samantha or Samuel get the nickname Sam or Sammie. Joseph becomes Joe, Benjamin becomes Ben and Nicholas becomes Nick.

You can also do the same thing in reverse. You can turn a short name into a longer name by making it a nickname. You could turn Katie into Katie Bug, Maddie into Maddie Padie or Juno into Juno Bug.

A number of nicknames are also traditional nicknames for longer names. Richard traditionally becomes the nicknames Dick, Rich or Richie. Jonathan turns into Johnny, and Catherine becomes Cathy. Some names like Elizabeth turn into unusual nicknames like Betty or Bessie for some unknown reason.

Here are a few common nicknames based on someone’s real name.

Jones: Someone who has this as a last name or a first name may end up with the nickname Jonesy.
Robert: Robert often becomes nicknames like Bob, Rob, Bobby or Robbie.
Isadora and Isabella: These names often get nicknames like Izzy, Isa or Bella.
MacDonald: Someone who has a name that starts with Mac often gets the nickname Mac or Mic.
Stephanie or Stephen: These names often turn into nicknames like Steph.

2. Hometown or Nationality

Where someone is from can be extremely important. When someone moves to a new area, they often get a nickname from where they were originally from. For example, when a Texan moves to Washington state, they might be given the nickname Tex or Big Tex. Someone who comes from one of New York City’s boroughs might get nicknames like Bronx, Harlem, Manhattan, Queens or Brooklyn. If you are an American and move abroad, you might get a nickname like Yankee, Gringo or American.

Someone from New Zealand or Australia might get a nickname like Aussie or Jafa when they move abroad. Meanwhile, someone from the United Kingdom might be called Brit by their friends. If their friends are Americans and history buffs, they might also be called Redcoats because of the Revolutionary War.

Here are a few nicknames based on where someone comes from.

Kiwi: This is for people from New Zealand.
Arky: This is for a person from Arkansas.
Big Tex: This is reserved for Texans.
Cajun: This is for a person from Louisiana.
Lagosian: This is for people from Lagos, Nigeria.
Kentucky Fried: Use this nickname for individuals from Kentucky.
Banana Bender: This derogatory nickname is for people who come from Queensland, Australia.
Scouse: This is a nickname for someone from Liverpool.

You can also just create a nickname for someone based on the city that they are from as well. For example, you could call someone Seattle, London, Dallas, Beijing or similar city names.

3. Physical Attributes

People are often given nicknames based on how they look. If there is something distinctive about their look, you can use this for a nickname. You could call someone who is tall Big Guy, Skyscraper or Mr. Biggs. You could also give these nicknames to someone who is shorter than average as an ironic nickname. In Australia, red-heads get nicknames that are variations of Blue as an ironic name. Red-headed guys tend to get the nickname Bluey. Australians also give someone who never blinks or blinks a lot Blinky.

Here are some nicknames for physical attributes.

Tiny: This is a nickname for a short person or an ironic nickname for a tall person.
Freckles: This is a common nickname for someone who has a lot of freckles.
Babyface: This is for someone who looks younger than they actually are.
Peach Fuzz: This nickname is given to guys who cannot grow a beard quite yet.
Beanpole: This is for tall, thin people.
Sputnik: This is for someone who has a bowl haircut or for someone from Russia.
Bear: This is for a hairy, larger guy.

4. Mannerisms

Everyone is unique. Sometimes, people develop a quirk like pulling their ear when they are nervous. Other people have a habit of licking their lips or stroking their beard when they are thinking. You can use mannerisms like this to give your friend or family member a unique nickname.

Here are some of the nicknames based on mannerisms.

Blinky: This is for someone who either blinks a lot or not at all.
Spangles: This is for a flamboyant friend or a friend with a lot of energy.
Twitch: This is for that individual who has a lot of nervous energy and twitches a lot.
Sneezy: Use this for a friend who sneezes a lot. Actually, just about all of the seven dwarves’ names can be used as a nickname.
Nosy: Use this for a friend who always noses their way into everyone else’s business.

5. Hobbies and Likes

Each person has unique likes and dislikes. Some people love to hike, and other people love to paint. If someone has a particular hobby that they really love, you can create a nickname based on their favorite pastime. For example, someone who loves reading a lot often gets the nickname Bookworm.

Here are some of the nicknames you could use for different hobbies.

Hesisenberg: This comes from Breaking Bad and is a nickname for someone who loves chemistry.
Greenthumb: Use this for people who love gardening.
Forrest: Use this for runners because of the phrase in Forrest Gump: Run, Forrest, Run!
Jitters: This is a great nickname for someone who really loves to cook coffee.
Kid Wonder: Try this nickname for someone who really likes comic books.
Picasso: Use this for a friend who loves to paint.
Einstein: Use this for a math whiz or someone who loves inventing things.
Sugar ‘N’ Spice: Use this for a friend who loves to bake.

6. Personality

Someone’s personality can also be used to design their nickname. If someone is bubbly and happy all the time, you could call them Bubbles. Meanwhile, someone who always seems to be in a dark mood could be called Eeyore or Emo (or Finding Emo). You can also use a nickname that is actually the opposite personality trait to be ironic.

Here are some of the nicknames used for different personality traits.

Einstein: This can be used for smart friends.
Sloth: This is for your slow, lazy friends.
Debbie Downer: This is for a depressed, negative friend.
Goody Two-Shoes: Use this for a friend who hates getting into trouble.
Miss Sunshine: Use this for a friend who always seems happy.
Nervous Nellie: This is a common nickname for someone who always seems nervous.
Chatty Cathy: This is a nickname used for talkative friends.

7. Occupation

You spend a significant amount of your life at work, so it makes sense that your nickname might be based on what you do for a living. This practice is quite common. In Australia, Sparky is a common nickname for electricians. Some historians also believe that our last names originally came from our occupations. For example, Carpenters were once carpenters, Tanners were tanners and so on.

Here are some common nicknames for different occupations.

Chef or Cookie: Use this for a chef or a baker.
Doc: This is an obvious option for any doctors out there.
Sherlock: Use this for private detectives and cops.
Chief: This is for someone who is the boss in their organization.
Ambulance Chaser: This is for lawyers who tend to work on small claims, injuries and accidents.
Prof: This is for academics and professors.
Bones: Use this for paleontologists, orthopedic doctors and anyone who works with bones.
Maestro: Use this for a teacher.
Shakespeare: Use this nickname for someone who writes for a living.

8. Cultural References: Television

Your friend does not have to actually like the character or television show to choose a nickname for it. For example, you could name a friend who loves to clean or bake Monica after the character in Friends. Or call your wacky friend Phoebe after Phoebe in Friends. You could name a friend Sherlock after the television character or Piper after the character on Orange Is the New Black.

Here are some nicknames based on cultural references on television.

Hannibal: Use this for that one friend that has some worrying habits.
Khaleesi: This is for beautiful blondes in your life.
Maximus: For your gladiator friends.
Crazy Eyes: For twisted, unusual friends.
Sully: For that one friend one never believes something supernatural is going on because they are so matter-of-fact.

9. Cultural References: Video Games

If you are friends with a gamer, it is only natural to use a video game to make their nickname. From quests to racing games, you have a number of different options to choose.

Here are some of the best nicknames from video games.

Croft: Use this for girls who look like Lara Croft.
Blue Pill: This is for people who like to live in an alternative world like in the Matrix.
Lemming: Use this for people who like to follow the pack.
Pacman: This is for gamers who always seem to be eating.
Spyro: This is for high-energy gamers who are on a mission.

10. Traditional Nicknames

Traditional nicknames are the ones that you hear all the time and forget are even nicknames. For example, Bill Clinton’s actual name is William, but no one remembers that any more. Richard becomes Dick and Charles becomes Chuck. Some of these traditional nicknames were more popular with Baby Boomers though, so they don’t always apply anymore.

Here are some more traditional options:

Hank: This is a traditional nickname for Henry.
John: For some reason, this is a traditional nickname for Jonathan or John.
Meg: Meg, Peggy or Maggie are all traditional nicknames for Margaret.
Teddy or Ted: For some unknown reason, this is a traditional nickname for Edward.
Cat or Kat: This is a traditional nickname for Catherine or Katherine.

11. Initials

If you are feeling lazy, you can always create a nickname based on the persons initials. People with abbreviated names like Jon-Paul get nicknames like JP. Authors often use nicknames. J.K. Rowling famously used initials for her name because she was told that readers would not want to read a book written by a woman. It turns out that the publishers were wrong—or they were right, but her genius meant that it no longer mattered.

Here are some common nicknames for initials:

Dubya: If someone has a “W” to start their first or last name, they get this nickname. Nowadays, people tend to think of George W. Bush when they hear this nickname.
KC: This nickname also sounds like the name Casey.
JR: This is a common nickname for people who have these initials.
JJ: This is a cute nickname.
CC: You could also spell this CiCi or CeCe.
JT: Thanks to Justin Timberlake, this is now a common nickname for people with these initials.

12. Rhyming Options

For some reason, people tend to love anything that rhymes. Because of this, they tend to make rhyming nicknames, even if they can’t find an actual word that rhymes. You might have a friend that you call Jake the Snake or Paul the Doll for this reason. You can try to create a rhyming option that actually matches their character, or you can just choose any word that rhymes.

Here are some rhyming nickname options.

Lucus Mucus: Your friend Lucus probably won’t like this name.
Doug Bug: It sounds cute, but your friend Doug might not like it.
Silly Billy: Billy is already a nickname, so you have basically made a nickname for an nickname.
Jim Jam: This is a cute nickname for people named Jim.
Jake the Flake: Use this if your friend Jake never shows up on time.
Luke the Fluke: Use this for lucky friends.
Jelly Belly: Use this for anyone who has a name that includes a “Jel” or “Belle” sound to it.

13. Themes

how to pick a nickname

If you have a group of friends that all want a nickname, you could always go with a particular theme. For example, if you all love Game of Thrones, you could name yourselves after characters in the show. In the 1990s, friends often did this based on the show Friends. You could also make themes like mythology, certain eras in history, writers, comic book superheros or similar things.

Here are a few nicknames that could come from a theme.

Icarus: Use this for a mythology name. Icarus famously flew too close to the sun, so use this for a friend who does things impulsively and lacks caution.
Julius: Use this name from Roman history for a natural leader in your group.
Stallion: This would be a great nickname for your boyfriend.
Neo: This comes from the Matrix.
Machiavelli: This is for someone who is intelligent or who thinks the ends justify the means.
Austen: Use Jane Austen as a nickname for a friend who is a true romantic.

14. Couple Names

People love giving nicknames to couples. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie famously became Brangelina. Before that, people already gave nicknames to famous couples. Think about Romeo and Juliet or Bonnie and Clyde. You can make a nickname for a couple based on their actual name or their attributes. You could also name them after a famous couple from history.

Here are some examples of nicknames for your couple friends.

Stud and Muffin: This is adorable.
Cleopatra and Marc Anthony: This was a famous pair of lovers.
Sugar and Spice: Which person gets to be the spice?
Louis and Marie: This couple was the last king and queen of France, but their lives did not end well.
Johnny and June: Use this if your friends love Johnny Cash and June Carter.
Scarlett and Rhett: These names come from Gone With the Wind.
Bonnie and Clyde: This is a great nickname for a pair of outlaws in the making.
Adam and Eve: This is certainly a famous couple to choose.
Macaroni and Cheese: These always go well together.
Peanut Butter and Jelly: For friends that go together like peanut butter and jelly. You can shorten this to PBJ when you are talking about both of them at once.


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