What is a nickname?


Caylynn Tenison Photo by Brooke Williams.

Brooke Williams

To be remembered from a specific characteristic or even personality trait, summed up into a shortened phrase of an identity had been an experience several students shared. These intimate puns fueled friendships for some students and remained a constant reminder of a certain memory for others. What a nickname represented was an alternating concept amongst peers. 

Paige Boucher Photo by Brooke Williams.

Whether a funny phrase emerged from a humorous inside joke or a moment of ‘you just had to be there’, having a stranger refer to you with a name made by the closest of friends could seem a little weird. Freshmen Paige Boucher recalled a spin on her name, Paigey-poo, which was made by a group of all of her friends. 

“My nickname is Paigey-Poo, it’s alright [to be called this] if it’s coming from one of my close friends I’ve known for a while but if it comes from someone else it would be kind of weird,” Boucher said. “This nickname portrays how close my friends and I are.” 

Gabrielle Garcia Photo by Brooke Williams.

For sophomore Gabrielle Garcia, her nickname spawned from a character played in a show on TV that was watched by everyone, which created the basis of a relationship behind a name. The pure humor that followed this person’s new name was enough for it to catch on and become a new identity to follow her for five years and counting.  

“[I’ve had my nickname] Gibby since sixth grade, the origin of Gibby was from the character from the show Icarly.” Garcia said.  

Gavin Rivers Photo by Brooke Williams.

Family relationships come from every end of the spectrum, there was always that really weird uncle that tried to stay up to date with the newest technology and lingo, then there were the dads that wanted to relate to their teenagers. Receiving a nickname from a parent could mean many different things to different people, but it definitely meant they loved hanging out with you. 

“My dad called me ‘G-Dog-the-killa’ because my name starts with a G,” junior Gavin Rivers said, “It was my x-box name for a little, [getting this nickname] meant that [I] was better than all the other Gavin’s out there.” 

Jamie Farrar Photo by Brooke Williams.

For sophomore Jamie Farrar, what began as one friend’s way of getting her attention morphed into a shortened version of her name that every peer, both friend and stranger, referred to her as without having to think about it.  

“My nickname is Jam,” Farrar said. “One of my friends, Amanda Hartamann, made up my nickname and then everyone else started calling me it.” 

Caylynn Tenison Photo by Brooke Williams.

The backstory behind a nickname held specific memories for sophomore Caylynn Tenison, a YouTube star led to a shared inside joke of comparisons for many years to follow. The shortened identity reminded her of the middle school days and the simplicity of that time period. 

“My close friends call me JC because in sixth grade we all loved the youtuber, JC Caylen, and since my name is spelled ‘Caylynn’ it was close enough for them to begin comparing me to him,” Tenison said. “Having a nickname can obviously symbolize many different things for different people, but for me it reminds me who my closest friends are and is a fun way for people to bond.”

Whether a phrase was conjured through mutual friends having the laugh of a lifetime, or from a mom who insisted and giving you a personal nickname, the name itself was sure to symbolize the relationship between several people. Nicknames may not have been made to share with everyone, but they have impacted everyone’s perception on what bond there is between certain relationships.