Below are lists of some of the most popular
pet names and nicknames. There is a difference in use between the pet name
and the nickname: while nicknames are a name for someone that can be used by anyone, pet names
can only be used by one individual. Pet names, then, are intimate
while nicknames are social or tribal names.
You'll notice that the pet names allude to
various universally valued qualities, such as sweetness, beauty,
peacefulness, innocence, warmth, playfulness, worth, providence or
cuddliness. You'll probably also notice that they are being applied as
metaphors, easily completing the sentence "You are my _____". This
means that pet names are both positive descriptions and easy to identify
with, ensuring lasting use in any language.
We reserve the pet name for those
closest to us, as if the pet name is our unique connection to them. This
intimacy may explain why the pet name has much more built-in depth than most
nicknames, which tend to be simply documentary in nature.
A List of Common Pet Names
Apple of My Eye
The above list of common pet names reveal
many metaphors. Meanwhile, nicknames tend to be direct descriptions of the
person or their role in society, or similes for their physical attributes or
personality. Sometimes they may refer to an event in one's past. Most often,
we are forced explain a nickname with statements like "They call me 'Keys'
because I play piano". Once a nickname is explained to us, we become
part of the inner circle - part of the tribe. By allowing us to use
this nickname on the specific member, the tribe shows its acceptance of us.
By being granted a nickname by a tribe, we acquire status within the tribe.
List of Popular Nicknames
given names can be used by absolutely anyone. As we draw closer to home, through
given to us by the friends of our social circles, we arrive at the deeply
intimate pet name given to us exclusively by our lover - and this name, no
matter what language it is in, will almost certainly be a metaphor for
something deeply valued.
Further Reading: Virtual Hormones
Back to Metaphor