Definition & Etymology:
The term “hypocorism “derives from a Greek word hypokorisma meaning ‘to call by pet names’ or ‘to play the child’. Commonly used of pet-names, like ‘Mike’ for Michael, and the use of familiar terms like these: Will Shakespeare, Jim Boswell, Willie Yeats, Tom Eliot. Also endearments like: ‘money spider’, ‘cherry blossom’, ‘honey’, ‘chuck’.
Hypocorism also shows the use of forms of speech imitative of baby talk, especially by an adult.
Examples of hypocoristic proper names:
- Peter → Piet, Pieta
- Jakobus → Jak, Jako, Kobus, Kobie
- Anirban → Ani
- Debmalya → Debu
- Grégory, Grégoire → Greg
- Jean-Michel → Jean-Mi
- Joannie → Jo
- Anton → Toni
- Elisabeth → Elsa, Elsie, Ilsa, Liesl, Lisbeth