Hypocorism: Definition, Etymology and Examples of Hypocorism

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 → PietPieta
  • Jakobus → JakJakoKobusKobie


    • Anirban → Ani
    • Debmalya → Debu


  • GrégoryGrégoire → Greg
  • Jean-Michel → Jean-Mi
  • Joannie → Jo


  • Anton → Toni
  • Elisabeth → Elsa, Elsie, Ilsa, Liesl, Lisbeth