A hypocorism (/hˈpɒkərɪzəm/ hy-POK-ər-iz-əm or /ˌhpəˈkɒrɪzəm/ HY-pə-KORR-iz-əm; from Ancient Greek: ὑποκόρισμα (hypokorisma), from ὑποκορίζεσθαι (hypokorizesthai), 'to call by pet names', sometimes also hypocoristic) or pet name is a name used to show affection for a person or object.[1] It may be a diminutive form of a person's name, such as Izzy for Isabel or Bob for Robert, or it may be unrelated.

In linguistics, the term can be used more specifically to refer to a specific morphological process where a word is clipped down to a closed monosyllable and then suffixed with -y/-ie (phonologically /i/), or to words resulting from this process.[2] Sometimes the suffix -o is included as well as other forms[3][4][5] or templates.[6]

Hypocoristics are often affective in meaning and are particularly common in Australian English, but can be used for various purposes in different semantic fields, including personal names, place names and nouns.[3] Hypocorisms are usually considered distinct from diminutives, but they can also overlap.[5][3]

See also


  1. ^ "hypocorism". Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  2. ^ McGregor, William B. (2015). Linguistics: An Introduction (2. ed.). London: Bloomsbury. p. 86. ISBN 9780567483393.
  3. ^ a b c Bromhead, Helen (9 March 2021). "Gatho, lippy, rego — why Australians love hypocoristics". Lingoblog.dk. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  4. ^ Simpson, Jane (2008). "Hypocoristics in Australian English". The Pacific and Australasia. Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 398–414. doi:10.1515/9783110208412.2.398.
  5. ^ a b Lipski, John M. (1995). "Spanish hypocoristics: towards a unified prosodic analysis" (PDF). Hispanic Linguistics. Vol. 6. pp. 387–434.
  6. ^ Davis, Stuart; Zawaydeh, Bushra Adnan (2001). "Arabic Hypocoristics and the Status of the Consonantal Root". Linguistic Inquiry. The MIT Press. 32 (3): 512–520. ISSN 0024-3892. JSTOR 4179159. Retrieved 7 July 2022.