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Candy hearts, some with hypocorisms such as “cutie pie(sense 1)

Borrowed from Late Latin hypocorisma, a loan from Ancient Greek ὑποκόρισμα (hupokórisma), ὑποκορισμός (hupokorismós, pet name), from ὑποκορίζεσθαι (hupokorízesthai), ὑποκορίζομαι (hupokorízomai, to use a pet name; to act in a childish manner), from ῠ̔πο- (hupo-, prefix indicating a small degree) +‎ κορίζομαι (korízomai, to caress) (from κόρος (kóros, boy; youth), κόρη (kórē, girl; young woman)).[1]



hypocorism (countable and uncountable, plural hypocorisms) (linguistics)

  1. (countable) A term of endearment; a hypocoristic, a pet name.
    Synonyms: nickname, pet name, sobriquet
    • 1850 February 2, Benj[amin] H[all] Kennedy, “Pet-names”, in Notes and Queries: A Medium of Inter-communication for Literary Men, Artists, Antiquaries, Genealogists, etc., volume I, number 16, London: George Bell, [], published 16 February 1850, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 242, column 1:
      "Mary" is informed that "Polly" is one of those "hypocorisms," or pet-names, in which our language abounds. Most are mere abbreviations, as Will, Nat, Pat, Bell, &c., taken usually from the beginning, sometimes from the end of the name.
    • 1865, Frederic W[illiam] Farrar, “The Nature of Words”, in Chapters on Language, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., →OCLC, footnote 3, pages 281–282:
      For the flattering hypocorisms of lovers and parents see Plut. de Leg. Poet. p. 44; [...]
    • 2000, Karen Jankulak, “The Cult of St Petroc in Cornwall”, in The Medieval Cult of St Petroc (Studies in Celtic History; 19), Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, →ISBN, →ISSN, page 41:
      The addition of diminutive or familiar prefixes and suffixes to the name of a saint to produce a 'pet name' or hypocorism, is common in the Celtic areas and would at times seem to produce extra saints from doublets of existing names.
    • 2003, Mark Steven Morton, “My Swete Hurle Bawsy: Terms of Endearment”, in The Lover’s Tongue: A Merry Romp through the Language of Love and Sex, Toronto, Ont.: Insomniac Press, →ISBN, page 52:
      Cabbage, however, has enjoyed unlikely success as a hypocorism, a usage that dates back to the mid nineteenth century; this usage arose as a direct translation of chou, which French lovers had been calling each other for a long time: "Oh, mon petit chou"—"Oh, my little cabbage."
    • 2008, Lukas Bleichenbacher, “Replacement Strategies”, in Multilingualism in the Movies: Hollywood Characters and Their Language Choices (Schweizer Anglistische Arbeiten [Swiss Studies in English]), Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg: Francke Verlag, →ISBN, →ISSN, section 5.3 (Evocation), page 66:
      Another example are hypocorisms (nicknames based on personal names) derived via language-specific word formation processes. In Amadeus, the German hypocorisms for Wolfgang and Constanze, Wolfie and Stanzi, can pass as German as well as American English – however, the latter hearing is encouraged by Constanze's pronunciation of the first vowel in Wolfie as [ˈvʊlfɪ] rather than German [ˈvɒlfɪ].
    • 2016, Jessie Sams, “Word Formation in HIMYM [How I Met Your Mother]”, in Kristy Beers Fägersten, editor, Watching TV with a Linguist, Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, →ISBN, page 172:
      Barney's own name is a hypocorism of Barnabas or Barnaby; Ted is a clipping of Theodore, which commonly becomes the hypocorism Teddy; among Barney's many sexual encounters were Wendy, Abby, and Jenny, each a hypocorism of original names Gwendolyn, Abigail, and Jennifer.
  2. (uncountable) The formation of terms of endearment or pet names.
    • 2000, Karen Jankulak, “The Cult of St Petroc in Cornwall”, in The Medieval Cult of St Petroc (Studies in Celtic History; 19), Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, →ISBN, →ISSN, page 42:
      St Peter's cult, which dates from the earliest period in Brittany, is represented in the toponymy only in the radical form of his name, without hypocorism or mutation.
    • 2010, George Yule, “Word Formation”, in The Study of Language, 4th edition, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 60:
      An acronym that never seems to have had capital letters comes from "young urban professional", plus the -ie suffix, as in hypocorism, to produce the word yuppie (first recorded in 1984).
    • 2015, William B. McGregor, “Structure of Words: Morphology”, in Linguistics: An Introduction, 2nd edition, London, New York, N.Y.: Bloomsbury Academic, Bloomsbury Publishing, →ISBN, Part I (Language: System and Structure), page 86:
      A variant on clipping that is common in Australian English is hypocorism. This involves first clipping a word down to a closed monosyllable. Next the suffix -y ~ -ie (/i/) is attached to the clipped form. Some examples are Aussie 'Australian', brekky 'breakfast', bickie 'biscuit', barbie 'barbeque', and telly 'television'.
  3. (uncountable, rare) Baby talk, such as bow-wow for dog and choo-choo for train.
    • 1988, John Holm, “Lexicosemantics”, in Pidgins and Creoles (Cambridge Language Surveys), volumes I (Theory and Structure), Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press, published 1995, →ISBN, section 3.3.5 (Reduplication), page 88:
      In European languages reduplication is often associated with hypocorism or baby talk (e.g. wee-wee, or French bonbon) but this is not the case in the Atlantic creoles and the Niger-Congo languages.

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  1. ^ Compare hypocorism, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1899.

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