"Muffin loaf"? "Cinnamon swirl"? "Honeydew"?
Quite simply, when a character gives another character a cute or endearing nickname because the two are either as close as True Companions
, or the namer is interested romantically in the namee. The nickname may not be well-received by the one being named, as they find it insulting or embarrassing
, but in the mind of the name-giver it's sweet and/or thoughtful. The formal term for an affectionate nickname is a "hypocorism".
In short, it's a pet name. Expect The Nicknamer
to dole these out a lot
of In-Series Nickname
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Anime & Manga
- Harley Quinn calls The Joker "Mistah J" and "Puddin'."
- Jason Todd has called Dick "Dickie Bird" in canon.
- In a fit of karma, Jason's Red Hood and the Outlaws co-star, Roy Harper, calls him "Jaybird."
- In a possibly darker sense of this, its common for Joker to call Batman "Batsy". Given who the Joker is, Batman likely doesn't enjoy being called it.
- Harley also calls Batman "Bats" or "B-Man", which the fandom started using as well.
- Babara Gordon, AKA Batgirl/Oracle, tends to get called either "Babs" or "Barb" by the Robins, especially Tim, Dick, and Steph.
- Ras Al Ghul addresses Bruce and Tim as "Detective", as a sign of respect.
- X-Men: Colossus often calls Katherine "Kitty" Pryde "Katya". When he broke off their teen romance after the Secret Wars, he made a point of calling her "Kitty". Later when they resumed their romance during Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men, he resumed calling her "Katya".
- In her early days in the X-Men, when she still was a young teenager, Kitty had a few such nicknames, for instance Storm called her "Kitten", Nightcrawler "Kätzchen" ('Kitten' in German), Wolverine "Pun'kin", or sometimes "Half-Pint".
- Wolverine liked to call his good friend Nightcrawler "Elf" in a slightly ironic fashion. Kitty Pryde preferred the more cutesy "Fuzzy-Elf".
- Wolverine, "Wolvie" to many of his friends, is also known for addressing Charles Xavier as "Charley" and "Chuck" (to the latter's annoyance) Jean Grey as "Jeannie" or "Red", though he's not he only one to use that, and Cyclops as "Cyke", depending on his current mood and opinion of him.
- New Gods: The Happily Married Scott Free and Big Barda do this a lot, with Barda's primary nickname for Scott being that he is her "Little Man". Scott actually accepts this nickname whole-heartedly, and even refers to himself as such when talking with her sometimes, especially whenever they're being lovey-dovey.
- Superman: Lois Lane has been known to call Clark Kent "Smallville", initially as a form of derision, later as a term of endearment.
- Mary Jane's use of "Tiger" to refer to Peter is somewhere between this and Verbal Tic. On the one hand, she has used it to refer to other guys in the past and it was part of her early Totally Radical persona. On the other, it becomes associated with Peter exclusively pretty quickly and only she is allowed to call him that.
- In the 1970s she also sometimes called him "Brown-Eyes".
- Similar to MJ and Peter, Mockingbird often calls her former husband Hawkeye by the name 'Sport' when the two are currently together, which originally started off as a general term of endearment for any guy she was working with. Clint, meanwhile, calls her Birdie, as a shortened form of her name.
- Paperinik refers to Xadhoom as "Occhibelli"("Beauty Eyes"). Please note she is a vengeful space godness Genius Bruiser.He gets away with this by being her Only Friend.
- Seregil of the Nightrunner series begins calling Alec 'Tali' which means 'beloved.' Guess what happens next...
- In V. C. Andrews' Orphans series, the dainty and shy Janet is called "Butterfly" by her orphan friends. Similarly, in the Wildflowers series, the meek and timid Cathy is called "Cat" by her OWP (Orphans With Parents) friends.
- In the Casteel series, Heaven's angelically beautiful and saintly mother Leigh was called "Angel" by Luke after he heard her call her doll that and said that the nickname fit her better. Heaven herself is called "Heavenly" by her brother Tom who's super-close to her (but not romantically interested in her, shockingly enough).
- Nicknames are common in L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series. Gilbert calls Anne "Anne-girl" after their marriage (after initially calling her Carrots...he didn't make that mistake again!). Anne, in turn, is the only one in the book series to call him "Gil".
- Their youngest daughter Rilla is called "Spider" by her older brother Jem, in reference to her gangly limbs at the start of Rilla of Ingleside. Her brother Walter also takes to calling her Rilla-my-Rilla, a play on her name (she is named after Marilla, though this is actually her middle name). Her childhood friend/crush Kenneth Ford adopts this same nickname, eventually using it to propose ("Is it Rilla-my-Rilla?").
- Jem is always called "Little Jem" by the family's hired help, Susan, which he hates. Susan also calls Jem's youngest brother Shirley her "Little Brown Boy", owing to his dark skin, brown hair, and brown eyes.
- In Animorphs, Marco would jokingly refer to Rachel, his (Dark) Action Girl teammate, as "Xena: Warrior Princess." Their Token Non-Human teammate is also known as "Ax" or "Ax-man," which is short for the significantly wordier Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill.
- Marco actually does this quite a bit. Jake is usually "Big Guy," while Tobias is usually "Bird-Boy."
- In the Elemental Logic series, Zanja calls the family's daughter Leeba "Little Hurricane".
- This trope is actually a plot point in one of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps stories. The main heroine's father calls her "Fatso" (in the book version) or "Princess" (in the TV adaptation). During the course of the story, her father starts behaving strangely, and it turns out to be because it's actually an evil plant replacement. So how does the heroine eventually figure out who's her real father? The evil plant calls her by her real name, while the real McCoy is able to remember the nickname.
- In the Southern Sisters Mysteries, Mary Alice calls Patricia Anne "Mouse", Patricia Anne calls Mary Alice "Sister", and Haley calls Mary Alice "Aunt Sister." In case you couldn't tell, they're all related— "Mouse" and "Sister" are their childhood nicknames for one another, and Haley picked it up from her mother.
- Wives and Daughters: Mr Gibson calls his daughter Molly "Goosey". She's the apple of his eye, and she loves nobody more than him.
- In Infernal Devices Theresa Gray is called Tessa by most everyone, Tessie by her brother, and Tess by Will.
- This happens due to Russian Naming Convention in The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. The protagonists call each other by intimate-diminutive versions of their names, but have to be careful not to use them around other people as it would give away their Secret Relationship.
- Glisselda has one for Seraphina (Phina) and Milliphrene (Millie)
- Prince Lucian doesn’t like to be called such outside of formal circumstances, and instead prefers his shortened surname, Kiggs. Which makes it more heartbreaking when he tells Seraphina to call him Prince Lucian after the first encounter with Imlann.
- In Little Women, everyone calls Theodore Laurence by his preferred nickname of Laurie — except for his best friend Jo. She gets to call him Teddy.
Live Action TV
- On Happy Endings, Happily Married Couple Brad and Jane often refer to each other as "boo", with Jane also calling Brad 'boo bear.' Also, sometimes to cheer Max up, some people will call him "fuzzy face."
- When Penny is dating Jane's boss the Car Czar, he calls her "Honey boobs-boobs."
- In How I Met Your Mother, Marshall calls his wife Lily, "Lilypad", while she calls him "Marshmallow."
- Sawyer from LOST nicknamed Kate 'Freckles'. In fact, being the resident nicknamer, Sawyer has these for pretty much every character with varying levels of irritation and/or affection.
- Dean in Supernatural usually gives nicknames to people he's close to. Sam is Sammy and Castiel is Cas.
- Meg, a demon, takes to calling Castiel "Clarence" once they've started getting flirty for reasons that are never explicitly explained within the show. Clarence is the name of the angel in Its A Wonderful Life, who shows up when the protagonist's life is at its lowest point and helps them find something worth living for.
- Doctor Who:
- The Eleventh Doctor fondly calls Clara "My Impossible Girl" and "Souffle Girl". Similarly, Clara calls him "Chinboy" at times, and "Clever Boy" whenever she dies.
- Criminal Minds:
- Morgan and Garcia call each other a myriad of affectionate nicknames; a common name for him to call her is "Baby Girl".
- JJ is the only person - in the world, apparently - who calls Reid "Spence".
- Morgan, on the other hand, usually calls him "Pretty Boy."
- Booth is both the one to call Brennan "Bones" and the only one allowed to call her that. She hated it at first (so much so that "Don't call me Bones" was one of her two main Catch Phrases), but has come to tolerate it. As of the second-season episode "The Boneless Bride in the River," she's even been willing to refer to herself by the nickname.
- Booth referred to everyone else at the Jeffersonian as "squints" (because they're always squinting at something in the lab). This started out as an insult, back when Booth didn't really understand the impressive things they did, but as Booth became less of a Fish out of Water in the lab, it became much more affectionate. The rotation of interns that replace Zack are subsequently nicknamed the "squinterns."
- There's Daisy, who's nicknamed Sweets "Lancelot".
- When Lindsay Monroe arrived on CSI NY, Danny quickly dubbed her 'Montana' after her home state. It started out as a teasing sort of thing, but evolved into a sign of affection. It's not popping up as much now that they're married, though. He's more often hear to just call her 'Linds' or 'Babe' these days. (He did use the nickname in the hospital in 'Unspoken', and she said he hadn't used it in a while.
- On Boy Meets World, Cory often calls his Heterosexual Life Partner Shawn "Shawnie".
- On Angel, Fred liked to call Wes Bookman during their all-too-brief romance before Illyria came to town.
- On House of Anubis, Eddie calls Patricia "Yacker." In a strange twist, this actually started as an insult, then took on a new meaning when they started dating.#
- In early seasons of Scrubs, Carla calls J.D. "Bambi", sometimes to his irritation. When JD gets his own intern to mentor, he naturally becomes "Thumper". Much later we get this conversation:
J.D.: Hey, how come you never gave me a hard time when I was starting out?
Carla: You were Bambi. Somebody had to teach you how to walk.
- In Flashpoint, like most military units, law enforcement teams and armed services, nicknames are used more than real names. "Jules" for Julianna Callaghan, "Spike" for Michelangelo Scarlatti, "Wordy" for Kevin Wordsworth, "Lou" for Lewis Young, "Boss" for Greg Parker, "Raf" for Rafik Rousseau. So much that it's weird and rare to hear any of their real names. But for some of the team like Sam, Ed and Leah, their names aren't shortened at all.
- In Married... with Children Al calls his daughter, Kelly "Pumpkin".
- In All in the Family, Archie calls his (adult) daughter, Gloria "little girl".
- Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N.:
- "The Duchess and the Devil": Horatio, at this point an Acting Lieutenant, befriends a cheeky British Duchess who affectionately calls him "Mr Aitch", sometimes pronounced "Mr Haitch". He's a bit embarrassed at first with her likeable mocking and attentions, but ultimately, he quite likes it.
- Maria Mason calls Horatio "Horry", and apparently thinks it's cute. He doesn't like it one bit and considers it an Embarrassing Nickname. Not that he ever tells her.
- In Fawlty Towers, Basil calls his wife Sybil things like "my little piranha fish" and "my little nest of vipers" in a tone that mocks the sweetness with which people call others by actual affectionate nicknames. Sybil doesn't seem to notice or care.
- Justin on the US version of Queer as Folk is occasionally called "Sunshine" by Debbie and sometimes even by Brian.
- In Popeye, we have Scooner Seawell Georgia Washenting Christiffer Columbia Daniel Boom, or as he's more commonly known, Popeye's lil' Swee'Pea.
- Sally from Peanuts is constantly calling Linus "my sweet baboo." Linus always makes sure to clarify that HE IS NOT HER SWEET BABOO!
- One TV special (with dialogue word-for-word from a strip) has Charlie Brown call the Little Red-Haired Girl this in a letter. "It's a...family expression."
- Peppermint Patty invariably calls Charlie Brown "Chuck". In an inversion, she usually addresses Lucy by her full name, Lucille.
- In one of the later strips, this accidentally happened when Charlie Brown met Peggy Jean at camp. He got nervous, and introduced himself as "Brownie Charles". She called him that all the time from that point, and he actually kind of liked it, so he never corrected her.
- the 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons The Complete Book of Elves had a version of this. It stated that an elf doesn't keep the name his or her parents give him when born; he or she chooses another upon becoming legal age. The book also says, however, that even after that, an elf's parents and other elders he or she knew as a child might still call him or her by the "child name" on occasion, in which case it becomes a sort of Affectionate Nickname.
- In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas the Triad clan lead by Wu Xi Mu refer to their leader as their "lucky mole" due to his uncanny ability to participate in gunfights, car races, and video games despite being blind. All his friends refer to him as "Woozie."
- In Mass Effect, if you are on friendly terms with her, Ashley Williams will refer to Commander Shepard as Skipper.
- In Mass Effect 2, Kasumi will often call you "Shep". Given that she's a fan of you, it definitely fits this trope.
- Male!Shepard calls Tali "Miss Vas Normandy" if romanced. It falls under this because that's not actually her last name (just the name of her ship, which got changed to the Normandy following her trial).
- Thane calls Female!Shepard "siha" if romanced, a reference to one of the warrior-angels of the drell goddess Arashu, fierce in wrath and a tenacious protector.
- And James calls Shepard "Loco" (if male) or "Lola" (if female) in Mass Effect 3.
- Varric from Dragon Age II has nicknames for everyone (except Aveline, whom he apparently fears too much for this), but the closest example to this trope is probably "Daisy", for Merrill. Isabela joins in by calling Merrill "Kitten."
- Tiki in Fire Emblem Akaneia calls her Parental Substitute Bantu "Ban-Ban" and later calls Marth "Mar-Mar" (this is an adaptation of her use of affectionate honourifics in the Japanese version). Justified in that, despite being a thousand year old Dragon, slow aging means she's mentally still a small child.
- This continues in Fire Emblem Awakening, where she'll sometimes accidentally say "Mar-Mar" around people who remind her of Marth.
- Tomb Raider 2013: Jonah and Alex call Lara "Little Bird" and "L.C.", respectively, while Grim calls Lara's late father "Dicky."
- Metal Gear: Though Roy Campbell has long since retired from the military, Solid Snake continues to address him as "Colonel."
- In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, Junpei is called "Jumpy" by his childhood friend June, while June is called "Kanny" by Junpei.
- Ace Attorney has nicknames for several player characters, typically made by each character's respective sidekick:
- Phoenix: "Nick", by Maya
- Although the nickname "Nick" for Phoenix was first coined by Larry Butz. Maya becomes very attached to it, though.
- Mia: "Kitten", by Diego
- Apollo: "Polly", by Trucy
- Kay Faraday also calls Detective Gumshoe "Gummy". Larry Butz calls Edgeworth "Edgey". And Wendy Oldbag... Well, let's not talk about Wendy Oldbag and Edgeworth. She does seem to use "Edgey-poo" fairly often, and while Oldbag thinks she's being affectionate, Edgeworth finds her nicknames very, very embarrassing.
- Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai has plenty of nicknames to go around: Gen-san's actual name is Tadakatsu Minamoto, which doesn't come up very often. The whole family calls Shouichi "Cap", short for Captain, and Momoyo, being a year older than everyone else, is "Momo-senpai". Yukie is called Mayucchi by her friends and Mayumayu by Momoyo; Kazuko is known by all as Wanko, but she's also in the habit of doling out nicknames herself - Tacchan for Gen-san, for instance, and Kuri for Chris. This is important later on in the latter two's respective routes, where Yamato starts calling them by their given names instead - in particular, in Wanko's path, Momoyo catches on to their Relationship Upgrade via a sudden lack of this trope.
- In the visual novel Sharin No Kuni, all three heroines have a unique nickname for the protagonist, Morita Kenichi. Touka always calls him by his full name, "Morita Kenichi". Sacchi calls him "Moriken", a mashing of his first and last name. Natsumi calls him "Ken-chan" because they are affectionate childhood friends.
- In Something Positive, Davan and Aubrey sometimes call each other "Woogie" (Davan) and "Monkeybutter" (Aubrey). A Flashback series of strips gives the origin of this in their first meeting.
- In Housepets! Sasha practically gives everyone a nickname, mostly due to her cheerful personality. Grape also calls her boyfriend, Maxwell, 'Maxie', which she also claimed to Peanut it's something only she can call him by. Maxwell in return called Grape 'Kitty Whiskers' one time, which also belonged to his Ex-Girlfriend at one time.
- In Roommates many people end up with a nickname or two, but Mr. King (aka. the Erlkönig) calling his (ex-)wife (Jadis, the White Witch) "My Snowflake" takes the cake (and is a CMOF).
- Zoophobia's Damian (and a few other characters) calls Addison "Addi".
- Mr. and Mrs. Cake in Slice of Life always call each other using a variety of confectionary-related terms, with a Running Gag that they don't reuse the same nickname in the same strip.
Mrs. Cake: "Well, let's get this over with, ginger-beer."
Mr. Cake: "We should probably knock, sugarpie."
Mrs. Cake: "Oh, one of us should, toffeebean."
Mr. Cake: "Sometime soon, fizzypop."
Mrs. Cake: "Any time, gummi bear."
Mr. Cake: "When you're ready, sugarpie."
Mrs. Cake: "You used that one already."
- Mille of Ilivais X takes to calling Iriana "Ir" early on even before they have any romantic moments, with a justification along the lines of "it's four syllables in six letters!" Iriana has a bit of contempt for it at first but quickly gets over it.
- Chaka of Team Kimba in the Whateley Universe often calls Ayla "Ayles". She also calls Hank "Hulkster" (he's a Flying Brick). Ayla calls Jade and Jinn (and Jade's stuff) the "J-Team".
- In Off The Page And Into Life, Sam, Hank, and Henry all have a tendency to call Gail "Gaily." In Hank's case, it's of genuine adoration for his daughter, and as a result, is the only person who's explicitly allowed to call her that. Sam also genuinely means it to be affectionate, as he is Gail's best friend, but mostly prefers to call her "little lady." Henry, on the other hand, uses the name as Terms of Endangerment, along with "lovebug." (Though it's explicitly stated he teases Gail because he likes her.)
- Jimmy of Jimmy Two-Shoes calling Lucius Heinous the 7th 'Lucy', despite Lucius' hatred of the name (and Jimmy).
- Inverted in Phineas and Ferb with Jeremy. In the episode The Baljeatles, Jeremy suddenly becomes The Nicknamer and nicknames everybody except Candace. When she finally stops trying to make him nickname her and confronts him about it, he says "I call you Candace, but not because I don't care enough to come up with a cute nickname for you. I call you Candace, cuz, I happen to really like that name." Aww...
- Kim Possible is called "KP" by her friend and later boyfriend, Ron Stoppable.
- Total Drama Island:
- Duncan seems to do this for girls he likes; his first girlfriend, Courtney, was "Princess," while his second, Gwen, is "Pasty."
- As per his Sarcastic Devotee nature, Noah gives semi-affectionate nicknames to people he cares about; Izzy is "Nutsie", Eva is "Iron Woman", Owen is "Lunchbox", etc.
- In Doug, the title character's older sister would always refer to him as "Dougie."
- On Daria, Jake often refers to Daria as "Kiddo," though he never uses it for his younger daughter, Quinn. This comes among other hints that Jake and Daria are particularly close.
- Similarly, Trent always refers to Jane as "Janie." This could also be used to show their particular closeness (though there's at least one example of their other brother, Wind, using this one too).
- Bubble Guppies: Molly refers to Gil as "Gilly". Doesn't help their "subtext" at all.
- On a similar note, Deema calls Nonny "Nonners"...
- On X-Men: Evolution Lance likes to refer to Kitty as "Pretty Kitty" and "Kit Kat" alternately. Pretty Kitty seemed originally intended as a teasing insult, while Kit Kat shows up more often once he starts admitting his crush on her.
- On Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Oblina will call her best friends Ickis and Krumm, "Icky" and "Krummy" respectively with "Icky" coming up a lot more in conversation. She also calls Ickis a "lazy bunny" both playfully and out of annoyance. His retort is usually "Stick-Lips" although he has admitted that he likes that feature in her.
- On Young Justice, Cheshire calls her husband Roy "Red."
- On My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Twilight Sparkle's older brother Shining Armor calls her "Twiley", and she calls him BBBFF (short for "Big Brother Best Friend Forever").
- Motorcity: Mike calls Julie "Jules/Jewels." Mike and Chuck often refer to each other as "Mikey" and "Chuckles" which adds to the Ho Yay factor.
- The Spectacular Spider Man: Liz calls Peter "Petey" and as per usual MJ calls him "Tiger". Peter's "affectionate" nicknames for his villains fit better under You Fight Like a Cow.
- In the DC Showcase short Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam, the homeless man who Billy defends (or at least tries to) from some nameless thugs calls him "Captain". Considering that Billy eventually becomes Captain Marvel and the man is eventually revealed to be Shazam's lackey Tawky Tawny, one might find the nickname more significant than it appears.
- Boys and girls (usually children) are keen on calling each other something. Sometimes it sticks like glue to a wall and other times it doesn't.
- It's common with parents towards their children.
- Online aliases tend to stick with people when they actually meet their online acquaintances. It's one of the reasons they shouldn't choose anything embarrassing).