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How Do You Feel about Hypocoristics?


I love hypocoristics. Now take a second to read that again. I love hypocoristics. Not hypocrites. I definitely don’t love those.

I’m just guessing, but I doubt you know what a hypocoristic is. I didn’t, not until I typed the word nickname into Google.

The term hypocoristic is used to refer to a nickname of affection between those in love or with a close emotional bond, compared with a term of endearment. So instead of your husband calling you honey or darling,he calls you something that is unique to you.

In my debut novel, ALL THE RIGHT PLACES, my hero, Quinn O’Brien, bestows a nickname on the heroine, Amelia Winger. (No, I’m not going to tell you what that nickname is. Read the book if you’re curious!)

For me, hypocoristics play a huge role in a romance novel. I love it when the hero has a nickname for the heroine. To me, it shows an additional layer of affection and familiarity.

I know a lot of readers aren’t fans of nicknames, though. And many readers absolutely abhor endearments.Baby seems to be the most polarizing one. I recently read a review from a reader who said that she stopped reading a book because the hero called the heroine baby. 

How dare he do such a dastardly thing?!

One of the best nicknames I’ve ever come across was in Sophie Jordan’s New Adult romance, WILD. It’s the third in a trilogy about college roommates who find their happily ever after. I loved this book, and the nickname was just a small part of the overall fabulousness of this book. The heroine, Georgia, is great, and the hero, Logan, OMG. He’s so delicious. Beyond delicious.

Part of his hotness, in my opinion, is that he calls Georgia by the nickname “Pearls” because she’s kind of this uptight, princess-y type. At first, she doesn’t like it. But eventually she does because the word comes out of a mouth that does incredibly awesome things to her body.

I adored Logan’s nickname for Georgia. Every time he called her Pearls, I swear my toes curled inside my shoes.

Maybe my love of hypocoristics comes from my husband. Although he’s never called me honey, sweetheart, baby, darling or anything else that could be considered an endearment, he has a lot of nicknames for me. I never know what he’s going to come up with next.

The most creative (and insulting) nickname my husband has ever called me? Mastodon.

Yes, you read that correctly. Mastodon.

I have no idea why he came up with that nickname, and neither does he. But he stopped calling me Mastodon after my dad said, “You know that’s a big, hairy prehistoric elephant, right? I don’t like that much… you calling my daughter a big, hairy prehistoric elephant.”

How do you feel about hypocoristics? Do the people close to you have a nickname for you? Do you call your significant other by a nickname?

Originally posted at Christine’s Words blog


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