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A nickname is often considered desirable, symbolising a form of acceptance, but can sometimes be a form of ridicule.
Though the spelling has changed, the pronunciation and meaning of the word have remained relatively stable ever since.
Other languages may use other conventions; for example, Italian writes the nickname after the full name followed by detto 'called' (e.g., Salvatore Schillaci detto Totò), in Spanish the nickname is written in formal contexts at the end in quotes following alias (e.g.
In capoeira, a Brazilian martial art, the slaves had nicknames to protect them from being caught, as practising capoeira was illegal for decades.
In Anglo-American culture, a nickname is often based on a shortening of a person's proper name.
For example, the landlord might be known simply as Towkay (Hokkien for "boss") to his tenants or workers while a bread seller would be called "Mianbao Shu" 面包叔 (literally, Uncle Bread).
Amongst Cantonese-speaking communities, the character "仔" (pronounced "zai") may be used in a similar context of "Junior" in Western naming practices.
The latter may cause confusion because it resembles an English convention sometimes used for married and maiden names.
In Viking societies, many people had heiti, viðrnefni, or kenningarnöfn (Old Norse terms for nicknames) which were used in addition to, or instead of the first name.Many writers, performing artists, and actors have nicknames, which may develop into a stage name or pseudonym. Many writers have pen names which they use instead of their real names.Famous writers with a pen name go as far back as Plato (according to a late tradition) and Paul, and see also this List of pen names.However, in other societies, this may not necessarily be the case.For example: "my nickname is farmer Phil" In Indian society, for example, generally people have at least one nickname (call name or affection name) and these affection names are generally not related to the person's proper name.In England, some nicknames are traditionally associated with a person's surname.