I'm a nerd. Yes, I'm in fact such a big nerd that I tend to look up word origins in my spare time because I'm fascinated by our language. The odder the origin, the better. I've got a collection of random information in my brain that makes me an awesome Trivial Pursuit partner, but is completely useless when it comes to real world application. Like say, job applications.
In any case, I thought I'd share some of this random crap with you in the form of the new acronym-ific series. I give you - Word Origins from Left Field. Er... ignore the fact that the "from" doesn't fit.
Today we're going to talk about nicknames. I've got a real name (Mindy) and a few derivatives of it. I've been called Mind, (not pronounced like a brain), Minn-o, Little Minnow (this was awhile back), and my sister calls me Minner (unsure why).
So where does the word "nickname" come from?
Apparently we have our lazy-tongued ancestors with bad diction to blame. In Old English, "eke" means to add. I still find myself using that particular word occasionally, like when moving furniture. "Just eke it to the left a bit," or cooking, "Eke some salt in there." But I read a lot and pick up a bunch of old words that get odd looks from the b/f sometimes, which culminate in the occasional Dictionary Challenge, so if you don't use "eke" in general conversation, don't feel bad.
In any case, "an ekename" would be an additional name, one by which someone is known even though it's not the name they were born with. "An ekename" got blurred together and there you have it.