They’re the affectionate names we give to our closest friends.
But it seems many of the most common nicknames aren’t exactly endearing, according to a recent survey.
Big Man was revealed as the most popular pet name given to Britons while Ginge and Spud also featured in the top three.
Size-related monikers were also common, with Shorty and Wee Man fourth and fifth respectively. Tank and Big Foot also made the shortlist of 40 names.
Animal names also featured prominently, with Chicken, Foxy, Spider, Donkey, Ferret and Turtle popular.
Spud featured in the top three popular pet names given to Britons (File image)
The survey of 2,000 adults, commissioned by chocolatier Lily O’Briens, found that 39 per cent of adults have a nickname and 46 per cent possess more than one.
But 10 per cent also admitted that they aren’t keen on their pet names.
The study also showed there are multiple ways to make a nickname stick, with 41 per cent of respondents saying that monikers being easy to remember was key.
Having a funny story behind a pet name (37 per cent) and it being only a few syllables (14 per cent) were also important to establish a name.
Jo Hemmings, a behavioural psychologist and relationship coach, said: ‘There are all sorts of reasons people give others nicknames, ranging from them having a catchy, amusing or memorable first name or surname, or a play on their name related to some banter.
‘But they are all usually given with a sense of affection and endearment.
‘They can express friendship, love or closeness. It creates both a sense of identity and belonging in relation to those that know them by that name as well as a sense of emotional bonding.’
The survey also found 42 per cent only give nicknames to the most important people in their lives.
Tank and Big Foot (pictured) also made the shortlist of 40 names
Another 51 per cent think the most appropriate situation to use a nickname is at home with family members.
This was followed by in the pub, playing sports, or on a stag or hen party.
But 39 per cent wouldn’t dare give their boss a nickname and 29 per cent would shy away from giving one to an in-law.
Some 53 per cent of all respondents reckon making up nicknames is a particularly British trait, according to the OnePoll.com figures.
A Lily O’Brien’s spokesman said: ‘Just like gifting a special box of chocolates, we give nicknames to the special people in our lives – the ones we really know.
‘Giving nicknames is a very human thing to do – people will give nicknames to their friends, family, pets, cars, even their kettles.
‘There were some unexpected and ingenious results from our research, like Spud, and our personal favourite, Giggles.
‘Nicknames can be a great shorthand for showing affection, and when you’re given a nickname that sticks and it’s one you’re happy with, it can really help make you feel loved.
‘As with the nickname we give to our loved ones, chocolate is part of the human language of love for so many of us. They both bring us closer together and give us a feel good boost.’
The top 40 nicknames Brits commonly go by:
1. Big man
5. Wee man
9. Sunshine/ Sunny
21. Big Foot
22. Bobby Dazzler
23. Mardy Bum
28. Captain Obvious
33. Moustache Man