As a nation we're obsessed with them; for every Smithy there's a Jonah - and woe betide any Willys out there.
This passion for nicknames lends itself to the competitive arena of sport, and while many are dire - Wazza and JT are prime examples - there have been some belters down the years.
The Ashes has involved a string of classics, while South Africa's brutal Tendai Mtawarira - aka The Beast - powered his way into the headlines on the latest Lions tour.
Sportsmail's team of experts have pulled together the best nicknames in sporting history - and you can let us know your favourite by posting your comments below.
30 The Tashkent Terror
His nickname is certainly easier to say than his full name, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov. The Uzbeki sprint cyclist was a fierce competitor hell bent on victory.
Darren Anderton was rarely seen on the football pitch. The ex-Tottenham, Wolves, Portsmouth, Birmingham, Bournemouth and England midfielder was blessed with talent but was injured so much that he earned a reputation as the ‘sicknote’ of the team.
28 Leamington Licker
Randy Turpin was considered by many as Europe’s best middleweight boxer in the 1940s. Hailing from Leamington he achieved world champion status.
27 Louisville Lip
Muhammad Ali is one of the most famous names in the world and this nickname comes from his penchant for winding up opponents with a mental barrage before the fight ahead of a physical hammering in the ring.
Paul Romaines was a first-class cricket for Nottinghamshire, Durham and Gloucestershire and because of his name, was known as Human.
Mark Waugh was the younger of the two Waugh twins and was often overshadowed by Steve. As a result of this he was dubbed Afghanistan in reference to the 1979 conflict in Afghanistan which is known as ‘the forgotten war’.
24 The Refrigerator
William Perry, named due to his sheer size, was a phenomenon in the NFL in the mid-80s, weighing in at 370 pounds and just over six foot tall.
Perry was a formidable presence in the Chicago Bears defence.
Brian McClair, the ex-Scotland, Manchester United, Celtic and Motherwell forward, has a nickname that has nothing to do with his playing style or eating habits but purely because his surname rhymes with chocolate eclair.
Former Argentina striker Gabriel Batistuta scored goals for fun for every team he played for which led to him being known as Batigol, a fusion of the Italian word for goal and the start of his name.
21 The Mailman
Karl Malone is an NBA legend, with the highest points total of all time. Spending 18 years at Utah Jazz, he earned his nickname as ‘the Mailman always delivers'.