A nickname is a name added to or substituted for the proper name of a person or place—it may be given out of affection, ridicule, or familiarity: She was such a fast runner, her friends on the playground gave her the nickname Flash. Nicknames can also be familiar (usually shortened) forms of a proper name, as Jim for James or Peg for Margaret. A moniker is a name, especially a nickname or alias. Unlike a nickname, a moniker is sometimes self-selected for a particular purpose: The lounge singer chose to perform under the moniker Lizard Lou; he felt his real name, Steven, didn’t fit the persona. Moniker is sometimes spelled monicker, but the former is far more prevalent and far less likely to raise the eyebrow (or ire) of a proofreader.
If you’ve ever said the phrase “as the old saying goes,” then you already know what an adage is—even if you’ve never called it that. An adage is a traditional saying expressing a common experience or observation. “A picture is worth a thousand words” and “the early bird catches the worm” are examples of adages. Adage is a more general term than proverb or maxim, which also refer to popular sayings that pithily capture some truth or profundity. Adage frequently occurs with the descriptor old, “the old adage,” which, unlike the noun saying, is implied by the word itself. A newly minted expression—brilliant though it may be—would not be called an adage because it has not yet stood the test of time.
Appropriately enough, the adjective noisy makes a lot of noise in the English language. It is very common, having meanings that are applicable to people (the noisy children), places (a noisy assembly hall), and situations or events (a noisy celebration). This raucous descriptor usually suggests clamor and discordance, or persistence in making loud sounds that are disturbing and annoying. The synonym cacophonous is far less common. To understand its meaning, it’s useful first to know the meaning of the noun cacophony. A cacophony is a harsh discordance of sound, as a cacophony of hoots, cackles, and wails, or a discordant and meaningless mixture of sounds (the cacophony produced by city traffic at midday). It follows, then, that the adjective cacophonous describes things that are unharmonious, like an orchestra tuning up before a concert, or grating to the ear, like a school lunchroom at full capacity.