There are many ways to write. You can do so meticulously with elegant, precise penmanship, or you can scrawl—which is pretty much the opposite. The verb scrawl is defined as “to write awkwardly, carelessly, or illegibly.” If you hastily scrawl your name across a blackboard, you are writing it in a sprawling, awkward manner. The origin of this word is uncertain, but it may have been influenced by an earlier use of scrawl to mean “to scramble or crawl.” The hurried disorderliness inherent in scramble, which shares the first three letters with scrawl, is indeed what sets scrawl apart from other more measured synonyms for write, such as draft, compose, and pen.
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.