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Rugby’s social culture in the United States is rare topic of anthropological interest. Similarly, nicknaming conventions have infrequently been acknowledged as an anthropological phenomenon despite being a critical aspect of the way humans conceptualize each other and create group identities. Nicknames among rugby players are usually pejorative, sexually vulgar, and profane. These nicknames stem from two main factors: situational experiences and the personal characteristics of the player. Through participant observation ethnography, I document nicknaming practices among a variety of rugby players in upstate New York. This paper uses four original case studies to illustrate four major rugby nicknaming concepts: origins, usage, group evolution, and intolerance of self-dubbing. Additionally, I discuss a dubbing that occurred as a direct result of a player’s participation in this ongoing ethnography.



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Memorable & Demeaning: Rugby Nicknaming Culture in Upstate New York