To get right to the point, Auburn's only nickname is the Tigers. We're the Auburn Tigers.
Auburn has been known as the Tigers since the University first fielded a football team against Georgia in Atlanta in 1892.
is Auburn's battle cry and Auburn is never referred to as the "War Eagles". Through the years, the term has often been used incorrectly. There are hats and T-shirts with "Auburn War Eagles" on them.
Even the news media has been known to refer to an Auburn team as the War Eagles or to an Auburn player as a War Eagle. In fact, when the Tigers play a road game, there is often an article written in the local paper wondering why Auburn has three nicknames: the Auburn Tigers, the Auburn War Eagles and the Auburn Plainsmen.
"War Eagle" is a battle cry used by Auburn fans in the same manner Alabama fans yell "Roll Tide!" and Arkansas fans yell "Woo Pig Sooie!" The battle cry "War Eagle" should never have an "s" on the end of it.
The nickname "Tigers" comes from a line in Oliver Goldsmith's poem, "The Deserted Village," published in May 1770, "where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey..." The term "Plainsmen" comes from a line in that same Goldsmith poem, "Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain..."
Since Auburn athletes were, in the early days, men from the Plains, it was only natural for newspaper headline writers to shorten that to "Plainsmen."
It may be confusing to an outsider, but to Auburn people, it is very simple. Go Tigers and Warrrrrr Eagle!