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Auburn's nickname is the TIGERS.
Through the years, these two Auburn terms have often been used interchangeably and 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 game on the road, 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.
To set the record straight, Auburn has only one nickname -- the Auburn Tigers.
"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!" You never hear Alabama referred to as the Alabama Roll Tides or Arkansas as the Arkansas Sooie Pigs, and to call Auburn teams the Auburn War Eagles would be just as incorrect. 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 (sic) 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. That's why War Eagle VII, Auburn's golden eagle symbol, is named Nova!