name / nām/ • n. 1. a word or set of words by which a person, animal, place, or thing is known, addressed, or referred to: my name is Parsons, John Parsons | Köln is the German name for Cologne. ∎ someone or something regarded as existing merely as a word and lacking substance or reality: he was still simply a name in a gossip column.2. a famous person: as usual, the big race will lure the top names. ∎ [in sing.] a reputation, esp. a good one: he set up a school that gained a name for excellence.• v. [tr.] give a name to: hundreds of diseases had not yet been isolated or named | [tr.] she named the child Edward. ∎ identify by name; give the correct name for: the dead man has been named as John Mackintosh. ∎ give a particular title or epithet to: she was named “Artist of the Decade.” ∎ appoint (someone) to a particular position or task: he was named to head a joint UN–OAS diplomatic effort. ∎ mention or cite by name: the sea is as crystal clear as any spot in the Caribbean you might care to name. ∎ specify (an amount, time, or place) as something desired, suggested, or decided on: he showed them the picture and named a price.• adj. (of a person or commercial product) having a name that is widely known: countless specialized name brands geared to niche markets.PHRASES: by name using the name of someone or something: ask for the street by name.by the name of called: a woman by the name of Smith.call someone names insult someone verbally.give one's name to invent, discover, found, or be closely associated with something that then becomes known by one's name: Lou Gehrig gave his name to the disease that claimed his life.something has someone's name on it a person is destined or particularly suited to receive or experience a specified thing: he feared the next bullet would have his name on it.have to one's name have in one's possession: I had a child on the way and hardly a penny to my name.in all but name existing in a particular state but not formally recognized as such: these new punks are hippies in all but name.in someone's name1. formally registered as belonging to or reserved for someone: the house was in her name.2. on behalf of someone: he began to question what had been done in his name.in the name of bearing or using the name of a specified person or organization: a driver's license in the name of William Sanders. ∎ for the sake of: he withdrew his candidacy in the name of party unity. ∎ by the authority of: crimes committed in the name of religion. ∎ (in the name of Christ/God/Allah/heaven, etc.) used for emphasis: what in the name of God do you think you're doing?in name only by description but not in reality: a college in name only.make a name for oneself become well known: by the time he was thirty-five, he had made a name for himself as a contractor.name the day arrange a date for a specific occasion, esp. a wedding.one's name is mudsee mud.name names mention specific names, esp. of people involved in something wrong or illegal: if you're convinced my staff is part of this operation, then name names.the name of the game inf. the main purpose or most important aspect of a situation: the name of the game is short-term gain.put down (or enter) one's (or someone's) name apply to enter an educational institution, course, competition, etc.: I put my name down for the course.put a name to remember or report what someone or something is called: viewers were asked if they could put a name to the voice of the kidnapper.take someone's name in vainsee vain.to name (but) a few giving only these as examples, even though more could be cited: the ingredients used are drawn from nature—avocado, lemongrass, and chamomile to name a few.under the name —— using a name that is not one's real name, esp. for professional purposes: that mad doctor who, under the name Céline, produced some of the greatest fiction in Western literature. ∎ (of a product, company, or organization) sold, doing business as, or known by a particular name: a synthetic version is sold in the U.S. under the name of Actigall.what's in a name? names are arbitrary labels: What's in a name? If you know her by Elizabeth or Lizzie, she’s still the same person.you name it inf. whatever you can think of (used to express the extent or variety of something): easy-to-assemble kits of trains, cars, trucks, ships … you name it.PHRASAL VERBS: name someone/something after (also for) call someone or something by the same name as: Nathaniel was named after his maternal grandfather | Ricksburg, Idaho, named for one Thomas Ricks.DERIVATIVES: name·a·ble / ˈnāməbəl/ adj.nam·er n.
Common and proper namesTraditionally, names fall into two categories: (1) The common name, which designates a member of a class, such as cat, tomcat, stone, rhinestone, verse, blank verse. Generally, common names are written without initial capital letters. (2) The proper name, which designates a specific entity: Helen, Troy, Helen of Troy; Henry, Henry Smith, Henry VI (both a person and a play). Generally, proper names are written with initial capital letters for each of their constituents, especially if they are nouns or adjectives: Prince Hal, Blind Harry. Occasionally, however, the capitals are dropped for effect, as in the name of the American poet e. e. cummings (1894–1962), and the names of some periodicals (such as the Australian literary magazine overland). Many common names take the form of generic phrases that open with an embedded proper name, and therefore contain a capital letter, as in Cheddar cheese, Siamese cat, Trojan horse, Wellington boot. See NOUN.
The study and classification of namesThe descriptive and historical study of proper names is onomastics, and the study of common names (particularly as they form lexical systems or terminologies and vary from one group of speakers to another) is onomasiology. Proper names are distinguished, according to referent, as: personal names ( William Smith, Heather Gibson); PLACE-NAMES (Alice Springs, Chicago); names of events (Armageddon, the Boer War); names of institutions (the British Museum, the Library of Congress); names of vehicles (Ford, Pontiac; The Orient Express, the Queen Elizabeth II); and works of art such as books and plays (Pickwick Papers, Othello), paintings (the Mona Lisa, the Laughing Cavalier), and musical compositions (Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Finlandia). Name study is logically a branch of linguistics, with an affinity to such other subjects as anthropology and topography, but in practice it is an independent discipline that combines the interests of philologists, linguists, historians, geographers, encyclopaedists, sociologists, psychologists, genealogists, literary critics, and others. See FORM OF ADDRESS.
Associated meaningThe associations evoked by proper names may be either public (as with Chernobyl, a Ukrainian city associated throughout the world with a nuclear accident in 1986) or private (for example, someone associating the name Rex with pain and fear, because once bitten by a dog with that name). Public associations with some place-names are so strong that the names may come to be used in a sense that was originally no more than an association: for example, Fleet Street, a street in London, was until the late 1980s the location of many British newspaper offices, and came to mean, by metonymy, the British national press. It continues to be so used even though all London newspapers are now located elsewhere. Personal names often have both public and private associations that derive from particular individuals with those names: for example, Mary used to be, in the words of a popular song, ‘a grand old name’, the epitome of feminine virtue. Recently, however, it has been declining in popularity over much of the English-speaking world, and is now widely regarded as old-fashioned and pietistic. It may continue, however, to be used in certain families, for the sake of tradition, and may evoke the memory of a particular Mary whenever mentioned. See ACRONYM, BBC PRONUNCIATION UNIT, CLIPPING, EPITHET, EPONYM, ETHNIC NAME, FORM OF ADDRESS, LETTER WORD, ONOMATOPOEIA, -ONYM, PLACE-NAME, PROPER NOUN, TRADEMARK, WORD.
have one's name and number on it (of a bullet) be destined to kill one; another version of every bullet has its billet; the number here referred to is a military number.
name and shame make public details of failure, wrongdoing, or other shortcoming on the part of a specified person, institution, or organization, with the purpose of embarrassing them into improving their behaviour.
name day the feast day of a saint after whom a person is named.
the name of the game the main purpose or most important aspect of a situation.
their name liveth for evermore the standard inscription on the Stone of Sacrifice in each military cemetery of World War One. The words come from the Apocrypha, and their use was proposed by Rudyard Kipling as a member of the War Graves Commission.
See also change the name and not the letter, give a dog a bad name and hang him, he that has an ill name is half hanged, no names, no pack drill, a rose by any other name.
The designation of an individual person or of a firm or corporation. A word or combination of words used to distinguish a person, thing, or class from others.
An individual's name is comprised of a name given at birth, known as the given name or first name, selected by the parents, and the surname or last name, which identifies the family to which he or she belongs. Ordinarily an individual is not properly identified unless he or she is called or described by this given name in addition to the surname. This rule has significance, among other times, when students are designated in school records and when parties are called or referred to in legal proceedings, including child custody actions. The general rule is that when identity is certain, a small variance in name, such as that caused by typographical errors, is unimportant.
The method by which an individual can change his or her name is usually prescribed by state statutes and involves filing a certificate in, or making an application to, a court. Whether or not a name change will be granted is ordinarily a matter of judicial discretion.
In recent years, some married women have begun to depart from the traditional practice of taking their husband's surname upon marriage. Instead they retain their birth names, the surnames possessed before marriage. While some states subscribe to the rule that a woman's legal name is her husband's surname, others hold that an individual can be known by whatever name he or she desires as long as such designation is used consistently and in the absence of a fraudulent purpose. A number of states have specifically provided that a wife is not required to use her husband's surname, or that she can use it in her personal life while continuing to use her birth name in her profession.
In many languages and systems, a name must be a simple identifier, usually a textual string. In more advanced languages, a name may be composed from several elementary components according to the rules of the language.
So name vb. OE. (ġe)namian; repl. ME. nemne, OE. nemnan :- *namnjan. namely †especially XII, that is to say XV. ME. name-, nomeliche, corr. to MDu. namelīke (Du. namelijk), MHG. nam(e)-, nam(e)līc̄he (G. nämlich especially), ON. nafnliga by name. namesake XVII. prob. orig. said of persons or things coupled together ‘for the name('s) sake’.