Definition of name in English:

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Pronunciation: /nām/


1A 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
More example sentences
  • My maiden name has been my name for my whole life and I saw no reason to change it.
  • Before he could escort Hazel to the hospital ball, she had to submit his name for Matron's approval.
  • Every family had their own name for the plastic wedges you get as rewards.
designation, honorific, title, tag, epithet, label
informal moniker, handle
formal denomination, appellation
2A famous person: as usual, the big race will lure the top names
More example sentences
  • I went wherever the food sounded good and then whacked three famous names at the top of the copy, willy-nilly, to keep the editor happy.
  • The other stories in the collection are jointly authored with other famous sci-fi names and are quite different from the others.
  • The show will also feature a very special celebrity Sports Day with some very famous names.
celebrity, star, superstar, VIP, leading light, big name, luminary;
expert, authority
informal celeb, somebody, megastar, big shot, bigwig, big gun, great, giant
2.1 [in singular] A reputation, especially a good one: he set up a school that gained a name for excellence
More example sentences
  • Different salons have acquired a name for a particular service, says a beautician.
  • She's got a family and she works and she's made a good name for herself.
  • Hitherto hopeless footballing nations suddenly emerged from obscurity and started to make a bit of a name for themselves.
reputation, character, repute, standing, stature, esteem, prestige, cachet, kudos;
renown, popularity, notability, distinction


[with object]
1Give a name to: hundreds of diseases had not yet been isolated or named [with object and complement]: she named the child Edward
More example sentences
  • That posed a challenge in naming the institution.
  • The puppy was named after the post, so Das refused to tell me its name.
  • This is because a strangely named religious institution was at the heart of the scandal.
call, give a name to, dub;
label, style, term, title, entitle;
baptize, christen
formal denominate
1.1Identify by name; give the correct name for: the dead man has been named as John Mackintosh
More example sentences
  • The single mum, who cannot be named as an order was made preventing the identification of her son, admitted one charge of failing to make sure her child went to school.
  • The victim has been identified by Gardaí, but has not been named as all relatives have yet to be informed.
  • The couple, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the boys, had pleaded guilty in January to the three charges.
identify, specify
1.2Give a particular title or epithet to: she was named “Artist of the Decade.”
More example sentences
  • During the 1994-95 Ashes, he picked up 32 wickets and was named man of the series.
  • An awards ceremony will be held in January, when one individual will be named Employee of the Year and receive the Achiever of the Year Award.
  • The college is named Institute of Technology of the Year.
1.3Mention or cite by name: the sea is as crystal clear as any spot in the Caribbean you might care to name
More example sentences
  • Leicestershire have named an unchanged 12-man squad for the Championship match against Somerset.
  • Sussex have named an unchanged 12-man squad from the side that defeated Warwickshire to face Middlesex at Hove.
  • The extra additions means Crooks, who names an unchanged starting line-up, will not be forced to continue his playing comeback.
1.4Appoint (someone) to a particular position or task: he was named to head a joint UN-OAS diplomatic effort
More example sentences
  • He was just named to the position, returning to the race school where he began his career in 1993.
  • The group named him president of the new organization, a position he held for five years.
  • He was named interim dean of the college in September 1994 and appointed dean in May 1995.
2Specify (an amount, time, or place) as something desired, suggested, or decided on: he showed them the picture and named a price
More example sentences
  • Householders can, in effect, name their own sum assured, and hence dictate the level of premium they are asked to pay.
  • I think I should take further advice before naming a sum.
  • Isaac names a sum, and all deem it fair but the Prior, who must now name the price of Isaac's freedom.
choose, select, pick, decide on, nominate, designate


(Of a person or commercial product) having a name that is widely known: countless specialized name brands geared to niche markets
More example sentences
  • He had two fights against name opponents where a win would have propelled him into the limelight.
  • His big decision is whether to go for the kind of player he has brought in so far or chase some bigger name players.



by name

Using the name of someone or something: ask for the street by name
More example sentences
  • We took are places near the coach who had begun to call the rest of the team name by name.
  • Write the name down so you can thank the person by name at the conclusion of the interview.
  • The Full Court in the present case did so by naming the applicant by identifiers and not by name.

by the name of

Called: a woman by the name of Smith
More example sentences
  • But the day before, a man by the name of Ah Qiang was arrested when he set off to sell vegetables.
  • The Act of Succession of 1801 bars people by the name of Christopher from ascending the throne.
  • Council officials said they would inform the Councillor of the name of the worker they were dealing with so that the committee members could get in contact with him.

call someone names

Insult someone verbally.
Example sentences
  • It hurts every time I am called names and insulted by virtual strangers.
  • Yet I don't care what names I call him cause I don't feel any remorse in calling him names or insulting him.
  • It's ok to call them names and insult every one of them.

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
More example sentences
  • Although he only gave his name to the windscale because he popularised it, rather than invented it, he called himself a ‘meteorological philosopher’.
  • The god Hermes who gives his name to ‘hermeneutics’ was not only a thief, but also a mover, a shifter, of border and boundary markers - a warning to all interpreters!
  • In the Roman calendar she gives her name to ‘days of chastity’, puri dies, with which we may perhaps compare the Ember Days of the Christian Church.

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
More example sentences
  • Any senior official suggesting events were inevitable, that the next bomb could have your name on it, would probably have been sacked for undermining public confidence.
  • That bomb in distant Jakarta had your name on it.
  • But, like the barrier, neither bullet had my name on it and I managed to get away.

have to one's name

[often with negative] Have in one’s possession: I had a child on the way and hardly a penny to my name
More example sentences
  • We can attract students from all over the world because they want a piece of the tradition of great success that we now have to our name.
  • He prefers to keep going, not dwelling too long on the achievements he already has to his name.
  • He has to his name over 20 scholarly publications that appeared in this country and abroad.

in all but name

Existing in a particular state but not formally recognized as such: these new punks are hippies in all but name
More example sentences
  • First, the old polytechnics were rebranded as universities - a process of levelling-down that has really meant many old universities becoming polys in all but name.
  • The authority to award degrees makes the institution a university in all but name, he said.
  • True, it had now rebelled against the mother country and was a pariah state: but it was still recognizably British in all but name.

in someone's name

1Formally registered as belonging to or reserved for someone: the house was in her name
More example sentences
  • Her attorney told the court on Monday that a property belonging to her husband and registered in his name would be put up as surety for the amount.
  • I have multiple domain names registered in my name and e-mails associated with that.
  • Mayo County Council claims that the land is registered in their name and has been since November, 2000.
2On behalf of someone: he began to question what had been done in his name
More example sentences
  • A union has the power to repudiate action purportedly done in its name and on its behalf, but there are stringent conditions.
  • I'm sure this is a failing on my part, but I'm an educated sort of person and, when living in the UK, could have a decent stab at naming and shaming those who ruled in my name.
  • Maalouf has also noted that the sultana ruled as Umm Khalil, minted coins in her own name and had the Friday sermon pronounced in her 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
More example sentences
  • However, a non-trivial number of aircraft continue to fly in the name of firms named by the UN.
  • More pages of text have been preserved in Archytas' name than in the name of any other Pythagorean.
  • In 1649 they officially claimed the island in the name of the king and named it Bourbon.
9.1For the sake of: he withdrew his candidacy in the name of party unity
More example sentences
  • Benedictine spirituality does not set out to burden some of the sake of others in the name of community.
  • Some die in the name of, or for the sake of trying to attain, a much much worse life for others.
  • Let's bring in a company who's sole focus appears to be putting the little guys out of business in the name of making more money.
9.2By the authority of: crimes committed in the name of religion
More example sentences
  • The time is overdue for public outrage at the crimes being committed in the name of criminal justice.
  • Thus it is that some of the gravest crimes against humanity are committed in the name of religion.
  • I was told that whatever problems I had could be solved by taking authority over them in the name of Jesus.
(in the name of Christ/God/heaven, etc.)9.3 Used for emphasis: what in the name of God do you think you’re doing?
More example sentences
  • Who in the name of God would call a bishop ‘bish’?
  • ‘Look, the chaps were wrong but in the name of God can you tell me how it took three weeks to sort it out, and it's still not sorted out,’ he said.
  • What in the name of God would bring to this place?

in name only

By description but not in reality: a college in name only
More example sentences
  • The teaching ‘profession’ should not be a profession in name only.
  • When I arrived, Indonesia was full of players who were professional in name only.
  • Illegal logging activities continue in both protected and unprotected areas, and its status as a biosphere reserve and national park is effectively 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
More example sentences
  • Now, she's got a familiar name, but she made a name for herself by being an author and columnist.
  • A lot of restaurants, hotels, and bars make a name for themselves when a famous guest stops by and signs a photo.
  • If the pranksters' aim is to make a name for themselves, they are succeeding.

name the day

Arrange a date for a specific occasion, especially a wedding.
Example sentences
  • To be honest we've been so busy that we never really got round to naming the day before.
  • The Government have given one sweetener and are hopeful of giving another before it names the day, but in politics you never know.
  • The Prime Minister has named the day as September the 17th - just a week shy of the last possible election date.

one's name is mud

see mud.

name names

Mention specific names, especially of people involved in something wrong or illegal: if you’re convinced my staff is part of this operation, then name names
More example sentences
  • And I promise I'll do my best to not just name numbers, but name names as we continue to lose so many brave men and women overseas.
  • It would have been good if the commission had named names and offered some specific proposals for persuading these ‘friends’ to change.
  • To be more specific and name names just might be a tinge unfair and might lead to accusations of bias for or against certain outgoing councillors.

the name of the game

informal The main purpose or most important aspect of a situation: the name of the game is short-term gain
More example sentences
  • Designs may then be further refined to optimize how much product can fit on a pallet, flat pack being the name of the game.
  • For the thrifty, there are smaller lanes branching off, where no goods carry price tags and bargaining is the name of the game.
  • If familiarity breeds contempt, and change is the name of the game, then how to turn the anti-incumbency in its face?

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
More example sentences
  • If you can guess which member of staff read which book you can enter your name in the competition for a delicious Easter Egg.
  • I didn't enter my name into the nearly 600-person competition until 10 minutes before the deadline.
  • Just have an open day up at the Aras and anyone that wants to run goes up and puts down their name.

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
More example sentences
  • The grown-ups were arguing with some old guy I recognise, but can't put a name to.
  • It was nice to finally be able to put a name to how I felt and what I believed in.
  • The human brain has an uncanny ability to distinguish facial features and put a name to them, even when it's someone you've not seen for years or never seen in the flesh before.

take someone's name in vain

see 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
More example sentences
  • I met a girl named Lisa, another named Jane, and yet another named Maryanne, just to name a few.
  • Guests include a podiatrist, a sports masseur, a foot scanner technician for determining the ideal running shoe, personal trainers, dieticians to name but a few.
  • The dinner menu is more elaborate, offering lobster, bigger than average prawns and monkfish to name but a few, and while filling you up, it won't leave a gaping hole in the wallet.

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
More example sentences
  • Some people will probably mourn the name changing and already there have been murmurings, but my message to them would be ‘what's in a name?’
  • Not being, nor wishing to be thought racist, I would hate to think there is some truth in the saying, ‘what's in a name?’

you name it

informal 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
More example sentences
  • Race car, clubhouse, pirate ship, you name it, nothing beats the plain old cardboard box.
  • Whatever the issue of the day - you name it - one would find a few days later that his picture would appear in the paper with a story.
  • Now back to the future: there are lots of carnivals now, for medical blogs, for recipes, for 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
More example sentences
  • The local village was named Bexar after a Spanish nobleman.
  • I've even gone so far as to reaffirm my father's life by naming my son after him.
  • Tamara says she's thinking of naming her new baby after her dead father.



Pronunciation: /ˈnāməb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • So is the pervasive autumnal, slightly melancholy mood of his pictures, like nostalgia for something not quite nameable.
  • Reality may be socially constructed, but, taken in its totality, it is not the work of any nameable individual and it certainly has little or nothing to do with any one of us.
  • Another very similar semantical paradox with this same aspect is Berry's Paradox, about ‘the least integer not nameable in fewer than nineteen syllables’.


Example sentences
  • Today, as we track the tempestuous pair bearing down on Florida, Bonnie and Charley, we wonder why the storm namers when they got to the sea storm this year did not choose Clyde.
  • This dilemma illustrates one of the many examples in which species namers did us no favors.
  • He came to the profession from a background in devising cryptic crosswords and says it takes a particular type of person to make a good horse namer.


Old Englishnama, noma (noun), (ge)namian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch naam and German Name, from a root shared by Latin nomen and Greek onoma.

  • The Latin word nomen is the source of name and of related words in English, such as denominate (mid 16th century), misnomer (Late Middle English), nominate (Late Middle English), and noun (Late Middle English). What's in a name? alludes to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Juliet is saying the fact that Romeo belongs to the rival Montague family is irrelevant: ‘What's in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.’ No names, no pack drill means that punishment for a misdeed cannot be meted out if everyone involved keeps silent about what has happened. Pack drill is a form of military punishment in which an offender has to perform parade-ground exercises carrying a heavy pack. It dates back to the First World War and soon spread from army circles, especially as a joking aside advising someone to be careful how much they say about a particular person or matter.

Words that rhyme with name

acclaim, aflame, aim, became, blame, came, claim, dame, exclaim, fame, flame, frame, game, lame, maim, misname, proclaim, same, shame, tame

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: name

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