Definition of namesake in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈneɪmseɪk/


A person or thing that has the same name as another: Hugh Capet paved the way for his son and namesake to be crowned king of France unlike its Scottish namesake, Leven is not by the sea
More example sentences
  • The similarities between the two namesakes are eerie.
  • Unlike their high street namesakes however, fund supermarkets are not always so hot on choice or price.
  • Unlike her Biblical namesake, Maria sees very little evidence of God's grace.


Mid 17th century: from the phrase for the name's sake.

  • sake from Old English:

    Old English sacu ‘contention, crime’ is from a Germanic source, from a base meaning ‘affair, legal action, thing’. The phrase for the sake of was not in Old English and may be from Old Norse. It was originally a legal expression. Sake remains hidden in the language in the words forsake (Old English), which originally meant ‘renounce, refuse’; keepsake (late 18th century) something kept for the sake of the giver; and namesake (mid 17th century) which may be a shortening of ‘for one's name sake’. The Japanese rice wine sake, pronounced with two syllables, is simply the Japanese word for ‘alcohol’. See also seize

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: name|sake

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.