verb (used with object), named, nam·ing.



    by name,
    1. personally; individually: She was always careful to address every employee by name.
    2. not personally; by repute: I know him by name only.
    call names, to scold or speak abusively of or to a person: Better not to call names unless one is larger and considerably stronger than one's adversary.
    in the name of,
    1. with appeal to: In the name of mercy, stop that screaming!
    2. by the authority of: Open, in the name of the law!
    3. on behalf of: to purchase something in the name of another.
    4. under the name or possession of: money deposited in the name of a son.
    5. under the designation or excuse of: murder in the name of justice.
    name names, to specify people by name, especially those who have been accomplices in a misdeed: The witness in the bribery investigation threatened to name names.
    to one's name, in one's possession: I haven't a penny to my name.

Origin of name

before 900; Middle English; Old English nama; cognate with German Name, Gothic namô; akin to Old Norse nafn, Latin nōmen, Greek ónoma, Old Irish ainm, Polish imię, Czech jméno
Related formsnam·er, nounre·name, verb (used with object), re·named, re·nam·ing.self-named, adjectiveun·der·name, nounun·der·named, adjectivewell-named, adjective

Synonyms for name

1. Name, title both refer to the label by which a person is known. Name is the simpler and more general word for appellation: The name is John. A title is an official or honorary term bestowed on a person or the specific designation of a book, article, etc.: He now has the title of Doctor. Treasure Island is the title of a book. 4. repute, character, credit. 5. note, distinction, renown, eminence. 6. personality. 14. nickname, dub, denominate. 16. choose. 17. mention. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for names

Contemporary Examples of names

Historical Examples of names

British Dictionary definitions for names



a word or term by which a person or thing is commonly and distinctively knownRelated adjective: nominal
mere outward appearance or form as opposed to fact (esp in the phrase in name)he was a ruler in name only
a word, title, or phrase descriptive of character, usually abusive or derogatoryto call a person names
reputation, esp, if unspecified, good reputationhe's made quite a name for himself
  1. a famous person or thinga name in the advertising world
  2. mainly US and Canadian(as modifier)a name product
a member of Lloyd's who provides part of the capital of a syndicate and shares in its profits or losses but does not arrange its business
in the name of or under the name of using as a name
in the name of
  1. for the sake of
  2. by the sanction or authority of
know by name to have heard of without having met
name of the game
  1. anything that is essential, significant, or important
  2. expected or normal conditions, circumstances, etcin gambling, losing money's the name of the game
to one's name belonging to oneI haven't a penny to my name

verb (tr)

to give a name to; call by a nameshe named the child Edward
to refer to by name; citehe named three French poets
to determine, fix, or specifythey have named a date for the meeting
to appoint to or cite for a particular title, honour, or duty; nominatehe was named Journalist of the Year
to ban (an MP) from the House of Commons by mentioning him formally by name as being guilty of disorderly conduct
name and shame to reveal the identity of a person or organization guilty of illegal or unacceptable behaviour in order to embarrass them into not repeating the offence
name names to cite people, esp in order to blame or accuse them
name the day to choose the day for one's wedding
you name it whatever you need, mention, etc
Derived Formsnamable or nameable, adjective

Word Origin for name

Old English nama, related to Latin nomen, Greek noma, Old High German namo, German Namen
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for names



Old English nama, noma "name, reputation," from Proto-Germanic *namon (cf. Old Saxon namo, Old Frisian nama, Old High German namo, German Name, Middle Dutch name, Dutch naam, Old Norse nafn, Gothic namo "name"), from PIE *nomn- (cf. Sanskrit nama; Avestan nama; Greek onoma, onyma; Latin nomen; Old Church Slavonic ime, genitive imene; Russian imya; Old Irish ainm; Old Welsh anu "name").

Meaning "famous person" is from 1610s. Meaning "one's reputation" is from c.1300. As a modifier meaning "well-known," first attested 1938. Name brand is from 1944; name-calling attested from 1846; name-dropper first recorded 1947. name-tag is from 1903; name-child attested from 1845. The name of the game "the essential thing or quality" is from 1966; to have one's name in lights "be a famous performer" is from 1929.

He who once a good name gets,
May piss a bed, and say he sweats.

["Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence," London, 1811]



Old English namian "to name, call; nominate, appoint," from source of name (n.). Related: Named; naming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with names


In addition to the idioms beginning with name

  • name after
  • name is mud, one's
  • name names
  • name of the game, the
  • name the day

also see:

  • call names
  • clear one's name
  • drop names
  • give a bad name
  • go by (the name of)
  • handle to one's name
  • in name only
  • in the name of
  • make a name for oneself
  • on a first-name basis
  • take someone's name in vain
  • to one's name
  • worthy of the name
  • you name it
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.