proper noun

[ prop-er noun ]
See synonyms for proper noun on
  1. Grammar. a noun that is used to denote a particular person, place, or thing, as Lincoln, Sarah, Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Hall.: Compare common noun.

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Origin of proper noun

First recorded in 1490–1500
  • Also called prop·er name [prop-er neym] /ˈprɒp ər ˈneɪm/ .

Grammar notes for proper noun

Proper nouns are not normally preceded by an article or other limiting modifier, as any or some. Nor are they usually pluralized. But the language allows for exceptions. Proper nouns may occasionally have a definite article as part of the name, as in the case of some ships, organizations, and hotels, as The Titanic, The Humane Society, and The Plaza. An indefinite article is appropriate when you use a name as an exemplar: She looks like a young Elizabeth Taylor! And there is sometimes a reason for treating a name as if it were a generic: There are four Devons in my class. Proper nouns, usually capitalized in English, are arbitrary, in that a name can be given to someone or something without regard to any descriptive meaning the word or phrase may otherwise have.

Words Nearby proper noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use proper noun in a sentence

  • The proper noun comes first in appositive expressions: lfred cyning, Sidroc eorl, Hahmund bisceop.

  • The "s" in "street" following a proper noun is sometimes with an initial capital and sometimes with lower case.

    The Green God | Frederic Arnold Kummer

British Dictionary definitions for proper noun

proper noun

  1. the name of a person, place, or object, as for example Iceland, Patrick, or Uranus: Compare common noun Related adjective: onomastic

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