Meaning of NAME in English


a word or group of words used to refer to an individual entity (real or imaginary). A name singles out the entity by directly pointing to it, not by specifying it as a member of a class. It is possible to refer to the same entity, for example, a river, in two distinct ways: (1) The Colorado is a beautiful river, and (2) The river that flows through Austin is beautiful. Because there is only one river that flows through Austin, Texas, the subject of sentence 2 is unambiguously identified, and the reference of the sentence is fully individual. The subject of sentence 2, however, is not a name but rather a nominal (noun) phrase that specifies one member of the whole class of rivers by indicating a unique property of it. The word Colorado in sentence 1, on the other hand, is a name, because it directly points to the specific river. The fact that there is more than one river called Colorado, and that more specific information is sometimes needed to identify the one being discussed (e.g., I prefer the Texan Colorado to the California one), does not change the status of Colorado as a name, because each of the two rivers is referred to in the way required by the definition. a word or small group of words used to indicate an individual entity, real or imaginary, in its entirety. The term common name is sometimes used roughly as the equivalent of noun; the concern in this treatment is with what is more specifically a proper noun, or proper name, although a wholly logical distinction has never been established between the two classes. A name is a label, and there are, roughly, nine classes into which names can be grouped: (1) personal names; (2) quasi-personal names, such as those given to individual animals and personified objects (such as ships or dolls); (3) names given to objects not personified but still noteworthy (e.g., Plymouth Rock); (4) place-names (e.g., Edinburgh); (5) communal, group, or corporate names (e.g., Germans, Baptists, Exxon); (6) titles of works of art (e.g., Mona Lisa, Paradise Lost); (7) brand names (e.g., Sanka, Vaseline); (8) names of historical events or epochs (e.g., War of the Roses, Renaissance); and (9) concepts and abstractions not personified (e.g., Toryism, Skepticism). These categories are not absolutes. A name can easily fall into two or more categories simultaneously. Ford is, for example, a personal name, the name of a corporation, and the brand name of a product manufactured by that corporation. Personal names have followed the same sort of evolution and transmittal that other language components have, based, as they usually are, on common, everyday words. They may be gradually assimilated from one culture to another (e.g., the Celtic Godofrido becomes the English Geoffrey, or Jeffrey). Some names are adopted fairly intact, such as the Germanic Karl. Some are translations (e.g., the Latin Renatus, reborn, becomes the French Ren ). Family names, or surnames, are of relatively recent origin, their principles not being codified until about the 11th century AD. Starting apparently with the nobility and gradually spreading down and outward, family names have had several roots. Frequently a given name served as the basis for a hereditary family name. Thus, Alfred, whose father is named John, would come to be known as Alfred John's son and his family the Johnsons. Place-names have come to be used as family names. Thus, Henri from the town of Avignon would come to be known as Henri d'Avignon, or Davignon. Frequently a family name reflects an industry or occupation; thus, a German keeper of geese might become Werner Gans (German for geese). Place-names have as great a diversity of sources as do personal names. There are descriptives (Sulphur Creek, High Point), incident names (Battle Creek, Avalanche Pass), possessives (Pikes Peak, Cooperstown), euphemistics (Greenland), and manufactured names (Tesnus, which is sunset spelled backward). Place-names have also gone through an evolution similar to that of personal names. In Europe, Celtic, Germanic, and Latin names or their derivatives predominate. The Roman word for camp, castra, came down into such English forms as Lancaster and Chester. In France the Celtic Lucodunos became modern Lyon through the Latin Lugundum. In the United States, Spanish, French, English, and native Indian sources are evident in such names as Los Angeles, Louisiana, New York, and Connecticut. Additional reading General studies on names and naming are Ernst Pulgram, Theory of Names (1954), treating theoretical problems such as the distinction between names and common nouns; Frank Nuessel, The Study of Names: A Guide to the Principles and Topics (1992); and Leslie Dunkling, The Guinness Book of Names, 6th ed. (1993), providing information on many types of names, particularly personal names and place-names.Treatments dealing specifically with personal names include L.G. Pine, The Story of Surnames (1965), readable and well informed; and Richard D. Alford, Naming and Identity: A Cross-Cultural Study of Personal Naming Practices (1988), a technical study. Other informative texts are C. L'Estrange Ewen, A History of Surnames of the British Isles (1931, reprinted 1968), containing rich information and a bibliography; H.L. Mencken, The American Language: An Inquiry Into the Development of English in the United States: Supplement II (1948), a survey of American namingsome of the text is also available as part of a briefer form of the original 4th edition, abridged by Raven I. McDavid, Jr. (1963, reprinted 1977); Elsdon C. Smith, American Surnames (1969, reissued 1986), a historical survey; Leslie Dunkling, First Names First (1977, reprinted 1982); Una Stannard, Mrs Man (1977), dealing with the history of married women's names; J.N. Hook, Family Names (1982), on American surnames; and Dietz Bering, The Stigma of Names: Antisemitism in German Daily Life, 18121933 (1992; originally published in German, 1987), on the relationship between Jewish acculturation attempts and bureaucratic requirements for permanent surnames rather than patronymics. Dictionaries of personal names are Charles Wareing Bardsley, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances, ed. by A. Bardsley (1901, reissued 1980); Elsdon C. Smith, New Dictionary of American Family Names (1973, reissued 1988); E.G. Withycombe (compiler), The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names, 3rd ed. (1977, reissued 1988), indicating the provenience of names listed; Benzion C. Kaganoff, A Dictionary of Jewish Names and Their History (1977); George R. Stewart, American Given Names: Their Origin and History in the Context of the English Language (1979); Leslie Dunkling and William Gosling, The Facts on File Dictionary of First Names, rev. ed. (1984); Edward MacLysaght, The Surnames of Ireland, 6th ed. (1985), with a general history; Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames (1988), a scholarly work examining the origin and history of nearly 70,000 European surnames, and A Dictionary of First Names (1990), looking at some 4,500 names; George F. Jones, German-American Names (1990), covering some 12,700 names; Julia Cresswell, Bloomsbury Dictionary of First Names (1990), dealing mainly with names of English, Celtic, and Welsh derivation; and P.H. Reaney, A Dictionary of English Surnames, 3rd ed. with corrections and additions by R.M. Wilson (1991). Studies of place-names include P.W. Joyce, Origin and History of Irish Names of Places, 3 vol. (18691913), partly antiquated but still of great value; George R. Stewart, Names on the Globe (1975), on the theory of place-naming around the world, and Names on the Land, 4th ed. (1982), a readable and instructive study of the origin of U.S. place-names; and W.F.H. Nicolaisen, Scottish Place-Names (1976, reissued 1986).Dictionaries of place-names are Eilert Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names, 4th ed. (1960, reissued 1987), including the origin of place-names; Kelsie B. Harder (ed.), Illustrated Dictionary of Place Names: United States and Canada (1976, reprinted 1985); and Adrian Room, Place-Names of the World: A Dictionary of Their Origins and Backgrounds, rev. ed. (1987). The journal of the American Name Society, Names (quarterly), publishes articles and research materials in the field of onomatology. Its June 1984 special issue, vol. 32, no. 2, contains a symposium on names and the law.Annotated bibliographies include Edwin D. Lawson (compiler), Personal Names and Naming (1987); and Richard B. Sealock, Margaret M. Sealock, and Margaret S. Powell, Bibliography of Place-Name Literature: United States and Canada, 3rd ed. (1982). Ladislav Zgusta The Editors of the Encyclopdia Britannica

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