American English

Definition of name noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1a word or words that a particular person, animal, place, or thing is known by What's your name? What is/was the name, please? (= a polite way of asking someone's name) Please write your full name and address below. Do you know the name of this flower? Rubella is just another name for German measles. Are you changing your name when you get married? see also assumed name, brand name, code name, family name, filename, first name, household name, last name, maiden name, middle name, nickname, pen-name, pet name, place name, surname, trade name, username
  2. 2[usually singular] a reputation that someone or something has; the opinion that people have about someone or something She first made her name as a writer of children's books. He's made quite a name for himself (= he has become famous). The college has a good name for languages. This kind of behavior gives students a bad name.
  3. 3(in compound adjectives) having a name or a reputation of the kind mentioned, especially one that is known by a lot of people a big-name company brand-name goods see also household name
  4. 4a famous person Some of the biggest names in the art world were at the party. The event attracted many famous names from the past. The movie needs some names in it, if it's going to be successful.
  5. More Aboutnames and titlesnames Your name is either your whole name or one part of your name:My name is Maria. His name is Tom Smith. Your last name or family name (also sometimes called surname, especially on official documents) is the name that all members of your family share. Your first names (formalforename(s)) is/are the name(s) your parents gave you when you were born. Some people use the expression Christian name(s) to refer to a person’s first name(s). Your middle name(s) is/are any name your parents gave you other than the one that is placed first and your last name. The initial of this name is often used as part of your name:John T. Harvey Your full name is all your names, usually in the order: first + middle + last name. A woman’s maiden name is the family name she had before she got married. Some women keep this name after they are married and do not use their husband’s name. Married women sometimes use their maiden name followed by their husband’s family name:Hillary Rodham Clinton A nickname is an unofficial name that you are called, such as Junior or Doc. A short name is a shortened form of your official name, such as Meg for Margaret or Bob for Robert.titles Mr. (for both married and unmarried men) Mrs. (for married women) Miss (for unmarried women) Ms. (a title that some women prefer to use as it does not distinguish between married and unmarried women) Doctor, Professor, President, Vice-President, Reverend (or Rev), etc. The correct way to talk to someone is: first name, if you know them well:Hello, Maria. or title + last name:Hello, Mr. Brown. or Doctor (medical), Professor, etc. on its own:Thank you, Doctor.This is only used for a very limited number of titles.Idioms
    answer to the name of something
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    (especially of a pet animal) to be called something The dog was an ugly brute, answering to the name of Spike.
    be somebody's middle name (informal)
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    used to say that someone has a lot of a particular quality “Patience” is my middle name!
    a big shot/name
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    an important person
    using the name of someone or something She asked for you by name. The principal knows all the students by name. I only know her by name (= I have heard about her but I have not met her).
    by the name of… (formal)
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    who is called a young actor by the name of Tom Rees
    call somebody names
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    to use insulting words about someone
    to mention famous people you know or have met in order to impress others related noun name-dropping
    give your name to something
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    to invent something which then becomes known by your name Henry Hudson gave his name to New York's Hudson River.
    go by the name of…
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    to use a name that may not be your real one a thief who goes by the name of “The Cat”
    have your/somebody's name on it, with your/somebody's name on it (informal)
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    if something has your name on it, or there is something with your name on it, it is intended for you He took my place and got killed. It should have been me—that bullet had my name on it. Are you coming for dinner tonight? I have a steak here with your name on it!
    in all but name
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    used to describe a situation which exists in reality but that is not officially recognized He runs the company in all but name.
    in God's/Heaven's name, in the name of God/Heaven
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    used especially in questions to show that you are angry, surprised, or shocked What in God's name was that noise? Where in the name of Heaven have you been?
      in the name of somebody/something, in somebody's/something's name
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    1. 1for someone; showing that something officially belongs to someone We reserved two tickets in the name of Brown. The car is registered in my name.
    2. 2using the authority of someone or something; as a representative of someone or something I arrest you in the name of the law.
    3. 3used to give a reason or an excuse for doing something, often when what you are doing is wrong crimes committed in the name of religion
    in name only
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    officially recognized but not existing in reality He's party leader in name only.
      lend your name to something (formal)
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    1. 1to let it be known in public that you support or agree with something I am more than happy to lend my name to this campaign.
    2. 2to have a place named after you
    somebody's name is mud (informal) (usually humorous)
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    used to say that someone is not liked or popular because of something they have done Your name's mud around here at the moment!
    the name of the game (informal)
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    the most important aspect of an activity; the most important quality needed for an activity Hard work is the name of the game if you want to succeed in business.
    a name to reckon with
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    a person or thing that is well known and respected in a particular field Miyazaki is still a name to reckon with among anime fans.
    put a name to somebody/something
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    to know or remember what someone or something is called I recognize the tune but I can't put a name to it.
    a rose by any other name would smell as sweet (saying)
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    what is important is what people or things are, not what they are called
    take God's/the Lord's name in vain (old-fashioned)
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    to use the words “God,” “Jesus,” etc. in a way that shows a lack of respect
    take somebody's name in vain
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    to show a lack of respect when using someone's name (humorous) Have you been taking my name in vain again?
    (have something) to your name
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    to have or own something an Olympic athlete with five gold medals to his name She doesn't have a penny/cent to her name (= she is very poor).
    under the name (of)…
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    using a name that may not be your real name
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: name