Definition of name noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//neɪm//
    ; NAmE NAmE//neɪm//
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  1. 1  a 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 somebody’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? 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 called surname in British English) is the name that all members of your family share. Your first name/​names (formal forename) is/​are the name(s) your parents gave you when you were born. In British English 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. The initial of this name is often used as part of your name, especially in America: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. In North America, married women often use their maiden name followed by their husband’s family name:Hillary Rodham Clinton.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 + surname: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. see also assumed name, brand name, code name, family name, filename, first name, forename, household name, maiden name, middle name, nickname, pen name, pet name, place name, surname, trade name, username CulturenamesApart from their surname or last name, most British and American children are given two personal names by their parents, a first name and a middle name. These names are sometimes called Christian names or given names. Some people have only one given name, a few have three or more. Friends and members of a family who are of similar age usually call one another by their first names. In some families young people now also call their aunts and uncles and even their parents by their first names. Outside the family, the expression be on first name terms suggests that the people concerned have a friendly, informal relationship, although it is also very common for strangers to call each other by their first names. When writing their name Americans commonly give their first name and their middle initial (= first letter of their middle name), e.g. George M Cohan. Both given names are used in full only on formal occasions, e.g. when people get married. In Britain many people sign their name on forms etc. using the initials of both their given names and their surname, e.g. J E Brooks, but may write Joanna Brooks at the end of a letter. The full name (= all given names and surname) is usually only required on official forms.Parents usually decide on given names for their children before they are born. In some families the oldest boy is given the same name as his father. In the US the word junior or senior, or a number, is added after the name and surname to make it clear which person is being referred to. For example, the son of William Jones Sr (Senior) would be called William Jones Jr (Junior), and his son would be called William Jones III ('William Jones the third').Many popular names come from the Bible, e.g. Jacob, Joshua, Matthew, Mary, Rebecca and Sarah, though this does not imply that the people who choose them are religious. Other people give their children the name of somebody they admire, such as a famous sports personality, or a film or pop star. In Britain the names William and Harry became common again after the sons of Prince Charles were given these names. In the US Chelsea was not a common name for a girl until President Bill Clinton's daughter Chelsea came to public attention.Names such as David, Michael, Paul and Robert for boys and Catherine, Elizabeth and Jane for girls remain popular for many years. Others, e.g. Darrell, Darren, Wayne, Chloe, Jade and Zara, are fashionable for only a short period. Names such as Albert, Herbert, Wilfrid, Doris, Gladys and Joyce are now out of fashion and are found mainly among older people. Some older names come back into fashion and there are now many young women called Amy, Emma, Harriet, Laura and Sophie. The birth announcements columns in newspapers give an indication of the names which are currently popular. In Britain these have included Jack, Joshua and Thomas for boys and Emily, Ellie and Chloe for girls and in the US Jacob, Michael and Joshua for boys and Emily, Emma and Madison for girls.People from Wales, Scotland or Ireland, or those who have a cultural background from outside Britain, may choose from an additional set of names. In the US Jews, African Americans or people of Latin American origin may also choose different names. See related entries: Names
  2. 2[usually singular] a reputation that somebody/something has; the opinion that people have about somebody/something She first made her name as a writer of children's books. He's made quite a name for himself (= become famous). The college has a good name for languages. This kind of behaviour 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. Word OriginOld English nama, noma (noun), (ge)namian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch naam and German Name, from a root shared by Latin nomen and Greek onoma.Extra examples ‘Does that name mean anything to you?’ ‘Yes, it does ring a bell= it is familiar.’ ‘Smith’ is a very common family name. All he did was drop names= mention the names of famous people to impress people. As the name implies, Oxford was the place at which oxen could ford the river. Coca Cola’s global brand name recognition Detectives believe that a hit man was sent to silence the witness before he could name names= give evidence to the court/​police. Detectives believe that a hitman was sent to silence the witness before he could name names. Do you have a middle name? George Eliot was a pen-name; her real name was Mary Ann Evans. Have you been taking my name in vain= showing lack of respect when using my name? Have you put your name down for the school quiz? Have you put your name down for= applied to take part in the school play? He goes by the name of Jonno. He invoked the name of Freud in support of his argument. He is a big name in the world of rock music. He made his name writing travel books. He put his name to the business= gave it his name. He wanted an heir to carry on the family name. He was elected Pope in 1978 and took the name of John Paul II. He’s been in four movies with Spielberg’s name attached. His full name was William Augustus Grove. His name is synonymous with the worst excesses of sixties architecture. His name sounds familiar. His name was immortalized in 1992 when he scored three goals in the space of five minutes. His pet name for her was ‘Fluff’. His wife and sister share the same name, Sarah. How do you know my name? I arrest you in the name= on the authority of the law. I asked him his name. I couldn’t put a name to the face. I do not want my name associated with these products. I have a bad memory for names and faces. I’m afraid I’ve forgotten your name. I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name. I’ve heard that name mentioned before. If you tell our secret your name will be mud round here. If you tell our secret your name will be mud= you will not be popular around here. Muhammad Ali’s birth name was Cassius Clay. Nobody puts their name to a business they are not proud of. Please call me by my first name. Please enter your user name. She decided to keep her maiden name for professional purposes. She found him rather irritating to talk to; all he did was drop names. She has become a big name in documentary photography. She insisted on being called by her full name ‘Clementia’ rather than the pet name ‘Clemmey’. She uses a different name in her professional life. She was given the name Maria, after her grandmother. She’s made quite a name for herself. Somebody called out her name from below. St Petersburg has gone back to its original name. Stop calling me names! The Brady bill acquired its name from its best-known sponsor, James Brady. The Huron people gave their name to one of the Great Lakes. The Julian calendar was introduced by Julius Caesar and hence carries his name. The account is in joint names. The area got a bad name after a series of nasty murders. The common name for the flower is ‘pineapple lily’. The company has a name for reliability. The head teacher knows every child in the school by name. The invading Franks gave their name to the country in which they settled. The island is more commonly known by the name ‘Krakatoa’. The name of the artist appears on the vase. The riots after the match only served to blacken the name of football. The room was booked under a false name. The room was booked under= using a false name. The scientific name for plants in this genus is Asclepias. The teacher knows every student by name. The tickets were booked in the name of McLean. The village of Low Catton takes its name from the Old English personal name ‘Catta’. Their original band name was ‘Cherry Five’ These articles have damaged the good name of the newspaper. They put his name forward as one of the five candidates for the post. They put his name forward= chose him as one of the five candidates for the post. They tried to protect the good name of the college. This kind of behaviour gives students a bad name. Throughout his years in prison, he fought to clear his name. We cannot mention the suspect’s name for legal reasons. Where does the band name come from? You will need to register a domain name. an actor by the name of Tom Rees to take the Lord’s name in vain He accomplished a remarkable feat in restoring the name of the bank to something like its former eminence. His name is Tom Smith. My name is Maria. She became a household name in the 1960s. She made her name as a writer of children’s books. The movie needs some names in it, if it’s going to be successful. The name’s Bond. There was a campaign to blacken his name. These practices give the industry a bad name. We must avoid anything that might damage the good name of the firm. What is/​was the name, please? What’s your name? code name place name street nameIdioms
    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
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    (informal) used to say that somebody has a lot of a particular quality ‘Patience’ is my middle name!
    an important person using the name of somebody/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). (formal) who is called a young actor by the name of Tom Rees to use insulting words about somebody to mention famous people you know or have met in order to impress others related noun name-dropping
    enter somebody’s/your name (for something), put somebody’s/your name down (for something)
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    to apply for a place at a school, in a competition, etc. for somebody or yourself Have you entered your name for the quiz yet? They’ve already put his name down for Eton College.
    (saying) when a person already has a bad reputation, it is difficult to change it because others will continue to blame or suspect him/her
    give your name to something
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    to invent something which then becomes known by your name Charles Macintosh gave his name to a type of raincoat.
    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
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    (informal) 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 this evening? I've got a steak here with your name on it!
    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. 1  for somebody; showing that something officially belongs to somebody We reserved two tickets in the name of Brown. The car is registered in my name.
    2. 2using the authority of somebody/something; as a representative of somebody/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
    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
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    (informal, usually humorous) used to say that somebody is not liked or popular because of something they have done Your name’s mud around here at the moment!
    to give the names of the people involved in something, especially something wrong or illegal He has accused the government of corruption and claims he is prepared to name names. (informal) 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 conjure with (British English)
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    1. 1(North American English a name to reckon with) a person or thing that is well known and respected in a particular field Miyazaki is still a name to conjure with among anime fans.
    2. 2(humorous) used when you mention a name that you think is difficult to remember or pronounce He comes from Tighnabruaich—now there's a name to conjure with!
    put a name to somebody/something
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    to know or remember what somebody/something is called I recognize the tune but I can't put a name to it.
    rejoice in the name of…
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    (British English, humorous) to have a name that sounds funny He rejoiced in the name of Owen Owen.
    a rose by any other name would smell as sweet
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    (saying) what is important is what people or things are, not what they are called
    take somebody’s name in vain
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    to show a lack of respect when using somebody’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).
    using a name that may not be your real name
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: name