ap·​pel·​la·​tion | \ ˌa-pə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce appellation (audio) \

Definition of appellation

1 : an identifying name or title : designation was entitled to the appellation "doctor"
2 : a geographical name (as of a region, village, or vineyard) under which a winegrower is authorized to identify and market wine also : the area designated by such a name
3 archaic : the act of calling by a name

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Did You Know?

Ask a Frenchman named "Jacques" his name, and you may very well get the reply, "Je m'appelle Jacques." The French verb appeller means "to call (by a name)," so Jacques' answer literally translates to "I call myself Jacques." Knowing the function of "appeller" makes it easy to remember that "appellation" refers to the name or title by which something is called or known. "Appeller" and "appellation" also share a common ancestor - the Latin appellare, meaning "to call or summon," formed by combining the prefix ad- ("to") with another verb, "pellere" ("to drive"). "Appellare" is also the root of our word appeal (by way of Anglo-French and Middle English), as well as "appellate," referring to a kind of court where appeals are heard.

Examples of appellation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sauvignon blanc fans know Sancerre as the preeminent appellation for the grape in France’s Loire Valley. Dave Mcintyre, Washington Post, "Save money and try something new when you explore lesser-known wine regions and labels," 17 Jan. 2020 The Sonoma Valley appellation is a wine region that hides in plain sight. Esther Mobley,, "Gail Wines, a thrilling new label, reinterprets Sonoma Valley terroir," 14 Nov. 2019 Northern appellations such as Gevrey-Chambertin seem to have done best, down only 10%. Elin Mccoy,, "Despite extreme weather, 2019 is a ‘perfect storm’ vintage for wine," 14 Oct. 2019 The wines of Bouzeron, an appellation devoted exclusively to the aligoté grape, are also standouts. Dave Mcintyre, Washington Post, "For Burgundy’s best-value wines, look south," 25 Oct. 2019 An acre of vineyard in the valley’s prime appellations can run $400,000 now, per the American Society of Farm Managers & Rural Appraisers. David Ferry,, "Why Wine Country isn’t attracting Millennials," 16 Oct. 2019 GREAT VALUE Brotte de Père en Fils, Cru des Côtes du Rhône Cairanne, Rhone Valley, France, $14 Cairanne is one of the villages in the Rhone Valley that has earned its own appellation because of the quality of its wines. Dave Mcintyre, Washington Post, "This Rhone Valley red is a rare stunner at just $14," 13 Sep. 2019 Good Cahors, made with the malbec grape, would be wonderful with this dish, as would Bordeaux from St.-Émilion, Pomerol and their Right Bank satellite appellations. David Tanis, New York Times, "A Take on Shepherd’s Pie, Straight From the Farm," 9 Mar. 2018 Rita Hills appellation, and grapes from the 51-acre Sanford & Benedict Vineyard are in demand. Stephanie Cain, Fortune, "Some of California’s Most Famous Wines Came from a Science Experiment," 8 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'appellation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of appellation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for appellation

Middle English appellacyon, borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French appellacion, borrowed from Latin appellātiōn-, appellātiō "name, designation, noun, appeal," from appellāre "to speak to, address, apply to for support, refer to a higher authority, call upon, name, designate" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action; in sense 2 borrowed from French, going back to Middle French — more at appeal entry 2

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The first known use of appellation was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Appellation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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