ap·​pel·​la·​tive ə-ˈpe-lə-tiv How to pronounce appellative (audio)
: of or relating to a common noun
: of, relating to, or inclined to the giving of names
appellative noun
appellatively adverb

Examples of appellative in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The group has always had certain appellative affinities. Holden Seidlitz, The New Yorker, 1 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'appellative.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English appellatyf, borrowed from Latin appellātīvus, from appellātus, past participle of appellāre "to speak to, address, call upon, name" + -īvus -ive — more at appeal entry 2

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of appellative was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near appellative

Cite this Entry

“Appellative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on appellative

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!