mis·​no·​mer | \ ˌmis-ˈnō-mər How to pronounce misnomer (audio) \

Definition of misnomer

1 : the misnaming of a person in a legal instrument
2a : a use of a wrong or inappropriate name Nowadays it is a misnomer to call a farmer a peasant.
b : a wrong name or inappropriate designation The name "Greenland" is a misnomer, since much of the island is covered by a massive ice sheet.

Other Words from misnomer

misnomered \ ˌmis-​ˈnō-​mərd How to pronounce misnomer (audio) \ adjective

Don't Mistake the Meaning of Misnomer

What's in a name? Well, in some cases, a name will contain an error, a misunderstanding, or a mislabeling. Historians have long noted that the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, Roman, nor an empire. The Battle of Bunker Hill was actually fought on Breed's Hill. And the Pennsylvania Dutch are in fact of German ancestry. For such cases, we have the term misnomer, which comes from the Anglo-French verb mesnomer ("to misname") and ultimately has its roots in nomen, the Latin word for "name."

Examples of misnomer in a Sentence

“International Airport” is something of a misnomer, since almost all the arriving and departing flights are local.
Recent Examples on the Web But the idea that Twitter was ever truly akin to a central gathering place where members of the public could speak freely to an audience of random citizens has always been a misnomer. Washington Post, 26 Apr. 2022 At first glance, the title Familia appears to be a misnomer, as many of its songs are inspired by heartbreak. Tomás Mier, Rolling Stone, 7 Apr. 2022 Even the term private equity is a misnomer, since many big firms are public. New York Times, 10 Mar. 2022 By the way, the title is a bit of a misnomer; any oak on the palate is very nominal. Marc Bona, cleveland, 12 Dec. 2021 That subtitle is a bit of a misnomer because the book isn’t a truly comprehensive history of snow, which has impacted human settlement patterns since the last ice age. David James, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Dec. 2021 Gandhi also said that it’s a misnomer that Indian consumers do not want to pay for content or are price conscious. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 22 Nov. 2021 However, the phrase Brazilian butt lift is -actually a misnomer, as the sometimes fatal procedure does not actually lift the butt. Essence, 8 Feb. 2022 To the proponents of Novorossiya, as to the Romanovs and the Bolsheviks and the Stalinists, Ukrainian independence is a misnomer. New York Times, 16 Jan. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of misnomer

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for misnomer

Middle English misnoumer, from Anglo-French mesnomer, from mes- mis- + nomer to name, from Latin nominare — more at nominate

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

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Last Updated

1 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Misnomer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misnomer. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for misnomer


mis·​no·​mer | \ ˌmis-ˈnō-mər How to pronounce misnomer (audio) \

Legal Definition of misnomer

: the misnaming of a person in a legal document or proceeding (as in a complaint or indictment) specifically : the institution of proceedings against and service of process on the correct party using the incorrect name — compare idem sonans

Note: Amendment of the pleadings is generally allowed in cases of misnomer.

History and Etymology for misnomer

Anglo-French mesnomer, from mesnomer to misname, from Middle French mes- wrongly + nommer to name, from Latin nominare, from nomin- nomen name

More from Merriam-Webster on misnomer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for misnomer

Nglish: Translation of misnomer for Spanish Speakers


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