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.

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Other Words from misnomer

misnomered \ ˌmis-​ˈnō-​mərd How to pronounce misnomered (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 actually of German ancestry. For such cases we have the term "misnomer," which comes from the Anglo-French verb mesnomer ("to misname") and ultimately from "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

Public attention on the Grove waxes and wanes, but so much has been written that calling it a secret is a misnomer. Robin Abcarian, latimes.com, "Why should Sonoma County provide security for an elitist, men-only summer camp?," 14 June 2019 Ironically, this isn't the first time a misnomer inadvertently led to the spreading of myths about the poor eastern hognose. Christina Capatides, CBS News, ""Zombie snake" found in Eastern U.S. can roll over and play dead," 11 June 2019 Genetic testing helps root out misnomers and put to bed longstanding wine mysteries. Megan Gannon, Smithsonian, "Ancient Grape DNA Tells the Prolific History of Wine," 10 June 2019 This has led some readers to suspect that the title Naked Bike Ride is a misnomer. Doug Maccash, nola.com, "Did the Naked Bike Ride dare to be even barer in 2019?," 9 June 2019 Last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar derided Medicare for All as a misnomer that will take away consumer choice and cost $32 trillion over 10 years, referencing a controversial study published this summer by the Mercatus Center. Stephanie Armour, WSJ, "Some Democrats Want Medicare for All. Others Aren’t So Sure.," 4 Oct. 2018 The brewery — a misnomer because beer is not brewed but barrel-fermented, blended and bottled here — opens to the public only the second weekend of the month for bottle releases. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "1840 Brewing Co. doesn't brew beer and is only open once a month. So why is it a hit?," 24 May 2018 Pickathon Happy Valley, Oregon When: August 3–5 Happy Valley isn’t a misnomer. Heather Hansman, Outside Online, "A Guide to the Best Mountain Town Music Fests," 17 May 2018 One of the biggest misnomers in college football as of late has been the reemergence of Texas football. Matt Murschel, orlandosentinel.com, "Three questions facing the Big 12 this offseason," 3 June 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for misnomer

Last Updated

22 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for misnomer

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

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More Definitions for misnomer



English Language Learners Definition of misnomer

: a name that is wrong or not proper or appropriate


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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with misnomer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for misnomer

Spanish Central: Translation of misnomer

Nglish: Translation of misnomer for Spanish Speakers

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