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 Fact is, the name is a dangerous misnomer, as synthetic cannabinoids do not taste like cannabis, do not provide the same high, and can even be life threatening. Rudy Sanchez, chicagotribune.com, "‘Synthetic marijuana’ is a dangerous misnomer that people need to stop using," 12 Nov. 2019 This is why the idea of peak foliage is a little bit of a misnomer. BostonGlobe.com, "It happens every year: The green leaves of spring and summer lose their chlorophyll and voila, the colors of autumn are born.," 4 Oct. 2019 On the same block in Little Compton’s tiny town center is The Commons Lunch, a misnomer since the diner also serves lunch until dinnertime. BostonGlobe.com, "Power to the pumpkin people! Six under-the-radar autumn escapes - The Boston Globe," 10 Oct. 2019 The title of this superb release is something of a misnomer, as the only Yiddish music per se is a selection of five Polish songs from the prewar era. BostonGlobe.com, ": Bartok: The Wooden Prince and The Miraculous Mandarin Suite (BIS)," 27 Sep. 2019 What de Blasio may not have realized at the time is that the turnaround model is a bit of a misnomer. Marcus A. Winters, National Review, "Closing Schools Works — If It’s Done Right," 24 Sep. 2019 Her name is something of a misnomer, as her energy flow is through the roof. Washington Post, "Date Lab: Forget happily ever after. They chose to live in the moment.," 11 July 2019 Gene Stupnitsky’s new film, which follows three middle schoolers bumbling their way through a crazy night, balances dirty jokes with insight. 12:55 PM ET The title of Good Boys is not a misnomer. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Good Boys Is a Raunchy but Sweet Comedy," 12 Aug. 2019 But that name is a misnomer since the planet is actually covered in gas, and whatever ice is below that is basically slushy. Wired, "Space Photos of the Week: Tune Into Neptune," 31 Aug. 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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The first known use of misnomer was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Misnomer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misnomer. Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for misnomer


How to pronounce misnomer (audio)

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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for misnomer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with misnomer

Spanish Central: Translation of misnomer

Nglish: Translation of misnomer for Spanish Speakers

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