proper noun


Definition of proper noun

: a noun that designates a particular being or thing, does not take a limiting modifier, and is usually capitalized in English

called also proper name

Examples of proper noun in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Edward and Annie liked inventing proper nouns for their world. Hilary Leichter, Harper's Magazine, "Terrace Story," 25 May 2020 And the characters in a proper noun like Boston (波士顿, bōshìdùn) or the US (美国, měiguó) do not mean the same thing once split apart. John Keefe, Quartz, "Teaching a computer Chinese made it excellent at English," 27 Dec. 2019 The hearings leading to the articles of impeachment introduced a few proper nouns that cannot be found in the dictionary. Mary Norris, The New Yorker, "“Arrogate” and Other Pesky Impeachment Words," 12 Dec. 2019 These speeches operate in the shadow of proper nouns: the Military-Industrial Complex Speech, the Berlin Speech, the Malaise Speech. Charles Homans, New York Times, "The Post-Campaign Campaign of Donald Trump," 9 Apr. 2018 Above all is just the precision, the proper nouns and compound German nouns and the painterly attention to detail. Daniel Torday, San Francisco Chronicle, "Remembering Philip Roth, a writer who lived by his precision — and provocation," 23 May 2018 One was antonomasia, the usually derisive practice of describing an individual by a certain characteristic, then making it into a proper noun. Lynda Robinson, Washington Post, "‘Piercingly funny’: Tom Wolfe’s years as a Washington Post reporter," 15 May 2018 None of the proper nouns in the headlines would be familiar to most Americans, but the idiom itself is as comfortable and well-worn as your favorite yoga pants: Are the memes actually hilarious? Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "An Indian Politician Claimed Ancient Hindus Invented the Internet," 24 Apr. 2018 English isn’t widely spoken, but sign language and proper nouns go a long way, and locals will happily point you in the right direction. Sebastian Modak, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Days in Lombok, Indonesia," 16 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'proper noun.' 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 proper noun

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for proper noun

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The first known use of proper noun was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

2 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Proper noun.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for proper noun

proper noun


English Language Learners Definition of proper noun

: a word or group of words (such as "Noah Webster," "Kentucky," or "U.S. Congress") that is the name of a particular person, place, or thing and that usually begins with a capital letter

proper noun


Kids Definition of proper noun

: a noun that names a particular person, place, or thing “Tom,” “Chicago,” and “Friday” are proper nouns.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with proper noun

Spanish Central: Translation of proper noun

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