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 Next month will mark 100 years since one of the most unusual team names in college sports--the Wonder Boys--first appeared as a proper noun in print. Rex Nelson, Arkansas Online, 31 Oct. 2020 Edward and Annie liked inventing proper nouns for their world. Hilary Leichter, Harper's Magazine, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 24 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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Cite this Entry

“Proper noun.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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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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