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 To call this movie timely would be both an understatement and a bit of a misnomer, since the battle for women’s bodily autonomy has never not been a timely issue. Sonaiya Kelleystaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2022 House, here, is a bit of a misnomer: this place is a massive French Classical Mansion on the Upper East Side that takes up an entire block corner. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 3 May 2022 But the very name is a misnomer, says Joe Rotunda, director of enforcement at the Texas State Securities Board. Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, 3 June 2022 The name monkeypox is a misnomer—it was named after being identified in laboratory monkeys in the 1950s—and experts believe rodents are the likely reservoir. Robert Hart, Forbes, 19 May 2022 The name Southern Hills is a misnomer; there’s really just one hill, singular. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 19 May 2022 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 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

18 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Misnomer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misnomer. Accessed 29 Jun. 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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