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Legal Dictionary

misnomer

Definition of misnomer

Etymology

    From Anglo-Norman mesnomer, noun use of Anglo-Norman and Old French verb mesnomer (“to name incorrectly”), from mes- (“mis-”) + nomer (“to name”) (from Latin nōmināre).

Pronunciation

  • (RP) IPA: /mɪsˈnəʊmə/, SAMPA: /mIs"n@Um@/
  • (US) IPA: /mɪsˈnoʊmɚ/, SAMPA: /mIs"noUm@`/
  • Audio (US) [?]
  • Rhymes: -əʊmə(r)

Noun

misnomer (plural misnomers)

  1. A use of a term asserted to be misleading.

    Calling it a driveway is a bit of a misnomer, since you don't drive on it, you park on it.

  2. A term asserted to be widely used incorrectly.

    Chinese checkers is a misnomer since the game has nothing to do with China.

  3. A term whose sense in common usage conflicts with a technical sense.

Usage notes

    The term misnomer is sometimes used autologically as "something asserted not to be true; a myth or mistaken belief", as in the following example:
    It's a misnomer that engineers can't write.

Verb

misnomer (third-person singular simple present misnomers, present participle misnomering, simple past and past participle misnomered)

  1. (transitive) To use a misleading term; to misname.

Further reading

A misnomer is a term that suggests an interpretation known to be untrue. Such incorrect terms sometimes derive their names because of the form, action, or origin of the subject becoming named popularly or widely referenced-long before their true natures were known.

References:

  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.



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