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A name is a label to things, people, places[?], and even ideas or concepts, originally in order to distinguish one another. Names may identify a class or category of things, or a single thing, either uniquely, or within a given context.

A toponym is a place name.

In addition to its original purpose of distinguishing, names have also came to have additional or pure honorary and memorial values. For example, the posthumous names' primary function is commemorative.

Naming is the process of assigning a particular word or phrase to a pattern that has been noticed. This can be quite deliberate or a natural process that occurs in the flow of life as some phenomenon comes to the attention of the users of a language. Many new words or phrases come into existence during translation as attempts are made to express concepts from one language in another.

Either as a part of the naming process or later as usage is observed and studied by lexicographers the word may be defined by a description of the pattern it refers to.

There are millions of possible objects that can be described in science, too many to create common names for every one. As a response, a number of systems of systematic names have been created. An example of a systematic naming scheme is Linnaean taxonomy, which uses Latin names for plants and animals.

Names of persons

It is universal for a person to have a name; the rare exceptions occur in the cases of mentally disturbed parents, or wild children[?] growing up in isolation. A personal name is usually given at birth or a young age, and usually kept throughout life; there may also be additional names indicating family relationships, location, etc. The details of naming are strongly governed by culture; some are more flexible about naming than others, but for all cultures where historical records are available, the rules are known to change over time.

The following cultures' naming systems have been documented in this encyclopedia:

Common components of true names given at birth include:

Some people (called anonyms) choose to be anonymous, that is, to hide their true names, for fear of governmental prosecution or societal ridicule of their works or actions. Another method to disguise one's identity is to employ pseudonyms.

Non-human Creature Names

Apart from the Linnaean taxonomy, non-human animals and plants are given names, usually of endearment.

In some cultures, pets or sporting animals are sometimes given names similar to human names. Other cultures, such as the Chinese, give the animals non-human names, because it would be offensive and disrespective to the person by the same name. For example,

  • An emperor during the Three Kingdoms period, Liu Bei's horse was called "Dilu" (的盧), meaning "Truely Dark", which may be metaphorically named for the ill fate it supposedly brought it previous owners.
  • And Liu Bei's general, Guan Yu's horse was "Chi Tu" (赤兔), meaning "Red Hare", reflecting on the amazing speed of the horse.

In bonsai, some plants are given adjectival names, such as "The Cloud of Joyful Memories".

See also: Placename etymology, Names given to the divine, Number names, Systematic names, Unique identifiers[?], List of adjectival forms of place names, List of personal naming conventions (probably requires merging)

External link

  • What is a name? (http://www.jimwegryn.com/names/What%20is%20a%20name.htm): by Jim Wegryn.

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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