I'm writing about what people might call God when praying, things like "Lord" or "Father" etc.

With respect to using "Dad" or "Mum", would you call them names? (not exactly - not like "Brian" for instance). Not really a title either, is it? How about an APPELLATION, perhaps?

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    I don't understand what your questions is. Can you give an example? – Noah Jul 27 '13 at 23:36
  • Do you just want a word that means an informal way of addressing a parent? – toryan Jul 28 '13 at 0:49
  • Do you want to know how to classify names of family members such as; mum, dad, aunt, uncle, sister etc.? – Mari-Lou A Jul 28 '13 at 7:28

Regarding “would you call [Dad or Mum] a name?”, I think a term like cognomen or sobriquet is more appropriate than appellation or name.

cognomen, “a nickname or epithet by which someone is identified; a byname; a moniker or sobriquet”
sobriquet, “A familiar name for a person (typically a shortened version of a person’s given name)”

Note, while epithet has a well-known sense (“An abusive or contemptuous word or phrase”) with negative connotation, that is not the sense used in the definition above of cognomen. Instead, the relevant sense is “A term used to characterize a person or thing” or “A term used as a descriptive substitute for the name or title of a person” (in which sense epithet also can serve as an answer to the original question).

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  • jwpat, so "cognomen" can have a negative connotation, whereas "sobriquet" cannot? I ask because Italians doean't have a word for "sobriquet", but only for "cognomen", which is "soprannome" (In English, perhaps, could be "supername") – user19148 Jul 28 '13 at 8:56
  • @Carlo_R., not really (or not particularly); see edit – James Waldby - jwpat7 Jul 28 '13 at 15:07
  • I'm not wanting another word for the name "Dad", I want another word for the word "name" in the 1st part of this sentence. I'm not comfortable referring to "Dad" as a "name", nor as a "title". Perhaps there's a more suitable word I can use here, other than "name". Hope that clarifies it. – Anthony Jul 29 '13 at 23:27

They could be referred to as familiars

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    Not really, no. "Familiar" as a noun has several meanings (the most common of which is a magician's companion spirit or animal!); none of them quite fits here. "Mum" and "Dad" are familiar terms of address, but they are not familiars. – MT_Head Jul 28 '13 at 7:43
  • I understood the question to be about calling someone or something Father, who is not actually that in a biological sense. Familiar does carry the meaning of a close friend, which is how certain believers characterise their relationship to a being they call God. – user48193 Jul 28 '13 at 9:54
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    That... is a heck of a stretch. – MT_Head Jul 28 '13 at 10:03
  • Some might argue not as much of a stretch, as communicating with a sky god! – user48193 Jul 28 '13 at 10:12

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