Is there a word besides named that describes something that has been given a proper name?

For example, a guitar is just a guitar, but if I call it, say, Shirley, is there another word that would now describe the guitar?

I'm looking for something specifically that can be used to identify things that have names (like people) but could also include books and movies, or say "Old Glory" for the flag.

Is there such a word?

EDIT: Here's a bit more information:

I'm looking specifically for a noun, a word which describes any object, person, or idea that has a name.

Perhaps an example will help: say you had a hat full of names, movie and book titles, as well as say names of famous characters from tv shows, and maybe even important events in history like "The Great Depression".

If I asked you to reach in and pick one, what could I say to pick besides "choose a name" (and of course, besides "choose a piece of paper"!) that would describe every one of the items in the hat?

EDIT2: Okay here's some final context for everyone. The reason I posed this question is I am developing a game for windows phone that involves guessing a name, but although "Name" is a simple enough name for the object, it also has additional properties like "category" and "description".

So if I called the object "Name", I need an additional property to reference the actual name of the object. If I used "Name" again I would be accessing it via Name.Name, and that's just silly.

In truth, this isn't a big deal, I ended up using "Name" as the object, and "Title" as the name. This was more a "curiousity" thing, where I wondered if there was a way to accurately name the object, so I could keep "Name" as a property.

Ultimately, my favorite solution is to keep the "Name" as the object and "Moniker" as the name. This feels like the most intuitive way to do it, but I'll probably keep it as it is with "Title". But since that's my favorite that gets the answer, thanks to all who contributed!

  • 16
    I anthropomorphized my guitar by naming it Shirley
    – mplungjan
    Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 4:18
  • 1
    I renamed my guitar.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 6:11
  • wow thanks for all the great comments everyone, this site rocks. I've updated the original post with a little more context. so far I like "term" the best, but wonder if there's something more accurate... thanks again! Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 16:03
  • @Josh to the edit: there's a reason that game is referred to as 'the name game' or 'the hat game' rather than anything else...
    – AakashM
    Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 16:38
  • What irks me about the clarifying example is: what's wrong with saying choose a name? That's the word you're looking for. They're all names. Book names, movie names, character names, names of historical events… This question strikes me as making something more complicated than it needs to be. If you don't like the word "name" simply look in a thesaurus for alternatives to name: appellation, moniker, etc.
    – ghoppe
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 22:16

15 Answers 15


How about moniker for the noun?

And I'd be inclined to invent monikerize for the verb.

(I also like appelation, but I don't have the right to up-vote it yet.)

  • I'll upvote yours and appellation.
    – ghoppe
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 22:11
  • moniker looks like a winner to me! Commented Aug 16, 2013 at 20:48

Christen means to name, or to dedicate ceremonially.

Also dub means to honor with a new title (as in "I dub thee Sir Gawain, Knight of the Round Table")

  • 1
    In light of the OP's clarification of the question, this answer won't do. Commented Aug 13, 2013 at 21:28
  • @hstephenstraight, what are you suggesting that I do? Commented Aug 13, 2013 at 21:59

(adj) onymous (bearing a name) "articles in magazines are usually onymous"

Backformation from anonymous? See the OED:

onymous Pronunciation: /ˈɒnɪməs/ adjective
having a name; named.

  • As kids, my sister and I used "onimous" as a jokey mispronunciation of ominous: "Ooh, they're playing the onimous music - better get out of there!" I had no idea that it was actually a valid word - albeit spelled a bit differently, of course.
    – MT_Head
    Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 19:46
  • my kingdom for the plural of this word!
    – Mike Nakis
    Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 4:22

You could say yclept:-

vb a past participle of clepe

adj having the name of; called

"My guitar, yclept Shirley."

The word is marked obsolete, but it's too good to miss, really.


I think you're asking for a noun, whereas several others have provided verbs.

And I think the noun you're after, is the signified.

The name, the thing that you're changing, is the signifier. The thing it signifies, is the signified.

So, the thing that is your guitar Shirley, is the signified. "Your guitar" and "Shirley" are two signifiers for it.

Together, signifier and signified form a sign.

  • thank you indeed I am looking for a noun to serve as a placeholder to describe such objects. Signification is not bad, might just fit my needs, thanks again! Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 17:20

You might consider denomination, which is a name or designation. You can say that the hat contains the denominations of various things.

The word denomination has several meanings, one of which is "a name or designation, especially one for a class of things."

Etymology Online gives this for denomination as the act of denominating:

denomination (n.) late 14c., "a naming, act of giving a name to," from Old French denominacion "nominating, naming," from Latin denominationem (nominative denominatio) "a calling by anything other than the proper name, metonymy," from denominare "to name," from de- "completely" (see de-) + nominare "to name" (see nominate). Meaning "a class" is from mid-15c. Monetary sense is 1650s; meaning "religious sect" is 1716.

Another word is appellation, which is an identifying name or title. B.B. King's $30 guitar received the appellation "Lucille" after a woman who was killed in a fire where he was performing. The fire was started when two men fighting over Lucille (the woman) accidentally kicked over a barrel of burning kerosene. (Wikipedia)


I do not believe that an established word or phrase captures the category you have defined, though "proper name" comes very close, but only for a linguist. In the situation you describe, you would probably need to say something like "This hat contains slips of paper upon which appear the proper names of persons, both real and fictional; titles of well-known movies, books, and other works of art; and names of places and events, such as 'Mount Everest', 'The Eruption of Krakatoa', or 'The Great Depression'. As in the familiar animal-vegetable-mineral game, the aim is for the others here to guess what name you have drawn by taking turns asking yes-no questions of their choice, with an additional turn to a questioner for every 'yes' answer. After each turn, whether it yields a 'yes' or a 'no' answer, the questioner can guess the name. Whoever guesses correctly wins the round, and if no one guesses correctly after 20 'no' answers, the answerer wins the round. The first player to win three rounds wins the game. So, let's start: Pick a name."

But even this answer leaves out other proper names such as Old Glory for the U.S. flag, The Great Communicator for Ronald Reagan, or the G.O.P. for the Republican Party, and, for that matter, the Republican Party itself, which is the proper name of an organization. In short, the phrase "proper name" includes but goes beyond the category you seem to have in mind.

  • Or "proper noun." Although, that is two words.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 4:06

Termed. Dubbed. Called. Titled. Labeled.

  • 5
    Could you at least write a sentence?! It's often a good idea to embed links in your answer if you're aiming for up-votes :-)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 6:30
  • 4
    2 of those words are included twice. Please write proper answers, or leave a brief Comment instead of an answer.
    – TrevorD
    Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 10:53

If you were to say "I left Shirley behind" then no-one in the world would have any idea that you were talking about a guitar. But if B B King were to ask "Where's Lucille?", everyone in the business knows to look for his prized black Gibson.

That is the essence of having a name: the mere use of the name (in context) is sufficient to identify the thing. On the other hand, if you need a word to use in association with the object to indicate that it has a name, then it does not really have a name.

At best you can say "This is my guitar. I call it Shirley."


Perhaps style

to name or call; designate: to style a man a fool

  • I am looking for a noun, so style won't work, but I do like "Designation" that might do it too, thanks a bunch! Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 17:21
  • The terms identifier refers to the name of things that are unique, but that term focus on the name rather than the thing. Identities refers to the things, but it sounds a bit formal. Entities is used in law to refer things that have a legal existence (people and organizations), but not usually to inanimate objects.
    – bib
    Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 18:58

How about eponymize

v. to name something or someone

  • 2
    Please explain where this word comes from and provide a link to a definition. I have checked in 3 dictionaries (Chambers, ODO, M-W), none of which include it.
    – TrevorD
    Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 23:22

In response to your example:

How about appellation?

n : identifying word or words by which someone or something is called and classified or distinguished from others


Something distinct enough to have a name or other form of unique identifier is an Entity.

The verb form of that, to connote that you gave something a name: Identified seems like it uses the same root word.

  • I really like this, the game is defunct but if I ever revisit it, I think I will use this! Commented Apr 8, 2018 at 5:04

... what could I say to pick besides "choose a name" (and of course, besides "choose a piece of paper"!) that would describe every one of the items in the hat?

Definition: Noun; a person's name; esp : surname.

This would also cover the cases when you give people's names to inanimate objects; for instance a guitar or a ship.

  • "Choose a tag"

Definition: (12). a descriptive word or phrase applied to a person, group, organization, etc., as a label or means of identification; epithet



It means 'given a name'.

He titled his guitar 'Shirley'. His guitar was titled 'Shirley'.


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