What is the word used to describe something as being a misnomer?

  • 2
    If you're looking for a "word", then misnomer itself. If an adjective, then adding a suffix (-ous, -atic, etc.) won't give you anything that's regularly used. – Færd Mar 17 '16 at 2:02
  • There is no corresponding adjective in English. I'd recommend using it in apposition to the other noun (His name was Harold, but he was called by the misnomer Henry) or using a semantically similar adjective or adverb (He was erroneously called Henry). – Anonym Mar 17 '16 at 3:02
  • Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) reports the existence of exactly one adjective form of misnomer: misnomered. MW online has the same information. – Sven Yargs Mar 17 '16 at 5:51

The adjectival form of the noun 'misnomer' is 'misnomered':

misnomered, adj.
Called by a misnomer, misnamed.

["misnomered, adj.". OED Online. March 2016. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/253143?rskey=Ib8axh&result=5&isAdvanced=false (accessed March 17, 2016).]

Attestations for the adjective are dated from 1741 through 1989 in OED Online.

The adjective is also listed by American Heritage, among others.

Note that 'to misnomer' is also a verb, one form of which is 'misnomered'. The adjective derived from the noun was used earlier than the verb, appearing first in 1741 as compared to 1795 in the senses given by OED Online for the respective words.

Synonymous adjective options include these:

  • misnamed
  • mistermed
  • miscalled
  • misnomed (obsolete)
  • mistitled
  • This adjectives describes the thing that is named, not the name that is given to it. – Færd Mar 17 '16 at 9:44

Given that aptly named is used for something that's well described by its name, then unapt can be a suitable adjective for an unsuitable name:


Not appropriate or suitable in the circumstances:
It is not an unapt word.

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