I have the following two sentences:

(1) This new index was termed relative correlation.

(2) This new index was named relative correlation.

Which is better? Or how to make a choice between "named" and "termed"?

Thanks a lot!

  • Well! a name is a term. In fact, all words are term, but vice-verse is not true. – Ubi hatt Aug 1 '18 at 9:21
  • OED definition is useful, I think. Term : more widely: any word or phrase expressing a particular idea or concept, or denoting a particular object; an expression (for something). Often with modifying word or phrase, as abstract term, general term, term of abuse, term of endearment, etc. – Nigel J Aug 1 '18 at 11:17
  • Choice and style Questions don't belong here, but broadly, "Named" is clearly what you meant and would never be open to any challenge… and alwys comes from the inventor/producer/supplier. "Termed" could serve a similar purpose but might almost as likely be used in challenge, query or derision. Umpteen further queries apply, but not here… – Robbie Goodwin Aug 17 '18 at 20:10

It is based purely on preference. However, depending on what or who you are writing for, one could be preferred over the other.

Name means give a name to or specify (a sum, time, or place) as something desired, suggested, or decided on.

Term means to give a descriptive name to; call by a specified term.

If it something technical like a documentation or thesis, termed may be better.

i.e. Washington termed our endless and thankless task counterinsurgency—and Anbaris made good insurgents, very good insurgents.

For something less technical or light-hearted named would be better.

i.e. The dead man has been named as John Mackintosh.


named, as defined by Cambridge Dict.:

to give someone or something a name:

termed, as defined by Cambridge Dict.:

to give something a name or to describe it with a particular expression

The particular expression here doesn't seem too specific. Let's see what MW has to say about this word:

to apply a term* to

*term: a word or expression that has a precise meaning in some uses or is peculiar to a science, art, profession, or subject

The two words are very similar in terms of meaning: they both can be used to describe the action of giving something a name. However, termed is much more formal and is often used to describe very specific concepts in multiple different fields. named, on the other hand, is a bit less formal and thus, much less restrictive than termed.

The general consensus seems to be: if you want to give a name to a very specific concept in a formal environment, pick termed. If you want to name just about everything in a non-formal, or semi-formal setting, choose named.

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