If a person shares my name, in Dutch there is the word "naamgenoot", meaning roughly 'member of the same name'.

John A: Hi, my name is "John"
John B: O, then we're insert solution word here!


  • 'classmate' is 'klasgenoot' in Dutch
  • 'roommate' is 'kamergenoot' in Dutch

I'm pretty sure I cannot call someone with the same name as mine a 'namemate' :)

Edit Because sceptics appear to be frustrated mightily by an apparent lack of research, there was some discussion on this in chat, with no satisfactory conclusion.

According to WP/Merriam Webster namesake appears to be linked to intentional name correspondance (being named after someone). There may be a US/UK English divide there.

"I was named after my grandfather. I am his namesake." - usage per Wikipedia

Also, the introduction seems to hint at much broader meaning:

"Namesake is a term used to characterize a person, place, thing, quality, action, state, or idea that has the same, or a similar, name to another"

Do you know of a better word/phrase to describe this succinctly?

  • 13
    "dopplenamers" maybe? Jan 12, 2012 at 15:35
  • 2
    @IntermediateHacker conversely, 'namegänger'?
    – sehe
    Jan 12, 2012 at 15:40
  • 2
    Actually, I don't think namemate is all that bad. I've never heard this word before (and it probably doesn't exist), but in the context you provide, the meaning and intention would be immediately clear (to me, anyway). Jan 12, 2012 at 15:45
  • 5
    How about namefellow?
    – z7sg Ѫ
    Jan 12, 2012 at 17:39
  • 4
    In Spanish, this is referred to as 'tocayo' Jan 12, 2012 at 21:24

10 Answers 10


The word namefellow or name-fellow, although rather obscure, does have exactly the meaning you're after, without the connotation of namesake that both people are named after the same person.

In Tristram of Lyonesse (1882) by the poet A.C. Swinburne, the protagonist travels to Brittany where he meets another knight named Tristram:

But by the sea-banks where at morn their foes
Might find them, lay those knightly name-fellows,
One sick with grief of heart and sleepless, one
With heart of hope triumphant as the sun

  • 2
    Yeah! This one feels natural and intuitive (by comparison, the composition name-mate would be intuitive, but not so natural, possibly because of the assonance and the adjacent bilabials?).
    – sehe
    Jan 12, 2012 at 22:55
  • @sehe Name-mate is a good alternative. It would be clearly understood. I think in speech the m phonemes would merge just as in room-mate: /'neɪmeɪt/.
    – z7sg Ѫ
    Jan 13, 2012 at 23:54
  • I just revisited this question as it reached +20. I must say I've used name-fellow on occasion since, and it worked out. (Rereading the suggestion that name-mate would be pronounceable as /'neɪmeɪt/, I wouldn't use it. In my (Dutch) ears, it would ring more like nay-mate and I'd be confused. Subjective subjective, I know!)
    – sehe
    Aug 25, 2012 at 20:45

Namesake has a meaning of "(roughly) the same name"

"We have the same namesake" implies common ancestry in the name to me, for example if you were called "Galileo" and you met someone else in the street with that name then it would make sense if you were both named after the same original person.

I don't think I'd use it for two random strangers unless there was an age difference and you wanted to make a joke about it, but it's the closest English word I'm aware of to what you described.

  • 1
    What would be a usual way to refer to a namesake in a sentence? "We have the same namesake"? "Ours is a (single) namesake"? "You're my namesake" sounds a bit clingy when said to a stranger. ""We're a namesake" might be a little overboard as well. Help me out?
    – sehe
    Jan 12, 2012 at 15:46
  • 3
    @sehe: The OED's definition is 'a person who or thing which has the same name as another'. So we'd say of another person with the same name 'He's my namesake', but, yes, it might be a little odd to say 'You're my namesake' to a stranger. Jan 12, 2012 at 15:56
  • 3
    I don't think this is a good fit since it implies more than in necessarily the case. Two random persons both named John are unlikely to have been named after the same John even if their parents explicitly named them after someone else with that name instead of just liking it. Jan 12, 2012 at 16:48
  • 3
    @Jay From the Wikipedia page linked to by awoodland there's significant variations between dictionaries about the scope of the word. The American Heritage Dictionary has the more restrictive 'named after' definition (only one I'd seen before today); while the Oxford and Merriam-Websters both use the broader 'same name as' definition. Jan 12, 2012 at 18:15
  • 1
    @DanNeely thanks for quoting a source for that distinction. I like namesake as the technically 'correct' term, but I'd hesitate to use it in chat/conversation.
    – sehe
    Jan 12, 2012 at 22:47

Homonym from "same name" in Greek is also a possibility.

  • 1
    (+1) Nice one. Also Homophone if his name just sounds like yours. Jan 12, 2012 at 17:40
  • 6
    Actually I think "homonym" is exactly the correct word, although maybe not widely used in colloquial English... funnily enought, the italianization "omonimo" is quite common in Italian.
    – UncleZeiv
    Jan 12, 2012 at 18:32
  • 2
    'Homonyme' is also quite common in French. +1
    – Ugo
    Jan 12, 2012 at 19:03
  • 1
    So we'd be homonymonous? Jan 12, 2012 at 20:43
  • 2
    Maybe just homonymous.
    – user16269
    Jan 12, 2012 at 22:14

I reserve namesake for when someone is actually named after me - there are a few babies out there who I can cheerfully call my namesake. When I run into another Kate Gregory online (happens a lot on Twitter) I call them my name-twin. It's a neologism, but everyone who reads it gets it. (Those of you who thought I was the US Admiral, I'm not.)

  • To date, I've used name-twin on occasion myself. Only, sometimes that would lead to confusion, when the other party didn't quite understand the intended meaning. In fact, such an occasion led to my posting this question today :)
    – sehe
    Jan 12, 2012 at 23:06

Sometimes we use the word "namesake" to describe this. If another guy is named "Muhammad" and so am I, then he is my namesake.

But note that "namesake" may also imply that the second person was named after you. i.e He was named in your memory / honour.

  • 5
    I thought namesake was usually used when someone was named after someone else, usually to honour or remember the first person. Jan 12, 2012 at 15:38
  • 1
    "one that has the same name as another; especially : one who is named after another or for whom another is named" (Merriam-Webster). So not necessarily.
    – MetaEd
    Jan 12, 2012 at 16:00
  • 'If a Scot is asked about a man with the same name of whom he knows nothing, he will say " I dare say we are related, though I cannot say how distantly." An Englishman in the same situation would say "No, he is a mere namesake." (Walter Scott , Fair Maid of Perth; italics in original). Sep 20, 2012 at 22:18

Namealike was in use in 2009 and 2011 to refer to people sharing the same name. Apparently googleganger and internet doppelganger were as well.

(On the internet, there seem to be some incorrect references to so-called namealike National Park that should instead refer to Windjana Gorge, Purnululu, etc. National Parks.)

  • This looks like it took some research, thank you. 'Namealike' is nice, in that it alludes to the more common 'lookalike' and it rolls of the tongue easily, +1. I do have the feeling that, because of that association, it carries a slight connotation of 'imperfection' or even 'fraudulence' ('lookalike' is often appears in the context of impersonation/imitation; in general no two individuals would be considered truly identical); This feeling might be culturally defined... I'd use 'namealike' whenever someone had a name that has the same 'ring' to it, looked the same, had similar structure, etc.
    – sehe
    Jan 12, 2012 at 23:05

The word isonymous, in addition to other uses, means having the same surname. An isonymous marriage occurs when Jane Smith marries John Smith. The word is quite rare, and so you could likly get away with using it to mean same given name, as in, "Hey, you are John and so am I. We are isonymous."

  • I could have probably constructed this one, but I was actually hoping for the 'commonly-used-idiom-unbeknownst-to-me'... Thanks for taking the time to improve this list of answers!
    – sehe
    Oct 20, 2012 at 20:22
  • Well, this has the advantage of being unbeknownst to the other guy, too. :)
    – Kaz
    Oct 20, 2012 at 22:22
  • Oh, no worries: I can frobnicate perfectly cromulent words to fuzz my way out of many a situation that requires emfibbening :)
    – sehe
    Oct 20, 2012 at 22:58

OALD registers “namesake” with definition, “a person or thing that has the same name as sb / stg else. I found this word in the short story of Somerset Maugham’s, “A Friend in Need.” The word appears in the story that the hero, Edward Hyde Burton, British merchant living in Kobe told to Maugham when they met in a hotel in Yokohama. Burton told Maugham about his namesake:

“There was a fellow here last year, a namesake of mine, who was the best bridge player I ever met. I suppose you never came across him in London. Lenny Burton he called himself."

I remember this word (namesake) from this short story with the most ominous ending switcheroo I've ever read.


People (or things) with the same name are homonymous.

The term applies to people who have the same name, as well as books, films, songs with the same title, etc.

For instance the movie version of a book can share the same title of the original book, in which case they are homonymous.

If they have different titles, then they are heteronymous. And the latter also applies to anything or anyone that goes under different names — all of which are true.

If someone goes under a false name, that false name is a pseudonym.

The same way that a different name is a heteronym.

And the same name (the name itself) is a homonym.



I think the main point here is it doesn't translate across culture. Rather than trying to put up some fake mashing of meaning that will never have the same cultural weight, it's better to understand why there is no word for it in native English speaking countries. For some reason, it's not something people care about enough to give a term for it.

Sami People have more than 100 words or more in their language to describe snow as snow is extremely important to them and it matters in the different types of snow, such as packed snow, fluffy snow and on and on. This is/was important to them because their livelihood depended on understanding and describing snow in survival when hunting and walking through it. English does not have these specific names for snow because it's not important enough as it's not always snowing.

So what I'm trying to say is if something is not explicitly defined from another language, it's like a punch line without the punch. It has no weight or real meaning. It's more awkward than anything, like Borat is deliberately awkward in an extreme way, for example.

  • Hey, I was bored. I saw this on Stack Exchange and it seems funny to ask such a question. Thanks for your sarcasm. Maybe draw it out a bit more for me so we're even. Be a bit more elaborate. Jan 13, 2012 at 3:05
  • 5
    Actually, Eskimo people don't have a large number of words for snow. Although I agree that using an obscure (or slightly incorrect) word for "same name as" isn't really appropriate. Jan 13, 2012 at 3:28
  • Yes, sorry was generalizing. Specifically "Sami People" if you must be correct. But the point is well taken on your side. Jan 13, 2012 at 3:33

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