AskDefine | Define namesake

Dictionary Definition

namesake n : a person with the same name as another

User Contributed Dictionary



From the phrase "(one's) name's sake"; first recorded in the mid seventeenth century.


  • , /ˈneɪmseɪk/, /"neImseIk/


  1. One who is named after another or for whom another is named.
  2. A person, place or thing having the same name as another.


person, place or thing named after another person, place or thing
person, place or thing having the same name as another

Extensive Definition

For the book and the movie with the same title, refer to The Namesake.
If a person, place, or thing is named after a person, place, or thing, then one is said to be the namesake of the other. Using a namesake's name is a relatively common practice in naming children, hence the large number of "Jr.", "III", etc. Names are often used in tribute to older, related persons, such as grandparents.
There has been some discrepancy as to whether the first-named or the second-named person, place or thing takes the term namesake. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a namesake is a person or thing named after another. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a namesake is a person or thing having the same name as another. This ambiguity may sometimes be resolved by the term namegiver, which clearly refers to the first-named person.
Generally, usage allows for either:
I was named after my grandfather. He is my namesake.
I was named after my grandfather. I am his namesake.
Modernly, both are correct. Its first known recorded usage is in 1646.
Use of a namesake's name in a leadership position may indicate certain things, usually referring to certain traits of the namesake, such as in the use of papal regnal names.
Some commercial entities and products are named after their creators, such as the Trump Tower and Ford Motor Company.
Items are also named after people associated with them, such as the teddy bear. This is especially the case with scientific discoveries and theories, such as Gibbs free energy.
Some of these usages may more accurately be called an eponym.

Examples of namesakes

Popular culture

Professional examples

See also

namesake in Dutch: Naamgenoot
namesake in Russian: Тёзка
namesake in Swedish: Namne

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

appellation, appellative, binomen, binomial name, byword, cognomen, cryptonym, denomination, designation, empty title, epithet, eponym, euonym, handle, honorific, hyponym, label, moniker, name, nomen, nomen nudum, proper name, proper noun, scientific name, secret name, style, tag, tautonym, title, trinomen, trinomial name
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