Quick Summary

The Latin root word nom means “name.” This root is the word origin of a fair number of English vocabulary words, including nominee and denominator. The root nom is easily recalled through the word nominate, which refers to someone being “named” to run for office.

Name Dropping No More

The root word nom means “name.” Today we will nominate a number of examples to help you recall that nom means “name.”

Election season is in full swing. Many candidates have been nominated to run for political office; that is, they have been “named” as candidates. The nominee for the Republican party this year will probably be Mitt Romney, or the one “named” to run against President Obama in the fall election.

Speaking of “names,” if you have taken biology in school you have more than likely heard your teacher talk about binomial nomenclature. This is a scientific method of “naming” all life in an organized format. The word binomial refers to the fact that each living thing has two “names;” nomenclature is the action of bringing “names” together that efficiently enables scientists to classify plants and animals. For instance, the official binomial nomenclature of the human race is homo sapiens, whereas the common dog is canis familiaris.

Ever wonder what your math teacher was talking about when she mentioned the denominator during division? The denominator “names” the number of parts into which a whole is divided, such as the “2” in “1/2.”

Biology teachers, math teachers … how about English teachers? The parts of speech “noun” and “pronoun” also come from the root word nom which means “name.” A “noun” is simply a “name” given to a person, place, thing, action, or quality, whereas a “pronoun” is a word which stands for the “name” of someone or something, such as “she” for “Sally” and “it” for “rain.”

The Latin root word nom also has a large influence on the Romance languages. The French word for “name” is nom; you have probably heard of a nom de plume, or a pen “name” that an author will often adopt. The Spanish word for “name” is nombre, whereas both Italian and Portuguese use the word nome to mean “name.”

Enough “name” dropping about the root word nom for today, lest this podcast be given the misnomer of being too “name” conscious!

  1. nominate: to ‘name’
  2. nominee: one ‘named’
  3. binomial: pertaining to two ‘names’
  4. nomenclature: system for ‘naming’
  5. denominator: ‘names’ thoroughly the number of parts into which a whole is divided
  6. noun: a ‘name’ for something
  7. pronoun: a word which stands for the ‘name’ of someone or something
  8. nom: ‘name’ (French)
  9. nom de plume: pen ‘name’ (French)
  10. nombre: ‘name’ (Spanish)
  11. nome: ‘name’ (Italian and Portuguese)
  12. misnomer: wrong ‘name’


  • ignominy

    Ignominy is a dishonorable or shameful situation in which someone feels publicly embarrassed and loses the respect of others.

  • misnomer

    A misnomer is a name given to someone or something that doesn't quite fit or is inaccurate in some obvious way.

  • nomenclature

    Nomenclature is a specialized form of vocabulary that classifies or organizes things in the sciences or the arts into a clear and usable system.

  • nominal

    Nominal can refer to someone who is in charge in name only, or it can refer to a very small amount of something; both are related by their relative insignificance.

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