Definition of proper noun in English:

proper noun

(also proper name)


  • A name used for an individual person, place, or organization, spelled with an initial capital letter, e.g. Jane, London, and Oxfam.

    Often contrasted with common noun
    • ‘From the start, we had to be in agreement, for example, on the translation of street names, proper names, nicknames.’
    • ‘She stresses that, in contrast to common names, proper names are specific labels for which there is, in general, no ‘synonymous’ label.’
    • ‘An exception occurs, however, when the second noun is a proper name, in which case the second article may be omitted.’
    • ‘In this category proper names have always been popular, and by the end of the 20th century this had become the most common way of generating new rhymes.’
    • ‘There was more resistance in the recalling of proper names than to common names.’
    • ‘These include verbs formed from proper names (such as mesmerize and Americanize) and from names of chemical compounds (such as oxidize and digitalize).’
    • ‘In the Millian view, proper names have denotation, but not connotation.’
    • ‘Some men lose the recollection of proper names, or of verbs, or of numbers, or merely of dates, in consequence of an accident.’
    • ‘First, what we have of the author is not a proper name but a title.’
    • ‘Where it used to be that nicknames were used by friends and family, and proper names by everyone else, these days it's very much the opposite.’
    • ‘He loves terms of art, slang, botanical names, the names of foodstuffs and fabrics, rare words, proper names and place names.’
    • ‘And don't you know that proper names are usually capitalized?’
    • ‘In everyday English, such a use of proper names, nicknames/pseudonyms, or addresses would be just bizarre.’
    • ‘The experiment then compares proper names with common names.’
    • ‘This has the appearance of dispensing with the use of proper names and dispensing also with the recognition of what proper names typically refer to, viz. individuals.’
    • ‘Table 2 shows that estimates also tend to be higher for proper names than for common names but that the difference is only significant when the correct response is found after an initial commission error.’
    • ‘As in this poem, the words that appear to be left out in the series of ‘unfinished’ poems are the abstract nouns and proper names with which rationality is usually associated.’
    • ‘The correspondence between the elements present in the description given to participants and the associated elements in their memory is ‘more unique’ for proper names than for common names.’
    • ‘Always use the mark as an adjective or as a proper name, and never use it generically.’
    • ‘Although feeling-of-knowing studies involve questions about proper names, none make this distinction between proper names and common names.’


proper noun