Last updated
Washington, D.C. is named after George Washington. Flag map of Washington DC.png
Washington, D.C. is named after George Washington.

A namesake is a person, geographic location, building or other entity that has the same name as another [1] [2] or that is named after another entity that first had the name. [3] [4]


The opposing term, referring to the original entity after which something else was named, is called an eponym.


The word is first attested around 1635, [3] and probably comes from the phrase "for one's name's sake", [1] [5] [6] which originates in English Bible translations as a rendering of a Hebrew idiom meaning "to protect one's reputation" or possibly "vouched for by one's reputation." A familiar example which schoolchildren used to learn by heart is in Psalm 23:3, "he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake" (King James Bible, 1604), or in the metrical version "e’en for his own name’s sake" (Rous 1641, Scottish Psalter 1650, see The Lord's My Shepherd).

Proper usage

When namesake refers to something or someone who is named after something or someone else, the second recipient of a name is usually said to be the namesake of the first. This usage usually refers to humans named after other humans, [3] [4] but current usage also allows things to be or have namesakes. [1] [2] Sometimes the first recipient can also be called the namesake; [3] however, the correct and unambiguous term would be the eponym .


Naming a child after a relative, friend, or well-known person is a common practice in the English-speaking world. Continued practise of naming a child after the parent or grandparent may result in several relatives (e.g. cousins) being namesakes of each other despite not having been named after each other.

Among Ashkenazi Jews, it is customary to name a child after a dead relative, such as the child's grandparent, but never after a living person. [7] Sephardic Jews traditionally are encouraged to name their children after relatives, living or dead. [7] Greek families traditionally name a child after its paternal grandparents and the second child of the same sex is named after its maternal grandparents.


When a son is named after his father, "Jr."/"II", "III'", or another name suffix may be added to the name of the son (and sometimes "Sr." or a prior number to the father's name), in order to distinguish between individuals, especially if both father and son become famous, as in the case of poet Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. and his son, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Sometimes the "Jr." or "Sr." suffix is applied even when the child's legal name differs from that of the parent. One example is that of the singer Hiram King Williams, known professionally as Hank Williams, and his son Randall Hank Williams, known professionally as Hank Williams Jr. Daughters being named after their mothers using similar suffixes is less common. One example is thoroughbred jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr. whose mother was also a jockey before turning to train. A more archaic method of distinguishing father from son was to follow the name with the Elder or the Younger, respectively, for example William Pitt the Elder and William Pitt the Younger.

Other uses

Buildings, such as the Fisher Building, and companies, like the Ford Motor Company, are often named after their founders or owners. Biologic species and celestial bodies are frequently named after their discoverers. [8] Alternatively, their discoverers may name them in honor of others. [9] Occasionally, material goods, such as toys or garments, may be named after people closely associated with them in the public mind. The teddy bear, for example, was named after President Theodore Roosevelt, because of a popular story in which the then-President objected to cruel treatment of a bear by hunters. [10]

The fedora hat may be considered the "namesake" of a fictional character, Princess Fédora Romanoff, from an 1887 play, Fédora , by Victorien Sardou. In her portrayal of that character, Sarah Bernhardt wore a soft felt hat with a center crease, which became known popularly as a "fedora". [11]

Several United States military aircraft have served as the namesake of previous aircraft. The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft was named after the WWII-era Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber. [12] The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is the namesake of the McDonnell FH Phantom. [13] Uniquely, the LTV A-7 Corsair II serves as the namesake of both the Vought F4U Corsair and the earlier Vought O2U Corsair, the former also being the namesake of the latter. The newest fighter of the United States, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is the namesake of the United States Army Air Forces twin-engined Lockheed P-38 Lightning. [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vought F4U Corsair</span> 1940 fighter aircraft family by Chance Vought

The Vought F4U Corsair is an American fighter aircraft which saw service primarily in World War II and the Korean War. Designed and initially manufactured by Chance Vought, the Corsair was soon in great demand; additional production contracts were given to Goodyear, whose Corsairs were designated FG, and Brewster, designated F3A.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">International Astronomical Union</span> Association of professional astronomers

The International Astronomical Union is a nongovernmental organisation with the objective of advancing astronomy in all aspects, including promoting astronomical research, outreach, education, and development through global cooperation. It was founded in 1919 and is based in Paris, France.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">North</span> One of the four cardinal directions

North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to east and west. North is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating direction or geography.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hank Williams Jr.</span> American singer-songwriter and musician

Randall Hank Williams, known professionally as Hank Williams Jr. or Bocephus, is an American singer-songwriter and musician. He is the son of country musician Hank Williams.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Astronomical object</span> Large natural physical entity in space

An astronomical object, celestial object, stellar object or heavenly body is a naturally occurring physical entity, association, or structure that exists in the observable universe. In astronomy, the terms object and body are often used interchangeably. However, an astronomical body or celestial body is a single, tightly bound, contiguous entity, while an astronomical or celestial object is a complex, less cohesively bound structure, which may consist of multiple bodies or even other objects with substructures.

In contemporary astronomy, 88 constellations are recognized by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Each constellation is a region of the sky, bordered by arcs of right ascension and declination. Together they cover the celestial sphere, with their boundaries adopted officially by the International Astronomical Union in 1928 and published in 1930.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">LTV A-7 Corsair II</span> 1967 attack aircraft family

The LTV A-7 Corsair II is an American carrier-capable subsonic light attack aircraft designed and manufactured by Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV).

In ancient times, only the Sun and Moon, a few stars, and the most easily visible planets had names. Over the last few hundred years, the number of identified astronomical objects has risen from hundreds to over a billion, and more are discovered every year. Astronomers need to be able to assign systematic designations to unambiguously identify all of these objects, and at the same time give names to the most interesting objects, and where relevant, features of those objects.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp</span> American WWII-era aircraft engine

The Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp is an American twin-row, 18-cylinder, air-cooled radial aircraft engine with a displacement of 2,800 cu in (46 L), and is part of the long-lived Wasp family of engines.

A name suffix, in the Western English-language naming tradition, follows a person's full name and provides additional information about the person. Post-nominal letters indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, or honor. Other examples include generational designations like "Sr." and "Jr." and "I", "II", "III", etc. Another used is Sñr.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vought</span> 1917–1992 series of American aerospace companies

Vought was the name of several related American aerospace firms. These have included, in the past, Lewis and Vought Corporation, Chance Vought, Vought-Sikorsky, LTV Aerospace, Vought Aircraft Companies, and Vought Aircraft Industries.

A corsair is a privateer or pirate, especially:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Audrey Williams</span> American musician

Audrey Mae Sheppard Williams was an American musician known for being the first wife of country music singer and songwriter Hank Williams, the mother of Hank Williams Jr. and the grandmother of Hank Williams III and Holly Williams.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vought O2U Corsair</span> Type of aircraft

The Vought O2U Corsair was a 1920s biplane scout and observation aircraft. Developed by Vought Corporation, the O2U was ordered by the United States Navy (USN) in 1927. Powered by a 400 hp (298 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1340 engine, it incorporated a steel-tube fuselage structure and a wood wing structure with fabric covering. Many were seaplanes or amphibians.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Boone Guyton</span>

Boone Tarleton Guyton United States Navy, was a naval aviator, experimental test pilot, author and businessman. In a flying career spanning the biplane era through the jet age, Guyton was perhaps best known for his test pilot years at Vought-Sikorsky and his participation in the development of the F4U Corsair and various other military aircraft including the OS2U Kingfisher and the radical Vought V-173 flying pancake.

Canadian naming conventions vary based on whether one is Indigenous, English Canadian, or French Canadian.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vought YA-7F</span> Type of aircraft

The Vought YA-7F "Strikefighter" is a prototype transonic attack aircraft based on the subsonic A-7 Corsair II. Two prototypes were converted from A-7Ds. The YA-7F was not ordered into production, its intended role being filled by the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Williams (Martian crater)</span> Impact crater on Mars

Williams is an impact crater on Mars, located in the Memnonia quadrangle at 18.7°S latitude and 164.3°W longitude. It measures 123.2 kilometres (76.6 mi) in diameter and was named after British astronomer Arthur S. Williams. The name was approved by IAU's Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature in 1973.

The National Museum of World War II Aviation is an aviation museum located at Colorado Springs Airport in Colorado Springs, Colorado.


  1. 1 2 3 "Namesake". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  2. 1 2 "Namesake". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Namesake". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  4. 1 2 "Namesake". Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  5. "Namesake". American Heritage Dictionary. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  6. Harper, Douglas. "Namesake". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  7. 1 2 "The Laws of Jewish Names". Chabad-Lubavitch Media Center. Retrieved 14 March 2016., citing Sefer Chassidim 460; Shaarei Halachah Uminhag, vol. 3, p. 298.
  8. See, e.g., Nowicke, Joan W. (September–October 1974). "Three New Species of Tournefortia (Boraginaceae) from the Andes and Comments on the Manuscripts of E. P. Killip". Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 101 (5): 229–234. doi:10.2307/2484867. JSTOR   2484867. (species); and Committee on Small Body Nomenclature of Division III of the International Astronomical Union. "IAU Comet-naming Guidelines". IAU: Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams. IAU: Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams. Retrieved 14 March 2016. (comets).
  9. See, e.g., Platnick, Norman I. (10 June 1993). "A New Genus of the Spider Family Caponiidae (Araneae, Haplogynae) from California" (PDF). American Museum Novitates (3063): 1. Retrieved 14 March 2016. (species of spider named after actor Harrison Ford).
  10. "Teddy Bears". America's Story from America's Library. Library of Congress. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  11. Harper, Douglas. "Fedora". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  12. Fairchild Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II, National Museum of the US Air Force, archived from the original on 15 December 2018
  13. Angelucci 1987, p. 316.
  14. "'Lightning II' moniker given to Joint Strike Fighter". U.S. Air Force. 7 June 2006.