1. A common name, in distinction from a proper name. A common name, or appellative, stands for a whole class, genus, or species of beings, or for universal ideas. Thus, tree is the name of all plants of a particular class; plant and vegetable are names of things that grow out of the earth. A proper name, on the other hand, stands for a single thing; as, Rome, Washington, Lake Erie.
2. An appellation or title; a descriptive name.
God chosen it for one of his appellatives to be the Defender of them. --Jer. Taylor.
1. Pertaining to a common name; serving as a distinctive denomination; denominative; naming.
2. Gram. Common, as opposed to proper; denominative of a class.
adj 1: pertaining to or dealing with or used as a common noun
2: inclined to or serving for the giving of names; "the
appellative faculty of children"; "the appellative
function of some primitive rites" [syn: naming(a)]
n : identifying word or words by which someone or something is
called and classified or distinguished from others [syn:
appellation, denomination, designation]