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late 15c., "action of appealing" (to a higher authority), from Old French apelacion (13c.), from Latin appellationem (nominative appellatio) "an addressing, accosting; an appeal; a name, title," noun of action from past participle stem of appellare (see appeal). Meaning "designation, name given to a person, thing, or class" is from mid-15c., from a sense also found in Middle French appeler.