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[uh-pel-uh-tiv] /əˈpɛl ə tɪv/
a descriptive name or designation, as Bald in Charles the Bald.
a common noun.
designative; descriptive.
tending toward or serving for the assigning of names:
the appellative function of some primitive rites.
pertaining to a common noun.
Origin of appellative
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English (< Middle French) < Late Latin appellātīvus. See appellate, -ive
Related forms
appellatively, adverb
appellativeness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for appellative
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Such, however, is not the case, George being his only Christian appellative.

  • The appellative "Elias" is in fact both a personal name and a title.

    Jesus the Christ James Edward Talmage
  • The only appellative I find, (if it can be called one), is the Ang.-Sax.

    The River-Names of Europe Robert Ferguson
  • At the sound of the tender Russian appellative she turned to me quickly.

    Marie Tarnowska Annie Vivanti
  • That ayogriha is the name of the prince, not an appellative, appears from the Pli recensions.

    The Gtakaml rya Sra
  • We must remember that nearly all Grecian proper names had some meaning: being compounds or derivatives from appellative nouns.

  • For this name of the place is not appellative or descriptive, as our translation renders it, "paradise of pleasure."

  • The alphabet is general property, and everyone has the right to use it for the creation of a word forming an appellative sound.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • In the name of another lake in Russia, the Karduanskoi-ilmen, it seems to occur as an appellative.

    The River-Names of Europe Robert Ferguson
British Dictionary definitions for appellative


an identifying name or title; appellation
(grammar) another word for common noun
of or relating to a name or title
(of a proper noun) used as a common noun
Derived Forms
appellatively, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for appellative

mid-15c., from Latin appellativus, from appellat-, past participle stem of appellare (see appeal). As a noun, attested from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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