Denotation vs. Connotation

proper noun

Grammar. a noun that is used to denote a particular person, place, or thing, as Lincoln, Sarah, Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Hall.
Also called proper name.
Compare common noun.
Origin of proper noun
Grammar note
Proper nouns are not normally preceded by an article or other limiting modifier, as any or some. Nor are they usually pluralized. But the language allows for exceptions. Proper nouns may occasionally have a definite article as part of the name, as in the case of some ships, organizations, and hotels, as The Titanic, The Humane Society, and The Plaza. An indefinite article is appropriate when you use a name as an exemplar: She looks like a young Elizabeth Taylor! And there is sometimes a reason for treating a name as if it were a generic: There are four Devons in my class. Proper nouns, usually capitalized in English, are arbitrary, in that a name can be given to someone or something without regard to any descriptive meaning the word or phrase may otherwise have. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for proper nouns
Historical Examples
  • Transcriber's Note: Variant spellings and proper nouns remain as printed.

    Pan and Aeolus: Poems Charles Hamilton Musgrove
  • Hyphenation, and capitalisation of proper nouns, has been made consistent.

  • All the common nouns are concepts just as all proper nouns are percepts.

    Training the Teacher A. F. Schauffler
  • In Dutch capitalize all nouns and all adjectives derived from proper nouns.

    Capitals Frederick W. Hamilton
  • Variations in spelling of proper nouns are preserved as printed.

    Myths of Greece and Rome H. A. Guerber
  • In side heads capitalize the first word and proper nouns only.

    Capitals Frederick W. Hamilton
  • In German capitalize all nouns and all adjectives derived from the names of persons but not those derived from other proper nouns.

    Capitals Frederick W. Hamilton
  • If there are some nouns that affect us, there are some proper nouns that equally do so.

  • All words derived from proper nouns should begin with a capital.

  • Here we have two proper nouns used as the subject, Marx and Engels.

    Plain English Marian Wharton
British Dictionary definitions for proper nouns

proper noun

the name of a person, place, or object, as for example Iceland, Patrick, or Uranus Compare common noun related adjective onomastic
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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