At first, I thought "misnomer" was an English word adapted from Latin (still learning, as you can see). Yet, it seems it does not exist in Latin. According to Wikipedia:

From Anglo-Norman mesnomer, noun use of Anglo-Norman and Old French verb mesnomer (“to name incorrectly”), from mes- (“mis-”) + nomer (“to name”) (from Latin nōmināre).

So, given this assertion, would not the Latin equivalent be "mesnomer"? However, Wiktionary does not yield an entry for such word. Neither does S&L dictionary. Why is such not a word? Am I incorrectly understanding the above quoted text?

  • 5
    If you read carefully, the only mention of Latin is for the verb nominare, which is not in mesnomer. Apparently nomer is Old French for Latin nominare.
    – Rafael
    Apr 28 '17 at 18:47
  • 1
    The prefix mes_/_mis is, as I understand, from Latin minus (in the sense 'not fully, perfectly, or adequately'); so etymologically, the Latin equivalent – at least for the French verb that is the source of the English noun misnomer – would be the phrase minus nominare.
    – cnread
    Apr 28 '17 at 20:17
  • @Rafael Very true.
    – luchonacho
    Apr 28 '17 at 20:18
  • @cnread Thanks. Can you put this as an answer?
    – luchonacho
    Apr 28 '17 at 20:18
  • But if minus nominare is a verb, then what is the noun misnomer? Some quick digging reveals the non-classical transnominatio might work. It usually means "metonymy," which in turn means referring to one object though the use of one of its qualities. This makes sense for a misnomer. Take, for instance, oxidation. Oxidation was given that name because it was originally thought to occur only with respect to oxygen (named because of quality), but we now know that it applies to more scenarios than that (a misnomer). Of course, not all metonymies are misnomers, so do with that what you will.
    – Sam K
    Apr 29 '17 at 1:15

No, mesnomer is not a Latin word. The quotations only say that it is a Old French word.

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