n. a name, title, or designation

Appellation is an interesting word. As a noun, it means, simply, a name or title. However, think about the “appellate court,” which refers to a court of appeals. The etymology of the word is the same: it comes from the Latin appellare, which means “to address (as), to call (e.g. someone or something by some name); to entreat” We get appellation by way of the Middle English appelacion (by way of Old French appellation) in the sense of a name.

Appellate came to us directly from Latin sometime in the first half of the 18th century, when it was commonplace to directly import Latin words for use in matters of law and scholarship. In this case, it took on the notion of appeals, which preserved the alternative sense of the Latin root—”to entreat.”

§1528 · December 6, 2006 · Tags: , ·

3 Comments to “Wednesday’s Word: appellation”

  1. Amanda says:

    I love these.

    Is it wrong that I look forward to each Wednesday knowing there’s going to be a new word I have never heard of before?

  2. Ben says:

    If it’s wrong, I don’t ever want to be right.

  3. Amanda says:

    Well said. I concur whole-heartedly.

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