Webster 1913 Edition



, F.
, fr. L.
name. See
A word used as the designation or appellation of a creature or thing, existing in fact or in thought; a substantive.
☞ By some grammarians the term noun is so used as to include adjectives, as being descriptive; but in general it is limited to substantives.

Webster 1828 Edition



[altered from L. name.] In grammar, a name; that sound or combination of sounds by which a thing is called, whether material or immaterial. [See Name.]

Definition 2022





noun (plural nouns)

  1. (grammar, narrow sense) A word that can be used to refer to a person, animal, place, thing, phenomenon, substance, quality, or idea; one of the basic parts of speech in many languages, including English.
  2. (grammar, now rare, broad sense) Either a word that can be used to refer to a person, animal, place, thing, phenomenon, substance, quality or idea, or a word that modifies or describes a previous word or its referent; a substantive or adjective, sometimes also including other parts of speech such as numeral or pronoun.
    • 1753, Thomas Martin, An Explanation of the Accidence and Grammar To the End of the Syntax in which The Grounds of each Rule in the Syntax are laid down in the plainest Manner. Compiled By way of Question and Answer, For the Use of Schools., London, page 1:
      Q. What is a Noun? A. The Name of a Thing. Q. How many Sorts of Nouns are there? [...] A. A Noun Substantive, and a Noun Adjective.
    • 1786, Signor Veneroni, The Complete Italian Master; Containing The best and easiest Rules for attaining that Language, London, page 6:
      A Noun is a word which serves to name and distinguish some thing; [...]. There are two sorts of nouns; one is called a noun substantive, and the other a noun adjective.
    • 1852, Leonhard Schmitz, Elementary Latin grammar, Edinburgh, page 123:
      The first part of a compound word is either a noun (substantive, adjective, or numeral), an adverb, or a preposition, and in a very few cases a verb.
    • 1856, R. G. Latham, Logic in its application to language, London, page 224:
      Finally, there are many who limit the parts of speech to the noun, the verb, and the particle; referring to the first, the substantive, the adjective, and the pronoun (including the article), to the second the participle, to the third the remainder.
    • 1956, Herbert Weir Smyth & Gordon M. Messing, “189. Parts of Speech”, in Greek Grammar, Cambridge: Havard University Press, page 44:
      Greek has the following parts of speech: substantives, adjectives, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and particles. In this Grammar noun is used to include both the substantive and the adjective.
    • 1894, B. L. Gildersleeve & G. Lodge, Gildersleeve's Latin Grammar, Dover, published 2008, page 9:
      The Parts of Speech are the Noun (Substantive and Adjective), the Pronoun, the Verb, and the Particles (Adverb, Preposition, and Conjunction)[.]
    • 1993, Arthur Anthony Macdonell, A Vedic Grammar For Students, First Indian edition, Delhi, page 283:
      The parts of which the sentence may consist are either inflected words: the noun (substantive and adjective) and the verb, the participle which shares the nature of both, and the pronoun; or uninflected words: prepositions, adverbs, and conjunctions.

Usage notes



  • See Wikisaurus:noun

Derived terms

Related terms


See also


noun (third-person singular simple present nouns, present participle nouning, simple past and past participle nouned)

  1. (transitive) To convert a word to a noun.
    • 1992, Lewis Acrelius Froman, Language and Power: Books III, IV, and V:
      For example, that females are different from but equal to males is oxymoronic by virtue of the nouned status of female and male as kinds of persons.
    • 2000, Andrew J. DuBrin, The complete idiot's guide to leadership:
      However, too much nouning makes you sound bureaucratic, immature, and verbally challenged. Top executives convert far fewer nouns into verbs than do workers at lower levels.






  1. third person singular possessive; his, hers, its (used with a special class of objects including living things)
  2. son of, daughter of

Related terms


Alternative forms


Latin non.



  1. (Mistralian) no

Old French


noun m (oblique plural nouns, nominative singular nouns, nominative plural noun)

  1. Alternative form of nom