mid-15c., in law, "an error in a name, mistaken identification of an accused or convicted person," from Anglo-French, Old French mesnomer "to misname, wrongly name," noun use of infinitive, from mes- "wrongly" (see mis- (2)) + nomer "to name," from Latin nominare "nominate" (see nominate). For noun use of French infinitives, see waiver. Meaning "act of applying a wrong name or designation" is from 1630s.
word-forming element of Latin origin (in mischief, miscreant, misadventure, misnomer, etc.), from Old French mes- "bad, badly, wrong, wrongly," from Vulgar Latin *minus-, from Latin minus "less" (from suffixed form of PIE root *mei- (2) "small"), which was not used as a prefix in Latin but in the Romanic languages was affixed to words as a depreciative or negative element. The form in French perhaps was influenced in Old French by *miss-, the Frankish (Germanic) form of mis- (1).
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "name."
It forms all or part of: acronym; allonym; ananym; anonymous; antonomasia; antonym; binomial; caconym; cognomen; denominate; eponym; eponymous; heteronym; homonym; homonymous; hyponymy; ignominious; ignominy; innominable; Jerome; matronymic; metonymy; metronymic; misnomer; moniker; name; nomenclature; nominal; nominate; noun; onomastic; onomatopoeia; paronomasia; paronym; patronym; patronymic; praenomen; pronoun; pseudonym; renown; synonym; synonymy; synonymous; toponym.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit nama; Avestan nama; Greek onoma, onyma; Latin nomen; Old Church Slavonic ime, genitive imene; Russian imya; Old Irish ainm; Old Welsh anu "name;" Old English nama, noma, Old High German namo, Old Norse nafn, Gothic namo "name."
Central American nation; the name is used of a political jurisdiction by 1530s in Spanish, probably from an unknown Guarani word, traditionally said to mean "place of many fish." Originally the name of the settlement founded 1519 (destroyed 1671 but subsequently rebuilt). Related: Panamanian. Panama hat, made from the leaves of the screw pine, is attested from 1833, a misnomer, because it originally was made in Ecuador, but perhaps so called in American English because it was distributed north from Panama City. Panama red as a variety of Central American marijuana is attested from 1967.
"battles among fellow citizens or within a community," from civil in a sense of "occurring among fellow citizens" attested from late 14c. in batayle ciuile "civil battle," etc. The exact phrase civil war is attested from late 15c. (the Latin phrase was bella civicus). An Old English word for it was ingewinn. Ancient Greek had polemos epidemios.
Early use typically was in reference to ancient Rome. Later, in England, to the struggle between Parliament and Charles I (1641-1651); in U.S., to the War of Secession (1861-1865), an application often decried as wholly inaccurate but in use (among other names) in the North during the war and boosted by the popular "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War" series published 1884-87 in "Century Magazine."
"The war between the States," which a good many Southerners prefer, is both bookish and inexact. "Civil war" is an utter misnomer. It was used and is still used by courteous people, the same people who are careful to say "Federal" and "Confederate." "War of the rebellion," which begs the very question at issue, has become the official designation of the struggle, but has found no acceptance with the vanquished. To this day no Southerner uses it except by way of quotation .... "The war of secession" is still used a good deal in foreign books, but it has no popular hold. "The war," without any further qualification, served the turn of Thucydides and Aristophanes for the Peloponnesian war. It will serve ours, let it be hoped, for some time to come. [Basil L. Gildersleeve, "The Creed of the Old South," 1915]
Middle English purpel, from Old English purpul, a dissimilation (first recorded in Northumbrian, in the Lindisfarne gospel) of purpure "purple dye, a purple garment," purpuren (adj.) "purple; dyed or colored purple," a borrowing by 9c. from Latin purpura "purple color, purple-dyed cloak, purple dye," also "shellfish from which purple was made," and "splendid attire generally." This is from Greek porphyra "purple dye, purple" (compare porphyry), a word of uncertain origin, perhaps Semitic, originally the name for the shellfish (murex) from which it was obtained. Purpur continued as a parallel form until 15c., and through 19c. in heraldry.
Attested from early 15c. as the name of the color formed by the mixture of blue and red (later from nearly violet-blue to not quite crimson; in the Middle Ages also applied to darker, richer reds). Tyrian purple (properly a crimson), produced around Tyre, was prized as dye for royal garments, hence the figurative use of purple for "imperial or regal power," by 1550s. Also the color of mourning or penitence (especially in royalty or clergy).
Rhetorical use in reference to "splendid, gaudy" (since mid-18c. typically of prose) is from 1590s. In U.S. politics, indicating an alternative to the increasing division of the country into red (Republican) and blue (Democratic), by 2004.
Purple Heart, the U.S. decoration for service members wounded in combat, was instituted 1932; originally it was a cloth decoration begun by George Washington in 1782. Hendrix' Purple Haze (1967) is slang for "LSD." Purple death "cheap Italian red wine" is by 1947. Purple finch, the common North American bird, was so called by 1760 in catalogues; "the name is a misnomer, arising from the faulty coloring of a plate by Mark Catesby, 1731" [Century Dictionary]. It also is called house finch, for its domesticity. Purple martin is from 1743.