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cognomen (kog-NOH-mehn) noun (plural cognomens or cognomina)

1. A family name; a surname. The third and usually last name of a citizen of ancient Rome, as Caesar in Gaius Julius Caesar.
2. A name, especially a descriptive nickname or epithet acquired through usage over a period of time.

[Latin : co- + nomen, name.]

"But rarely has a theory had a less apt cognomen. Einstein's assertion in his first breakthrough, the Special Theory of Relativity, is that central aspects of nature are decidedly not relative--natural laws remain the same regardless of motion, and the speed of light is an absolute for all observers despite frame of reference."
Gregg Easterbrook, The Rediscovery of Higher Meaning: Science Sees the Light, The New Republic, 12 Oct 1998.

"Since virtually all Turkish names have identifiable meanings and most of them are also used as functional words, it may well be that Pamuk's characters have nothing to do with connotations of their names. But, given his passion for wordplay and symbolic value, it is safe to assume that he uses the cognomens and eponyms as ciphers.
Talat S. Halman, Magical Mystery Tour, The World & I, 1 Sep 1997.


If a man does not make new acquaintance as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair. -Samuel Johnson, British lexicographer (1709-1784)

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