Appellation vs appellative

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An appellation is a title or the name of something. An archaic definition included the act of calling something by its name.

It is also a designation for winegrowers to use if their vineyards are in a certain part of the world.

An appellative is an adjective describing something as having to do with a common noun. It can also be used to mean something is prone to naming things or giving titles. Its derivatives include the adverb appellatively and the noun which is also appellative. 

Additionally, appellative is the adjective form for appellate or the appeals court system in the United States.


While the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation is primarily known as a pinot noir region, it has an amazing history of producing world-class cabernet sauvignon from the eastern side of the range. [Santa Cruz Sentinel]

An undocumented immigrant, just trying to survive at first, ends up touching the hearts of the children and parents of a small Midwestern community to such an extent that they affectionately rename a street after him with the appellation by which he was so affectionately known. []

In an aside, the article mentions Arab Christians, an inappropriate appellation given the identification of many of Iraq’s Christians, including Dwekh Nawsha’s members, as Assyrians rather than Arabs. [AINA]

We could venture into the contentious appellative politics of this coffee — do you call it Greek or Armenian or Turkish or Bosnian? — but we’d rather point you to the best cups in L.A. and save the debate for NPR. [LA Weekly]

In a society without surnames, a common name like James required a specific appellation—a place of birth or a father’s name—to distinguish it from all the other men named James roaming around Palestine (hence, Jesus of Nazareth). In this case, James’ appellative was provided by his fraternal connection to someone with whom Josephus assumes his audience would be familiar. [MSNBC]