Definition 2021


nomen nescio



nomen nescio (plural nomina nesciis)

  1. (Latin phrase) See the Latin section for definitions.
    • 1997: Henrik Wenzel, Michael Hauschild, and Leo Alting, Environmental assessment of products, volume 1: Methodology, tools and case studies in product development, page 208 (Kluwer Academic Publishers; ISBN 0412808005, 978-0412808005)
      As is evident in the figure, the allocation is always between one product and the average pool of products (product NN (nomen nescio)) which supplies or takes from the pool of material.
    • 1998: Alan Tyson and Sieghard Brandenburg, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven: Studies in the Music of the Classical Period — Essays in Honour of Alan Tyson, page 128 (Oxford University Press; ISBN 0198163622, 978-0198163626)
      Firstly, a word concerning ‘N.N.’. It was Nissen’s usual practice when obliterating names in the autographs of the letters (a nickname is actually involved here, as we shall see) to write above or by them ‘N.N.’, an abbreviation which can stand variously for ‘nomen nescio’, ‘nomen nominandum’, or ‘non nominato’. As used by Nissen, the abbreviation has the sense of ‘X’, as in ‘Mr. X’.4
    • 2002: Alexander García Düttmann and Nicholas Walker, The Memory of Thought: An Essay on Heidegger and Adorno, page 218 (Continuum International Publishing Group; ISBN 0826459013, 978-0826459015)
      The ‘that’ stands in a relation of gradual opposition to the name: the more illegible the name, the more exposed its bearer. Not only the artist: his work still bears his name, even if it also bears another name or title. What is true of the name of the artist is true in every case of the name of the work of art, unless, of course, the name of the artist remains unknown and the name of the work is known. From the name still to be named (nomen nominandum) and the unknown name (nomen nescio) no path, only a thrust leads to the mere bearer, the bearer without a name.
    • 2007: Jon Stewart, Kierkegaard’s Relations to Hegel Reconsidered, §10: “The Polemic with Heiberg in Prefaces”, page 419 (Cambridge University Press; ISBN 0521039517, 978-0521039512)
      Prefaces appeared on June 17, 1844, the same day as The Concept of Anxiety. The pseudonymous author, Nicolaus Notabene, refers to himself in the text simply as N.N. These initials correspond, whether by accident or design, to the Latin phrase “nomen nescio”, or “I do not know the name”, which was a typical form of anonym.


  • (nomen nescio): nomen nominandum, non nominato



From nōmen (name) + nesciō (I do not to know).


  • (Classical) IPA(key): /ˈnoː.men ˈː/, [ˈnoː.mẽ ˈnɛː]


nōmen nesciō

  1. A filler in a text that indicates an anonymous or non-specific person.

Related terms

  • N.N. (abbreviated form)