Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia.
n. pl. cog·no·mens or cog·nom·i·na (-nŏm′ə-nə)
a. A family name; a surname.
b. 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 cognōmen : co-, con-, co- (influenced by cognōscere, to know) + nōmen, name; see nō̆-men- in Indo-European roots.]
cog·nom′i·nal (-nŏm′ə-nəl) adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.