Talk:Mononymous person

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There's some info for the article at link. GregManninLB (talk) 07:31, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for the very helpful lead.
I hope users will feel encouraged to help expand the article's text, as the topic of people's names is a broad one geographically and historically — though an exhaustive discussion of names across space and time is not the article's principle object. Nihil novi (talk) 08:17, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
not the article's principle object? This is an encyclopedia! -- (talk) 14:37, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Some other links[edit]

-- GregManninLB (talk) 17:01, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

The article in its current state is legitimate, but it should be clear from the above list that a stand-alone list of mononyms is not wanted on Wikipedia. It makes no difference if that list is introduced by encyclopaedic text. I've reduced the list that was here significantly, to include only a few examples that cover a good range of types, periods and regions. I've also included a warning in hidden text, but an eye should be kept on the list to prevent it from filling up with cruft. Lampman (talk) 00:43, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
This article needs to be deleted. Polyamorph (talk) 18:58, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Suggested addition to the gallery[edit]

Please someone add Raphael, the painter, everyone knows him by his first name.

Suggested addition[edit]

I'm suggesting this here as per the embedded note in the Examples section: "Please do not add more entries without discussion on the talk page."

Comment: I had never heard of Alizée before seeing this article. — Athaenara 04:09, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

  • Another worthy inclusion would be Beyonce. As a currently popular singer and actress who has won numerous awards (including many Grammys), she is of more current interest than the late Liberace, who has been deceased for over 20 years. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:18, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Mononymous persons in sports in Brazil[edit]

I am from Argentina, and I know that in Brazil it is customary for football (soccer) players to have a nickname as their only identification. Pelé is simply the most renowned case, but I think it is worthy to note that this is common practice in Brazil. Usually it is just the first name or the diminutive of the first name (as in Ronaldo de Assis Moreira - Ronaldinho, or Carlos Tevez - Carlitos), but it is not always the case. I believe the practice has passed to other sports in Brazil, but I'm not sure. Perhaps someone with more clear sources as to the history of this "tradition" could put it on the article. Nazroon (talk) 04:22, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

I understand that Jai-Alai athletes usually go by a single name. Their sport is scored more like horse racing (win, place and show) than like golf or tennis or a team sport, so this style fits rather well. WHPratt (talk) 13:59, 13 April 2009 (UTC)


It seems to me that the magician and TV personality Teller would be a better example than Alizée, whom I had never heard of. In fact, Teller is his sole name both legally and on the stage. Paul Davidson (talk) 08:25, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

I could go along with a trade... but, then, I'm not a teenager, French or otherwise. Nihil novi (talk) 09:29, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, there is that claim that Teller is his single legal name, and the only name on his passport. But there is no credible reference to a credible source. Penn and Teller's comedy website is hardly a reliable encyclopedic source. Is there any independent verification of this unusual claim, or is a joke considered good enough for Wikipedia? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:39, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

I believe there should be some distinction between whether the choice for choosing a mononym is cultural or personal. The example of Teller was not just a personal choice but a professional as well. He was born Raymond Joeseph Teller, but allegidly had it legally shortened to Teller for personal and probably professional reasons as well. ([User:retrograde62]) 11:54, 15 August 2011 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)


The late fashion designer Halston would be a worthy inclusion for the rare group of mononymous persons those known solely by their MIDDLE names.

"Category:Mononymous persons"?[edit]

Would there be support for creating a "Category:Mononymous persons," to accommodate a large number of notable individuals known by single names, while reserving the list in this article, as now, for a small number of representative examples? Nihil novi (talk) 09:24, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

As per be bold, I created Category:Mononymous persons. — Athaenara 22:36, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
Thank you! Nihil novi (talk) 23:48, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
You're welcome! — Athaenara 00:10, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

I regret to report that Srnec has referred "Category:Mononymous persons" for deletion, at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2008 July 12. Interested persons are welcome to comment. Nihil novi (talk) 01:00, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Result, on July 20, 2008, was no consensus to delete the category. Nihil novi (talk) 07:04, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
(Likewise on July 20, 2008, no consensus to delete the article.) Nihil novi (talk) 07:08, 21 July 2008 (UTC)


Can we add Mayor of London Boris Johnson into this list? I guarantee that if you walk around London and ask what Boris has been up to, everyone will know who you are referring to. (talk) 23:33, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

this isn't really a list, maybe there should be a list, and maybe that might be on it (talk) 05:35, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

Contemporary examples[edit]

How about some more modern examples and photos, like Bjork or Madonna? These two alone are far more famous and established mononymous persons than Teller, and it would also firmly establish simply by glancing at the page that mononyms are not only used in the 17th and 18th century (a reader could be forgiven for just glancing at the page, which we ALL do sometimes, and thinking that a mononym is pretty much something that could only be used in the past.)JayKeaton (talk) 05:10, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Add some newer examples and photos? Why not? Nihil novi (talk) 06:05, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
I thought maybe there would be some traditionalists that would object to contemporary personalities being shown here, besides the two already there of course. JayKeaton (talk) 13:32, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your initiative. There had been controversy, on a number of grounds—which is why the illustrations had largely been limited to the least disputable examples. Nihil novi (talk) 17:41, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
So what about Bjork? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:05, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

I think that Aaliyah should be one. Ke$ha isn't as good of one considering her actual name doesn't have a dollar symbol, therefor should not be used as an example of a mononym being one's first name by birth. SecretName101 (talk) 04:12, 4 October 2011 (UTC)


Is someone, including the NY Times, overlooking the obvious? Most famous people are commonly referred to by just their last name. The previous Democratic presidential nominee, John Kerry, was regularly called "Kerry", similarly "Obama", "McCain", "Romney". But since the name "Clinton" clearly referred to her husband, the former president, in most Americans' minds other people started referring to her as "Hillary", in order to keep them distinct. She then adopted this custom. Why argue with the voters? Bostoner (talk) 01:25, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm sorry to disagree, but that's just their family names. By that standard all American presidents would be mononymous. Most, if not all examples of mononymous persons in this article show that their known name is not related to their given name. Leonardopsantos (talk) 14:08, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
oh a wikipedia article is your source? mononymous refers to one name, be it given or family name. The convention in newspapers is to refer to people(famous or not) by their full name, and then after that just by their last. besides plenty of people in this article use their last name as a mononym. anyway, rarely are most people referred to by their full name. Also, Hilary is referred to as Hillary Clinton, and just Clinton quite often. Really, just Hillary is used in rallies and campaign signs, places where most candidates use one name. this article focuses way too much on nicknames and stagenames while ignoring people with truly one name. I am not saying people that have two or more names legally but use only one name shouldn't be listed. (talk) 05:29, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

Football or Soccer[edit]

Some parts of this article talk about football players in Brazil. Others talk about soccer players in in Spain. I edited the article to use Football for the sport's name to make the article coherent.Leonardopsantos (talk) 14:15, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

yeah, I think the context makes the sport referred to clear. (talk) 05:30, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

Deleted Reference Magician Teller Having "one of the few US passports that has been issued with a single name"[edit]

I work for a U.S. passport issuing authority. Despite what Teller thinks, having passport issued with a single name is not at all uncommon, especially for naturalized Americans from Asia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:50, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

you aren't a valid source, sorry. besides, what is uncommon? (talk) 05:33, 22 June 2010 (UTC)


With the increasing importance of India on the global stage, it may be useful to include the important example of Mayawati. Colipon+(T) 03:16, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Mughal Emperors[edit]

I think it also bears mentioning that most of the mughal emperors were known by just one name, a title adopted upon their accession by each Emperor. there are six of them known only by just one name, they are listed in the mughal empire wiki page.

I have added a mention of the mughal emperors in the main page.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:31, 16 June 2009 (UTC) 


I've moved the images into a gallery at the bottom of the page; this is per the same reasoning at Talk:Perfection#Images. Having a continuous border of images along the side of the page is cluttersome, hurts readability, and doesn't improve the reader's understanding of the topic. I've left a few images of well-known people in the appropriate sections. If you think more images are needed in the main text, feel free to move a couple up, but don't just wholesale revert.

To be honest, it would be more useful to have an alphabetical or chronological list (using bullet points) than an image gallery, but that's not a big deal. The important thing is cleaning them up. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 15:48, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

do we need a gallery for this? (talk) 05:31, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

Shakespeare? Plato? etc.[edit]

How about Shakespeare, Homer(except apparently he didn't exist..); Socrates, Plato, Aristotle; Galileo...

I'm not sure what we're trying to do by listing lots of examples, but these people seem important and famous, and likely to remain that way for many more hundreds of years. If you agree, comment here and maybe go ahead and add it yourself

Isaac Dupree(talk) 01:13, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

William Shakespeare would not qualify. Neither would Galileo Galilei. Also, it seems most ancient greek guys where mononymous. --Damiens.rf 15:03, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

I agree Shakespeare wouldn't qualify, although Hillary is mentioned. Often just surnames are used to refer to people, for brevity's sake. Hillary is only unusual in using her first name on the signs, to separate her from her husband. as for Greeks, not everyone should be mentioned, but that Greeks are mononymous should be. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:50, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

Monotesticular persons?[edit]

Why is there an article for Mononymous persons but no article for Monotesticular persons? Like former Phillies first baseman John Kruk. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:25, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

The creation of Wikipedia articles depends on the degree of interest generated by the topics. Nihil novi (talk) 03:34, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
Because being mononymous is something usually publicly known and relevant, while the number of testicles is mostly irrelevant to everybody but the subject and his immediate family. / (talk) 21:22, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
So there, wise guy! Respecting tradition, now's the time to take your ball and go home. ;) WHPratt (talk) 13:46, 2 March 2011 (UTC)


Is this a list? anyway, I think the article should be reformatted, right now it is pretty much a list that is organized history, royalty, Asia, and west. which is an odd way of doing it. partly because it leaves out geographical areas, but other reasons as well. I suggest it be done by type. for example, overview, cultures without surnames, historical persons(such as Plato), pen-names(Voltaire goes here), royalty, modern celebrities w/subcategories. Instead of a list with in consistent info on various people,(some get long explanations while others are simply listed.) also there is some bad grammar and formatting. (talk) 05:46, 22 June 2010 (UTC)


most of the citations are really footnotes. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:00, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

  • That's true and the definitions that can be found in dictionaties are scarce and are in no way a basis for anything more than: 'mononym' from the latin single-name. (talk) 00:41, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Addition -- Govindjee[edit]

There's an Indian-American Ph.D. plant physiologist (University of Chicago [correction: U of Illinois WHPratt (talk) 05:20, 20 February 2011 (UTC) ]), I believe) who goes by the name of Govindjee. A quick search for that name here will convince you that he's a renowned authority on photosynthesis, and the abstracts list invariably just the one name. The story is that he rejected most of his familial names in rebellion against the caste system in his native land. He probably deserves an article, but at least should be listed here. WHPratt (talk) 19:08, 29 November 2010 (UTC) Edit: I note that he's on the "List of biophysicists" article, though he doesn't have one of his own. WHPratt (talk) 19:13, 29 November 2010 (UTC) Thanks to whoever made the edit for including Dr. Govindjee's case and the reason for it. My college advisor was one of his students. WHPratt (talk) 17:26, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

Well, he disappeared in some cleanup. That's a shame, as his case (not a nickname or stage name) is definitely relevant to this topic. WHPratt (talk) 14:22, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
May I suggest you put together a stub article about him, and enter him in "Mononymous person"? Nihil novi (talk) 05:39, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Well, someone created a page for him. He should be added back here. WHPratt (talk) 13:17, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

stage name[edit]

If a person is known by a stage name that doesn't coincide with their real name or surname (who uses a moniker) they couldnt be considered mononymous. Madonna was born Madonna but Pele is called Edison if he were known as Edison he would be a mononymous person. That is what's wrong with this article the difference is not shown. (talk) 13:24, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

  • I added 'addressed' to distinguish a stage name. A person who is known and addressed by a mononym (single name) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:33, 22 January 2011 (UTC)


I think Elvis is a good candidate for inclusion in this article somehow. The beginning of his article even says "A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis", which probably also could link to this article somehow. -- Spug (talk) 23:10, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

Iceland : only one name (and the parent's)[edit]

Someone talked about Björk, but it's actually all icelandic persons who only have one name - and they use thair parent's name (mostly the father, but not always) to explicit it. Björk Guðmundsdóttir means "daughter of Guðmund". The telephone directory sorts people with their given name... deserves mentionning in the article, I think. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:19, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

If that is accurate, feel free to add it. Nihil novi (talk) 20:17, 23 July 2011 (UTC)


I added Marta (footballer) in that section to provide an example of a female footballer engaging in the practice of adopting one name. The list is fairly long so if someone wants to have a go at trimming it down have at it. I just think this change adds a little wider perspective. FilthMasterFlex (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 04:00, 22 April 2012 (UTC).

OK I went ahead and cut it down to five examples. Didn't really have a specific method for choosing who to keep so if anybody cares and wants to swap a name for example to include natives of different countries, go for it. FilthMasterFlex (talk) 00:43, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Change in examples[edit]

I've changed the listed examples slightly. Before, the article said: "Some mononym stage names are invented (e.g. Cantinflas, Bono), adopted words (e.g. Capucine, French for "nasturtium") or nicknames (e.g. Sting, Moby)."

I've changed that to read: "Some mononym stage names are invented (e.g. Cantinflas, Xzibit), adopted words (e.g. Capucine, French for "nasturtium") or nicknames (e.g. Sting, Bono, Moby)." As the article on Bono states, his mononym is a nickname (originally "Bono vox", meaning - roughly - "good voice").

By the way, should there be any comment that mononyms based on a person's first name are more common when that first name is distinctive - that is, you're more likely to get a mononym developing naturally from a full name if there is little likelihood of confusion about who is being referred to. Say "Elvis" and there are only a couple of people you could logically be referring to, so it's more likely that they'll be referred to (in the press and by the general public) by just one name, than say one of the multitudes of "Steve"s or "Joe"s. Grutness...wha? 08:12, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Good points.
Your third-paragraph point, concerning distinctive original names, seems intuitively — and likely is also factually — true. If this observation has not yet been made in the article, please do add it. Nihil novi (talk) 08:27, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

The 1960 film North to Alaska had both Capucine and Fabian (Fabian Forte) in its main credits. Probably not unique, even for a Western film, but perhaps interesting. WHPratt (talk) 14:28, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

Jesus Christ/Jesus of Nazareth[edit]

He is always called "Jesus" (guess he didn't have a familiy name), does this case qualify as an example`for the article? -- (talk) 22:51, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

Aside from his epithets (which can be taken as names), he had a family name. Jewish sources are pretty consistent about mentioning his father Pantera. — LlywelynII 22:16, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

Plato caption[edit]

The Greeks weren't at all consistent about it but he could easily have gone by or been called Aristides even if we don't call him by that name. Fixed. — LlywelynII 22:16, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

U Thant[edit]

U Thant should surely be in this article, but I'm not sure where. (talk) 17:47, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

Done ("In Asia"). Thank you! Nihil novi (talk) 05:11, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
Wow, I'm really impressed. You've done a beautiful piece of work there. Thanks so much, Nihil novi! (talk) 02:24, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
I hope you'll continue contributing to Wikipedia's development. Nihil novi (talk) 08:39, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Mononymous is not a word[edit]

I propose that this article be deleted from WP, also from Wictionary. I was unable to find either "Mononymous" or "Mononym" in a real English dictionary such as Oxford or Webster. (One can find any sort of nonsense on websites that pretend to be dictionaries.) Reference [1] is not reputable. A real dictionary is one created and maintained by people/institutes with valuable academic reputations. Layzeeboi (talk) 12:44, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

"Mononym... f[rom the] Gr[eek]... mono- + ... name" is defined in The Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1989, volume IX, p. 1023) as "A term consisting of one word only.... Hence mononymic... a[djective], consisting of a mononym or mononyms; mononymy..., a mononymic system; mononymize v[erb], to convert into a mononym; whence mononymization." The term is attested in the English language as early as 1872—143 years ago. Nihil novi (talk) 22:59, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for that interesting point, and the improved citation. But my original comment was based on the absence of mononymous from Oxford Dictionaries Online, not the historical OED. So I should have chosen the title of this thread to be something like "Academic dictionaries do not consider mononymous to be in modern use". On the OED web site, we can read: "The OED and the dictionaries in Oxford Dictionaries are themselves very different. While Oxford Dictionaries focuses on the current language and practical usage, the OED shows how words and meanings have changed over time", and also "The OED, on the other hand, is a historical dictionary and it forms a record of all the core words and meanings in English over more than 1,000 years, from Old English to the present day, and including many obsolete and historical terms". I found no comment in mononymous that this is an historical word, not in modern use, being absent from both Oxford Dictionaries and Miriam Webster. I suggest that in other articles we avoid using these words as primary text, followed by the parenthetic "(one-word name)", in order to avoid the risk of seeming pedantic. But I withdraw my proposal to delete the article! I respect and support those who care about language, and I also wish that mononym would come into modern use. Layzeeboi (talk) 23:22, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Thank you. This Google search [1] will reassure you that "mononym" continues into modern use. Many contemporaries have found it a useful word, and some have even reinvented it themselves. Nihil novi (talk) 03:02, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Your edit explanation mentions my "incorrect comment". Is this what you meant? "The words mononymous and mononym appear in the Oxford English Dictionary, which includes many obsolete and historical terms, but not in Oxford Dictionaries or Merriam Webster, which are restricted to words in current language and practical usage." Which elements of this sentence are incorrect (according to what source), and which are irrelevant? Also, your citation of a google search to make your point appears to me to risk injury from WP:OR. thanks. Layzeeboi (talk) 08:16, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
The OED, as you will find by reading the Wikipedia article on the Oxford English Dictionary, gives only the earliest attested uses of words. It is not an exhaustive or up-to-date listing of instances of the use of a given word. Both "mononym" and "mononymous" continue in use, contrary to what you seem to be suggesting. Plentiful contemporary examples are found on Google, which is a modern-day equivalent of the lexical sources that were used by OED's early contributors and editors. Nihil novi (talk) 08:43, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

K-pop and J-pop stars?[edit]

I don't feel qualified to add this to the main page, but I've noticed that a lot of K-pop (and J-pop) singers and performers are often known by just a single name. In a number of cases this is their given name (e.g. BoA) but many take a stage name (e.g. Mamamoo's Solar). StaticSan (talk) 23:44, 5 July 2016 (UTC)