Misnomer Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Misnomer, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Misnomer?

(n) Misnomer is a wrong name affixed or assigned to an entity, group, association, article , product, actions etc especially when they are classified by its functional structure.

History and Meaning of Misnomer

Misnomer refers to a misidentification or wrong name given to a person, object, property, or case. The concept of misnomer can be traced back to the Middle English period when it was first mentioned as "misnaming" or "wrongful naming". It was a legal term used in writs, summonses, and indictments to correct errors in the names of parties and the writs themselves. Misnomer is an important legal concept because it can impact the outcome of a case or dispute, especially if the error is not corrected in a timely manner.

Examples of Misnomer

  1. A person is summoned to court for a traffic violation, but their name is misspelled on the summons. This is a misnomer that could potentially result in dismissal of the case.
  2. A business owner mistakenly lists a different business name on their tax return. This could be considered a misnomer and lead to tax penalties or scrutiny.
  3. A plaintiff files a lawsuit against a hospital with the wrong name. This is a misnomer that could result in dismissal of the case, as the proper defendant was not named.

Legal Terms Similar to Misnomer

  1. Alias: A false or assumed name used by a person, especially by a criminal to conceal their identity.
  2. Erroneous joinder: A mistake in joining multiple parties or causes of action into a single lawsuit.
  3. Mistake of fact: An error in understanding or believing a fact that is material to a case or agreement.