(Latin: a suffix; result of, means of, act of)
A noun-morming word-final element with no particular meaning, derived from the Latin suffix -men, -min- (cognate with Greek -ma), found in a number of Latin borrowings originally denoting "a condition" or "the result of an action" specified by the combining root: flumen, lumen, semen.
Related forms include: -minal; -mens, -mina (plurals).
2. Any name; especially, a nickname: "Mike" is the cognomen for Michael.
3. The third and commonly the last name of a citizen of ancient Rome, indicating the person's house or family, as "Caesar" in "Gaius Julius Caesar" or "Cicero" in "Marcus Tullius Cicero".
The ancient Roman name, Publius Cornelius Scipio, presents "Scipio" as his cognomen.
The full name of the poet Virgil was Publius Vergilius Maro and Maro designates or specifies his cognomen.
Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.
2. A sample of something that is used for medical-diagnostic analysis: "The doctor asked Karl for a specimen or sample of bodily fluid; specifically, urine which would be used for analysis or diagnosis."