ETYM Old Fren. noun, nun, num, non, nom, French nom, from Latin nomen name. Related to Name.
1. A word that can be used to refer to a person or place or thing.
2. A word that can serve as the subject or object of a verb.
Grammatical part of speech that names a person, animal, object, quality, idea, or time. Nouns can refer to objects such as house, tree (concrete nouns); specific persons and places such as John Alden, the White House (proper nouns); ideas such as love, anger (abstract nouns). In English many simple words are both noun and verb (jump, reign, rain). Adjectives are sometimes used as nouns (“a local man”, “one of the locals”).
A common noun does not begin with a capital letter (child, cat), whereas a proper noun does, because it is the name of a particular person, animal, or place (Jane, Rover, Norfolk). A concrete noun refers to things that can be sensed (dog, box), whereas an abstract noun relates to generalizations abstracted from life as we observe it (fear, condition, truth). A countable noun can have a plural form (book: books), while an uncountable noun or mass noun cannot (dough). Many English nouns can be used both countably and uncountably (wine: “Have some wine; it’s one of our best wines”). A collective noun is singular in form but refers to a group (flock, group, committee), and a compound noun is made up of two or more nouns (teapot, baseball team, car-factory strike committee). A verbal noun is formed from a verb as a gerund or otherwise (build: building; regulate: regulation).
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