I have a child who is the namesake of your child

Lun-14

Banned
Hindi
Hi Forum!

I met my ex class-fellow in the supermarket after about twenty-five years. We spent a lot of time together gossiping, asking about each others' families and recalling some memories of the university life. She told me that she has four children: the smallest child is "Joe".

I told her (amazingly): Wow! What a coincidence! I have a child who is the namesake of your child. (Meaning I also have a child whose name is "Joe")

Is the bold what you would say? - does it sound idiomatic?

Thanks a lot
 
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    No, I don't think a namesake can be a coincidence. It's the deliberate choosing to copy another person's name.

    (I see that I'm in disagreement with the WR Dictionary over this. :rolleyes:)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    In theory you could be right, Lun. In practise I see the word used like this:

    Joe, come over here and meet your namesake.

    It's used in a joking way mostly. I wouldn't use it in the way you propose in the OP. I couldn't say that it's wrong though.

    Perhaps you could try using the "in context feature".
    Edit: This dictionary gives many examples of usage:
    namesake - definition of namesake in English | Oxford Dictionaries
     
    Last edited:

    Lun-14

    Banned
    Hindi
    No, I don't think a namesake can be a coincidence. It's the deliberate choosing to copy another person's name.

    (I see that I'm in disagreement with the WR Dictionary over this. :rolleyes:)
    Hi, K.B
    Looking it up in the WR dictionary, I've come to know that it has both meanings:
    1. a person named after another.
    2. a person having the same name as another. -> this may be a coincidence, right?
    So, what would you suggest using in place of the above bold part?

    Thanks!
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Dictionaries, in the last decade or so and especially because of the advent of the internet, seem extremely quick to adopt non-standard usages as ordinary definitions.* The point here is as Keith has outlined it. There is a basic meaning to "namesake" which has become extended to other usages. I can't stress this enough: if you are unaware that there is a central meaning to a word you are in danger of using it improperly by merely following dictionary definitions. "Namesake" means that someone is named after someone else. That's it. Other usages are metaphoric. Use it metaphorically as you wish, but just be aware you are doing so. :)

    *Which is why I keep a copy of the 1970 AHD.
     

    Lun-14

    Banned
    Hindi
    Thanks a ton, RedWG. Got your point!
    As you and keithB are implying that "namesake" means someone is named after someone else, so I think I have a child who is the namesake of your child only means that I have chosen my child's (Joe) name deliberately after your son's name. - this seems unlikely, as my class-fellow and I are meeting each other after 25 years - we have never met before. So, there is not point selecting my child's name after my friend's who I am meeting after that much period. When I gave birth to this child (Joe), I didn't even know where she (my friend) lives, and how many child she's made. Why could I be able to know that one of her son's name is "Joe"? Absolutely I couldn't!

    Am I on the right track?
     

    DaylightDelight

    Senior Member
    Japanese - Tokyo
    Ah, I seem to have had the wrong idea about "namesake" all these years.
    I have remembered it back to front.
    So a son named after his father is the father's namesake.
    Is there a word to refer to this father in this case? The one whose name is used?
     
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