refer to v. call v. term

hhtt

Senior Member
Turkish
"Attila, frequently referred to as Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in March 453."

Which of the following verbs can be used instead of "refer to" to have the same meaning?

1."Attila, frequently called as Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in March 453."

2."Attila, frequently termed as Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in March 453.

Source: Attila - Wikipedia

Thank you.
 
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Neither of these options is a good substitute - the original is better. "Termed" doesn't work at all, and although you could use "call" (without "as"), it doesn't mean exactly the same thing.
     

    hhtt

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    Neither of these options is a good substitute - the original is better. "Termed" doesn't work at all, and although you could use "call" (without "as"), it doesn't mean exactly the same thing.
    What would be another collequal verb that wil convey the exactly the same or very similar meaning instead of "refer to" ?

    Thank you.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    I agree with DonnyB that it's a possibility, but it's still not really the same. There isn't a colloquial equivalent of "referred to", and any colloquial version of this sentence would be much longer and less idiomatic.
     

    hhtt

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    "Everyone persecutes Chechens except us,” she continued. “It is normal all over Russia and the world. Not only Chechens, but Russian Muslims everywhere. Putin persecutes them and Mr. Bush encourages him. As long as Putin calls it his war on terror, he can do with the Chechens whatever he wishes, and nobody will stop him."

    Can we change "call" used as in the above with "refer to" or "term" ?

    A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carre.

    Thank you.
     
    I think it would have to be "refers to it asX...." or "uses the termX."

    "terms it x" might be possible, but it doesn't sound quite right to my ear.

    Back to the OP, I'd use aka: An abbreviation used all the time to mean "also known as"

    "Attila, aka Attila the Hun, was..."

    See aka in our WR dictionary.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    "As long as Putin refers to it as his war on terror" works for me, but I wouldn't personally use "terms it" in that sentence.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    I agree with the previous replies but I'd like to reinforce that here too the original is far better than the alternatives. It is extremely unlikely that a native speaker would use "refer" or "term" in preference to "call" in this sentence.
     

    hhtt

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    I agree with the previous replies but I'd like to reinforce that here too the original is far better than the alternatives. It is extremely unlikely that a native speaker would use "refer" or "term" in preference to "call" in this sentence.
    What is the reason of this tendency on "call" in the sentence "calls it one's war on terror" instead of "refer" and "term" ?

    Thank you.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    There are no reasons for colloquial usage. That is just the way the language has developed. In a sentence like that we use "call" because that is what we do.
     

    hhtt

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    I agree with the previous replies but I'd like to reinforce that here too the original is far better than the alternatives. It is extremely unlikely that a native speaker would use "refer" or "term" in preference to "call" in this sentence.
    I think this is as well as the original. So what do you think?

    1. Attila, frequently referred to as Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in March 453."
    2. Attila, frequently known as Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in March 453."

    I don't determine if "frequently" is required with "known".

    Thank you.
     
    I think this is as well as the original. So what do you think?

    1. Attila, frequently referred to as Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in March 453."
    2. Attila, frequently known as Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in March 453."

    I don't determine if "frequently" is required with "known".

    Thank you.
    "frequently" is not at all required with either referred to or known as. "often" could have been used.

    In other words, the adverbs are optional, part of the speaker's understanding and opinion, and are not part of the constructions and can be completely omitted.

    Going in the opposite direction, one could say "sometimes", "usually", "only occasionally", or even "infrequently." [infrequently admittedly might be an unusual choice, but the right context might render it valid indeed.]
     
    Last edited:

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    This is a question of idiomatic collocation. It is possible to say, as in the example "frequently referred to as", but we don't use "frequently" with "known as". So to change verb and remain idiomatic we would change "frequently referred to as" to "usually known as". Note that usually implies a higher frequency than frequently, but a lower frequency than no adverb at all.
     

    hhtt

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    Meanwhile, I would like to ask you if "frequently referred to as Atilla the Hun" mean that the sources mention him usually as "Atilla the Hun" instead of only "Atilla"?

    Thank you.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I would say an idiomatic alternative that sounds fine to me is, "Attila, commonly known as Attila the Hun, was the ruler..."

    It might even be better than the original because Attila the Hun is not just frequently referred to that way, he is almost invariably referred to that way.

    And "commonly" is a very common:) word in this context.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Meanwhile, I would like to ask you if "frequently referred to as Atilla the Hun" mean that the sources mention him usually as "Atilla the Hun" instead of only "Atilla"?

    Thank you.
    "Frequently" is not the same as "usually". The sources frequently mention "Atilla the Hun", rather than simply "Atilla".
     
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