Name-dropping is the practice of mentioning important people or institutions within a conversation,[1] story,[2] song, online identity,[3] or other communication. The term often connotes an attempt to impress others; it is usually regarded negatively,[1] and under certain circumstances may constitute a breach of professional ethics.[4] When used as part of a logical argument it can be an example of the false authority fallacy.[5]

A shout-out is a type of name-dropping where a list of names is spoken out expressly to direct attention at these groups or individuals, often as a means of expressing kudos or making a referral.



Name-dropping is used to position oneself within a social hierarchy. It is often used to create a sense of superiority by raising one's status. By implying (or directly asserting) a connection to people of high status, the name-dropper hopes to raise his or her own social status to a level closer to that of those whose names he or she has dropped, and thus elevate himself or herself above, or into, present company.

Name-dropping can also be used to identify people with a common bond. By indicating the names of people one knows, one makes known his or her social circle, providing an opportunity for others with similar connections to relate.[6]

As a form of appeal to authority, name-dropping can be an important form of informal argumentation, as long as the name being dropped is of someone expert on the subject of the argument and that person's views are accurately represented.


Use of the first name may be effective, as in the case of "Kingsley" for Kingsley Amis.[7]

Name-dropping is also sometimes used in works of fiction to place a story in a certain historical timeframe, or to imply the involvement of a historical figure in the action (for example, in a story set during World War II, mentioning Adolf Hitler or Winston Churchill).

See also


  1. ^ a b Wibberley, Leonard (February 24, 1950), "It's Hard to Eradicate the Name-Dropping Pest", Los Angeles Times .
  2. ^ Bauer, Harry C. (1960), "Bibliographic name-dropping", Library Review 17 (6): 408–410, doi:10.1108/eb012326 .
  3. ^ Donath, J.; Boyd, D. (2004), "Public displays of connection", BT Technology Journal 22 (4): 71–82, doi:10.1023/ .
  4. ^ Anderson, Mark B. (2005), "‘Yeah, I work with Beckham’: Issues of confidentiality, privacy and privilege in sport psychology service delivery", Sport & Exercise Psychology Review 1 (2): 3–13 .
  5. ^ Evans, Donald; Palmer, Humphrey (1986), Understanding arguments, Drake Educational Associates, p. 286 .
  6. ^ Bixler, Susan; Dugan, Lisa Scherrer (2000), "Name-Dropping", 5 steps to professional presence: how to project confidence, competence, and credibility at work, Adams Media, pp. 154–155, ISBN 9781580624428 .
  7. ^ William Allison Shimer (1995), "A Nice Little Knack for Name Dropping", The American scholar 64: 487 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • name-dropping — ame dropping n. The practice of casually mentioning important people in order to impress one s listener. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • name-dropping — ► NOUN ▪ the casual mention of famous people as if one knows them, so as to impress …   English terms dictionary

  • Name dropping — Le name dropping est une figure de style qui consiste à citer des noms connus, notamment des noms de personnes, d institution ou de marques commerciales. Ce procédé a souvent une connotation péjorative ou sarcastique car il est perçu comme la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • name-dropping — noun the practice of casually mentioning important people in order to impress your listener the hard thing about name dropping is to avoid being too obvious about it • Hypernyms: ↑mention, ↑reference * * * ˈname dropping noun …   Useful english dictionary

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  • name-dropping — UK / US noun [uncountable] the act of mentioning famous people who you know or claim to know in order to impress other people Derived words: name drop verb intransitive Word forms name drop : present tense I/you/we/they name drop he/she/it name… …   English dictionary

  • name-dropping — name ,drop|ping noun uncount the act of mentioning famous people you know or claim to know in order to impress other people ╾ ,name drop verb intransitive ╾ ,name dropper noun count …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • name-dropping — name′ drop ping n. the mention of famous or important people as friends or associates in order to impress others • Etymology: 1945–50 name′ drop , v.i. dropped, drop•ping. name′ drop per, n …   From formal English to slang

  • name-dropping — noun Date: 1950 the practice of seeking to impress others by studied but apparently casual mention of prominent persons as associates • name drop intransitive verb • name dropper noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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