The County Formerly Known As...
June 17, 2009 11:06 PM Subscribe
Is there a word or term that expresses the following concept more accurately than "rename"?
posted by Tube to Writing & Language (25 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In 1987, when I moved to Seattle, King County was named after William R. King.
Then, according to Wikipedia
On February 24, 1986, the King County Council passed Council Motion 6461, "setting forth the historical basis for the 'renaming' of King County in honor of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.". Because only the state can charter counties, this change was not made official until April 19, 2005, when Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed Senate Bill 5332 into law.
Note that Wikipedia uses the term "renaming" to refer to this process. As you see it's in quotation marks, which leads me to believe that the author of the entry was unsure of what to call this transformation.
Looking to the OED entry for "rename" we find;
trans. To name again; esp. to give another or new name to.
But what's going on with King County is that the name is the same, but that to which it refers is changed.
So my question is this: Is there a word or term for this unique linguistic "meaning reassignment"?
I recognize that specificity of definition
, especially in the sciences, evolves over time, but the case of King County seems more uniquely clear-cut.