Denomination Differences

Denomination Etymology

The word "denomination" comes from the French word now spelled almost exactly the same and meaning exactly the same thing as in English. However when it was loaned to English hundreds of years ago the word simply meant naming something. This is still a lesser-used, action noun form of the word. If you denominate your pet cat "Leo", that is your denomination of him.

The French word in turn comes from the Latin word dēnōminātiō, meaning a metonymy. A metonymy is when something is called something descriptive but as a proper name, not as a description. The White House is a white house, but that is its name, not a a description. The idea carried across is giving something a new, "improper" name.

Few denominations chose their own names. Most were simply called something descriptive because of their practices or history which then stuck:

These groups were given new names—denominations.