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To call things by their proper name is to properly or correctly call things names, rather than incorrectly or inaccurately. Also known as nomification, or simply correction; orthonymy, nomography, or orthonymousity — features of onomastics or onomatology. Correcting the names of things may be called e.g. the rectification of names. Aka. vērĭlŏquĭum or veriloquistics; verilologistics; nomics; nomologistics; nymlogic or nymologic. 

The «Analects» states that social disorder often stems from failure to call things by their proper names, that is, to perceive, understand, and deal with reality. His solution to this was the "rectification of names". He gave an explanation to one of his disciples:

A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve. If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success. When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot. Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect.

— Confucius, «Analects», Book XIII, Chapter 3, verses 4-7 (tr. 1861)

The concept of rectification of names is one of the most basic mottoes of Chinese philosophy to date. It has been applied to a broad range of issues and mainly resides in the field of politics. This basic yet powerful precept has served as a means for the toppling and reforming of dynasties. In today's society, the rectification of names is being used popularly with government decisions.


Xun Zi (c. 310 – c. 235 BC) wrote a chapter on "The Rectification of Names" developing a theme that had been introduced by Confucius saying: "Let the ruler be ruler, the subject subject; let the father be father, and the son son."[29] Chapter 22, "on the Rectification of Names", claims the ancient sage kings chose names (Chinese:名, Pinyin:míng) that directly corresponded with actualities (Chinese: 實, Pinyin: shí), but later generations confused terminology, coined new nomenclature, and thus could no longer distinguish right from wrong.