A noun (from Latin nōmen, literally meaning "name") is a word that functions as the name of some specific thing or set of things, such as living creatures, objects, places, actions, qualities, states of existence, or ideas.Linguistically, a noun is a member of a large, open part of speech whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition.

Lexical categories (parts of speech) are defined in terms of the ways in which their members combine with other kinds of expressions. The syntactic rules for nouns differ from language to language. In English, nouns are those words which can occur with articles and attributive adjectives and can function as the head of a noun phrase.


Word classes (parts of speech) were described by Sanskrit grammarians from at least the 5th century BC. In Yāska's Nirukta, the noun (nāma) is one of the four main categories of words defined.

The Ancient Greek equivalent was ónoma (ὄνομα), referred to by Plato in the Cratylus dialog, and later listed as one of the eight parts of speech in The Art of Grammar, attributed to Dionysius Thrax (2nd century BC). The term used in Latin grammar was nōmen. All of these terms for "noun" were also words meaning "name". The English word noun is derived from the Latin term, through the Anglo-Norman noun.

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