For example I came across a Jukugo like this:

名 (name) + 前 (before) = 名前 (name)

What is the point in having this Jukugo when you apparently can just use . Can someone explain this to me?

  • 2
    名前 is more polite than 名 but I don't know the reason. お名前 is more polite than 名前. Oct 14, 2014 at 16:16

2 Answers 2


According to the 語源由来辞典 etymology dictionary, the 前 part is believed to have been added as an honorary form, mostly since the Meiji era.


名, I have seen the meaning being given as "reputation". I think this is a better meaning than "name". Then "名前" means "what goes ahead of the reputation". Also to reduce ambiguity, 名 can be used as a counter and for other words.

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