From Middle English namely, nameliche, namelike, equivalent to name + -ly. Cognate with Saterland Frisian nämmelk, West Frisian nammentlik, Dutch namelijk, German Low German nämlich, German nämlich, Danish nemlig, Swedish nämligen, Icelandic nefnilega.
namely (not comparable)
- Specifically; that is to say.
- Some of the students — namely Paul, Alice and Jake — seem to have trouble with geometry.
- There are three ways to do it, namely the right way, the wrong way and the Army way.
- 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 1, in The Tragedy in Dartmoor Terrace:
- “The story of this adoption is, of course, the pivot round which all the circumstances of the mysterious tragedy revolved. Mrs. Yule had an only son, namely, William, to whom she was passionately attached ; but, like many a fond mother, she had the desire of mapping out that son's future entirely according to her own ideas. […].
- (now rare) Especially, above all.
- 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, “xj”, in Le Morte Darthur, book VIII:
- THus was sir Tramtryst longe there wel cherysshed / with the kynge and the quene / and namely with la beale Isoud / So vpon a daye / the quene and la beale Isoud made a bayne for syre Tramtryst / And whan he was in his bayne / the quene and Isoud her doughter romed vp & doune in the chamber
A synonymous expression is the use of colon—":", as in "There are three ways to do it: the right way, the wrong way […]."
Since this is considered a dependent clause, a comma should follow the expression and either a semicolon or a comma should precede it, depending on the strength of the break in continuity. "Namely" can thus almost be considered a conjunction.
- that is to say, to wit, videlicet, scilicet, viz., sc.; see also Thesaurus:specifically or Thesaurus:in other words