anonymous or unnamed person
Nomen nescio, abbreviated to N.N., is used to signify an anonymous or unnamed person. From the Latin ‘nomen’ [name] and ‘nescio’ [I do not know], it literally means, ‘I do not know the name’. ‘Nomen nescio’ is used in literature when the author of a cited work is unknown.
Another use for this name is to protect against retaliation when reporting a crime or company fraud. In the Netherlands a police suspect that refuses to give his name is given a ‘N.N. number’.
In Germany and Belgium, ‘N.N.’ is also frequently seen in university course lists, indicating that a course will take place but that the lecturer is not yet known; in this case the abbreviation means ‘nomen nominandum’ [the name is to be announced].
‘N.N.’ is commonly used in the scoring of chess games, not only when one participant’s name is genuinely unknown but also when an untitled player faces a master, as in a ‘simultaneous exhibition’ (in which one player, typically of high rank, plays multiple games at a time). Another reason is to protect a known player from the insult of a painful defeat.
The generic name ‘Numerius Negidius’ used in Roman times was chosen partly because it shared initials with this phrase. Genealogists often use the abbreviation to signify an unknown or partially unknown name (such as ‘N.N. Jones’).
In sports a player whose name is not known at the time of publishing a list may more usually be reported as ‘A.N. Other’.
See also John Doe and Nescio.
‘Nomen nescio’, Wikipedia, retrieved 11 October 2013
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