Name and shame


What does Name and shame mean?

Name and shame is when the identity of a person or organization being guilty is revealed to the public.

It is a way of public shaming to discourage certain kinds of behavior that often violate human rights or are considered unfair business practices.


What's the origin of Name and shame?

The idiomatic expression “name and shame” was originally used as a noun phrase in the 19th century.

The first instance of the noun phrase was published in the Pennsylvania newspaper The Warren Ledger in 1884, saying “None are willing to father the name and shame of being beer or whisky men.”

It was not until 1978 that the expression was turned into a verb phrase, first recorded in The Calgary Herald, as the title of a letter in the advice column of Ann Landers.

Spread & Usage

How did Name and shame spread?

Despite its appearance in the late 19th century, the phrase “name and shame” wasn’t commonly used until the 1990s following the initiative of the UK government.

The term is mostly used by different authorities – name and shame lists are published on authorities’ websites – news reports and journals and also can be found on social media platforms such as Reddit, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as part of users’ comments.

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