The phrase nomen nudum (plural nomina nuda) is a Latin term, meaning "naked name", used in taxonomy (especially in zoological and botanical nomenclature). It may or may not be written in italics, depending on style.
The term is used to indicate a designation which looks exactly like a scientific name of an organism, and may have originally been intended to be a scientific name, but fails to be one because it has not (or has not yet) been published with an adequate description (or a reference to such a description), and thus is a "bare" or "naked" name, one which cannot be accepted as it currently stands.
Because a nomen nudum fails to qualify as a formal scientific name, a later author can publish a real scientific name that is identical in spelling. If one and the same author puts a name in print, first as a nomen nudum and later publishes the name accompanied by a description that meets the formal requirements, then the date of publication of the latter, formally correct, publication becomes the name's date of establishment.
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