A given name (also known as a first name, forename or Christian name) is a part of a person's personal name. It identifies a person, and differentiates that person from the other members of a group (typically a family or clan) who have a common surname. The term given name refers to the fact that the name usually is bestowed upon a person, normally to a child by their parents at or close to the time of birth. A Christian name, a first name which historically was given at baptism, is now also typically given by the parents at birth. In informal situations, given names are often used in a familiar and friendly manner. In more formal situations, a person's surname is more commonly used—unless a distinction needs to be made between people with the same surname. The idioms "on a first-name basis" and "being on first-name terms" refer to the familiarity inherent in addressing someone by their given name. By contrast, a surname (also known as a family name, last name, or gentile name), which is normally inherited, is typically shared with other members of one's immediate family. Regnal names and religious or monastic names are special given names bestowed upon someone receiving a crown or entering a religious order. Such a person then typically becomes known chiefly by that name.
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