What Does “Call Me By Your Name” Mean? Exploring the Meaning Behind the Phrase

Have you ever heard someone say “call me by your name” and wondered what it means? This phrase has gained popularity over the years, especially after the release of the 2017 film of the same name. In this article with Impeccable Nest, we will explore the meaning behind the phrase “call me by your name” and its significance in different contexts.

What Does

The Literal Meaning of Call Me By Your Name

The phrase “call me by your name” holds great significance in the film and novel of the same title, written by André Aciman. Set in the picturesque countryside of Italy during the 1980s, the story revolves around the intense relationship between Elio Perlman, a seventeen-year-old son of an archaeology professor, and Oliver, a twenty-four-year-old American doctoral student who comes to stay with the Perlmans for the summer.

In the most literal sense, “call me by your name” is Elio’s request to Oliver to call him by his own name. It may seem like a simple and straightforward statement, but it carries a deep meaning that reflects the evolving relationship between the two characters. Throughout the beginning of their acquaintance, Elio refers to Oliver as “Oliver”, which is his given name. However, in this pivotal moment, Elio asks Oliver to call him by his own name, which is indicative of a transition from a formal relationship to a more personal and intimate one.

Elio’s request for Oliver to use his name illustrates a desire for connection and closeness. By asking Oliver to refer to him using Oliver’s own name, Elio is inviting Oliver to see him as an extension of himself. It is a way for Elio to express his intense feelings for Oliver and a step towards merging their identities. In this moment, Elio wants to be seen and known by Oliver in a way that no one else can.

Furthermore, the act of calling someone by their name holds a special significance in any relationship. It signifies familiarity, respect, and a sense of belonging. By requesting Oliver to call him by his own name, Elio is seeking validation and acceptance from Oliver. He wants to feel that he is an essential part of Oliver’s life and that their relationship has reached a level of deep understanding and mutual trust.

Moreover, the phrase “call me by your name” also has a deeper symbolic meaning. It represents the idea of merging souls and becoming one. In this moment, Elio and Oliver are not just two separate individuals; they are intertwined, connected, and inseparable. By calling Elio by his own name, Oliver is acknowledging their deep connection and expressing his love for Elio.

Throughout the film, we see Elio struggling to come to terms with his feelings for Oliver. He is conflicted, unsure, and scared of the intensity of their relationship. However, in this pivotal moment, Elio’s request for Oliver to call him by his name shows a level of vulnerability and honesty that he had been suppressing until now. It is a way for Elio to express his true self and let go of any inhibitions.

What Does “Call Me By Your Name” Mean?

A Request for Intimacy

The phrase “call me by your name” holds significant meaning in the story of Call Me By Your Name. It is a request for intimacy and a way for Elio to express his deepest desires and needs to Oliver. On the surface, it may seem like a simple request for Oliver to use Elio’s name when referring to him. However, on a deeper level, this phrase represents much more.

To truly understand the meaning behind “call me by your name”, we must first look at the relationship between Elio and Oliver. Throughout the story, we see their relationship evolve from a mentor-mentee dynamic to one of deep emotional connection and love. As they spend more time together, Elio becomes infatuated with Oliver and longs for a deeper, more intimate connection with him.

At the same time, Elio struggles with his own identity and understanding of his sexuality. He is constantly battling between societal expectations and his true feelings for Oliver. This internal conflict makes Elio feel vulnerable and afraid of fully opening up to Oliver. Thus, he uses the phrase “call me by your name” as a way to express his desire for true intimacy with Oliver.

By asking Oliver to call him by his name, Elio is essentially asking for acceptance and understanding of his true self. He wants Oliver to see beyond the superficial external identity that society has placed on him and connect with his soul. Elio believes that if Oliver only knows him by the name Elio, then he doesn’t truly know him at all.

Furthermore, the act of calling someone by their name is an intimate gesture. It signifies a personal connection and understanding between two individuals. In this case, Elio longs for that connection with Oliver. He wants Oliver to know him, love him, and connect with him on the deepest level possible.

Elio’s request for intimacy through the phrase “call me by your name” is a significant turning point in their relationship. It is a vulnerable and open plea for Oliver to fully see and accept him for who he truly is. Elio’s use of this phrase shows his deep desire for unconditional love and acceptance from Oliver.

Even though Oliver may not be able to explicitly return these feelings, Elio hopes that by being called intimately by Oliver’s name, he will feel fulfilled and validated. In this way, the phrase “call me by your name” also represents Elio’s search for self-acceptance and validation through his relationship with Oliver.

In conclusion, the meaning behind “call me by your name” goes beyond a simple request for someone to use your name. It is a powerful expression of Elio’s need for intimacy and acceptance. The phrase serves as a symbol of the deep emotional connection between Elio and Oliver and the vulnerability and longing that comes with it.

A Confession of Love

The phrase “call me by your name” holds a deep and significant meaning in the story of Elio and Oliver’s love in the novel “Call Me By Your Name” by André Aciman. This simple yet powerful phrase has been analyzed and interpreted in various ways, but at its core, it is a confession of love.

Elio, the main protagonist of the story, is a seventeen-year-old boy who falls deeply in love with Oliver, a twenty-four-year-old graduate student who comes to stay with Elio’s family for the summer. From the moment they meet, there is an undeniable chemistry between them, and their relationship grows and evolves throughout the course of the summer.

At first, Elio struggles to express his feelings for Oliver, unsure if they are reciprocated or even allowed. However, as their relationship deepens, Elio becomes more open and honest about his emotions, leading to the iconic moment where he tells Oliver, “call me by your name.”

On the surface, this phrase may seem like a simple request for Oliver to use Elio’s real name instead of the nickname he gave him. But on a deeper level, it is a declaration of Elio’s intense love for Oliver. By asking Oliver to call him by his name, Elio is inviting him to be a part of his identity, to share a connection that goes beyond just physical intimacy.

In this interpretation, the phrase reflects the desire for complete union and merging of souls between Elio and Oliver. Elio wants to be known and loved by Oliver in every way possible, to have their identities intertwined and inseparable.

Moreover, the use of the word “name” itself adds a layer of significance to this phrase. A person’s name is often considered to be an essential part of their identity, and by asking Oliver to call him by his name, Elio is asking for a deep level of acceptance and understanding from Oliver.

Furthermore, the phrase “call me by your name” can also be seen as a statement of vulnerability and trust. Elio is laying bare his emotions and exposing himself in a way that he has never done before. He is giving Oliver the power to hurt him but also trusting that Oliver will reciprocate his love.

In essence, “call me by your name” encapsulates Elio’s deepest desires for their relationship – to be fully known and loved by Oliver, to share a deep connection and intimacy, and to be vulnerable and authentic with each other.

Longing for Permanence

“Call me by your name” is a phrase that carries multiple layers of meaning in the context of the novel and film of the same name. At its most basic, it is a request for Oliver to refer to Elio by his own name, as a gesture of the deep intimacy and connection they share. However, upon closer examination, the phrase also holds a deeper significance, revealing a longing for permanence and a bittersweet acceptance of the fleeting nature of their relationship.

In the story, “Call me by your name” is first spoken by Elio, a young man who becomes infatuated with Oliver, an older graduate student staying at his family’s Italian villa for the summer. As their intense physical and emotional connection grows, Elio begins to yearn for more than just a short-lived summer romance. He wants to be known and recognized by Oliver, not just as a passing fling, but as someone who holds a permanent place in his life.

The use of the word “call” in this phrase is significant. It implies a sense of ownership, of claiming Elio as his own. By asking Oliver to call him by his name, Elio is expressing a desire to be acknowledged as more than just a passing fancy. He wants to be seen and known for who he truly is, and to have that recognition extend beyond the confines of their brief affair.

There is also a certain melancholy aspect to this phrase. Elio knows that their time together is limited – Oliver will soon leave and their relationship will come to an end. By pleading with Oliver to call him by his name, Elio is also expressing a deep longing for their connection to remain, for Oliver’s love to become a permanent part of his life. He is asking Oliver to make him a lasting and meaningful part of his world by sharing his name.

This longing for permanence adds a tragic element to the phrase. Despite their intense love for each other, circumstances and societal expectations prevent Elio and Oliver from fully embracing their relationship. They are forced to keep it hidden and fleeting, unable to publicly and openly express their love for each other. Therefore, the idea of being called by one’s name carries a deeper meaning of acceptance and recognition, as well as a yearning for something that is seemingly unattainable.

In addition, the phrase “call me by your name” also alludes to the novel’s exploration of identity and self-discovery. Through his relationship with Oliver, Elio is able to discover and embrace different aspects of himself. By asking to be called by Oliver’s name, he is essentially asking to be a part of Oliver’s identity and world, further blurring the lines between them and reinforcing their deep connection.

Overall, the phrase “call me by your name” holds a profound and poignant meaning in the context of the story. It represents a desire for intimacy, recognition, and permanence, while also highlighting the bitter truth of a love that cannot last. It is a symbol of the characters’ longing for something beyond themselves, for a love that defies societal norms and transcends time.

Claiming the Forbidden

“Call me by your name” is a powerful line in the film and novel of the same name that holds deep meaning and significance for the two main characters, Elio and Oliver. On the surface, it may seem like a simple request or invitation from one lover to another, but upon further examination, it reveals a much deeper emotional and societal context.

The phrase itself is a declaration of love and an invitation for intimacy. By asking Oliver to call him by his name, Elio is essentially inviting him to be a part of his world and to become closer to him. In this way, it can be seen as a symbolic gesture of trust and vulnerability, as Elio is allowing Oliver into his innermost thoughts and feelings – something that he has not done with anyone else before.

However, the true significance of this phrase lies in its forbidden nature. Elio and Oliver’s relationship is not accepted or understood by society due to their homosexuality. Despite living in a time and place where same-sex relationships are not accepted, Elio still boldly asks Oliver to call him by his name. This seemingly innocent request holds a deeper meaning of defiance and rebellion against the societal norms and expectations that would condemn their love.

In a world that would deny their love, Elio is claiming it for himself and insisting that it be recognized and acknowledged. By asking Oliver to use his name, he is also asking for their relationship to be validated and legitimized. It is a powerful act of courage and bravery, as it goes against the grain of what is considered acceptable and normal.

Moreover, this phrase also carries a sense of ownership and possession. By asking Oliver to call him by his name, Elio is essentially asking him to claim him as his own. It is a possessive and intimate act that solidifies their bond, making it unique and special to them. In a sense, it is a way for Elio to express his deep love and devotion for Oliver, despite the societal barriers that stand in their way.

Overall, “call me by your name” holds a multitude of meanings and emotions. It is a declaration of love, an invitation for intimacy, a rebellious act, and a possessive gesture all rolled into one powerful phrase. It captures the essence of Elio and Oliver’s forbidden relationship and the complexities of their feelings for each other. It is a poetic line that reaches right into the core of their connection and beautifully conveys the depth of their love.

Common Interpretations and Significance of Call Me By Your Name

Here are some of the most common and meaningful interpretations of “call me by your name”:

  • A request for true intimacy and to be known deeply
  • An expression of vulnerability and unconditional love
  • A merging of identities and souls between lovers
  • A melancholic longing for the permanent from the fleeting
  • An act of courage to name and claim societal forbidden love
  • A romantic gesture and confession of profound love
  • Making their private love public, at least to each other

This simple phrase holds great significance both within the novel/film and more universally. It encapsulates the intense desires of first love and the willingness to be vulnerable when falling for someone. It allows the characters to confess and name desires often kept hidden. It’s a testament to the life-changing power of being known and cherished intimately.

Examples of Using “Call Me By Your Name”

Though this phrase originated in Aciman’s novel/film, it can also be used in wider contexts:

  • A spouse saying “call me by your name” to indicate the depth of their marital union.
  • Close friends bonding and indicating how well they know each other’s souls.
  • Someone confessing romantic interest and hoping to convey the intimacy of their feelings.
  • LGBTQ+ people asking lovers to claim their socially forbidden relationships.
  • Someone who is dying asking a loved one to forever remember/honor them.
  • Immigrants assimilating to a new culture while retaining their identity.
  • Fans of media co-opting the names/identities of their favorite characters.


In summary, “call me by your name” is a poetic, multidimensional phrase from the novel/film of the same name. It expresses vulnerability, rebellion, melancholy, romance, and the desire to be intimately known by a lover. This simple but evocative line encapsulates the intense emotions of first love, forbidden desire, loss, and the lengths we will go to in order to feel accepted and connected. Whether whispered tenderly in a private moment of confession, or declared loudly in defiance of disapproval, this quote captures the universal human longing to love and be loved for one’s truest self.

I am Patricia Mann, an experienced professional in the art of naming children. With a wealth of knowledge in the field of baby names, I aim to assist parents in choosing a meaningful and beautiful name for their little ones. My expertise lies in the Name Meaning section, where I delve deep into the origins and significance of names, providing valuable insights that I hope will be beneficial for parents.

Understanding the profound impact a name can have on a child's life, I strive to offer comprehensive guidance. The Name Meaning section is not just a repository of information but a resource where parents can discover the rich tapestry of meanings associated with different names. It is my belief that a child's name is more than just a label; it encapsulates the desires, hopes, and love of the parents.

In this journey of baby naming, my goal is to make the process enjoyable and meaningful for parents, ensuring that the chosen name resonates with the family's values and cultural background. I invite you to explore the Name Meaning of Impeccable Nest section as we embark on the delightful and important task of naming the newest members of your family.

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