The saying “labels are for jars not people” means it’s OK to put a description on a jar so you know what’s inside (a label), but it’s not okay to judge people by attaching a label, or description to them, such as "nerd," "jock," or "burnout."

Label is a busy word. It refers to the paper or identifying marks on a jar that tells you something about what’s inside the jar. Put such an identifier on the jar, and you label it. Related to that is a judgment about someone or something, a label. When you call yourself a superstar, you label yourself. Finally, you can use label as a short form of recording label, a company that produces musical recordings.

Primary Meanings of label

a brief description given for purposes of identification
assign a label to; designate with a label
a radioactive isotope that is used in a compound in order to trace the mechanism of a chemical reaction
distinguish (as a compound or molecule) by introducing a labeled atom
Full Definitions of label

n a brief description given for purposes of identification

“the label Modern is applied to many different kinds of architecture”
Type of:
the act of describing something

n an identifying or descriptive marker that is attached to an object

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gummed label, paster, sticker
an adhesive label
tag, ticket
a label written or printed on paper, cardboard, or plastic that is attached to something to indicate its owner, nature, price, etc.
a label associated with something for the purpose of identification
title bar
(computer science) a horizontal label at the top of a window, bearing the name of the currently active document
bookplate, ex libris
a label identifying the owner of a book in which it is pasted
dog tag
metal plate on a dog collar bearing its registration number
dog tag
military identification tag worn on a chain around the neck
name tag
a tag showing the name of the person who wears it
price tag
a tag showing the price of the article it is attached to
Type of:
mark, marker, marking
a distinguishing symbol

n trade name of a company that produces musical recordings

“the artists and repertoire department of a recording label is responsible for finding new talent”
recording label
Type of:
brand, brand name, marque, trade name
a name given to a product or service

v assign a label to; designate with a label

“These students were labelled `learning disabled'”
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ascribe a quality to or give a name of a common noun that reflects a quality
address, direct
put an address on (an envelope)
call, name
assign a specified (usually proper) proper name to
brand, denounce, mark, stigmatise, stigmatize
to accuse or condemn or openly or formally or brand as disgraceful
miscall, misname
assign in incorrect name to
misaddress, misdirect
put a wrong address on
address a legal document to
put a new address on (an envelope), as for forwarding
baptise, baptize, christen
administer baptism to
use a name to designate
style, title
designate by an identifying term
dub, nickname
give a nickname to
assign a new name to
entitle, title
give a title to
name formally or designate with a term
provide with a name or nickname
brand, post
mark or expose as infamous
Type of:
denominate, designate
assign a name or title to

v attach a tag or label to

label these bottles”
mark, tag
make or leave a mark on
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brand, brandmark, trademark
mark with a brand or trademark
mark (a psalm text) to indicate the points at which the music changes
mark with diacritics
mark (Hebrew words) with diacritics
mark (the scale of a measuring instrument) so that it can be read in the desired units
attach a code to
put a badge on
Type of:
cause to be attached

v pronounce judgment on

“They labeled him unfit to work here”
judge, pronounce
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acquit, assoil, clear, discharge, exculpate, exonerate
pronounce not guilty of criminal charges
find or declare guilty
advertize in strongly positive terms
find, rule
decide on and make a declaration about
pronounce fit or able
declare unfit
intonate, intone
speak carefully, as with rising and falling pitch or in a particular tone
clear of accusation, blame, suspicion, or doubt with supporting proof
exonerate by means of a perfunctory investigation or through biased presentation of data
clear of a charge
convict anew
make legally capable or qualify in law
disqualify oneself (as a judge) in a particular case
remove from the bar; expel from the practice of law by official action
Type of:
adjudge, declare, hold
declare to be

n a radioactive isotope that is used in a compound in order to trace the mechanism of a chemical reaction

Type of:
a radioactive isotope of an element; produced either naturally or artificially

v distinguish (as a compound or molecule) by introducing a labeled atom

v distinguish (an element or atom) by using a radioactive isotope or an isotope of unusual mass for tracing through chemical reactions