Is it possible for a word, especially a person's name, to have zero characters in it? No letters, no numbers, no punctuation, just totally empty?

I'm aware of some people not having a surname, or not having a middle name, but someone not having a name would be different from having a name that has no letters in it.

  • When you say 'characters', I assume you mean representation as a written form, or grapheme. You could say that anyone's name doesn't have any characters if your language is a signed language, such as American Sign Language. – Danger Fourpence Apr 13 '15 at 1:05
  • I can imagine a langugae/society where it might not be acceptable to write someone's name (i.e. a figure of power), just as many people who practise Judaism wouldn't write the name of God (but that would have a written representaion, most usually 'G-d'). – Danger Fourpence Apr 13 '15 at 1:07
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it isn't clear whether you're asking whether all personal names have established orthographic representations (clearly no) or whether any names have zero phonetic content (clearly no). – user6726 Apr 13 '15 at 4:38

If you don't count underline as a character, sure. Though it's old fashioned. To give the impression that a story was redacted from a police report, but with the name of a principle character concealed, you see things like "After recovering from these violent events, ___ met with this investigator to give his account of the strange goings on." Or, translating to contemporary usage, you could have the appearance of a name blacked out with magic marker.

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