To mention important people as if they are one's friends or associates, usually in an attempt to receive preferential treatment. A: "I know Jim, the owner, OK?" B: "You can drop names all you want, but you're still not getting into this restaurant any time soon."
drop namesand drop someone's name
to mention a name or the names of important or famous people as if they were personal friends. (See also drop someone's name.) Mary always tries to impress people by dropping the name of some big-time executives she claims to know. Bill's such a snob. Leave it to him to drop the names of all the local gentry.
Refer to important persons as acquaintances in order to impress the listener. For example, Her habit of dropping names made everyone very skeptical about her veracity. [Mid-1900s]
drop namesrefer frequently to well-known people in such a way as to imply that they are close acquaintances.
drop ˈnamesmention famous people you know or have met in order to impress others ▶ ˈname-dropping noun: I can’t stand all this name-dropping! Does he really know Brad Pitt?
Also, to drop names. Mentioning the names of famous persons to imply that one is on familiar terms with them. The term dates from the mid-1900s. J. D. Salinger had an amusing take on it in Franny and Zooey (1962): “There’s an unwritten law that people in a certain social or financial bracket may name drop as much as they like just as long as they say something terribly disparaging about the person as soon as they’ve dropped his name.”