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Nymonyms   More Words about Words  Words about Users of Words

Greek & Latin Roots about Words  Links    Words about Animals  new4.gif (1295 bytes) Linguistics


We have coined the word nymonym( a word about words) , plural nymonyms to describe words about words.

The following words - all ending in "onym" , a Greek root meaning "word" or "name".


Word Meaning Example More information
acronym An abbreviation formed from the first letters of a series of
words and pronounced as one word:
radar from radio detection and ranging, pronounced ray-dar click here
recursive acronym A hackish (and especially MIT) tradition is to choose acronyms and abbreviations that refer humorously to themselves or to other acronyms or abbreviations. The classic examples were two MIT editors called EINE ("EINE Is Not Emacs") and ZWEI ("ZWEI Was EINE Initially"). click here
allonym an assumed name;  the name of another person, especially that of a significant historical figure,
assumed by somebody, especially a writer
ananym name written backwards Rellim is a ananym of Miller  
anonym another word for pseudonym    
antenym ??    
antonym a word of opposite meaning cold <> warm  
direct antonym
antonyms that are commonly associated e.g., `wet' and `dry')  
anatonym An anatonym refers to a part of the body that is used as a verb "to toe the line"  "to face the music". "to eye the target"  
antagonym a single word that has meanings that contradict each other "bad" for "good" click here
anthroponym a personal name   click here
aptronym A name that matches its owner's
occupation or character, often in a humorous or ironic way
e.g. Miss Sue Lawyer, the attorney click here
aristonym A surname used as, or derived from, a formal title of nobility e.g. Thomas Harold Andre Le Duc  
autonym 1. A person's own name.  2. A book published under the real name of the author.

  click here
backronym or bacronym A word interpreted as an acronym that was not originally so intended. This is a special case of what linguists call `back formation' e.g. BASIC, mung click here (1)

click here (2)

caconym wrongly derived name    
capitonym a word that changes
pronunciation and meaning when it is
reading (pronounced "reed-ing") <> Reading ( a city in Pennsylvania which is pronounced "red-ing)  
charactonym the  name of a literary
character that is especially suited to his or her personality.
e.g. "scrooge" for a miserly person, "sherlock holmes" for a detective click here
cohyponym word which is one of multiple hyponyms of another word    
contronym a word which is its own opposite overlook  
cryptonym a secret name    
demonym Place name-based label that describes a resident of a particular
city, territory, or country.
Cypriot is a person from Cyprus

Hoyas is a nickname for students from Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

click here for country demonyms

article: Mysterious Monikers

book: Labels for Locals

book: What's in a Name

state names

names for USA citizens

dionym name containing two parts or terms    
eponym a person from whose name a word is derived cardigan (sweater)  for Lord Cardigan click here
ethonym The name of a people or ethnic group. e.g. Albanians  
euonym a good name or a name well suited to the person, place, or thing named    
euphonym a euphonious synonym    
exonym foreigner's version of placename England in French is angleterre click here
heteronym (hertograph) A word that is spelt the same as another,
but has a different meaning and often pronunciation. A heteronym that is spelt the same as another word and has a different pronunciation is a heterophone. (e.g. (2) and (3))
minute (60 seconds) <> minute (very small); (1) bow (front of a ship) <> (2) bow (to bend at waist) <> (3) bow (used with an arrow) click here
holonym a concept that has another concept as a part a coat is a holonym of a sleeve opposite is meronym
hiernym A surname  based on a sacred name e.g. St. John  
homonym One of two or more words that are identical in sound or spelling but different in meaning. There are three kinds: (1) those that look alike and sound alike but have different meanings (since they have different etymologies)  (2) those that sound alike but do not look a like ("homphones") (3) those that look alike but do not sound alike ("homograph") (3) (1) calf (young bovine animal) <> calf (lower leg)

(2) course <> coarse

(3) lead (the verb) and lead (the metal)

(3) bow (front of a ship) <> bow (to bend at waist)

more examples

click here


hydronym A name for a river, lake, etc. e.g. Lake Champlain click here
hypernym 'a word of general meaning applicable to more specific, related words; a superordinate a dog is a hypernym of beagle, terrier click here
hyponym a word of more specific meaning than,
and therefore implying or able to be replaced by, another
more general or superordinate term
scarlet is a hyponym of red click here
isonym word having the same derivation as another    
malonym 1) a metaphor, cliche, or popular expression
mangled by the use of an incorrect word

2) ill-considered offerings by a spell checker

Look before you leak" might have been the motto
of the Titanic's captain.
1) click here


2) click here

meronym one word denotes a part of another a sleeve is a meronym of a coat click here
metonym a figure of speech consisting of the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated "the press"  referring to  journalists
click here
oronym name of a mountain Mount Mansfield  
paranym a word whose meaning is altered to conceal evasion    
paronym 1) a word formed from a word in another language

2) a word having the same stem as another

chaise long <> chaise lounge

beautiful and beauteous

click here
patronym A name derived from the name of father or an ancestor;A surname or family name.

e.g. Benson (son of Ben) Here are a few more patronyms from other languages and cultures:

Arabic bin (bin Laden, son of Laden), bint (Bint Ahmed, daughter of Ahmed)
Hebrew ben (Ben-Gurion, son of Gurion; Ben-Hur, son of Hur)
Hindi -putra/put (Brahmaputra, son of Brahma; Rajput, son of king)
Irish and Scottish Mac/Mc- (McDonald, son of Donald)
Irish O (O'Brien, grandson/descendant of Brien)
Norman Fitz- (Fitzgerald, son of Gerald)
Russian -ich/-vich, as a middle name (Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, son of Pavlov).
Spanish -ez (Fernandez, son of Fernando; Gonzalez son of Gonzalo)
Welsh ap or p (Pritchard from ap Richard, son of Richard).
phytonym the name of a plant e.g. rosebush  
poecilonym a synonym    
polyonym a name consisting of several words    
pseudonym a fictitious name, pen name, nom de plume Mark Twain <> Samuel Clements  
digital pseudonym A pseudonym an individual can use to set up an online account with an organization without revealing personal information    
retronym (1) new words for old
things;  adjective-noun
pairing formed by a change in the
meaning of the noun, usually due to
"whole milk" instead of "milk" since there is now "skim milk, 2% milk click here (1)

click here (2)

click here (3)

retronym (2) reversing the spelling of a word to create a new word boy <> yob  
synonym one of two or more words or expressions of the same language that
have the same or nearly the same meaning in some or all senses
cold <> frigid click here
tautonym 1) a word that has two identical parts;

2) a taxonomic binomial in which the generic name and specific epithet
are alike

1) e.g. tutu; tom-tom, pompom


teknonym naming oneself after one's offspring e.g. 'mother of so-and-so click here
toponym a place name;words derived from place names. "champagne" (the wine) from Champagne, France click here
trionym name consisting of three words    



More Words About Words (top)

Word Meaning Example More information
alieniloquy a talking wide of the purpose, or not to the matter at hand
ambigram a word or words that can be read in more than one way or from more than a single vantage point, such as both right side up and upside down see Web sites
amphigory nonsense writing, usu. in verse
anagram a word, phrase, or sentence formed from another by rearranging its letters: "Angel" is an anagram of "glean." Internet Anagram Server
anadiplosis the repetition of a prominent (usu. last) word in one phrase at the beginning of the next, often with extended or altered meaning  
anaphora repetition of a word or expression at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, sentences or verses especially for rhetorical or poetic effect we cannot dedicate -- we cannot cannot consecrate -- we cannot hallow -- this ground
anastrophe inversion of the usual syntactical order of words for rhetorical effect
anomia a difficulty in finding the right words or the inability to remember names
anthimeria the substitution of one part of speech for another; typically a noun used as a verb -- also known as (and for example) "verbing a noun"
apacope The loss of a sound or sounds at the end of a word oft for often click here
aphasia inability to use or comprehend words   
antisthecon Substitution of one sound, syllable, or letter for another within a word click here
babblative given to babbling; prattling, prating, loquacious   
barbarism The use of nonstandard or foreign speech, the use of a word awkwardly forced into a poem's meter, or unconventional pronunciation. quid pro quo click here
battology a needless repetition of words in speaking or writing
people who read too much and so are generally oblivious to the world around them -- coined by H.L. Mencken
a constant talker    
buzzword "a word that is fashionable and used more to impress than to inform; in particular a word of a specialized field or group used primarily to impress laypersons."  mission critical click here
cacoepy incorrect pronunciation
cacoŽthes loquendi
the irresistible urge to speak
cacoŽthes scribendi
the irresistible urge to write
cacography bad handwriting; bad spelling
chiasmus a figure of speech by which the order of the terms in the
first of two parallel clauses is reversed in the second.
"Pleasure's a sin, and sometimes
sin's a pleasure" --Byron
chirospasm writer's cramp  
circumbendibus an indirect or roundabout course, esp. in speaking or writing
circumfloribus flowery and long-winded
speaking through clenched teeth
dilogy repetition of a word or phrase, in the same context
dysphemism making something sound worse "pigheaded" for "stubborn" click here
dystmesis inserting a word in the middle of another
in an unlikely or unexpected place; a form of tmesis
embolalia the use of virtually meaningless filler words, phrases, or... stammerings  in speech, whether as unconscious utterings while arranging one's thoughts or as vacuous,inexpressive mannerism e.g. uh, you now, I mean
epeolatry the worship of words
epenthesis the insertion or development of a sound or letter in the body of a word "sherbet" is pronounced "sherbert";

b in thimble

click here

click here(2)

epistrophe The repetition of a word or phrase at the end of successive clauses or
"of the people, by the people, for the people" - Abraham Lincoln
euphemism a polite, tactful, or less explicit term used to avoid the direct naming of an unpleasant, painful, or frightening reality "pass away" for die; "underprivileged" for poor euphemism quiz

Euphemism and Dysphemism
Language Used as Shield and Weapon

euphuism artificial elegance of language     
lexeme The fundamental unit of the lexicon of a language.
logogram A written symbol representing an entire spoken word without expressing its pronunciation "4" read "four" in English Also ideogram or logograph
excessive and often incoherent talkativeness or wordiness
metaplasm A general term for any change or transformation of the letters or syllables in single words, including inversions, substitutions, additions, and omissions. click here
metathesis the transposition of letters within a word centre <> center click here
morpheme Morphemes are form/meaning pairings (where "form" = distinctive string of sounds). Morphemes can be roots or affixes, depending on whether they are the main part or dependent part of a word click here

(nonce word)

A neologism (pronounced nee-AH-low-djism) is a newly invented word or

A nonce word is one coined “for the nonce”—made up for one occasion and not likely to be encountered again.

Netiquette is a neologism which combines the words "net" and "etiquette New Words in English
onomastics the science or study of the origin and forms of proper names of persons or places The American Name Society

Google onomastic links


oxymoron a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect military intelligence click here
palindrome word or phrase that is spelled them same both forward and backward.
paragoge The development of an additional sound or sounds at the
end of a word
the [t] of pheasant (compare French
click here
pleonasm the use of more words than those necessary to denote mere sense the man he said click here
prothesis The addition of a letter or syllable to the beginning of a
"be" - in beloved.
rhetoric the study of the effective use of language, the ability to use language effectively, the art or science of all specialized literary uses of language in prose or verse, including the figures of speech. A Glossary of Literary Terms and
A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices

A Glossary of Rhetorical Terms with Examples

syncope Cutting letters or syllables from the middle of a word library pronounced as libary click here
tmesis inserting a word in the
middle of another;separation of the parts of a compound word by one or more intervening


Words about Users of Words (top)

The following words are about users of words, speakers, and speakers

Word Meaning
catachresis (n) 1: use of the wrong word for the context
2 : use of a forced and especially paradoxical figure of speech (as blind mouths)
colloquy (n) a high-level serious discussion
concordance (n) an alphabetical index of all the words in a text or corpus of texts,showing every contextual occurrence of a word.
diffuse (adj) being at once verbose and ill-organized
exegisis (n) interpretation of a word
expatiate (v) to speak or write at length (used with on or upon)
garrulous (adj) pointlessly or annoyingly talkative
holograoh (n) A document written wholly in the handwriting of the person whose signature it bears.
lingua franca (n) any language that is widely used as a means of communication among speakers of other languages.
linguist (n) a person who is skilled in several languages; polyglot.
locution (n) manner of speech or phrase
logophile (n) lover of words
loquacious (adj) full of excessive talk
malapropism (n) the use of a word sounding somewhat like the
one intended but ludicrously wrong in the context
megalophonous (adj) having a high voice
neologist (n) coiner of words
palaver (n) a long parley usually between persons of different cultures or
levels of sophistication
pauciloquent (adj) use as few words as possible
polyglot (n) a person who speaks, writes, or reads a number of languages.
prolix (adj) marked by or using an excess of words;verbose, long-winded, using too many words.
semiotics (n) the study of signs and symbols as elements of communicative behavior; the analysis of systems of communication, as language, gestures, or clothing click here for more...
sesquipedalian (n) someone given to using long words
soliloquy (n) the act of talking to oneself
reticent (adj) inclined to be silent or uncommunicative in speech
tachygraphy (n) shorthand; shortened cursive writing
taciturn (adj) temperamentally disinclined to talk
verbivore (n) lover of words
verbose (adj) containing more words than necessary

  Links (top)

bulletABC Language Words Used to Analyse Language
bulletGlossary of Linguistics and Rhetoric new2.gif (284 bytes)

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Last modified: February 9, 2012