Key Words to Know

Posted on May 15, 2016 By

The Study of Names_


Since we all know how important names are, let’s learn to discuss them more in depth. For all the aspiring name geeks, onomasticians, and etymologists out there who are just like me, here’s a guide to name-related vocabulary.


  1. Nom: the Latin root for ‘name.’ This root can be found in a number of words and phrases including:

Nomenclature: the devising, labeling, or choosing of names for various things, particularly for certain systems

Cognomen: any name, especially a surname or a nickname

Nominate: to name a nominee to be in the running for an office, award, or duty

Denomination: a name or designation for one of a set of things

Misnomer: a misapplied or inappropriate name or designation

Nom de plume: pen name, alias, or alternative name

Binomial: consisting of two terms, usually used in genus and species classification or in algebra


  1. Onym: the Greek root for ‘name.’ This root can be found in a number of words and phrases including:

Antonym: a word having the opposite meaning as another in the language

Synonym: a word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another in the language

Anonymous: without a name; of unknown name; whose name is withheld:

Pseudonym: pen name, alias, or alternative name

Acronym: a set of initials representing a name, organization, or the like

Eponym: a person after whom a discovery, invention, place, etc., is named or thought to be named

Metonymy: the substitution of the name of an attribute or adjunct for that of the thing meant

Patronymic: the father’s name

Metronymic: the mother’s name

Homonym: a word that has the same-sounding name as another


  1. Name synonyms: see how I did that?

Appellation: an identifying name or title

Epithet: an adjective or descriptive phrase expressing a quality characteristic of the person or thing mentioned

Moniker: a personal name or nickname

Sobriquet: a nickname or descriptive name

Handle: alias, fictional or false name


  1. Tee’s name-related words (to be added to):

Namelty: a person with an amazing or unique name

Namerific: a truly terrific name
And of course, Curionomastics!



Thank you for being patient with me last week, as I was quite busy with visiting family and Bearded Chum’s graduation. Please stay tuned for another Sunday Spotlight a week from today!


  1. Super interesting! I love etymology. Thanks for teaching me something 🙂

  2. Lori Budd says:

    Great post! I try to learn something new everyday – this will take me through the week. Thank you!

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