10 More Naming Words Ending in -nym

By Maeve Maddox

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eponym
The person for whom something is named: chauvinism, Caesarian Section, boycott.

exonym
A name for a people used by outsiders and not by the people themselves. For example, English-speakers call the people of Wales the Welsh.

autonym
A name by which a people refers to itself. The name the Welsh people call themselves is Cymry. They call their country Cymru. Switzerland, which has four official languages, each of which has a different word for Switzerland–Suisse, Schweiz, Svizzera, Svizra—uses the Latin word Helvetica for the country on its postage stamps and for other uses. Here are some more country autonyms with their English exonyms:

Austria—Österreich
Belgium—Belgique
Germany—Deutschland
Greece—Hellas
Israel—Yisra’el
Japan—Nippon
Poland—Polska
Spain—España
Sweden—Sverige

ethnonym
The name of an ethnic group, tribe, or people. The residents of the United States are called Americans. Other ethnonyms used by Americans include African-American, Black, Indian, Native American, and Asian-American. A similar term, demonym, is a term that refers to the inhabitants of a place. For example, Chicagoans, Londoners, Mancunians (inhabitants of Manchester, England).

toponym
The name of a place. Because the Romans occupied Britain for three and a half centuries, many British place names derive from Latin words. For example, the Romans called their camps castra, a word that developed into the suffix chester/cester, giving modern Manchester, Winchester, and Cirencester.

caconym
“An erroneous name.” The Greek word for bad, kako, gives us several English words. Cacophony is “bad sound,” for example from an untuned musical instrument, or harsh- sounding words. A cacodemon is an evil spirit. A caconym is a “bad name,” i.e., an incorrect or faulty term. A malapropism, for example, is a caconym.

The next two –nym words refer to elements in the figures of speech known as synecdoche and metonomy.

meronym
A term for a part of something that is used to denote the whole of it.

Synecdoche uses a part to refer to the whole or the whole to refer to a part. For example, in the expression “all hands on deck,” the word hands represents the sailors to whom the hands belong. In this expression, the word hands is a meronym.

metonym
“A word used in metonymy.”
Metonymy uses the name of one thing to stand for something else associated with it. In the headline “White House to face key decisions on climate,” White House represents the current US administration. White House in this context is a metonym.

paronym
This word has three definitions:

1. a word having the same root as another: child/childish.

2.a word that translates into another language with only minor changes or no change at all: Schadenfreude.

3. a word similar in sound or appearance to another: affect/effect.

tautonym
A repetitious taxonomic term.

In the binomial Linnaean system of classification, plants and animals are identified as to genus, and species. For example, the domestic cat is Felis catus; the domestic dog is Canis lupus, and the sheep is Ovis aries.

When the words for genus and species are the same, the resulting binomial name is considered to be a tautonym. The following binomials are tautonyms:

gorilla—Gorilla gorilla
wolverine—Gulo gulo
red fox—Vulpes vulpes
moose—Alces alces

Related posts:
30 Words Inspired by 29 People and an Elephant
Paronyms and paranyms

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