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The suffix -onym (from Ancient Greek : ὄνυμα / name) is a bound morpheme, that is attached to the end of a root word, thus forming a new compound word that designates a particular class of names. In linguistic terminology, compound words that are formed with suffix -onym are most commonly used as designations for various onomastic classes. Most onomastic terms that are formed with suffix -onym are classical compounds, whose word roots are taken from classical languages (Greek and Latin). [1] [2]


For example, onomastic terms like toponym and linguonym are typical classical (or neoclassical) compounds, formed from suffix -onym and classical (Greek and Latin) root words (Ancient Greek : τόπος / place; Latin : lingua / language). In some compounds, the -onym morpheme has been modified by replacing (or dropping) the "o". In the compounds like ananym and metanym , the correct forms ( anonym and metonym ) were pre-occupied by other meanings. Other, late 20th century examples, such as hypernym and characternym , are typically incorrectly formed neologisms, for which there are more traditional words formed in -onym ( hyperonym and charactonym ).

The English suffix -onym is from the Ancient Greek suffix -ώνυμον (ōnymon), neuter of the suffix ώνυμος (ōnymos), having a specified kind of name, from the Greek ὄνομα (ónoma), Aeolic Greek ὄνυμα (ónyma), "name". The form -ōnymos is that taken by ónoma when it is the end component of a bahuvrihi compound, but in English its use is extended to tatpurusa compounds.

The suffix is found in many modern languages with various spellings. Examples are: Dutch synoniem, German Synonym, Portuguese sinónimo, Russian синоним (sinonim), Polish synonim, Finnish synonyymi, Indonesian sinonim, Czech synonymum.

According to a 1988 study [3] of words ending in -onym, there are four discernible classes of -onym words: (1) historic, classic, or, for want of better terms, naturally occurring or common words; (2) scientific terminology, occurring in particular in linguistics, onomastics, etc.; (3) language games; and (4) nonce words. Older terms are known to gain new, sometimes contradictory, meanings (e.g., eponym and cryptonym). In many cases, two or more words describe the same phenomenon, but no precedence is discernible (e.g., necronym and penthonym). New words are sometimes created, the meaning of which duplicating existing terms. On occasion, new words are formed with little regard to historical principles.

Words that end in -onym

Related Research Articles

Synonym Words or phrases having the same meaning

A synonym is a word, morpheme, or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word, morpheme, or phrase in the same language. For example, the words begin, start, commence, and initiate are all synonyms of one another; they are synonymous. The standard test for synonymy is substitution: one form can be replaced by another in a sentence without changing its meaning. Words are considered synonymous in only one particular sense: for example, long and extended in the context long time or extended time are synonymous, but long cannot be used in the phrase extended family. Synonyms with exactly the same meaning share a seme or denotational sememe, whereas those with inexactly similar meanings share a broader denotational or connotational sememe and thus overlap within a semantic field. The former are sometimes called cognitive synonyms and the latter, near-synonyms, plesionyms or poecilonyms.

Toponymy, also toponymics or toponomastics is the study of toponyms, their origins and meanings, use and typology. In a more specific sense, the term toponymy refers to an inventory of toponyms, while the discipline researching such names is referred to as toponymics or toponomastics. Toponymy is a branch of onomastics, the study of proper names of all kinds. A person who studies toponymy is called toponymist. Toponym is the general term for a proper name of any geographical feature, and full scope of the term also includes proper names of all cosmographical features.

The toponymy of England derives from a variety of linguistic origins. Many English toponyms have been corrupted and broken down over the years, due to language changes which have caused the original meanings to be lost. In some cases, words used in these place names are derived from languages that are extinct, and of which there are no known definitions. Place names may also be compounds composed of elements derived from two or more languages from different periods. The majority of the toponyms predate the radical changes in the English language triggered by the Norman Conquest, and some Celtic names even predate the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons in the first millennium AD.

Onomastics or onomatology is the study of the etymology, history, and use of proper names. An orthonym is the proper name of the object in question, the object of onomastic study.

Nomenclature is a system of names or terms, or the rules for forming these terms in a particular field of arts or sciences. The principles of naming vary from the relatively informal conventions of everyday speech to the internationally agreed principles, rules and recommendations that govern the formation and use of the specialist terms used in scientific and any other disciplines.

Ruthenian language is a common exonymic designation for a group of East Slavic linguistic varieties, particularly those that were spoken from the 15th to 18th centuries in the East Slavic regions of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Regional distribution of those varieties, both in their literary and vernacular forms, corresponded (approximately) to territories of modern states of Belarus and Ukraine. By the end of the 18th century, they gradually diverged into regional variants, that subsequently developed into modern languages: Belarusian, Ukrainian and Rusyn.

Merya language

Merya or Meryanic is an extinct Finno-Ugric language, which was spoken by the Meryans. Merya began to be assimilated by East Slavs when their territory became incorporated into Kievan Rus' in the 10th century. However some Merya speakers might have even lived in the 18th century. There is also a theory that the word for "Moscow" originates from the Merya language. The Meryan language stretched to the western parts of Vologda oblast and Moscow

An endonym is a common, internal name for a geographical place, group of people, or a language/dialect, meaning that it is used inside that particular place, group, or linguistic community in question; it is their self-designated name for themselves, their homeland, or their language.

Hydronym Proper name of a body of water

A hydronym is a type of toponym that designates a proper name of a body of water. Hydronyms include the proper names of rivers and streams, lakes and ponds, swamps and marshes, seas and oceans. As a subset of toponymy, a distinctive discipline of hydronymy studies the proper names of all bodies of water, the origins and meanings of those names, and their development and transmission through history.

An ethnonym is a name applied to a given ethnic group. Ethnonyms can be divided into two categories: exonyms and autonyms, or endonyms.

Anthroponymy is the study of anthroponyms, the proper names of human beings, both individual and collective. Anthroponymy is a branch of onomastics.

Name of Lithuania

The first known record of the name of Lithuania is in a 9 March 1009 story of Saint Bruno recorded in the Quedlinburg Chronicle. The Chronicle recorded a Latinized form of the Old Church Slavonic word for Lithuania - Литва (Litva). Although it is clear the name originated from a Baltic language, scholars still debate the meaning of the word.

Logonym is a polysemic term, and a neologism. The term has several meanings, spanning across different fields of study. It was primarily defined as a term that designates various types of titles, including titles of literary and other artistic works, and also came to designate titles of business firms and their products, including their acronyms. The term also has a specific meaning in biological classification, and some authors have used the term as an alternative designation for the proper names of languages, but such use could not replace previously established onomastic terms, that are commonly used as designations for the onomastic class of language names.

Latinisationof names, also known as onomastic Latinisation, is the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style. It is commonly found with historical proper names, including personal names and toponyms, and in the standard binomial nomenclature of the life sciences. It goes further than romanisation, which is the transliteration of a word to the Latin alphabet from another script.

The Slavic ethnonym, Slavs, is reconstructed in Proto-Slavic as *Slověninъ, plural Slověně. The earliest written references to the Slav ethnonym are in other languages.

An oeconym, also econym, or oikonym is a specific type of toponym that designates a proper name of a house or any other residential building, and in the broader sense, the term also refers to the proper name of any inhabited settlement, like village, town or city. Within the toponomastic classification, main types of oeconyms are: astionyms, and comonyms.

Theonym A proper name of a deity

A theonym is the proper name of a deity.

Name of Bosnia

The name of Bosnia is commonly used in English language as an exonym Bosnia, representing the South Slavic common endonym Bosna. The name was first recorded during the 10th century, in the Greek form Βόσονα, designating the region. In following centuries, the name was used as a designation for a medieval polity, called the Banate of Bosnia and transformed by 1377 into the Kingdom of Bosnia. After the Ottoman conquest in 1463, the name was adopted and used as a designation for the Sanjak of Bosnia and Eyalet of Bosnia. After the Austro-Hungarian occupation in 1878, the region of Bosnia was reorganized jointly with the neighbouring region of Herzegovina, thus forming the dual name of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Linguonym also known as glossonym or glottonym, is a linguistic term that designates a proper name of an individual language, or a language family. The study of language names is known as linguonymy, or linguonymics. As a distinctive linguistic discipline, linguonymic studies are closely related to some other onomastic disciplines, particularly those that are focused on the study of ethnonyms and choronyms. In that context, the field is related to ethnolinguistic and sociolinguistic studies. Various questions related to the study of formation and use of language names are also relevant for several other disciplines within social sciences and humanities.

Choronym is a linguistic term that designates a proper name of an individual region, or a country. The study of regional and country names is known as choronymy, or choronymics. Since choronyms are a subclass of toponyms, choronymic studies represent a distinctive subfield within toponymic studies, and also belong to the wider field of onomastic studies. Choronymic studies are primarily focused on questions related to the origin (etymology) and meanings (semantics) of choronyms. Since names of regions and countries have great historical, cultural, political and social significance, the field of choronymic studies is closely related to sociolinguistic and ethnolinguistic studies.


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