You are probably very familiar with the terms synonym and antonym. Yet there are actually quite a few words in English that incorporate the Greek root word ‘onym’ which means ‘name’. Below are a few of the more common words in which it is found.

A classroom activity could be to divide the students into groups and each group investigates one of these words, compiles a list of examples and then teaches the meaning of the word to the rest of the class.

Acronym: Acro=point, tip. An abbreviation formed from the initial letters of a series of words (e.g., NASA=National Aeronautics and Space Administration).

Antonym: Anti=against. Words that have opposite or near opposite meanings (e.g., slow vs fast).

Anonymous: Without a name.

Cryptonym: Crypt=hide. A code name or word used in clandestine situations.

Endonym: En=in. The name used by the local inhabitants (e.g., Germans refer to their country as Deutschland).

Eponym: Epo=on. A word derived from the name of a person (e.g., sandwich is from the Earl of Sandwich).

Exonym: Ex=outside. A place name used by foreigners that differs from the name used by the inhabitants (e.g., Germany is called Deutschland by the Germans). Note that it is the opposite of endonym.

Gamonym: Gam=marriage. A name bestowed as a result of marriage (e.g., Judy Smith marries Mike Jones and is thereafter known as Judy Jones).

Heteronym: Hetero=other. Words that have the same spelling but different meanings and sometimes different pronunciations (e.g., wind, row).

Homonym: Homo=same. Words that have the same pronunciation or spelling but different meanings (e.g., write/right).

Hydronym: Hydro=water. Name of a body of water

Linguonym: Ling=tongue. The name of a language (e.g., French is the language of France).

Pseudonym: Pseudo=false. An assumed name, often used by authors who want to remain anonymous.

Synonym: Sym=together. Words which have similar meanings (e.g., big/large).

Textonym: Word generated by numerals keyed into a mobile phone (e.g., TEETH=83384).

Toponym: Topo=place. A word derived from the name of a place (e.g., hamburger is from the city of Hamburg).


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