Word of The Day for Monday, July 4, 2011


on•o•mas•tics (on-uh-MAS-tiks)  n

1. the study of the origin, history, and use of proper names
2. the system underlying the formation and use of words especially for proper names or of words used in a specialized field

onomastician noun; onomastic adjective

1936; from Fr. onomastique, from Gk. onomastikos "of or belonging to naming," from onomastos "named," verbal adj. of onomazein "to name," from onoma "name"

Related Words: onomatopoeia, anonymous, eponymous, synonym, homonym

Sentence Examples:
• Essentially we can identify two periods in the development of onomastics in the GDR. ... In the first period the basis was established for the mining of knowledge; in this period, the methodological bases of interdisciplinary research in the field of onomastics and the history of settlement were generally firmly established, and a major part of the material basis for analysis was processed. - Le nom propre au carrefour des études humaines et des sciences, Jean-Claude Boulanger

• The first inventory of Greek names is that of W. Pape and G. Besnlser. ...  This work remains a useful catalogue of literary names, but its utility is limited by the fact that it includes on inscriptions listed in CIG and no names attested in papyri. ... Fortunately, many other onomastic reference aids have been published over the past century. - An introduction to Greek epigraphy of the Hellenistic and Roman, Bradley Hudson McLean

• Of the other names, Shellu, Kushshu, Ḥuluḳḳu, and Zinu seem to be Semitic; at any rate they occur frequently, or in cognate forms, well known among the Assyrians and Babylonians. The others are all very unfamiliar. We are as yet so imperfectly acquainted with the onomastics of the nations surrounding the Semites that it is hazardous to attempt to locate these people. Supposing them to be all of one race, they may belong to a colony settled near Sippara, but the whole style of the language is so unlike the Sippara documents that we can hardly suppose that to be the case.  - Babylonian and Assyrian Laws, Contracts and Letters, C. H. W. Johns


Onomastics or onomatology is the study of proper names of all kinds and the origins of names. ... Toponymy or toponomastics, the study of place names, is one of the principal branches of onomastics. Anthroponomastics is the study of personal names.

Sources: Merriam-Webster, Dictionary.com, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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