Etymology:From the Greek, "name"
Examples and Observations:
- "The study of place-names (toponymy) is closely allied to geography, history, and related disciplines. The study of personal names (anthroponymy) is related to genealogy, sociology, and anthropology. Another sub-discipline is literary onomastics, which examines the use of proper names in literature, and often focuses on the names of characters in fiction (characternyms). A primary requirement of onomastics is the clarification of certain basic terms relating to the concept proper name. In casual usage, proper names, proper nouns, and capitalized words are often taken to be the same thing. That assumption, however, can mislead, because the three expressions refer to three different things which partially overlap."
(John Algeo, "Onomastics," in The Oxford Companion to the English Language, ed. by Tom McArthur. Oxford Univ. Press, 1992)
- "A striking feature of American place-naming practice is the frequency of incident-names, some of very banal origin. Massacre Rocks (ID) commemorates the killing of emigrants there in 1862; Hatchet Lake (AK) was so-called because a surveyor cut his knee on a hatchet there in 1954; Peanut (CA) was named by the postmaster, who, when asked for his views on a possible name, happened to be eating his favorite peanuts at the time; at Kettle Creek (CO or OR) kettles were lost; and at Man-Eater Canyon (WY) a reputed murderer and cannibal was finally arrested."
(Richard Coates, "Onomastics," The Cambridge History of the English Language, Volume IV, by Richard M. Hogg et al. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1999)
Also Known As: characternyms