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Name That "-nym": A Matching Quiz

Words About Words


In the article "Name That '-nym': A Brief Introduction to Words and Names," we look at 22 language-related terms ending in "-nym" (a suffix derived from the Greek word for "name" or "word"). Here's a chance to test your familiarity with 10 of those terms, some of them fairly common and others not.

Match the "-nym" terms below with the appropriate definitions and examples that follow. You'll find the answers on page two.

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(a) antonym, (b) aptronym, (c) backronym, (d) demonym, (e) homonym, (f) metonym, (g) mononym, (h) oronym, (i) retronym, (j) toponym

Definitions and Examples

  1. A word having a meaning contrary to that of another word: the opposite of synonym.

  2. A new word or phrase (such as "landline phone" or "print newspaper") created for an old object or concept whose original name is no longer unique or has become associated with something else.

  3. A one-word name (such as "Madonna" or "Adele") by which a person or thing is popularly known.

  4. A word that has the same sound or spelling as another word but differs in meaning--as in the homophones "ceiling" and "sealing" and the homographs "moped" (past tense of "mope") and "moped" (a motorbike).

  5. A name that matches the occupation or character of its owner--such as Dr. Russell Brain, a British neurologist.

  6. A word or phrase used in place of another with which it's closely associated, such as "Whitehall" for the British government.

  7. A word (such as "tuxedo") coined in association with the name of a place (a country club at Tuxedo Park, New York).

  8. A name for the people who live in a particular place, such as "Danes," "Dubliners" and "Dallasites."

  9. An expression (such as "Seasonal Affective Disorder") that has been formed from the letters of an existing word or name ("SAD").

  10. A sequence of words (for example, "The stuffy nose can lead to problems") that sounds the same as a different sequence of words ("The stuff he knows can lead to problems").

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