AskDefine | Define onomastics

Dictionary Definition

onomastics n : the branch of lexicology that studies the forms and origins of proper names

User Contributed Dictionary



From (onyma) "name"


  • italbrac RP /ˌɒ.nəʊˈmæs.tɪks/
  • italbrac US /ˌɑː.noʊˈmæs.tɪks/ or /ˌɑː.nəˈmæs.tɪks/


  1. The branch of lexicology devoted to the study of names and naming.



See also

Extensive Definition

Onomastics or onomatology is the study of proper names of all kinds and the origins of names. The word is Greek: ὀνοματολογία (from ὄνομα (ónoma) "name"). Toponymy or toponomastics, the study of place names, is one of the principal branches of onomastics. Anthroponomastics is the study of personal names.
For some cultures (and celebrities), only one name is needed to indicate a certain person without ambiguity. In others, a single personal name may be insufficient, requiring alteration to a hypocoristic/diminutive nickname or addition of a byname based on a specific individual's traits, family, home, occupation, or other. In most of the world, individually-based bynames have become hereditary family names, perhaps retaining little descriptive resemblance to the ancestral namesake's original byname.
Most Western European cultures use the name order indicated by the common synonymous phrases "first name" for personal name and "last name" or "surname" for family name. However, this differs from traditional East Asian and Hungarian usages, which place the family name before the personal name.

See also

onomastics in Belarusian: Анамастыка
onomastics in Breton: Anvadurezh
onomastics in Bulgarian: Ономастика
onomastics in Catalan: Onomàstica
onomastics in Czech: Onomastika
onomastics in German: Namenforschung
onomastics in Estonian: Onomastika
onomastics in Spanish: Onomástica
onomastics in Basque: Onomastika
onomastics in French: Onomastique
onomastics in Galician: Onomástica
onomastics in Croatian: Onomastika
onomastics in Indonesian: Onomastik
onomastics in Italian: Onomastica
onomastics in Latvian: Onomastika
onomastics in Lithuanian: Onomastika
onomastics in Hungarian: Névtan
onomastics in Dutch: Onomastiek
onomastics in Norwegian: Onomastikk
onomastics in Occitan (post 1500): Onomastica
onomastics in Polish: Onomastyka
onomastics in Portuguese: Onomástica
onomastics in Romanian: Onomastica
onomastics in Russian: Ономастика
onomastics in Saterfriesisch: Noomenkunde
onomastics in Slovak: Onomastika
onomastics in Slovenian: Onomastika
onomastics in Swedish: Onomastik
onomastics in Turkish: Onomastik
onomastics in Ukrainian: Ономастика
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