-ONYM. [Through LATIN from GREEK ónuma/ónoma name]. A word base or combining form that stands either for a WORD (as in SYNONYM) or a NAME (as in pseudonym). Words containing -onym have two kinds of adjective: with -ous, as in synonymous (having the nature or quality of a synonym: synonymous words) or with -ic, as in synonymic (concerning synonyms: synonymic relationships). The form -onymy indicates type, as with synonymy (the type of sense relation in which words have the same or similar meaning) and eponymy (the category of word-formation that concerns words derived from people's names). Because -onym begins with o (the commonest Greek THEMATIC VOWEL, as in biography), the base form is sometimes taken to be -nym, an assumption reinforced by the initial n of the equivalent terms nomen in Latin and name in English. As a result, some recent technical terms have been formed on -nym: for example, characternym and paranym. See ACRONYM, ANTONYM, EPONYM, HETERONYM, HOMONYM, HYPONYM, RETRONYM.
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