Name Glossary

Definition of terms having to do with names and naming.

Acronym - a word formed by the first letters of a group of words, name or phrase. Examples: NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) or SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus). Make sure your baby's initials don't spell out an embarrassing acronym!
Alliterative Name - two names starting with the same letter. Example: Marilyn Monroe, Joe Jonas, Pepper Potts. Alliterative names tend to be more memorable, for both humans and fictional characters.
Anonym - without name. The word "anonymous" is used in place of a name in a published work or quote with no known author, or for an author who prefers not to be named.
Appellation - a name or a title given to a person OR a thing. So an appellation could be "The Sound of Music", "The Windy City" or "Miss America."
Aptronym - a name that is aptly suited to its owner. For example, John Doctor is going to medical school to become an M.D. Usain Bolt, is the fastest runner in the world.
Astronym - name of a star or constellation.
Birth Name/Maiden Name - the original surname of a person, as opposed to a married or changed name.
Brand Name - a name given to a company, product, or service. Often officially registered with the government. Derived from when farmers put their "brand" on their livestock, indicating to what ranch/farm they belonged.
Charactonym - a name of a fictional character reflected in his or her personality traits. Example: Dr. Horrible or The Hulk.
Cognomen - Term from Ancient Rome referring to a person by their family or last name. Example: Caesar for Gaius Julius Caesar. Popular in modern times as a nick name for athletes or friends.
Code Name/Cryptonym - A false name given to a person who is undercover or part of a covert operation. Example: The Eagle has landed. People protected by the Secret Service have cryptonyms: President Bill Clinton was Eagle, Hillary Clinton was Evergreen. Barack Obama was Renegade and Michelle Obama was Renaissance.
Eponym - a word that is derived from a name. Examples: Elizabethan, McCarthyism.
Ethnonym/Demonym - Ethnonym is a name given to an ethnic group or tribal alliance, like the Potawatomi, or the Jews. A Demonym refers to native inhabitants of a particular place that is derived from the name of the place, like the Irish or Americans.
Family Name - the hereditary surname of a family.
First Name - The first or given name given to you by your parents.
Formal Name - The formal name is the full name -- prefix, first, middle, last and suffix as used on official documents. It could also mean a "long name" as opposed to a nickname, for example Jennifer is the formal name of Jen.
Gamer Name - a pseudonym chosen to represent a persona or character in a video game. Example: VidaGorth
Homonym - an occurence where two names are spelled differently, but sound the same. Example: Aiden and Aidan or Isabel and Isabel.
Hydronym - a name given to a body of water. Example: The Nile or Lake Michigan.
Hyphenated Name - when a couple choose to use both their surnames to create a new last name. Most commonly they use the names with a hyphen in between. Example: Jennifer Smith marries John Pierce. They change their names to Jennifer Smith-Pierce and John Smith-Pierce.
Initials/Monogram - the first letters of a person's first, middle and last names. A Monogram is actually the motif or graphic formed by overlaying one's initials. Monograms first appeared on coins as early as 350BCE, where they would put the monogram of the city?s name, Like Achaea would be AX for Alpha and Chi.
Last Name/Surname - Your family name.
Middle Name - the part of a person's name occurring between the first and family names, as a second given name.
Mononym - When someone is known by a single name like Socrates, Madonna, Beyonce, Prince, or Grimes.
Name Sake - a person who is named after someone else, or someone you're named after.
Nick Name - a form of your given name, indicating closeness or affection. Example: Jimmy for James. Can also be a name for ridicule or to draw attention to a personal characteristic. Example: Red for someone with red hair. From the old English term "ekename" which means "also name."
Odonym - the name of a street or road.
Onomastics - the study of the origin, history, and use of names.
Patronym - a surname that indicated the father's given name. Examples: Harrison (son of Harry) or O'Brien.
Pen Name - a pseudonym used by an author to conceal his/her identity.
Pet Name - a name used to express affection for a person. Example: Sweetie or Schmoopie.
Occupational Name - a surname originally derived from the occupation of a person. Example: John Baker or George Mason.
Palindrome Name - a name that is spelled the same forwards and backwards. Example: Al Kukla. Other palindrome names include Hannah, Eve, Ava, and Bob.
Pseudonym - a name used by a person that is other than their legal name.
Screen Name - a pseudonym used to indicate your persona online on any given website. Example: CubsFan88
Slave Name - a name given to a slave by a slaveholder. In antebellum America, the slave was not allowed to use their given African name. They were renamed, often given a “Christian” first name and the slaveholder's surname.
Stage Name - the pseudonym of a performer. Example: Cary Grant (Archibald Leach) or Lady Gaga.
Street Name - Originally coined by street criminals to avoid identification or to sound tough, but became trendy starting in the 1990s for performers. Killer D or Sammy the Bull.
Textonym - a word or name generated by a sequence of numerals keyed into a phone keypad. Example: 2229 = BABY. The language itself is called "T9" for "Texting on 9 Keys."
Toponym - a place or location name.
Zoonym - a name of an animal. Example: Giraffe.