A book such as the Oxford Names Companion is an onomasticon, and the word has throughout history turned up most often in the titles of dictionaries of proper names or place names.
It still does occasionally: There’s the Buffyverse Onomasticon, an online resource that gives the origins of the names of all the characters in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Onomasticon to Cicero’s Letters and the Onomasticon of the Hittite Pantheon (in three volumes) are two modern scholarly examples. The word is from Greek onomázein, to name, of which onuma, a name, is a close relative.
They’re the source of other words to do with names. An onomastician studies the origin and form of proper names of every kind and the field of study is called onomastics. The study of place names is an important onomastic endeavour, and has its own name, toponymy (from Greek topos, a place + onuma), with a toponymist being a person who studies it. We must also distinguish between an onomastician and an onomasiologist — the latter studies the principles of naming, such as the way it varies between places and groups of people and how new names are formed.
Search World Wide Words
Recently added or updated
Bob’s-a-dying; Methinks; Bill of goods; Binge-watching; Codswallop; That’s all she wrote; Great Scott; Gone for a Burton; Pull the plug; Bob’s your uncle; Gibberish; You snowing me?; Chi-ike; Salop; Hairy eyeballs; Broom-squire; Latrinalia; Charon; True blue; Nakation; Hands off?; Who coined forecast?; Vigintillion; Hingle; Bookaneer; Pig sick; Adimpleate; Deodand; Ilk; Fowler’s Modern English Usage; Skint; Vellichor; Galoot; Crizzling; Caparisoned.
Support World Wide Words!
Donate via PayPal. Select your currency from the list and click Donate.
Buy from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you. Select your preferred site and click Go!