Editors and authors are word people. Words are our product, our love, our treasure. We study them, research them, discuss them, hoard them. So it’s really fun for us to talk about words that are about words.
1. Acronym: A word or name formed by combining the first letters or groups of letters from a phrase. SCUBA: self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.
2. Anatonym: A verb based on a part of the body. For example, foot the bill or toe the line.
3. Antonym: Words with opposite meanings. For example, wet and dry.
4. Aptronym: A name that is especially suited to the profession of its owner. For example, Sally Ride, the astronaut.
5. Capitonym: A word that takes on a new meaning when capitalized. For example, polish (pol-ish), Polish (Polish).
6. Eponym: A place, thing, or event named from a real or mythical person. The earl of Sandwich, who asked for meat between two slices of bread, is the eponym of the sandwich.
7. Heteronym: Words with identical spelling but different meaning and pronunciation. Bow as in bow and arrow, and bow as in bow of a boat.
8. Metonym: A word used to substitute for another word or phrase with which it is closely associated. Crown to refer to the monarchy, brass for military officers.
9. Patronym: A family name based on the name of an ancestor. Richardson (son of Richard), O’Reilly (son of Reilly), McDonald (son of Donald).
10. Pseudonym: From the Greek pseud (false) and onym (name), a false name or pen name. Mark Twain is a pseudonym for Samuel Langhorne Clemens.
11. Synonym: Words that mean the same thing.
12. Tautonym: Words composed of two identical parts, for example, tomtom or tutu.
13. Toponym: A word that began as the name of a place, such as hamburger (from Hamburg, Germany) and afghan (a soft blanket from Afghanistan).