Printable Version
Pronunciation: ahn-ê-mês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Named, having a name 2. Having a name attached or associated; not anonymous, as an onymous letter to the editor.

Notes: This is not a sniglet, a word that should be in the dictionaries but isn't; it is a respectable word that is in the dictionaries but is widely ignored. It even has a family, including an adverb, onymously, a noun, onymity [-ni-m-ti], and a much more famous antonym, anonymous.

In Play: Anything to which a name is attached is onymous: "Angelina had an onymous article on the front page of the newspaper after working there only three weeks." This word is probably most often used in the phrase "onymous or anonymous" or in referring to named items that are not usually named: "Jessie Bell lived in an onymous house with the rather ostentatious name, Bell Wether Estate."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from the Greek noun onoma, onyma "name", a rearrangement of the sounds in nomen, which seems to have been the original Proto-Indo-European word for "name". We find this form in Latin nomen, nominis, which we borrowed for our word nominal "in name only". The Greek version also turns up in words like synonym, antonym, and several similar to these, which we also borrowed. Yes, the same PIE root descended through the Germanic languages to German Name and English name. (Today's word was suggested by the blatantly onymous Lew Jury, who has sent us several interesting words before.)

Dr. Goodword,

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