The American Name Society and NAMES advocate the increased global use of standardized terminology within onomastics.  Towards that end, NAMES encourages the use of the vocabulary and definitions accepted by the International Council of Onomastic Sciences (ICOS).  Authors interested in submitting a manuscript into NAMES for possible publication should employ at least two terms from the following list of ICOS terminology for their required keywords.


animal name: see zoonym

anthroponomasticon: an anthroponomastic dictionary or its mental or theoretical counterpart

anthroponomastics: branch of onomastics scholarly studying anthroponyms

anthroponym: proper name of a person or a group of persons

anthroponymy: branch of onomastics scholarly studying anthroponyms

appellativisation: see deonymisation

brand name: proper name of a brand, e.g. Toyota

by-name: informal, additional name of a person, a place, an object, etc.  For example,  John Brown alias Shorty in English, Juana Martinéz alias Morena in Spanish, Staffan Nyström alias Lane in Swedish, Big Apple for New York, Big Blue for IBM

choronym: proper name of a larger geographical or administrative unit of land (e.g., Africa, Sibir’ (Siberia), Suomi, Dalmacija, Toscana, Bretagne, Steiermark, Castilla, La Mancha).

cryptonym: a secret name used for the protection of its bearer

denominatum: name bearer; a person, an object etc. carrying or addressed by a certain proper name

deonym: common noun derived or originating from a proper name (e.g., tweed from the river name Tweed, watt from the family name Watt, Spanish quevedos ‘pince-nez, a kind of glasses’ from the surname Quevedo, Asturian xuan ‘simpleton, dullard, dimwit’ from the personal name Xuan. (NOTE: In many languages the term eponym is used in this sense.)

deonymisation: loss of the onymic function and/or character of a proper name

endonym: proper name of a geographical feature in an official or well-established language occurring in that area where the feature is situated (e.g., Venezia in Italian (not Venice), Praha in Czech (not Prague))

eponym: proper name of a person or group of persons, forming the basis of the name of another person, family, place, object etc. For example,  personal name Washington – toponym Washington, personal name Albert – toponym Lake Albert/Lac Albert.

ergonym: name of a product or a brand; NOTE: The term chrematonym in some languages is used in this sense, but can also have a broader meaning (i.a., proper names of social events, institutions, organisations, etc.).

ethnonym: proper name of an ethnic group (a tribe, a folk, a clan etc.), or a member of this group, e.g. Italians, Bavarians, Croat, Frenchman, Zulu. NOTE: Ethnonyms are not treated as proper names in some languages and by some scholars (e.g., ingleses in Spanish. According to some theories, ethnonyms are proper names both in plural and singular, in other theories, ethnonyms in the plural are proper names, in the singular appellatives)

exonym: name used in a specific language for a geographical feature situated outside the area where that language is widely spoken, and differing in its form from the name used in the area where the geographical feature is situated (e.g., French Londres for London, German Warschau for Warszawa, Bangkok for Krung Thep, Spanish Ginebra for Genève).

family name: hereditary name of a family or a member of a family with such a name (e.g., Smith, Farkas, Neumann, Herrera)

first name: name which a person is given at birth, baptism or at some other significant moment in life (e.g., Charles, Ivan, Giuseppe, Davor, Sophie, Anna, María, Motlalepula) NOTE: First name does not always have to stand in the first position.

field name: name of a small piece of rural land

forename: see first name

geographical name: see toponym

given name: see first name

hagionym: name of a saint. NOTE: This term should not be used for a name of sacred objects or places.

hodonym: route name (i.e., proper name of a street, square, motorway, country road, path, tunnel, ford, bridge, footbridge, railway line etc.)  For example,  Portobello Road, Eurotunnel, Via Baltica, Marktgasse, D1

hydronym: name of a body of water (i.e. name of a sea, bay, strait, lake, swamp, fishpond, storage lake, spring, well, river, brook, waterfall etc.).  For example,  Atlantic Ocean, Ostsee, Golfe du Lion, Lake Superior, Huang He, Niagara Falls

hypocoristic: unofficial expressive form of a name morphologically derived from the personal name (e.g., Dick for Richard in English, Iza for Izabela in Polish, Nacho for Ignacio in Spanish, Ivica for Ivan in Croatian.)

inhabitant name: proper name of an inhabitant of a certain region, country, town, village etc., e.g. Leipziger ‘inhabitant of Leipzig’, Londoner ‘inhabitant of London’. NOTE: Inhabitant names are not treated as proper names in some languages or by some scholars (e.g., madrileño ‘inhabitant of Madrid’ in Spanish.)

last name: see family name

macrotoponym: see choronym

matronym: see metronym

metronym: personal name originating from the mother’s name (e.g., Tilgner, from the hypocoristic form Tilg/e/, derived from the anthroponym Ottilie;  in German, Haničinec from the anthroponym Hana) in Czech

microtoponym: name referring to smaller objects like fields, pastures, fences, stones, marshes, bogs, ditches etc., and in general used locally by only a limited group of people (e.g., Lange Wiese 'meadow', andFurther Piece 'field')

minor name: see microtoponym

name: see proper name

name bearer: see denominatum

namegiver: person, community, authority or institution naming other persons, places, objects etc. namegiving  is the  process by or event at which a person, a place, an object is given a proper name (e.g., birth of a child, naming a ship etc.)

naming: see namegiving

nesonym: proper name of an island

nickname: additional, usually characterising informal proper name of a person (e.g., The Governator for Arnold Schwarenegger in the US. Nicknames are a subcategory of by-names)

oikonym: see settlement name

onomastician: name researcher, a person who studies proper names in a scholarly manner

onomasticon: an onomastic dictionary or its mental or theoretical counterpart

onomastics: the study of proper names in a scholarly manner.

onym: see proper name

onymisation: transfer of a linguistic unit, including common nouns, adjectives, verbs, interjections, phrases etc., to the class of proper names

onymy: the set of proper names within a particular region, language, period of time etc.

oronym: proper name of an elevated formation of the terrain (i.e. name of a mountain, mountain range, highland, upland, hill, rock etc.),  Examples include  Aconcagua, Elbrus, Rocky Mountains, and die Alpen. NOTE: By geographers the term oronym is sometimes used in a broader sense and includes also proper names of valleys, lowlands etc.

patronym: personal name originating from the father’s name, e.g., Andersson in Swedish; Petrov in Russian; Fernández, Mori, Olay in Spanish;  Berendt, Berendts in German.

personal name: see anthroponym

place name: see toponym

product name: proper name of a product, e.g., car Avensis by Toyota

proper name: linguistic expression that uniquely identifies a person, a group of persons, a place, an animal or an object , e.g., Earth, Zambezi, Chile, Beijing, David, Victoria, Miikkulainen, Hyundai, Sony, and Das Erzgebirge.

proprialisation: see onymisation

pseudonym: a fictitious name of a person, usually used by artists, politicians etc. as an alternative to their legal name

psychoonomastics: branch of onomastics studying names from a psycholinguistic point of view

settlement name: proper name of all kinds of human settlement such as cities, towns, villages, hamlets, farms, ranches, and houses, etc. (e.g. , Paris, Turku, Yokohama, †Troia, Nofim 'a house'.

socioonomastics: branch of onomastics studying names from a sociolinguistic point of view

street name: proper name of a thoroughfare in a city, town, or village. Street-names are a subcategory of hodonyms. Examples include Broadway, Baker Street, and Unter den Linden surname. See family name

theonym: proper name of a god, a goddess, or a divinity (e.g., Zeus, Odin, Diana, Morana)

toponomasticon: a toponomastic dictionary or its mental or theoretical counterpart

toponym: proper name of a place, both inhabited and uninhabited; examples of toponyms include names given to a mountain, water, island, wood, town, village, field, meadow, street, route, etc. (e.g., Uppsala, Mare Tranquillitatis, Amazonis Planitia, Mont Blanc, Seine, Sardinia, Auckland). NOTE: If limited to the planet Earth, toponyms can also be called geographical names.

toponymy: the set of toponyms within a specific territory/region, language, period of time etc.

zoonym: proper name of an animal (e.g., the dog name, Fido;  the elephant name,  Jumbo)