Archive for February 7th, 2013

Is It Proper?

February 7, 2013

Here’s a new word that I ran across while reading a book the other day.  Onomastics is a branch of historical linguistics and is the Latin term for name research.  The focus of study is on both personal names and place names.  So, the next time you ponder “what’s in a name,” some onomastician somewhere will be researching that name and coming up with an answer.  For more information, feel free to check out the American Name Society, or the International Council on Onomatic Sciences.  And depending on how interested you are in this topic, here’s one of the scholarly journals: Names: a Journal of Onomastics (231 issues are available electronically [for a price]).

onomastics

\on-uhmas-tiks\, noun;

1. the study of the origin, history, and use of proper names.
2. a systematization of the facts about how proper names are formed in a given language

onomastician

\on-uh-muhstishuhn\, noun;

onomastic

\on-uhmas-tik\, adjective;

1.  of or pertaining to proper names.
2. of or pertaining to onomastics
3. Law. (of a signature) written in the handwriting other than that of the document, instrument, etc., to which it is appended.