Onomastics (or, in older texts, onomatology) is the study of the etymology, history, and use of proper names. An alethonym ('true name') or an orthonym ('real name') is the proper name of the object in question, the object of onomastic study.

Onomastics can be helpful in data mining, with applications such as named-entity recognition, or recognition of the origin of names. It is a popular approach in historical research, where it can be used to identify ethnic minorities within wider populations and for the purpose of prosopography.


Onomastics originates from the Greek onomastikós (ὀνομαστικός, 'of or belonging to naming'), itself derived from ónoma (ὄνομα, 'name').


  • Toponymy (or toponomastics), one of the principal branches of onomastics, is the study of place names.
  • Anthroponomastics is the study of personal names.
  • Literary onomastics is the branch that researches the names in works of literature and other fiction.
  • Socio-onomastics or Re-Onomastics is the study of names within a society or culture.

See also


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