We all love playing games. Don’t we? Learning new words is also akin to playing a game. It can be a fun and exciting journey of discovery. Besides enhancing your vocabulary it makes you articulate. Have you ever wondered if there are words in the English language that have the same spelling and pronunciation but have different meanings? Or, if there are words that mean the same things or words that mean opposite things?
Yes, there are such words. And they are called homonyms, synonyms, and antonyms respectively. Do you find something in common between these terminologies? You guessed it right. It’s NYM. “Nym” derives from the Greek word for name or word.
The suffix -nym or -onym is attached to the end of a root word thus forming a new compound word. These compound words are often used to describe a person, place, or thing. For example, the root word “acro” is combined with the suffix “nym” to form “acronym”, which is used to describe an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words. For example, the acronym “WHO” stands for “World Health Organisation”.
Cafe Converse, Delhi’s leading Spoken English Institute shares a few of the nyms in this article that can make your speech or an article more interesting.
Let’s start with the most common ones:
Acronym— It is a kind of abbreviation formed from the initial letters of the words in a phrase and is always written in capital letters. They make life much easier when it comes to remembering long names or phrases. Acronyms are often used in the medical and scientific fields, as well as in the military. They are also widely used in text messaging and online chat.
Examples: PETA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
ASAP stands for As Soon As Possible
Synonym refers to a word or phrase that has the same or nearly the same meaning as another word or phrase in the same language. They are used to avoid repetition and add variety to a piece of writing. For example, a synonym for sad is “depressed”, and a synonym for happy is “elated”.
Antonym is a word that has the opposite meaning of another word. For example, the antonym of ‘happy’ is ‘sad.’ Antonyms can be used to describe different shades of meaning and to add nuance to language.
Homonym is a word that has the same spelling and pronunciation as another word but has a different meaning. For example, the words “right” and “write” are homonyms. Homonyms can be either homophone, which are words that sound the same but have different meanings, or homographs, which are words that have the same spelling but different meanings. For instance, the words “fair” can be a homophone, meaning a fun event, or a homograph, meaning light in color or just.
Heteronym is a type of word that is spelled the same way but has a different pronunciation and meaning. For example, the word “bow” can refer to a weapon used to shoot arrows or to a gesture of respect. Heteronyms are also known as homographs.
Let’s take a look at the other -nyms:
Antagonym or Contronym is a word that has the same spelling and pronunciation but has different definitions which makes them contradictory. For instance, the word anxious can mean either worried or excited.
Apotronym is a term used when someone’s name is particularly suited for their profession. For example, a doctor named Doris Cure or a lawyer named Justin Case. This phenomenon is often seen as a coincidence but it can also be intentional. It adds humor to a piece of writing.
Capitonym is a type of homonym where a word changes its meaning when it is capitalized. For example, the word “March” can mean a month of the year when capitalized or the act of marching when it is not capitalized-“march”.
Eponym is a term derived from a person’s name. It is used to refer to something that was created or discovered by that person, such as the term “Parkinson’s Disease” for the neurological disorder first described by James Parkinson.
These are just a few of the nyms in the English language. Keep exploring and you will find many more to add to your vocabulary.
Ms Sonu Goel is a professionally acclaimed certified ESL trainer from British Council having 15 years of strong background for teaching English language in both online and physical classes. She is dedicated to the teaching of English in an interactive and practical way, whereby learners feel enriched with knowledge and experience the language hands-on. She uses creative ideas and aids to let the learning happen as organically and efficiently as possible. Ms Goel has travelled various European countries and experienced an array of cultures and linguistic skills for the English language.