Appendix:English autological terms

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A word is autological or homological if it describes itself. Since adjectives are words that are designed to describe things, including words, most autological words are adjectives.

Other parts of speech may be autological: Nouns and Verbs can also be self-descriptive, though not in the same way that adjectives are; phrases may be autological, e.g., “three words long” is three words long; likewise acronyms may be, like TLA for “Three Letter Acronym" or RAS syndrome for "Redundant Acronym Syndrome syndrome".

A word which is not autological is heterological, except the word “heterological” itself, which logically cannot be either – see the Grelling–Nelson paradox. The word “autological” itself may be taken, without contradiction, to be either autological or heterological – see Grelling–Nelson paradox#Autological.

The main list of autological words is Category:English autological terms; below find discussions of words that are autological in certain contexts or require explanation.


Depending on context[edit]

  • initial (In the present context; could be replaced by synonyms such as first)
  • second (In the present context) (etc.)
  • l33t
  • autological (can be treated as autological or not, indifferently; see Grelling–Nelson paradox)
  • black (and other colours, when the word is printed in those colours: red, green, blue, etc.)
  • camouflaged (when camouflaged, as in: camouflaged )
  • contextual (in this one, at least)
  • editable (in a wiki-based online encyclopedia)
  • English (and its equivalent in other languages, when referring to the language)
  • igpay atinlay
  • ink (when written in ink)
  • legible (often)
  • linking (in an online encyclopedia)
  • listed, when it is an item in a list
  • mentioned (In the present context)
  • mispeld (When spelled incorrectly)
  • neologism used to be autological, but no longer is
  • obscurantist (when used to describe long, intelligent-sounding language; obfuscatory)
  • olden (at present)
  • pronounceable (for many people)
  • redundant, when placed preceding tautologies
  • self-referential (when applied to itself)
  • slang (abbreviation for short language)
  • spoken/written etc. (when spoken/written etc.)
  • unsung/unwritten etc. (when not sung/written etc.)
  • the name of any typeface (when written in that typeface)
  • true when used as a string literal in most programming languages (non-empty strings usually evaluate to true when converted to boolean)
  • typed (In the present context)
  • superfluous
  • sibilant (when spoken by somebody without a lisp or other sibilant-affecting speech impediment)
  • QmFzZTY0 ('Base64' in Base64)
  • 010000100110100101101110011000010111001001111001 ('Binary' in Binary)
  • antepenultimate (In the present context)
  • penultimate (In the present context)
  • final (In the present context)


Depending on context[edit]

Other parts of speech[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]