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poly- +‎ -nym


polynym (plural polynyms)

  1. A name consisting of multiple words.
    • 1890, The American Naturalist - Volume 24, page 695:
      They agree upon one point, viz., the advantages, other things being equal, of mononyms (single word terms) over polynyms (terms consisting of two or more words).
  2. One of multiple names for the same thing.
    • 1893 January to October, Condé B. Pallen, “The Primitive Creed of Man”, in The American Catholic Quarterly Review, volume 18, page 602:
      Dyaus, the Bright- Shining-One-in-the-Heavens, or Maruna, the All-Surrounding, All- Enduring-One ; or Agni, the Everywhere-Present-One, became the polynyms for God.
    • 1997, Knowledge Organization: KO. - Volume 24, page 17:
      The way to avoid term disputes is not to impose mononymy but, rather, to insist that the syn-tags for a given polynym (multinym) be clearly identified.
    • 2014, Riin Sirkel, Martin Tweedale, John Harris, Philoponus: On Aristotle Categories 1–5 with Philoponus, →ISBN:
      For once the former are known, the remaining two will be known too, since they are their opposites, and opposites are known by the same knowledge. In knowing what is a homonym, one will also know its opposite, I mean a polynym.
    • 2016, Katalin Nun, Jon Stewart, Volume 17: Kierkegaard's Pseudonyms, →ISBN:
      Thus, Afham's second role as a Kierkegaardian polynym is to render his reader visible.
  3. A single word or name with multiple distinct (although possibly related) meanings.
    • 1986, Āyvuk kōvai - Issue 1, Volume 18:
      A few dictionaries have treated all the meanings sub-meanings of a polynym under one entry.
    • 1988 -, Douglas Pratt, The Laser Video Disc Companion: A Guide to the Best (and Worst) Laser Video Discs:
      You have to listen for homonyms (sea/see/C, tea/T, et cetera), look for polynyms (letter/letter, degree/degree), and be on the alert for the slightest multiplicity of meaning.
    • 1995, A. Athithan, “Polysemantic Words in Tamil Dictionaries”, in South Asian Language Review, volumes 5-6, page 40:
      With respect to polynyms, the selection of the senses poses certain problems. In a general dictionary, the entry should be as comprehensive as possible, but this practice is not followed in those cited.
    • 2010, Natarajan Meghanathan, Selma Boumerdassi, Nabendu Chaki, Recent Trends in Networks and Communications, →ISBN:
      A graph based disambiguation algorithm is introduced to resolve the ambiguities such as synonyms and polynyms in place names.
  4. A word that is spelled the same as another, but which has a different pronunciation and meaning; homograph.
    • 1848, Alexander John Ellis, A Plea for Phoenetic Spelling: Or, The Necessity of Orthographic Reform:
      ) We have also furnished a list of polynyms, partly from the same source, and partly from Worcester's Dictionary, in Table IX in the Appendix, but we fear that it is not very complete.
    • 1858, The R.I. Schoolmaster - Volume 4, Issue 8, page 306:
      By our factious orthography, we argue ad hominem, that confusion is produced; polynyms are as numerous as homonyms.


Related terms[edit]