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The Family of Nyms: A Writer's Resource

Updated on July 16, 2008



An introduction to a few members of the nym family. 


Meet The Nyms

I've only included Nyms that concern language, since this is a writer's resource.

  • Acronyms
  • Antonyms
  • Antagonyms
  • Capitonyms
  • Heteronyms
  • Homonyms
  • Oronyms
  • Polyonyms
  • Synonyms


An acronym is an abbreviation of a title or phrase, usually formed from the first letter of each word. Some acronyms create pronouncable words.

Example of an Acronym

S.C.O.T.S. - Southern Culture On The Skids

I always enjoy seeing S.C.O.T.S. perform because their songs make me laugh.


also: contronyms, autoantonyms

A word with meanings that oppose each other.

Example of a Antagonym

Left - remained behind.

Left - gone away.

He left the notebook behind when he left.


Antonyms are words with opposing definitions.

Example of a Antonym

Hot - above average temperature.

Cold - below average temperature.

The morning was cold, but it was hot by noon.


A word that changes meaning when capitalized.

Example of a Capitonym

Bob - Diminuative or nickname of the name "Robert".

bob - To move up and down.

Bob bobbed his head in agreement as he read my definition.


A heteronym is a word which changes definition based on pronounciation.

Example of a Heteronym

Content - The gist or meaning; things contained.

Content - Satisfied; accepting.

I was content with the content of the paragraph.

Learn More About Heteronyms


Words that sound alike but have unrelated meanings are homonyms.

Example of a Homonym

To - indicates intention or direction.

Too - Also; in addition.

Two - One plus one.

She took two of my sweaters to college by mistake, too.


also Homophones

Unrelated words or phrases which are spelled differently yet pronounced the same.

Example of a Oronym

I see - within my view or understanding.

Icey - frozen water on surfaces.

I see how icey it is outside.


Different words with an identical meaning.

Example of a Polyonym




Example of a Synonym


Learn More About Synonyms


A Retronym is a noun paired with an adjective to distinguish the original object from a more common newer version.

Example of a Retronym

Films - became silent films when movies with audio became the norm.

My girlfriend enjoys older movies, especially silent films.


A word or taxonomic name that consists of two identical words or series of letters.

Example of a Tautonym

Bye-bye - friendly leavetaking.

This is the end of the lens. I hope it's been helpful.


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    Post Comment

    • legbamel lm profile image

      legbamel lm 

      10 years ago

      It cracked me up that you used SCOTS as an example of an acronym, as I've got lenses on both the band and English grammar. I'm adding this to my lensroll. Thanks!

    • mythphile profile image

      Ellen Brundige 

      11 years ago from California

      Great idea for a lens!

      One suggestion -- include the Greek roots of the words.

      onoma = Gk for name(onyma is an Aeolic dialect spelling, a bit like southern slang), syn = with, anti = against, etc.

    • anndouglas profile image


      12 years ago

      What a great idea for a lens!


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