All Words > Exonym

Tuesday, May 24

Exonym

[EK-soh-nim]

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Greek, 1950s

1.

A name for a place or group of people that is only used outside that place or group.

Examples of Exonym in a sentence

"China is an exonym used by English speakers."

"Ho Chi Minh City is a prime example of an exonym."

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About Exonym

Australian geographer Marcel Aurousseau first used this word in his 1957 book, “The Rendering of Geographical Names.” It stems from the Greek “exō,” meaning “outside” and “-onym,” a Greek noun-forming suffix.

Did you Know?

The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names defines an exonym as a "name used in a specific language for a geographical feature situated outside the area where that language is spoken, and differing in its form from the name used in an official or well-established language of that area where the geographical feature is located." It defines its opposite, “endonym” as a "name of a geographical feature in an official or well-established language occurring in that area where the feature is located." For instance, “Germany” is the English-language exonym for “Deutschland,” whereas “Roma” is the endonym Italians call their capital city instead of “Rome.”

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