All Words > Exonym

illustration Exonym



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Greek, 1950s


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."

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.”

illustration Exonym

Recent Words

What's the word?