Latin #6

Latin root #6: NOMEN, NOMIN

Meaning: name


1. nom de plume (n) (plume = feather, as in feather pen): the pen name of a writer

I, Christine, have given myself the nom de plume of An Island Mom. I like to imagine trumpets sounding when this is said aloud. This makes me feel like a woman of consequence. In the rest of my life, I am rather inconsequential, unless I’m holding chocolate over the small people’s heads.

2. nomenclature (n) (cal = call): a system of names or terms, what to call things

The nomenclature of the males in my family sounds like a foreign language to me. They’re all into video games and when they start going off about them, they might as well be using the nomenclature of astrophysics, for all the meaning the conversation holds for me.

3. nominal (adj) (-al = characteristic of, relating to): relating to name only, not real

Officially, my husband and I share all household tasks. However, his role in the cleaning of the household is only nominal; I’ve never seen him clean a bathroom, mop, or dust. The same applies to me when it comes to automotive tasks. Well, I do clean the minivan, so does that count as an automotive task or a cleaning task? I’d like to manipulate this one in my favor, if possible.

NOTE: The root ONOMA is Greek, meaning name, so I thought I’d include it here as it closely relates to the Latin.

4. onomatology (n) (log = the study of): the study of forms and origins of proper names

If you ever want to sound impressive, say you are currently doing a self-study of onomatology. Few will really know what it is, but it sure sounds impressive. Then, go read a baby name book for a few minutes. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I feel it would be a valid claim. See, I’ve got your back.

Another idea is to keep reading my blog (I’m subtle at self-promotion), paying special attention to the etymology posts, as etymology is still a lofty-sounding word with vague meaning for many, and then claim etymology as your area of self-study. In fact, when I taught etymology, people often asked me to clarify what that was. And, one in ten times, when it came up in conversation, the other person would give me quizzical look for a minute, and then find some way to inquire why someone like me would choose to teach about bugs. I would laugh, with wild abandon but in a kind-hearted way, and explain the subtle yet significant difference between entomology and etymology. In truth, if I had to choose between teaching entomology and starvation, and I didn’t have children, I’d have some serious thinking to do.

2 Comment

  1. The nomenclature revolving around Star Wars minutia in my house makes my eyes glaze over. I soak up your etymology posts so that I feel like I’ve actually read something educational while catching up on blogs.

    But if you wrote about entomology? (((shudder)))

    1. Star Wars Legos, perchance? Me too. See, I feel like I’m reading something about the culinary arts when I read your blog. It’s all good.

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