The Phrontistery




Words about Words

It should probably come as no surprise that the people who coin new words tend to be the sorts of people who love words, and thus, that many of the words they coin would be about words. You follow? I'm talking about the logophiles and verbomaniacs of the world, of which (obviously) I am one. The 140-odd words in this list (feel free to remove the hyphen mentally if it suits you) are thoroughly meta-linguistic: they refer to kinds of words, parts of words, aspects of words, transformations of words, and so on. Needless to say, if you're here on the Phrontistery for any length of time, you are probably deeply in need of this list.


Word Definition
abecedismword created from the initials of words in a phrase
ablautvariation in root vowel of words to change meaning
acronymword formed from initial letters of another word
acrophonicusing a symbol for the initial sound of a thing
acroteleuticphrase or words at the end of a psalm
adversativeword or phrase expressing opposition
allolaliaspeech disorder featuring randomly spoken words
alvearybeehive; area of the ear where wax collects; word-list
anacrusissyllable prior to the normal rhythm of a verse
annominationpun; play on words
apheresistaking away a sound or syllable at the beginning of a word
aphesisloss of initial unaccented vowel from beginning of a word
apocopecutting off the last sound of a word
arithmogramnumber composed of numerical values of letters in a word
auslautfinal sound of a word or syllable
bahuvrihicompound word whose second part is a noun but that acts as an adjective
biverbalof, like or pertaining to two words; having a double sense
cacologybad choice of words or faulty pronunciation
calligramdesign using the letters of a word
calqueword or expression introduced into a language by literally translating it
catachresisincorrect usage of a word
chevilleunnecessary word used to extend line of verse
cledonismcircumlocution used to avoid speaking unlucky words
cohyponymword which is one of multiple hyponyms of another word
definiensword or words used in a dictionary definition
diectasisextending line of verse by adding extra syllable
dysphemismreplacement of an inoffensive by an offensive word
echoismthe formation of imitative words
eclipsisomission of sounds or words in speech
ecthlipsisomitting one or more sounds in pronouncing a word
epenthesisinsertion of extra sound into a word
epeolatryworship of words
epithesisaddition of one or more letters to a word
etymologystudy of origins of words
etymontrue origin of a word
euphonismcustom of using pleasing sounding words
euphonymeuphonious synonym
eutonypleasantness of the sound of a word
flexiloquentspeaking ambiguously or using words of doubtful meaning
grammalogueword represented by a single sign; logogram
grammatolatryworship of letters and words
hadehariaconstant use of the word “hell”
hapaxword which occurs only once
haplographyomission of words or lines in recopying text
haplologyomission of a doubled or similar sound or syllable in a word
heteronymword having same spelling but different sound and meaning
heterophemyaccidental use of word different from that meant
holophrasesingle word expressing sentence or phrase
homographwords spelled the same but of different meaning
homonymwords having the same sound but different meanings
hypernymword representing a class of words or things
hyphaeresisomission of sound or letter from a word
hyponymterm which is a member of a larger class
iconomaticusing pictures to represent sounds of words; rebus-writing
ideophoneword that is spoken but not written
illocutionan act which is performed by speaking words
inkhornismpedantic word or expression
isonymword having the same derivation or form as another
largiloquenttalkative; full of words
lethologicainability to remember the right word
lexicologystudy of words and their meanings
lexigramsign which represents a word
lexigraphyart of definition of words
lexigraphysystem of writing in which each sign represents a word
lexiphanicbombastic; sesquipedalian; using many long words
loan-wordword borrowed from another language
loganamnosisobsession with trying to recall forgotten words
logocracygovernment of words
logodaedalusartificer in words
logogogueone who issues laws or rules regarding words
logogramsingle sign standing for word or phrase
logogriphriddle in which word is found from other words' letters
logomachycontention about words or in words
logomancydivination using words
logophilea lover of words
logorrheaexcessive flow of words; uncontrollable garrulity
logotypebody of text with frequently occurring word or syllable
malapropismmisapplication of words without mispronunciation
meronymword whose relation to another is a part to the whole
metanalysisincorrect placement of 'n' at start of word following a nindefinite article
metaplasmalteration in spelling of a word by adding, removing, or transposing letters
metathesistransposition of sounds or letters of a word
metonymyfigurative use of word to name an attribute of its subject
monepiccomprising only one word or single-word sentences
monoptoteword with one form for all cases; indeclinable noun
multiloquencetalkativeness; use of many words
neoterismintroduction of new things, especially words
nomenclatorlexicon; word-list; one who assigns names
notarikonmaking words from letters taken from throughout a sentence
oligosyllableword of few syllables
onomatomaniairresistible desire to repeat certain words
onomatophobiafear of hearing a certain word
orthologycorrect use of words
oxytoneword bearing acute accent on last syllable
palabraa word; talk
palilaliadisorder characterized by rapid repetition of words
paragogeaddition of a sound to end of word
paragraphiawriting of different letters and words than intended
paramnesiaabnormality of memory; inability to remember meaning of word
paranymeuphemism; word whose meaning altered to conceal evasion
paraphasiadisorder in which one word substituted for another
parasynesiscorruption of forms of words
parasynthesisderivation of words using hyphenated compounds
paresisomission of an element from a word
paronymword from same root or having same sound as another
paroxytonehaving an acute accent on the next to last syllable
pauciloquentof few words; speaking little
penacutehaving an acute accent on the penultimate syllable; paroxytone
polyonymname consisting of several words
polysemantword with many meanings
portmanteauword formed by blending two existing words
proclisispronunciation of word dependent on following word
provectiontransfer of last letter of one word to first of next
pundigrionplay on words; pun
quatcha word; a sound
radixroot; root-number or numerical base; root word or stem
rebuspicture puzzle representing a word
repetendfigures, words, notes or numbers that are repeated
rhemaword; verb
rhematicof words or verbs; forming a word or words
rhemespeech element that expresses an idea
rhopalichaving each word one syllable longer than that before
semantemeword expressing an idea, such as a noun
semantologyscience of meanings of words
sesquipedaliantending to use long or cumbersome words
skothendingrhyme in which final consonant is same but preceding vowel differs
syncategorematicmeaningless or unable to form a term without other words
syncopeomission of a sound from middle of a word
synsemanticof a word, having no meaning outside a specific context
telestichpoem where final letters of each line spell a word
tetragrammatonsacred word or acronym of four letters
tmesisseparation of word into parts by an intervening word
trionymname consisting of three words
univocalichaving only one vowel; written passage using only one vowel
verbalismundue attention to words alone
verbatimword for word
verbicidedestroying the meaning of a word
verbigerationmorbid and purposeless repetition of certain words
verbileone whose mental processes are stimulated by words
verbomaniacraze for words
wordboundunable to find expression in words


I hope you have found this site to be useful. If you have any corrections, additions, or comments, please contact me. Please note that I am not able to respond to all requests. Please consult a major dictionary before e-mailing your query. All material on this page © 1996-2014 Stephen Chrisomalis. Links to this page may be made without permission.

Top of page
Return to the Phrontistery