Word of the day: onomastic

As always, my reading provides me lots of opportunities to learn new words. In a discussion of the French royal cosmographer Thevet’s fantastical lists of creatures, places, and monuments:

In this exercise in Rabelaisian nomenclature, Colossus generates Column by, it seems, the repetition of a common radical; Ypodrome proceeds from pyramid by inverting the first two letters; and the Obelisk consummates, with its terminal erection, the alignment of Colossi with Columns by borrowing from them a pivotal vowel o. The onomastic play that represented, along with a vogue for anagrams and for the equivocal, one of the bases of the poetic science of the Renaissance.” Frank Lestringant Mapping the Renaissance World: The Geographical Imagination in the Age of Discovery U of C Press, 1994, 34.

Onomastic apparently means, “of or relating to the study of the history and origin of proper names.”