mononym


a person’s name

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“It is a select band. Madonna, Maradona, Pele, Sting and even, possibly, Jordan. People who wear their fame with such confidence that they have dispensed with the B-list concerns of having more than one name. They are the MONONYM brigade. And now there is one more. A non-celebrity from Wickford, Essex. A 22-year-old who wears pink wellingtons. Chantelle.”

Lucy Rock - “From nobody much to someone special” - The Guardian

Did you
know?

mononym
noun

- a person’s name consisting of one word, typically a first name without a surname

- a person who is famous enough to be known only by one name, usually the first name

Oxford Dictionary / Collins Dictionary



ORIGIN

The word “mononym” is a direct loanword from the Greek word monṓnymo (μονώνυμο), which is a combination of the words mónos (μόνος, “single”), and ónoma (ὄνομα, “name”).

Alulim, first king of Sumer, is one of the earliest names known. In addition, Biblical names like Adam, Eve, Moses, or Abraham, were typically mononymous, as are Ancient Greek names like Heracles, Homer, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; and Roman figures such as Hercules, Cicero and Terence, Augustus, Caligula, and Nero.


DONKEY BRIDGES

Many years ago, I became fascinated by mnemonics (mental tools to aid the retention of facts, figures, names, vocabulary, etc.) The German word for mnemonic is Eselsbrücke (apparently from the fact that donkeys, being stubborn and stupid, need a bridge to cross even small streams of water). So as donkeys need bridges to cross an obstacle, so humans needs mental bridges to support memory.

As it happens, the Spanish word for “monkey” is “mono”. To remember this, just imagine a monkey wearing a monocle. If your mental image is vivid enough, whenever in the future you to need recall the Spanish word for “monkey”, you’ll remember the monocle-wearing monkey and MONO will pop into your head.


SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“Today’s OWAD reminds me of a famous, MONONYMOUSLY named female gorilla called ‘Coco’ born on the 4th July 1971, in San Francisco. Coco mastered over 2,000 words in American Sign Language (ASL) and was able to conduct lucid exchanges using hand signals. I imagine Coco drinking cocoa and always remember her name.”


HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

https://donorbox.org/please-become-a-friend-of-owad-3

and,

Paul Smith, IBAN: DE75 7316 0000 0002 5477 40

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