MEANING: noun: The custom of naming a parent after their child.

ETYMOLOGY: From Greek teknon (child) + -onym (name). Earliest documented use: 1888.

NOTES: If you have ever called your spouse Billy’s Dad or Billy’s Mom, you have practiced teknonymy. When we refer to a parent as a senior, as in Bush Sr. (or, to get fancy, Bush père), we are also doing a kind of teknonymy. It’s just that in some cultures teknonymy is practiced more formally and a parent is renamed after the birth of the first child. There are many reasons for using teknonymy. In some cultures, it’s considered taboo to call certain relations by name (as in the usage example below). Sometimes, it’s convenience. You may not know or remember the names of your child’s friends’ parents, for example, so you resort to teknonymy.

TECH NO NY MY - No electronics in New York City? Amazing!

TECNOZYMY - genecically-engineered yeast

TECHNONYMY - web-surfing in incognito mode

TREKNONYMY - nobody knows the names of Picard and crew in this adventure that takes place in the Holodeck