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A.Word.A.Daywith Anu Garg
teknonymy or tecnonymy
noun: The custom of naming a parent after their child.
From Greek teknon (child) + -onym (name). Earliest documented use: 1888.
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.
“Indeed, the taboo against using personal names is so strong, and the urge to teknonymy so strong, that the child in question can be imaginary. Sim cites with disapproval the example of a young housewife on a TV gameshow being asked to introduce to the audience the gentleman standing besides her. Her reply [meant] ‘This is my husband (the father of our as-yet-unconceived child)’.”
Ho-min Sohn; Korean Language in Culture and Society; University of Hawaii Press; 2006.
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Kind words, kind looks, kind acts, and warm hand-shakes, - these are means of grace when men in trouble are fighting their unseen battles. -John Hall, pastor (31 Jul 1829-1898)