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Autological word: Wikis


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An autological word (or homological word, or autonym) is a word that describes itself, i.e., its definition is self-referential. Since adjectives are words that are designed to describe things, including words, most autological words are adjectives.

Other parts of speech may be autological: nouns and verbs can also be self-descriptive, though usually not in the same way that adjectives are; phrases may be autological, e.g., three words long is three words long; likewise acronyms may be, like TLA for Three Letter Acronym. Noun itself is autological.



A word which is not autological is heterological, except the word heterological itself, which logically cannot be either – see the Grelling–Nelson paradox. The word autological itself may be taken, without contradiction, to be either autological or heterological – see Grelling–Nelson paradox#Autological.

Ostensive definitions

A source of autological words are words coined by ostensive definition: one names a phenomenon by an example of it, frequently the first, and the resulting term is thus autological.

Examples include portmanteau word, mondegreen, and eggcorn. Japanese examples include jūbako (重箱) and yutō (湯桶); see: Kanji#Other readings.

See also

External links


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