Learn English – Term for accurately descriptive and misleadingly descriptive toponyms


A question popped up on GIS.stackexchange.com ("geographical information systems") asking "Is there a name for a situation when the place is clearly or unclearly named?".

The example given there was the fictitious "Red Rock Mall", which would either be an accurate descriptive toponym if the mall was actually located near a red rock, or misleading if it wasn't.

There's the term aptronym, "a person's name that is regarded as amusingly appropriate to their occupation", and inaptronym has been suggested as the antonym for that. However, the use of those terms seems to be limited to names of people, not places.

I also came across the term semantic fitness, "the degree to which a name is perceived to fit with the object it identifies". The name "Red Rock Mall" would have a high semantic fitness if there were a red rock nearby. It seems that that's not a very wide spread word, though, especially in the context of toponymy.

Is there a better word to describe that a descriptive toponym is accurate or that it is misleading?

Best Answer

A mistoponym as described in Urban Dictionary. I don't think there is a more formal term for this type of misnaming.

Correspondingly a correct toponym is a eutoponym.

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