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What is a catchy word that means (non-)self-descriptive

There are plenty of names for word sets:

  • synonyms: words that have the same meaning
  • palindromes: words that read the same forward or backwards
  • homonyms: words that have the same spelling and different meaning
  • metanyms: words that symbolize other larger concepts

But a certain set of words that define word sets are also in that set. Unfortunately, I can only think of one right now: antonym, which is in fact an antonym to the word synonym.

Do words like this have a name?

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marked as duplicate by Kit Z. Fox, simchona, RegDwigнt Jul 26 '12 at 8:44

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Are you looking for "self-referential" words? –  Hellion Jul 25 '12 at 13:16
I think this is an interesting question, but out of scope on this site since we generally discourage list-type and discussion questions. –  Kit Z. Fox Jul 25 '12 at 13:19
Noun........... –  SF. Jul 25 '12 at 13:34
Also adjectival… –  Ben Dyer Jul 25 '12 at 14:26
"Antonym" isn't that good an example, as a word is only an antonym with respect to some other word, not taken by itself. –  Jay Jul 25 '12 at 14:41

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

An autologous word is one that describes itself, such as curt, sesquipedalian, recherché, and septisyllabically.

And autologous. :)

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No. See my answer. –  Colin Fine Jul 25 '12 at 21:42

The OED lists autological with this meaning. Since the first citation (F.P.Ramsey, in 1926) was defining the word (for the purposes of a particular argument), this is a rare case in which one can reasonably say that autological is definitely the correct answer: that is the word which was coined specifically for that meaning.

Autologous is listed in the OED only with a medical meaning, and the first ten pages of results for googling "autologous" contain no non-medical examples.

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Well, could I talk you into an autonym? –  tchrist Jan 15 '14 at 5:45

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