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The Seven Deadly Nyms

Taly Sharon

taly@sharon-it.com
sharont@alum.mit.edu
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The Seven Deadly Nyms
1. Contronyms
2. Heteronyms
3. Polyonyms
4. Homonyms
5. Capitonym
6. Caconyms
7. Exonym

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Nyms (1)
1. Contronyms is a single word that has multiple
meanings that contradict the others
Examples:
Fast - moving quickly vs. firmly stuck in place
Hysterical - overwhelmed with fear vs. outrageously funny
2. Heteronyms are words that are spelled
identically but have different meanings when
pronounced differently:
Examples: bow, desert, object
3. Polyonyms are different words have the same
meaning
Examples: Jupiter, Zeus, Oden

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Nyms (2)
4. Homonyms are words that have the same
sound but a completely different meaning
Examples: to, too, two
Comment: Some homonyms are also
contronyms
5. Capitonym is a word that changes
pronunciation and meaning when it is
capitalized.
Examples:
You polish silver with ammonia and silicon, though you'd
never dream of applying the same to a Polish sausage.

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An Ode to the Spelling Chequer

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Nyms (3)
6. Caconym is an erroneous name, especially in
taxonomic classification.
Caconyms might be useful for tracking down
archaic or outdated usage but misleading
otherwise.
7. Exonym is a place name that foreigners use
instead of the name that natives use.
Examples: Cologne:Koln; Morocco:Maroc.
Using exonyms as search terms will likely net
results biased toward foreign information

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How to learn more about Nyms?
Dictionary
Thesaurus
Examples:
WordNet http://wordnet.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/webwn
Synonym http://www.synonym.com/synonym/
Webster online www.webster.com
www.Thesaurus.com
www.visualthesaurus.com (pay)
Google define:
Google ~

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Thesaurus
Semantic network (graph) of related terms.
Can be created manually or generated
automatically using statistics.
Relations in the thesaurus can be weighted.
Can be used to enhance and refine queries.

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Water pipe
Synonyms: conduit, hookah, hubble-
bubble, kalian, main, nargileh, plumbing,
sluice, steam pipe, water conduit, water

MainSource: Roget's New Millennium


Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1)

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Webster

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Thesaurus - example
http://www.thesurus.com
Query: can
http://thesaurus.reference.com/sea
rch?q=can
able
container
toilet
and many more

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http://thesaurus.reference.com/search?q=WATER

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Visual Thesaurus
http://www.visualthesaurus.com

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Visual Thesaurus

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I-Tools Language Tools
Shortcuts to many dictionaries, thesauri,
and other tools.
http://www.itools.com/lang/

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Thesauri @ I-Tools
http://www.itools.com/lang

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) (
http://www.ravmilim.co.il/tour/defaultTour.
asp

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Learning Synonyms from Google
Using ~ and - to find all synonyms
example process:
~car returns keywords in bold (car, cars, auto,
BMW, etc.)
~car -car returns all except car (cars, auto,
BMW, etc.)
~car -car -cars -auto -BMW (motor, van, etc.)
repeat the process to discover different
synonyms (up to 31)
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Coping with Nyms
Learn the different
meanings (using tools)
Disambiguate:
add words to query
remove (-) words from query

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Thesaurus Historical AltaVista
Query Refinement
http://www.altavista.com/

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Historical AltaVista Query
Refinement (cont.)
http://www.altavista.com/

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Using Synonyms with Google
Using ~ and - to select synonyms
Example:
~Aluminum
retrieves:
aluminum
Alumina
Al
Metals
New Query: ~aluminum -ElAl -al-qaida
When looking for children related but not family
oriented websites use:
~child family
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:

' : ,
.
' : (
)
' :
.

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Exercises
1. What is the problem that can be associated
with each of the following terms?
Which category of Nym does it belong to?
a. Content
b. Root
c. Convict
d. Florence
e. Week
f. Record

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Exercises
2. What are the different terms describing the
word cheap according to Google?
3. You are looking for stores for cheap buys of
goods, which terms would be right to use?
(hint try ~ -)
4. What terms does Google find related to fly?
5. Try searching for fly in the thesaurus and
visual thesaurus.
6. If you are interested in the recreation related
to fly, which are the correct terms to use or
remove?

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References
The Seven Deadly Nyms
http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article
.phpr/2160501
List of Heteronyms http://www-
personal.umich.edu/~cellis/heteronym.html
http://www.fun-with-words.com/

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