[ hahy-puh-nim ]
/ ˈhaɪ pə nɪm /
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noun Linguistics.
a term that denotes a subcategory of a more general class: “Chair” and “table” are hyponyms of “furniture.”Compare superordinate (def. 4).
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Origin of hyponym

1960–65; hyp- + -onym, or as back formation from hyponymy


hy·pon·y·mous [hahy-pon-uh-muhs], /haɪˈpɒn ə məs/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a hyponym?

A hyponym is a word that is a subcategory of a more general category. Cookie, for example, would be a hyponym of the more general category of dessert. A cookie is a kind of dessert.

In linguistics, a hyponym is any term that is a category that is a smaller part of a more general category. Couch and chair are hyponyms of living room furniture, and living room furniture is a hyponym of furniture

Every hyponym has a corresponding hypernym, a term that is the higher or more general category that the hyponym is a part of. For example, medium, meaning a means of communication, is a hypernym for terms like movie, book, and television, which are all hyponyms of medium.

Example: Fruits and flowers are hyponyms of plants.

Where does hyponym come from?

The first records of the term hyponym are from around the 1960s. It combines the prefix hyp-, meaning “under,” and the combining form -onym, meaning “word” or “name.” A hyponym is a word that is under another word in a categorical hierarchy.

Hyponyms and hypernyms are another way to categorize words. We can also categorize words as antonyms (words with opposite meanings), synonyms (words with similar meanings), and homonyms (words that sound or are spelled alike but have different meanings). 

Hyponyms and hypernyms are a good way to put an idea or word into context for someone to help them understand the intended meaning.

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What are some other forms related to hyponym?

  • hyponymous (adjective)

What are some words that share a root or word element with hyponym

What are some words that often get used in discussing hyponym?

How is hyponym used in real life?

Hyponym is used in similar contexts as synonym or antonym but is used less frequently.

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Outfit is a hyponym for socks.

British Dictionary definitions for hyponym

/ (ˈhaɪpəʊnɪm) /

a word whose meaning is included in that of another word`scarlet', `vermilion', and `crimson' are hyponyms of `red' Compare superordinate (def. 3), synonym, antonym

Derived forms of hyponym

hyponymy (haɪˈpɒnəmɪ), noun

Word Origin for hyponym

C20: from hypo- + Greek onoma name
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012