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n.1.The use of a variety of names for the same object.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by G. & C. Merriam Co.
References in periodicals archive ?
At yet another level, that of source-study, we find that in Tolkien's source literature, especially medieval romances and folklore, name-giving, name-changing, polyonomy (having multiple names), and namelessness are all deeply meaningful.
His first sister dies young, and is an early example of the motifs of polyonomy and playing on name-meanings that run through this story: her given name is Urwen, but she is nicknamed Lalaith, which means laughter.
But here we see another danger of polyonomy; in this case his changed identity prevents friends from finding him as well as enemies, and contributes to the next great tragedy in his life.
Also in stark contrast to the problems Turin has in Nargothrond when the difficulty of concealing his true name behind so many aliases becomes overwhelming, at the Council of Elrond we instead see several examples of how the collapse of polyonomy can clear away confusion and reveal the truth.
The chapter "The Houses of Healing" is another important one for its exploration of several naming issues: Aragorn's name-story, the centrality of one's name to personal identity, and the dangers and advantages of polyonomy. As we saw in "The Council of Elrond," multiple names for the same thing or person can be dangerous when coupled with ignorance, and here this lesson is reinforced by the incident of Aragorn's request for athelas.
Tracing out this pattern of polyonomy is an interesting exercise, but what, after all, do these multiple names and name changes mean for each character?
The theme of polyonomy coalescing (as opposed to collapsing) runs through his story--he is all of his names at the same time.