Day 2- Onomastics: What’s in a Name? #write31days 2014



Term of the day: onomastics: the study of names, their origins and how they are formed within a given language.


I’m glad to know that there is an official name for this, for two reasons. 1. It means that I’m not the only one interested in this subject matter. There have been enough people throughout history to require the distinction of a name for this pursuit. 2. I always feel somehow saddened by the possibility that there’s something out there without a name. It almost brings me to tears when I think of people being inflicted with rare diseases that haven’t even been named yet or when a new place is discovered and the people there haven’t bothered to give it a name. Silly perhaps, but that’s me.

Name of the day: Toinette J. Thomas (me).

Breakdown and meaning:

This is my full name, but for publication purposes I go by Toi. Also, I find that using Toi goes better with the name of my site and blog. The ToiBox of Words sounds much better than Toinette’s box of Words; but what does my name mean?

Let’s start with the J. It’s one of the favorite parts of my name, but I don’t share it a lot. I don’t have a problem with people knowing my middle name, but I like the fact that most of the people who do know it, know me fairly well or intimately. The J-name, which I will not reveal here, is derived from two other names; that of my grandmother and an a great aunt, but when put together has a very French sound. When combined with the unique spelling of my first name and my former surname (Douglass), people often mistook me for French. Obviously these people hadn’t met me yet.

Toinette, while derived from Antointte, is actually a misnomer. My mother wanted to name me Toynet, but her family told her it wasn’t a good name so she changed it. She and every one in my family calls me Toynet even though that’s not how my name is spelled. From its derivative, Toinette means flourishing and is the feminine form of the French name, Antonie.

Thomas means twin and has both Hebrew and Dutch origins intermingled with Biblical inspiration. Thomas is considered a good strong name among the Christian community and a powerful name in many other cultures.

Well, that’s it for Day 2. See you tomorrow.


Go back to the beginning to see all the posts in this series.

Outside of my own personal search throughout the years, basic meanings and definitions of the terms used here can be found at the following websites:, Google search, and

Learn more here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

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Toi Thomas

I like reading, writing, cooking, dancing, movies, and music. I'm a big kid and choose to see the world in my own special way. Yes, I'm educated, but I haven't let that stop me from being who I want to be. I'm a wife, teacher, author, blogger, and more.

4 thoughts on “Day 2- Onomastics: What’s in a Name? #write31days 2014”

  1. Hi Toinette! It took me a bit to track down your blog. I’m challenged by computers and those Google circle things are perplexing to me. But I read that you work in special ed., so you’ll probably be understanding! Thank you for visiting my blog yesterday (IWSG day). I enjoyed this post very much. I truly believe in the importance of names. I’m always trying to name this rock, plant, insect, whatever. And as a retired teacher, I know how important a name is to everyone. I sympathize with your J name issues. Mine is an M name ~ after my paternal grandmother who didn’t like her M name either! But I love my middle name Louise which I use! Happy writing!

    1. I’m glad you found me and I’m glad you like this post. Louise is a warrior’s name and very strong. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I’ve never head the word onomastics so you taught me something new. I really enjoyed reading the story of your name. I always enjoy meeting other people with unusual names and your name is lovely. As I read your words about not liking things to not have names, I couldn’t help but think that you must really like the story of Adam naming the animals. Haha!

    1. I’ve always overthough that story a bit. I wonder how Adam, or any one person, could name all those aninals and not duplicate a few or mess up a few. Thanks for stoppy by.

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