taxonomic study of place-names, based on etymological, historical, and geographical information. A place-name is a word or words used to indicate, denote, or identify a geographic locality such as a town, river, or mountain. Toponymy divides place-names into two broad categories: habitation names and feature names. A habitation name denotes a locality that is peopled or inhabited, such as a homestead, village, or town, and usually dates from the locality's inception. Feature names refer to natural or physical features of the landscape and are subdivided into hydronyms (water features), oronyms (relief features), and places of natural vegetation growth (meadows, glades, groves).
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