9

This is not specific to any system. Suppose there's a large red rock on a terrain which can be easily found and clearly seen and there's an artificial object such as a mall near that large red rock.

That object could have a name that matches its location such as "Large Red Rock Mall" and so it would be intuitive to look for that mall near that rock or it could have some mismatching name that would make the search much harder.

I'm pretty sure this arises in GIS systems and causes people to place some kinds of metainformation next to such badly named objects.

Is there a widely used term for these two situations that would mean something like "how well the object name matches its location"?

3

In his Classification of Place Names, George Stewart includes "false description", a subgroup of his category 1, "descriptive names":

Actual false description is rare. Most of its examples would be better classified under euphemistic names. Others are to be explained as incident names, that is, the original namers observed the place under unusual circumstances and their name perpetuates these circumstances, and does not describe the ordinary nature of the place


The degree to which a name describes the thing itself is called semantic fitness. The term has been used in the context of toponymy, but I wouldn't call it "widely used".


There is also the notion of transparency/opacity in linguistics, which has been applied to toponymy by Radding and Western in their article "What's in a name? Linguistics, geography and toponyms". They use the example of Newcastle in England:

... few people today associate the city in northeastern England whose name is "Newcastle" with any castle [...], therefore, the toponym is now close to opaque.

In your example, the name "Large Red Rock Mall" would be a transparent toponym if there is a large red rock nearby, and opaque if there isn't.

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