Onomastics used to be called onomatology. A person who studies onomastics can be called an onomastician or an onomatologist.

Onomastics’ Definitions

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defined onomastics as:[1]
1a – “the science or study of the origins and forms of words especially as used in a specialized field”
1b – “the science or study of the origin and forms of proper names of persons or places”

Dictionary.com defined it as:[2]
“the study of the origin, history, and use of proper names.”

Lexico defined it as:[3]
“The study of the history and origin of proper names, especially personal names.”

Onomastics’ Etymology

1904 – Allegedly the earliest known use of the word. Defined as 1a above.[1]

By 1930 – “”scientific study of names and naming,” … from onomastic; also see -ics.”[4]

1930-1935 – “see origin at onomastic, -ics”[2]

Onomatology’s Definitions

Lexico defined onomatology as:
“The science or study of the formation of names or terms. Also: the history of names or naming practices.”[7]

Onomatology’s Etymology

1790 – “”the science of the rules observed in the formation of a name or names,” … from Greek onomat-, stem of onoma “word, name” (from PIE root *no-men- “name”) + -logy.”[8]

1840-1850 – “<Medieval Greek onomatología, equivalent to Greek onomatológ(os) collector of words (onomato-, combining form of ónoma name + -logos; see logos) + -ia-ia; see -logy”[6]

1845 – Allegedly the earliest known use of the word.
“French onomatologie, from Greek onomat-, onoma name + French -logie -logy”[5]

“Mid 19th century. From onomato- + -logy. Compare post-classical Latin onomatologia, French onomatologie.”[7]

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[1] – “Onomastics.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/onomastics. Accessed 9 Oct. 2020.

[2] – https://www.dictionary.com/browse/onomastics. Accessed 9 Oct. 2020.

[3] – https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/onomastics. Accessed 9 Oct. 2020.

[4] – https://www.etymonline.com/word/onomastics. Accessed 9 Oct. 2020.

[5] – “Onomatology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/onomatology. Accessed 9 Oct. 2020.

[6] – https://www.dictionary.com/browse/onomatology?s=t. Accessed 9 Oct. 2020.

[7] – https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/onomatology. Accessed 9 Oct. 2020.

[8] – https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=onomatology. Accessed 9 Oct. 2020.

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