I was looking at the SPS list and became interested in how the list names originated. More specifically the broad categories that names fall under. The list is referred to as the SPS "Peaks" List, and there are 248 names. Sorting the names into five categories there are: 133 mountains, 74 peaks, 2 points, 2 knobs, and 37 "other". My first question is, how does a mountain differ from a peak from a point from a knob? I have generally viewed a peak as less broad than a mountain and possibly having a pointier summit. But maybe the name has more to do with the person who made the first ascent and his/her efforts to make the name "official". Some of the names seem questionable, is Mount Muir really a mountain in stature? Does it have something to due with the number of feet of prominence from the nearby ridge line? Another example is Mount Ritter standing next to Banner Peak. Ritter is only 200 feet higher, but perhaps it has a broader base? Comments?
Points are often used to describe subpeaks on a mountain that aren't prominent enough to be "ranked" peaks (Storm Point for example or "Point 9867"). They are also used to describe the ends of ridges, plateaus, or promontories with vertical sides, i.e. Bright Angel Point.
Knobs are usually rounded, sometimes broadly (Gobblers Knob in the Wasatch) or sometimes nipple-like (Turkey Knob).
Mountains and peaks, there doesn't seem to be that much difference in naming conventions, though most flat topped or very broad summits aren't referred to as peaks. Peaks can be big or small, but subpeaks are often referred to as peaks (or points) rather than mountains. "Mount x" or "x Mountain" named run the gamut between very broad, to pointy to big and even small.
You're reading too much into it, or perhaps trying to get too much organization out of it. Much of it is subjective, but not always.
For example, summits named after persons are usually named with "Mount". But not always. "Point" is usually used for summits with less prominence. But not always. "Knob" is sometimes used for rounded summits lower than most of the other peaks in area. But not always.
Most of the Sierra Peaks were not named by the ascent party, but by others. For often colorful, sometimes drab, sometimes bizarre reasons.
btw, "Mount" and "Mountain" are two categories you didn't differentiate between. "Mountain" is often used like "Peak", though some folks believe it should be reserved for more dominate type summits. I haven't noticed any difference in usage in the Sierra.
You might want to take a look at "Place Names in the High Sierra" by Frances P. Farquhar to get an idea of how some of these points got their names. More than a dry reference book, Farquhar's narrative is an interesting read, even if it was originally published in 1926.
Thanks for your comments. Especially the Steph Abegg article "Is it a Peak, Mount, or Mountain?" mentioned by Bubba Suess. I liked the variables she used in her analysis: elevation, prominence, isolation. She did a great job using statistics to test her theory on these three topographical names. I also agree with Bob B. that this naming business is subjective and there is always going to be an exception to the rule how on how a peak or mountain is named. Boy, the Sierra Nevada sure has a rich history of characters running around in the early days naming topographical points. I do have a copy of Place Names of the Sierra Nevada by Peter Browning which I enjoy reading.