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Silver’s Word of the Week – “Eponym”

Welcome to Silver’s Word of the Week where I try to find strange and unusual words to ignite my vocabulary to new levels! Are you ready to learn a new word?

This week our word is courtesy of

Image of Achilles, Corfu: Courtesy of

Eponym is a noun:

A person, real or imaginary, from whom something, as a tribe, nation, or place, takes or is said to take its name: Brut, the supposed grandson of Aeneas, is the eponym of the Britons.

A word based on or derived from a person’s name.

Any ancient official whose name was used to designate his year of office.

Check out this list of eponyms from Wikipedia

Did You Know? shares:

What isn’t an Eponym?

“Many lists on the Web contain phrases and words that are common phrases or ordinary derivations. While the term eponym is often extended to such constructions, their interpretation is usually more a matter of history than etymology, which is our focus. This list is not competing to be the longest list of eponyms but the most accurate in the strictest sense of the word. Beware those lists that include words created by means that apply to any noun, that refer exclusively to the eponymous person, or words that simply name one unique object. Pseudo-eponyms include the following:

Possessive nouns used in phrases like Occam’s Razor or Newton’s Law. These are not eponyms but simple possessives no different from the dog’s dinner. Also, keep in mind that an eponym is a word, not a phrase.

Proper nouns used in phrases without possessives, such as Fosbury FlopHeimlich ManeuverFalkland Islands, unless they no longer refer specifically to the person whose name is used (and especially if the capitalization may be dropped), as in the case of the compound eponym Mae West.

Normal derivations created by adding productive suffixes like -ism-ist-esque-iansince these suffixes may be added to any name and simply mean “like X’s philosophy” or “in X’s style” in words like MarxismRubinesque. However, such words may be eponyms if they no longer refer specifically to the person whose name is used and especially if the capitalization may be dropped, as in kafkaesque,quixotic.

Botanical and zoological names like HoffmaniaEinsteinium and Sanchezia that are not used outside the scientific world, especially if the new term is a proper noun itself. Scientists love to name their inventions and discoveries after themselves and their friends but there is no need to encourage this practice. Those derivations that have been assimilated into the general language and are spelled without capitalization like fuchsia and gardenia are acceptable eponyms.

Simple commonizations: converting a proper noun into a common one as occurred in the cases of escalator and aspirin, originally brand names.”

“Buddhism” is an eponym of “Buddha.”

How about you? Do you use eponyms? If so, what is your favorite?

Mad as a HATTER!

See you next week!

Categories: Silver's Word of the Week

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Colleen Chesebro

Colleen M. Chesebro is a writer of cross-genre fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her debut novel, a YA fantasy series called, “The Heart Stone Chronicles - The Swamp Fairy,” was published January 2017.

The book reveals the story of Abby Forrester, a 14-year-old orphaned girl who is entrusted with saving a community of fairy nymphs from certain ecological destruction. Along the way, Abby learns about friendship, love, and what it means to actually belong to a family.

Colleen’s writing explores ecological situations in the multicultural world of today. She combines real-life historical events into her writing to create experiences that will continue in the hearts and heads of her readers.

A veteran of the United States Air Force, Colleen is also a retired bookkeeper. She has an Associates Degree in Business Administration, and another Associates Degree in the Arts, which she uses to combine her love of writing with her passion for all things creative.

When she is not writing, Colleen enjoys spending time with her husband, dogs, children, and grandchildren. When time permits, she also loves gardening, cooking, and crocheting old fashioned doilies into works of artistry.

She lives in the United States with her husband and her two Pomeranians, Sugar, and Spice. You can learn more about Colleen and her writing on her website

10 replies

  1. Oooh this is another great one Colleen. I love finding out the history of a place name, there are so many quaint intriguing ones, that you think who on earth named it that, but then when you discover the history it all makes sense. I like how names change over time to as our language develops e.g. Yorke to York. KL ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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