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!

10 thoughts on “Silver’s Word of the Week – “Eponym”

  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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