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An eponym is a person, place, or thing after whom or after which something is named, or believed to be named. The adjectives derived from eponym include eponymous and eponymic. For example, Elizabeth I of England is the eponym of the Elizabethan era, and "the eponymous founder of the Ford Motor Company" refers to Henry Ford. Recently, especially in the recorded-music industry, eponymous has been used to mean "named after its central character or creator". [1] [2] [3] [4]

Elizabeth I of England Queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until 24 March 1603

Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.

Elizabethan era epoch in English history marked by the reign of Queen Elizabeth I

The Elizabethan era is the epoch in the Tudor period of the history of England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603). Historians often depict it as the golden age in English history. The symbol of Britannia was first used in 1572, and often thereafter, to mark the Elizabethan age as a renaissance that inspired national pride through classical ideals, international expansion, and naval triumph over Spain. The historian John Guy (1988) argues that "England was economically healthier, more expansive, and more optimistic under the Tudors" than at any time in a thousand years.

Ford Motor Company American automobile manufacturer

Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker that has its main headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. It was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. The company sells automobiles and commercial vehicles under the Ford brand and most luxury cars under the Lincoln brand. Ford also owns Brazilian SUV manufacturer Troller, an 8% stake in Aston Martin of the United Kingdom and a 32% stake in Jiangling Motors. It also has joint-ventures in China, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and Russia. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is controlled by the Ford family; they have minority ownership but the majority of the voting power.


The mythological Greek hero Orion is the eponym of the constellation Orion, shown here, and thus indirectly of the Orion spacecraft. Orion Head to Toe.jpg
The mythological Greek hero Orion is the eponym of the constellation Orion, shown here, and thus indirectly of the Orion spacecraft.


Periods have often been named after a ruler or other influential figure:

Assyrian people Ethnic group indigenous to the Near East

Assyrian people, are a Semitic ethnic group indigenous to Assyria, a region in the Middle East. Some self-identify as Syriacs, Arameans, and Chaldeans. Speakers of Neo-Aramaic languages as well as the primary languages in their countries of residence, modern Assyrians are Syriac Christians who claim descent from Assyria, one of the oldest civilizations in the world, dating back to 2500 BC in ancient Mesopotamia.

Ancient Greece Civilization belonging to an early period of Greek history

Ancient Greece was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin. This was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedon, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. The Hellenistic period came to an end with the conquests and annexations of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, which established the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, and later the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire.

In ancient Greece the chief magistrate in various Greek city states was called eponymous archon. Archon means "ruler" or "lord", frequently used as the title of a specific public office, while "eponymous" means that he gave his name to the year in which he held office, much like the Roman dating by consular years.


Jacksonian democracy was a 19th-century political philosophy in the United States that expanded suffrage to most white men over the age of 21, and restructured a number of federal institutions. Originating with the seventh president, Andrew Jackson, and his supporters, it became the nation's dominant political worldview for a generation. The term itself was in active use by the 1830s.

Stalinism theory and practice for developing a communist society

Stalinism is the means of governing and related policies implemented from around 1927 to 1953 by Joseph Stalin (1878–1953). Stalinist policies and ideas as developed in the Soviet Union included rapid industrialization, the theory of socialism in one country, a totalitarian state, collectivization of agriculture, a cult of personality and subordination of the interests of foreign communist parties to those of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, deemed by Stalinism to be the leading vanguard party of communist revolution at the time.

Maoism, or Mao Zedong Thought, is the Chinese communist variety of Marxism–Leninism that Mao Zedong developed for realising a socialist revolution in the agricultural, pre-industrial society of the People's Republic of China. From the 1950s until the Chinese economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s, Maoism was the political and military ideology of the Communist Party of China and of Maoist revolutionary movements throughout the world. The philosophic difference between Maoism and Marxism–Leninism is that the peasantry are the revolutionary vanguard in pre-industrial societies, rather than the productive forces.

Other eponyms

Generic trademark trademark or brand name that has become the generic name for a class of product or service, sometimes resulting in loss of legal protection

A generic trademark, also known as a genericized trademark or proprietary eponym, is a trademark or brand name that, due to its popularity or significance, has become the generic name for, or synonymous with, a general class of product or service, usually against the intentions of the trademark's holder. The process of a product's name becoming genericized is known as genericide.

Metonymy figure of speech in which a thing or concept is referred to by the name of something closely associated with that thing or concept

Metonymy is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is referred to by the name of something closely associated with that thing or concept.

Aspirin Medication used to treat pain and inflammation and decrease the risk of heart disease

Aspirin, also known as acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), is a medication used to treat pain, fever, or inflammation. Specific inflammatory conditions which aspirin is used to treat include Kawasaki disease, pericarditis, and rheumatic fever. Aspirin given shortly after a heart attack decreases the risk of death. Aspirin is also used long-term to help prevent further heart attacks, ischaemic strokes, and blood clots in people at high risk. It may also decrease the risk of certain types of cancer, particularly colorectal cancer. For pain or fever, effects typically begin within 30 minutes. Aspirin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and works similarly to other NSAIDs but also suppresses the normal functioning of platelets.

Orthographic conventions

Capitalized versus lowercase

In English orthography, the term proper adjective is sometimes applied to adjectives that take initial capital letters, and the term common adjective to those that do not. For example, a person from Boston is Bostonian. Bostonian is a proper adjective. These terms are used informally only; they are not used by grammarians or linguists.

Victorian era Period of British history encompassing Queen Victorias reign

In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the Edwardian period, and its later half overlaps with the first part of the Belle Époque era of Continental Europe. In terms of moral sensibilities and political reforms, this period began with the passage of the Reform Act 1832. There was a strong religious drive for higher moral standards led by the nonconformist churches, such as the Methodists, and the Evangelical wing of the established Church of England. Britain's relations with the other Great Powers were driven by the colonial antagonism of the Great Game with Russia, climaxing during the Crimean War; a Pax Britannica of international free trade was maintained by the country's naval and industrial supremacy. Britain embarked on global imperial expansion, particularly in Asia and Africa, which made the British Empire the largest empire in history. National self-confidence peaked.

In grammar, a noun adjunct or attributive noun or noun (pre)modifier is an optional noun that modifies another noun; it is a noun functioning as a pre-modifier in a noun phrase. For example, in the phrase "chicken soup" the noun adjunct "chicken" modifies the noun "soup". It is irrelevant whether the resulting compound noun is spelled in one or two parts. "Field" is a noun adjunct in both "field player" and "fieldhouse".

For examples, see the comparison table below.

Genitive versus attributive

National varieties of English

Comparison table of eponym orthographic styling

Prevalent dictionary styling todayStylings that defy prevalent dictionary stylingComments
Addison disease [24] *Addison Disease
*addison disease
Allemann syndrome [24] *Allemann Syndrome
*allemann syndrome
cesarean [only] [24]
cesarean also cesarian [but no cap variant] [12]
cesarean, "often capitalized" or caesarean also cesarian or caesarian [25]
 More information on this word's orthographic variants is at Wiktionary: caesarean section.
darwinian [only] [24]
darwinism [only] [24]
Darwinian [only] [12] [13]
Darwinism [only] [12] [13]
Darwinist [only] [12] [13]
diesel (n/adj/vi) [no cap variant] [12] [13]
and also
diesel-electric [12]
diesel engine [12] [13]
dieseling [12] [13]
dieselize, dieselization [12]
*Diesel engine
*Dieselize, Dieselization
draconian [13]
draconian often Draconian [12]
eustachian [only] [24]
eustachian often Eustachian [12]
eustachian tube [only] [24]
eustachian tube often Eustachian tube [12]
eustachian tube or Eustachian tube [13]
*Eustachian Tube 
fallopian [only] [24]
fallopian often Fallopian [12]
fallopian tube [only] [24]
fallopian tube often Fallopian tube [12]
fallopian tube also Fallopian tube [13]
*Fallopian Tube 
Marxism [only] [12] [13]
Marxist [only] [12] [13]
mendelian [only] [24]  or Mendelian [only] [12]
mendelian inheritance [only] [24]  or Mendelian inheritance [only] [12]  
Mendel's laws [12] [24]
*Mendelian Inheritance 
Newtonian [only] [12] [13] *newtonian 
parkinsonism [only] [12] [24]
parkinsonian [only] [12] [24]
parkinsonian tremor [24]
Parkinson disease [only] [24]
Parkinson's disease [only] [12]
*Parkinsonian tremor
*Parkinsonian Tremor
*Parkinson Disease
*Parkinson's Disease
quixotic [only] [12] [13] *Quixotic 
Roman numerals [13]
roman numerals [12]
 AMA Manual of Style lowercases the terms roman numerals and arabic numerals. MWCD enters the numeral sense under the headword Roman but with the note "not cap" on the numeral sense. [12]

Lists of eponyms

By person's name

By category

See also

Related Research Articles

Gram stain Method of staining used to differentiate bacterial species into two large groups (Gram-positive and Gram-negative)

Gram stain or Gram staining, also called Gram's method, is a method of staining used to distinguish and classify bacterial species into two large groups. The name comes from the Danish bacteriologist Hans Christian Gram, who developed the technique.

Caesarean section surgical procedure in which one or more incisions are made through a mothers abdomen and uterus to deliver one or more babies

Caesarean section, also known as C-section, or caesarean delivery, is the use of surgery to deliver babies. A caesarean section is often necessary when a vaginal delivery would put the baby or mother at risk. This may include obstructed labor, twin pregnancy, high blood pressure in the mother, breech birth, or problems with the placenta or umbilical cord. A caesarean delivery may be performed based upon the shape of the mother's pelvis or history of a previous C-section. A trial of vaginal birth after C-section may be possible. The World Health Organization recommends that caesarean section be performed only when medically necessary. Some C-sections are performed without a medical reason, upon request by someone, usually the mother.

The hyphen () is a punctuation mark used to join words, and to separate syllables of a single word. The use of hyphens is called hyphenation. Non-hyphenated is an example of a hyphenated word. The hyphen should not be confused with dashes, which are longer and have different uses, or with the minus sign (−), which is also longer in some contexts.

A proper noun is a noun that identifies a single entity and is used to refer to that entity, such as London, Jupiter, Sarah, or Microsoft, as distinguished from a common noun, which is a noun that refers to a class of entities and may be used when referring to instances of a specific class. Some proper nouns occur in plural form, and then they refer to groups of entities considered as unique. Proper nouns can also occur in secondary applications, for example modifying nouns, or in the role of common nouns. The detailed definition of the term is problematic and, to an extent, governed by convention.

Pussy noun, an adjective, and in rare uses a verb in the English language

Pussy is a noun, an adjective, and in rare uses a verb in the English language. It has several meanings, including use as slang, as euphemism, and as vulgarity. Common meanings of the noun include "cat", as well as "coward or weakling", and "the human vulva or vagina", or as a synecdoche, "sexual intercourse with a woman". Because of its multiple senses including both innocent and vulgar connotations, "pussy" is often the subject of double entendre.

Tachycardia Heart rate that exceeds the normal resting rate

Tachycardia, also called tachyarrhythmia, is a heart rate that exceeds the normal resting rate. In general, a resting heart rate over 100 beats per minute is accepted as tachycardia in adults. Heart rates above the resting rate may be normal or abnormal.

Aussie or Ozzie is Australian slang for Australian, both the adjective and the noun, and less commonly, Australia. Aussie can be used in the form of an adjective, noun, or proper noun.

Capitalization, or capitalisation is writing a word with its first letter as a capital letter and the remaining letters in lower case, in writing systems with a case distinction. The term also may refer to the choice of the casing applied to text.

A capitonym is a word that changes its meaning when it is capitalized; the capitalization usually applies due to one form being a proper noun or eponym. It is a portmanteau of the word capital with the suffix -onym. A capitonym is a form of homograph and – when the two forms are pronounced differently – is also a form of heteronym. In situations where both words should be capitalized, there will be nothing to distinguish between them except the context in which they are used.

Medical eponyms are terms used in medicine which are named after people. In 1975, the Canadian National Institutes of Health held a conference that discussed the naming of diseases and conditions. This was reported in The Lancet where the conclusion was summarized as: "The possessive use of an eponym should be discontinued, since the author neither had nor owned the disorder." New discoveries are often attached to the people who made the discovery because of the nature of the history of medicine.

American and British English spelling differences Comparison between US and UK English spelling

Many of the differences between American and British English date back to a time when spelling standards had not yet developed. For instance, some spellings seen as "American" today were once commonly used in Britain and some spellings seen as "British" were once commonly used in the United States. A "British standard" began to emerge following the 1755 publication of Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language, and an "American standard" started following the work of Noah Webster and in particular his An American Dictionary of the English Language, first published in 1828.

A compound modifier is a compound of two or more attributive words: that is, two or more words that collectively modify a noun. Compound modifiers are grammatically equivalent to single-word modifiers, and can be used in combination with other modifiers.

A titular ruler, or titular head, is a person in an official position of leadership who possesses few, if any, actual powers. Sometimes a person may inhabit a position of titular leadership and yet exercise more power than would normally be expected, as a result of their personality or experience. A titular ruler is not confined to political leadership but can also reference any organization, such as a corporation.

<i>Websters Third New International Dictionary</i> Unabridged English dictionary

Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged was published in September 1961. It was edited by Philip Babcock Gove and a team of lexicographers who spent 757 editor-years and $3.5 million. It contained more than 450,000 entries, including more than 100,000 new entries and as many new senses for entries carried over from previous editions.

Publishers have different conventions regarding the capitalization of Internet versus internet, when referring to the Internet, as distinct from generic internets, or internetworks.

God (word) English word

The English word god continues the Old English god, which is derived from Proto-Germanic *ǥuđán.

Adverbial genitive noun declined in the genitive case that functions as an adverb; found in Old and Middle English and German; modern English remnants include "always", "afterwards", "twice"

In grammar, an adverbial genitive is a noun declined in the genitive case that functions as an adverb.

A false, coined, fake, bogus or pseudo-title, also called a Time-style adjective and an anarthrous nominal premodifier, is a kind of appositive phrase before a noun. It is said to formally resemble a title, in that it does not start with an article, but is a common noun phrase, not a title. An example is the phrase convicted bomber in "convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh".

Capitalization or capitalisation in English grammar is the use of a capital letter at the head of a word. English usage varies from capitalization in other languages.


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  2. "eponym". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  3. "eponymous". Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com LLC. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  4. "eponymous". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  5. "Orion Spacecraft - Nasa Orion Spacecraft". aerospaceguide.net.
  6. Bayer Co. v. United Drug Co., 272 F. 505 (S.D.N.Y. 1921), Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, accessed March 25th, 2011
  7. Harper, Douglas. "heroin". Online Etymology Dictionary .
  8. King-Seeley Thermos Co. v. Aladdin Indus., Inc., 321 F.2d 577 (2d Cir. 1963); see also this PDF Archived 2006-02-09 at the Wayback Machine
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  10. 1 2 3 Waddingham, Anne (28 August 2014). New Hart's Rules: The Oxford Style Guide. OUP Oxford. p. 105. ISBN   978-0199570027.
  11. Marthus-Adden Zimboiant. No Grammar Tears 1. pp. 256–257. ISBN   9781491800751.
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  13. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Houghton Mifflin (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.), Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN   978-0-395-82517-4
  14. University of Chicago (1993). The Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. § 7.49, pp. 253–254. ISBN   0-226-10389-7.
  15. Lorraine Villemaire, Doreen Oberg (29 December 2005). Grammar and Writing Skills for the Health Professional (2nd Revised ed.). Delmar Cengage Learning. p. 167. ISBN   978-1401873745.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  16. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal Style Guide. Preferred Usage
  17. Lisa Brown, Julie M. Wolf, Rafael Prados-Rosales & Arturo Casadevall (2015). "Through the wall: extracellular vesicles in Gram-positive bacteria, mycobacteria and fungi". Nature Reviews Microbiology. 13: 620–630. doi:10.1038/nrmicro3480. PMC   4860279 . PMID   26324094.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  18. Kristen L. Mueller (12 June 2015). "Detecting Gram-negative bacteria". Science. 348 (6240): 1218. doi:10.1126/science.348.6240.1218-o.
  19. "Gram-positive". Dictionary.com.
  20. "Newtonian". Merriam-Wester.
  21. "New·ton". The American Heritage Dictionary.
  22. Iverson, Cheryl (editor) (2007), AMA Manual of Style (10 ed.), Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, ISBN   978-0-19-517633-9 CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link), chapter 16: Eponyms.
  23. Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) of the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) uses "cesarean section", while the also US-published Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary uses "caesarean". The online versions of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and American Heritage Dictionary list "cesarean" first and other spellings as "variants", an etymologically anhistorical position.
  24. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Elsevier (2007), Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary (31st ed.), Philadelphia: Elsevier, ISBN   978-1-4160-2364-7
  25. Merriam-Webster (2003), Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.), Springfield, Massachusetts, USA: Merriam-Webster, ISBN   978-0-87779-809-5