Tuesday, February 9, 2016

TIP TUESDAY: WORDS THAT BEGAT A WORD

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Many of us spend our waking hours searching for exactly the right word. Some of you search because you long to improve your writing. I search because of some something or other, probably dementia, that keeps me from thinking of the word I want. It usually comes to me at 3 a.m. The word or the dementia. I can't remember which one.

A good word to help you expand your vocabulary is eponym.

According to Vocabulary For A New World by Linda J. Palumbo and Frank J. Gaik, eponyms are words that "started out as names of real people or groups."

A favorite eponym of mine is bloomers. Palumbo and Gaik explain that 

        In nineteenth-century America women wore large, long skirts that made it difficult to walk
        through the streets. Amelia Bloomer used her influence as a magazine editor to popularize a 
        pantaloon costume that came to be associated with her name.




The authors define bloomers as "loose, baggy underpants or trousers gathered at the bottom, worn by girls or women."



Oo la la!

Do you recognize any of these eponyms? If you don't, perhaps you can look up at least one and share the meaning by using it in a comment on this post:

maverick
boycott
chauvinist
draconian
mesmerize
fink
Bunsen burner
Ferris wheel
guy
ritzy

Do you know any other eponyms?


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

27 comments:

  1. Bowdlerize; a despicable practice begun by an overly prim man.

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  2. Never heard of an eponym. I'd have to look up the history of each of those words because I only know the definitions of what they have become now. Interesting. :)

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    1. Knowing the definitions is more important that knowing the origin.

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  3. I must confess, English major though I was, I can define all those words, but can provide the eponymous origin of only six of them. Failing grade! I'm off to get to the bottom of the rest.

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    1. No failing grades here. An A+ for you, and everyone else.

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  4. Hi Janie - interesting to read where bloomers came from. Sandwich is another one ... after the Earl of Sandwich ... slice of meat between two slices of bread .. which 'cleaned' his sticky fingers before he touched the cards.

    Glad you're feeling better - cheers Hilary

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    Replies
    1. Does that mean his hands were dirty and he wiped them on the bread?

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  5. How about guillotine, invented by a man who wanted to create a more humane method of execution?

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  6. I can't think of any, but I liked learning something new. Thanks for that.

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    Replies
    1. I always love to hear from you, dear Murees.

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  7. I have enough trouble spelling simple words so all this is beyond me but that is ok this is who I am a simple women of simple means

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    1. I like simplicity. Learning new words is part of my job. I have a simple house with simple belongings, and my dogs aren't fancy. They are whatever they are, and taking care of them is simple. Simple is the place to be, Jo-Anne.

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  8. Pasteurize? Does that count?

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    Replies
    1. I don't know because of the -ize. I have to look it up. Did you hear me sing to you on your phone? I sang the heck out of happy birthday.

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    2. Yes, pasteurize counts. Well done, day after the birthday girl.

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  9. Good one! Thanks for sharing that.
    Have a great rest of the week, Janie.

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  10. My mind can't think too much at this late hour plus I have bad pain so I shall use that excuse but I have learned something new

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    1. Sometimes when I'm in pain or I'm sick, I learn new words at the hospital or the doctor's office. I'm quite proud of my medical vocabulary. Of course, I learned a lot of it working in the nursing home and the doctor's clinic. I'm so sorry you have bad pain, Birgit.

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  11. I've never heard of this before. Huh, cool & interesting tidbit! Now I'm going to be looking for these, dang!

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    Replies
    1. I learned a lot of enjoyable tidbits in a linguistics class.

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  12. Love eponyms because sometimes they aren't complimentary words, like gerrymander or chauvinism. My personal favorite because it doesn't sound like a name is boycott. Although, pompadour comes pretty close.

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    1. Those are excellent, Pickleope. I'm impressed. Many people use eponyms without knowing their origins.

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  13. The first Ferris wheel was built by Ferris for the Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893.

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    Replies
    1. You're darn right. That's the origin of Ferris wheel. Thanks for playing.

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