22 de agosto de 2011


An eponym is a word which is based on the name of a per­son. 
The English language has a lot of eponyms, in this article we are going to look at those which have reached international importance.

  • A Bloody Mary. 
A drink which includes vodka and tomato juice. Mary I was the last Catholic Queen of England (1553-58). She tried to re-introduce Catholicism and repressed the Protestants. Mary burned many more people (nearly 300) at the stake for their beliefs than her father Henry VIII (81 people) or her younger sister Elizabeth I (5 people). This was why she was called "Bloody Mary". The drink was given this name later, simply because it is red like blood.

    • A bobby
    Everyone knows that the police in Britain are called "bobbies" (in fact, these days, very few people call them that, but anyway...). "Bobby" is short for Robert, and the name comes from Home Secretary Robert Peel who presented the Metropolitan Police Act in 1829, and thus created the first police force in London. Actually, the policemen were originally called "peelers" after the statesman's surname. They were given blue uniforms to distinguish them from soldiers.

      • Boycott. 
      To boycott someone means that you refuse to deal with that person or buy his/her goods or services. The word comes from the agent of an absentee Irish landlord at Lough Mask in Connemara, County Mayo: Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott (1832-97). The retired British army officer was the manager of the Earl of Erne's estates. The Irish Land League wanted a reduction in rents and decided to ostracise anyone who didn't accept in 1880. Boycott refused to comply and continued to charge' high rents. As a result, not only was he "boycotted" but persecuted to such an extent that he had to escape to England.

        • Decibel
        A decibel is a measurement of the volume of sound. The word comes from the surname" of the Scots-American scientist, Alexander Bell (1847-1922). Bell is famous for inventing the telephone.

          • Granny Smith.
          Granny Smiths are a type of green apple. They are named after gardener Maria Ann Smith who lived near Sydney, Australia and grew the apples in her garden until her death in 1870.

            • Groggy
            Grog" is a colloquial word for alcohol. Originally it was diluted rum" given to British sailors. The issuing of rations of diluted alcohol was begun in 1740 by admiral Sir Edward Vernon (1684-1757). He was called "Old Grog" because he wore a grogram coat. The word is often more common in its adjectival form "groggy" which originally meant "drunk".
              • Hooligan. 
              The noun was originally unrelated to football. It is believed to come from the name of Patrick Hooligan, an Irish criminal, active in South-East London in the 1890s. Hooligan (probably originally spelt "Houlihan") and his family organised a gang of delinquents.
                • Jumbo 
                Jumbo means enormous, for example a DC10 aeroplane is called a "jumbo jet". Jumbo was originally the name of an African elephant who was at London Zoo between 1865 and 1882. He then went to America with Barnum's Circus. He died in 1885 when he was hit by a train. The name is believed to come from the Swahili term for elephant (gullah jamba) or for chief (jumbe).
                  • Lynch
                  "To lynch someone" is to hang them without due legal process. The word comes from the surname of William Lynch (1742-1820). In 1780, Captain Lynch organized groups of vigilants to punish" criminals who were causing trouble in Pennsylvania County, Virginia. Another ver­sion links the verb to Charles Lynch (1736-96), Justice of the Peace in Bedford County, Virginia. This Lynch set up an unlawful court in 1780 to try Tories who were ravaging the countryside. In fact, this Lynch only hanged one person. The origi­nal expression was Lynch's Law which later became "lynch law" and finally produced the verb and the noun "a lynching".

                    • Sandwich 
                    The sandwich was named after John Montagu(e), the 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718-92). The Earl was addicted to playing cards and used to eat cold beef between two slices of bread so that he didn't have to stop playing. Sandwiches had been eaten before then (for example by the Romans), but the Earl's surname was how they became popularly known.

                      • Morse code.  
                      Samuel Finley Breese Morse (April 27, 1791 – April 2, 1872) was an American contributor to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs, co-inventor of the Morse code, and an accomplished painter. 

                        If you wish to know about other languages eponyms you can visit:

                          No hay comentarios:

                          Publicar un comentario