ep·​onym ˈe-pə-ˌnim How to pronounce eponym (audio)
: one for whom or which something is or is believed to be named
: a name (as of a drug or a disease) based on or derived from an eponym
eponymic adjective

Examples of eponym in a Sentence

Joseph Banks was surely the eponym of eponyms. From Alaska to Indonesia, from Tierra del Fuego to Tasmania, there are capes, islands, straits, mountains, bays, points, channels, peninsulas, counties and towns named after him. Pat Rogers, Times Literary Supplement, 3–9 June 1988
Toadfishes burp the songs of their eponyms; one sort of toadfish is called the singing midshipman. John Hersey, Harper's, May 1987
Almost from the onset of television, congressmen have realized the promotional potential of the carefully scripted hearing: the McCarthy and Kefauver hearings of the 1950s, which were among the first "televison events," made their eponyms famous. Gregg Easterbrook, Atlantic, Dec. 1984
Recent Examples on the Web Both terms persist as proprietary eponyms, like kleenex, xerox, and band-aid. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 29 Aug. 2023 Ziploc is a brand that’s now an eponym for plastic bags. Lindsay Tigar, Peoplemag, 15 Aug. 2023 Yet despite calls to drop the eponym, the species has not been renamed by the ICZN. Asher Elbein, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 June 2023 This is a case of a proprietary eponym, like Kleenex or Band-aid. Madison Yauger, Peoplemag, 6 Apr. 2023 Thays is also the eponym for the nearby Carlos Thays Botanical Garden, a gated green space where chirping birds drown out traffic. Washington Post, 28 Jan. 2022 Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz’s Yanga, for choir, percussion quartet and orchestra, sets a Spanish libretto by Santiago Martín Bermúdez that pays tribute to the eponym’s revolutionary spirit. Dallas News, 8 June 2022 Over the next half-century, New College developed a reputation for providing a top-notch liberal arts education, inspired by the tutorial model of its Oxford eponym. Jack McCordick, The New Republic, 11 Jan. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'eponym.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Greek epōnymos, from epōnymos eponymous, from epi- + onyma name — more at name

First Known Use

1846, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of eponym was in 1846

Dictionary Entries Near eponym

Cite this Entry

“Eponym.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eponym. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition


ep·​onym ˈep-ə-ˌnim How to pronounce eponym (audio)
: the person for whom something (as a disease) is or is believed to be named
: a name (as of a drug or a disease) based on or derived from the name of a person

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