ep·​onym | \ ˈe-pə-ˌnim How to pronounce eponym (audio) \

Definition of eponym

1 : one for whom or which something is or is believed to be named
2 : a name (as of a drug or a disease) based on or derived from an eponym

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Other Words from eponym

eponymic \ ˌe-​pə-​ˈni-​mik How to pronounce eponymic (audio) \ 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
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Recent Examples on the Web In dreaming up the hallowed halls of Hogwarts, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling almost certainly drew inspiration from snakes to name the character of Salazar Slytherin, one of the magical school’s four founders and the eponym of Slytherin house. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Meet the New Species of Snake Named After Salazar Slytherin of the Harry Potter Franchise," 28 Apr. 2020 In other words, 2019 marked 35 years from the novel’s eponym, which arrived 35 years after its first publication, in 1949. John J. Miller, National Review, "George Orwell’s Unclassifiable Politics," 5 Mar. 2020 Occasionally an eponym is formed by combining a name with some other word. Ben Zimmer, WSJ, "Kondo-ing: A Guru of Organizing Becomes a Verb," 17 Jan. 2019 Future use of the eponym should reflect the troubling context of its origins in Nazi-era Vienna. Lindsey Bever, Washington Post, "Hans Asperger, hailed for autism research, may have sent child patients to be killed by Nazis," 19 Apr. 2018 Cable news proved to be an only slightly less absurd medium on Saturday, when noted hilarious eponym Rick Santorum criticized the students for their failure to learn first aid in response to the epidemic of mass shootings. Jay Willis, GQ, "The Campaign to Discredit the Parkland Teens Reeks of Desperation," 26 Mar. 2018 Who knows, maybe someone will try to launch a brand called Romilly and present the 18th-century horological eponym as the inventor of the chronograph? Nick Foulkes, A-LIST, "The Story of Slicing and Dicing Time," 24 Dec. 2017 Embracing this honorary eponym, Google Trends has released a trove of data that not only reveals 2017’s most popular Halloween costume in the U.S. (Wonder Woman), but also breaks ideas down state by state. John Patrick Pullen, Fortune, "This Year's Hottest Halloween Costumes, According to Google's Search Data," 23 Oct. 2017 Also missing were the political jabs of Alfred E. Smith IV, the great-grandson of the dinner’s eponym, who stepped down as master of ceremonies after last year’s dinner after serving in that position for 35 years. Sharon Otterman, New York Times, "At Al Smith Dinner, Paul Ryan’s Best Jokes Are Aimed at Trump," 19 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'eponym.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of eponym

1846, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for eponym

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

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Time Traveler for eponym

Time Traveler

The first known use of eponym was in 1846

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Cite this Entry

“Eponym.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eponym. Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for eponym


ep·​onym | \ ˈep-ə-ˌnim How to pronounce eponym (audio) \

Medical Definition of eponym

1 : the person for whom something (as a disease) is or is believed to be named
2 : a name (as of a drug or a disease) based on or derived from the name of a person

More from Merriam-Webster on eponym

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about eponym

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