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 eponym (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 Grandma Ruby, the artist’s eponym, was a redoubtable guardian who kept her granddaughter safe by keeping her busy. New York Times, "LaToya Ruby Frazier, American Witness," 1 Mar. 2021 At this point, Zoom has more or less become a proprietary eponym. Ksenya Samarskaya, Wired, "The Pandemic Holds These Keys to a Better Education," 17 Feb. 2021 When the couple arrived at Jil Sander, now based in Milan, the house had been in a state of flux since its eponym, who founded it in Hamburg, Germany, in 1968, sold a controlling stake of her company to the Prada Group in 1999. New York Times, "The Designer Couple Revitalizing Jil Sander," 16 Feb. 2021 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

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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Statistics for eponym

Last Updated

24 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Eponym.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eponym. Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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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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