Common words derived from proper names

The English word “algorithm” derives from the medieval Latin word “algorismus,” which is a corrupted form of the name of the 9th century Islamic mathematician Al-Khwarizmi.

What other (reasonably) common words, in English or another language, derive from proper names in this way?

[Perhaps this counts as a poll - I beg forgiveness if this be the case]

you want eponyms to start with e.g. caesarian, doric, napoleonic

see for some adjectives


Lots of these in science…

heres another list

Political action words:


quisling (n) a traitor, one who collaborates with an enemy.

named for Vidkun Quisling who collaborated with the Nazi invasion of Norway.

There are so many of these that you could fill a book. Several books.

[li]Everyday words from names of people & places, by Allan Wolk[/li][li]What in the word?: origins of words dealing with people and places, by David Muschell[/li][li]Namesakes: an entertaining guide to the origins of more than 300 words named for people, by Tad Tuleja. [/li][li]The dictionary of eponyms: names that became words, by Robert Hendrickson[/li][li]A dictionary of eponyms, by Cyril Leslie Beeching[/li][li]Human words; the compleat unexpurgated, uncomputerized human wordbook, by Robert Hendrickson[/li][li]Melba toast, bowie’s knife & Caesar’s wife: a dictionary of eponyms, by Martin H. Manser[/li][li]Guppies in tuxedos: funny eponyms, by Marvin Terban[/li][li]A chartreuse leotard in a magenta limousine: and other words named after people and places, by Lynda Graham-Barber[/li][li]O thou improper, thou uncommon noun: a bobtailed, generally chronological listing of proper names that have become improper and uncommonly common, together with a smattering of proper names commonly used … and certain other diversions, by Willard R. Espy[/li][li]Dictionary of historical allusions & eponyms, by Dorothy Auchter[/li][li]Eponyms in psychology : a dictionary and biographical sourcebook, by Leonard Zusne[/ul][/li]
And there are as many again if you include dictionaries of medical eponyms.

Tivo, as in “I’ll Tivo it” or “I tivo’d it”


Named after (in a backwards way) General Ambrose Burnside.

Drat! I opened the thread to post this.

Great book!

Sandwich and the 4th Earl of Sandwich

Cardigan and the 7th Earl of Cardigan

might have to call you on this one. Sandwich and Cardigan are both places - It is a bit like “The mayor of London”.

Your case is probably more like a word named after a persons title -

Possibly. But titles (even those taken from place names) become identified with the person. Mention of Lord Sandwich or Lord Cardigan would have brought to mind the people themselves, not the places from which their titles were derived. And the sandwich and cardigan were named for the people who popularised them.

“crapper” and according to SNL - “douche bag.”

Isn’t the name of a place a proper noun as well?


Willard Espy wrote an entire book on the subjet.

Jeez, Chuck. :smack:

Stentorian - after Stentor, a great and forceful orator
Draconian - after Draco, a harsh ruler