Gimme words like this: "draconian"

Or the old wise dude who helped out Billy Batson and drove the Winnebago.

Well, he was French. So it’s not THAT shocking.

“Cyclopean”, occasionally used to mean buildings/monuments built on a really large scale. HP Lovecraft liked using it. It refers to an actual type of ancient construction, however, and originally was attributed to the Cyclops of myth ( which in turn may be due to a misinterpetation of elephant skulls).

What about byzantine? Does that fit?

Then there’s Hobson’s Choice.

My favorite word of this type is isabelline, describing a pale, yellowish-gray color.

According to legend, it originates from a Queen Isabella (which one is uncertain) who vowed not to change her underwear until her country’s armies were victorious in a siege against an enemy city.

The city held out much much longer than expected, resulting in underwear of an isabelline hue. :smiley:

Pyrrhus, who had the original pyrrhic victory.

The word “gun” is apparently a shortening of a female name ( Gunilda, or something similar ), and originally referred to a particular cannon.

Not many people hear “gun” and think of a woman’s name these days; so it seems to qualify.

Heh…not only Gunilda, but Lady Gunilda. Cannons today just don’t get that kind of respect…


How so? Merriam-Webster gives:

Thespian. Means “actor”. From Thespis, the first actor ever.

ETA : gah, missed the early mention. Sorry.

Right. “Ghetto” meaning a minority, usually slummy, area of a city, comes from that original Jewish neighborhood in Venice - the word comes from the name of that section.

Jumbo - applied to anything big, such as a Jumbo Jet is named after Barnum’s elephant.

Titch - applied to anything small is named after the music hall star Little Tich, who is himself named after the Tichbourne Claimant. (ironically, since the claimant was a huge man)

But the thread is about eponyms…the names of people, real or imaginary, which have become common nouns or adjectives.

Like “Lesbos”?

Do these count? One’s a statue, one’s a play character:

Colossal, from the Colossus of Rhodes, of course.

Malapropism, from the character Mrs Malaprop in Sheridan’s The Rivals.

Not to mention the raglan jacket/sweater construction, named after one Lord Raglan who lost his arm in the Crimean war and wanted something easier to wear than the standard set-in sleeve.

Ah, yes, Bob Weyer Fencing, the scourge of the open rangeland…

The novel Trilby by George Du Maurier meant that the hat got its popular name after becoming associated with it being worn during the smash hit play version.

It more famously, directly and obviously introduced the world and the English language to the character of Svengali.

Gerrymander as in distorting electoral districts.