Names becoming verbs

I was watching “The Fifth Element” for the first time with my family over the weekend, and it took a minute for me to figure out where I’d seen the president before. He played Deebo in “Friday”. His performance was iconic. It feels weird to say that about “Friday”, but there it is. I had just told hubby “I Deebo’d that nice warm jacket you never wear.” And I’m sure I’ve uttered the words “Don’t bogart that joint, man,” at some time. Not many peoples’ or characters’ names get turned into verbs. In fact, those are the only ones I can come up with. Can anyone think of any others?

Gerrymandering is named after Elbridge Gerry.

I think “Bogart” qualifies.

mesmerize, galvanize, guillotine, bork and boycott

Burke someone.

meaning to purposefully smother and compress the chest of a victim, and a derived meaning, to quietly suppress

Comes from serial killers William Burke and William Hare

As a class, these are known as eponymous verbs.

Other examples not mentioned:

to lynch
to pasteurize
to sandwich
to silhouette
to bowlderize
to galvanize

ETA: You might also want to add “hoover” (meaning “to vacuum” in British English) to that list.

Thanks all. Quite a few here I knew but didn’t remember.

Thomas Edison tried to popularize the use of “Westinghouse” to refer to electrocution.

Want one from another language?

You may recall, around 20 years ago, that then-President George H.W. Bush made an official trip to Japan. He’d been ill, the trip didn’t exactly help, and when confronted with Japanese food at the big state dinner, he puked in front of 100+ diplomats and about 8 jillion reporters. Embarrassing, but it happens.

As luck would have it, up to that point the Japanese language didn’t have a real specific word for “vomit”. Thereafter, they had one: “Bushu-suru”, roughly translated as “to do a Bush”, entered the Japanese lexicon. A comedian even appeared on TV with a monkey trained to pretend it was vomiting when prompted, “Bushu-suru!”

Cite for most of this.

Wow, Max, that’s pretty funny. But how can a language not have a word for vomit? I think it’s hilarious that it’s named after one of the Bushes, though. Ha!

I found more than a few Japanese words for vomit.


I’ve always wanted to have a character names Roger Roundley.

Well, that was what another article I’d read years ago claimed. Still, it seems like a lot of the words on that page have more than one meaning, such as “spit out”, “have diarrhea”, or even “breathe”, so they’re not necessarily specific to the act of discharging stomach contents through the mouth. No doubt one of our fluent-Japanese-speaking members will be along shortly to straighten me out…

Same with “vomit” in English.

Gerogerohaku and ezuku didn’t have more than one meaning.

ETA: I didn’t see anything in your cite about Japanese not having a word for ‘vomit’. Were you just citing that Bush Sr. threw up on the then Prime Minister of Japan?


Obligatory Calvin & Hobbes link.

“l’d sooner get Munsoned out here in the middle of nowhere than lose face in front of my friends.”

I think his name was Flossin.

I use “hoover” to refer to a different act.

But do we really need a term for “Presiding over a depression?”

Wait. Maybe we do.