[ uh-pon-uh-mee ]
/ əˈpɒn ə mi /
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the derivation of names from eponyms.
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Origin of eponymy

First recorded in 1860–65, eponymy is from the Greek word epōnymía surname, derived name. See eponymous, -y3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does eponymy mean?

Eponymy is the use of people’s names to create words.

In other words, eponymy is the use of eponyms—words based on people’s names.

The names of many places are eponyms. For example, the U.S. state of Pennsylvania is named after the father of the state’s founder, William Penn.

Eponymy is common in medicine: the names of many diseases, procedures, and other things are eponyms. They are often based on the person who first described them or researched them. Examples of medical eponyms include Alzheimer’s disease (named for German neurologist Alois Alzheimer) and the Heimlich maneuver (named for U.S. physician H. J. Heimlich).

Some eponyms are adjectives. Some are based on real people, such as Shakespearean, Freudian, and Kafkaesque, while others are based on imaginary characters, such as Faustian and quixotic.

The word eponym can also refer to the person whom something is named after. Walt Disney is the eponym for The Walt Disney Company.

The adjective eponymous is used to describe someone who has given their name to something or has had something named after them.

Example: Many birders object to the use of eponymy in naming birds.

Where does eponymy come from?

The first records of the word eponymy come from the 1860s. It comes from the Greek word epōnymía, meaning “surname,” or “derived name.” Ep- means “over” or “after,” the Greek -onym means “name.”

Eponymy is used to name all kinds of things. It’s common in the naming of places, such as streets, cities, states, and even countries. It’s also common in science and mathematics. The principle known as Stigler’s law of eponymy states that scientific eponyms usually don’t accurately reflect who discovered something or first described it.

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What are some other forms related to eponymy?

What are some words that share a root or word element with eponymy

What are some words that often get used in discussing eponymy?

How is eponymy used in real life?

Eponymy is commonly used in the sciences and in the naming of places.



Try using eponymy!

Is eponymy used correctly in the following sentence?

Medical eponymy is experiencing a reckoning due to the use of names of doctors with ties to Nazism.

How to use eponymy in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for eponymy

/ (ɪˈpɒnɪmɪ) /

the derivation of names of places, etc, from those of persons
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012