Eponyms are words that derive from a person’s name. This idea was suggested by Rich Greenhill, a word wizard extraordinaire. He started with ‘milquetoast’ (a fictional cartoon-strip character) and ‘quisling’, the name of the army officer who ruled Norway for the Nazis. Alan Robertson mentioned Stigler’s Law: that no discovery is ever named after the person who actually discovered it.
- Silhouette Named after Étienne de Silhouette (1709-1767), French author and politician, although no one knows why. Nominated by Rich Greenhill.
- Sideburns General Ambrose Burnside (1824–81), the Union army leader who boasted “burnsides”. From Adrian McMenamin.
- Pander Pandare, a character in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, aka Pandarus in Shakespeare’s version. Suggested by Stig Abell.
- Quixotic Don Quixote, hero of Cervantes’ satire. From James Ball.
- Shrapnel General Henry Shrapnel (1761–1842), the British soldier who invented the shell. Nominated by Matt Prissick.
- Trilby From the name of the heroine in George du Maurier’s novel Trilby (1894), in the stage version of which such a hat was worn. With thanks to Allan Draycott.
- Mesmerise Franz Mesmer (1734-1815), a German doctor who propounded animal magnetism, later called hypnotism. From Josh Spero.
- Maverick Sam Maverick (1803-1870), the Texas politician and rancher who refused (or couldn’t be bothered) to brand his cattle. Suggested by Rich Greenhill and Steve Smith.
- Diesel Rudolf Diesel (1858-1913), French-born German engineer, inventor of the diesel engine. From David Head.
- Bloomers Amelia Bloomer (1818-1894), American social reformer who advocated such garments. From Michael C.
Originally published in the Independent on 14th September 2014