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What “Eponymous” Means and All of the Things It Can Describe

“Eponymous” is an adjective that refers to a person, place, or thing that lends its name to something. This thing after whom something is named is called an eponym.

Beth Taylor
Beth Taylor

The word “eponymous” isn’t something we hear every day. In fact, it’s rarely used nowadays; therefore, a lot of people probably don’t even know what it means. Are you already familiar with the word “eponymous,” or is it new to you? If you want to elevate your vocabulary, read on to get a better understanding of the word eponymous and find out how to use it…

Eponymous—Definition

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“Eponymous” is an adjective that refers to a person, place, or thing that lends its name to something. This thing after whom something is named is called an eponym.

Eponymous—Meaning and Examples

Discoveries

Most of the time, when things are invented or discovered, the inventor or person who made the discovery gives their name to their new creation or finding. These people are eponyms. Scientific and medical eponyms are very common.

Alois Alzheimer identified presenile dementia, which was later named Alzheimer’s disease.

Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit is eponymous with the Fahrenheit scale of temperature.

James Parkinson is the eponym responsible for writing an essay about the shaking condition we now know as Parkinson’s.

Books and films

Books and films also frequently take the name of the main character.

Emma, the character in the Jane Austen book, is an eponym as the book was named after her. Other famous title characters in the literature include Peter Pan, Winnie-the-Pooh, and Oliver Twist.

In movies, there are many eponyms too. The following blockbusters all bear the names of their protagonists: Spartacus, Indiana Jones, and Harry Potter.

Most superheroes are eponymous with the comic books and movies in which they appear. These include Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Spider-Man, to name just a few.

Places

The Eiffel Tower was named after Gustave Eiffel, the engineer behind the famous monument.

Penny Lane, a place in Liverpool, England, is eponymous with the Beatles song.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London bears the name of Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert.

Washington state and Washington, DC were named after George Washington, the first president of the United States and Founding Father.

Music

One widespread use of the adjective “eponymous”  in recent times is for singers or bands who choose to name their albums after themselves.

The following are self-titled albums:

  • “The Beatles” in 1968
  • “Madonna” in 1983
  • “Beyoncé” in 2013
  • “Harry Styles” in 2017

All of these people are eponymous.

Products

Finally, the eponyms that most of us use daily without even realizing it are product names. Some brands or trademarks become synonymous with their product, and we end up referring to the product by the brand name. These are known as proprietary eponyms.

  • Kleenex
  • Coke
  • Lego
  • Post-It
  • Aspirin

What Does the Word “Eponymous” Mean?

To conclude, the term “eponymous” might not be something we use very often in day-to-day conversations, yet we use eponyms on a regular basis without even realizing it. Now that you know what “eponymous” means, you may notice eponyms more and more. Funnily enough, the tendency to notice something more after talking about it is known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, which in itself has an eponym, the Baader-Meinhof group.

EnglishIdioms & expressions

Beth Taylor

Hello! My name is Beth. I'm from France. I'm a French and English native speaker and I really like writing.


Milena Lazova

I'm an ESL teacher with over 7 years of experience in providing original content. I really like writing educational articles which may help others learn some aspects of English.

Valentina Dordevic

Hello! My name is Valentina. Book digesting is my specialty. I transform book ideas into easy-to-follow summaries, articles, study guides, reviews, essays, analyses, slides, or e-books.

Beth Taylor

Hello! My name is Beth. I'm from France. I'm a French and English native speaker and I really like writing.