Definition: Eponym

From New World Encyclopedia


Back-formation from eponymous, from Ancient Greek ἐπώνῠμος or epṓnumos (concerning giving one's name to something; named in a significant manner; surnamed) + English -ous (suffix forming adjectives from nouns, denoting pertinence or relation). Ἐπώνῠμος or Epṓnumos is derived from ἐπί- or epí- (prefix meaning "on, upon) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₁epi (at; near; on)) + Aeolic Greek ὄνῠμᾰ or ónuma (from Ancient Greek ὄνομᾰ or ónoma (a name), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₁nómn̥ (a name), perhaps from *h₃neh₃- (to name)).


eponym (plural eponyms)

  1. A real or fictitious person or thing whose name has given rise to the name of a particular item.
    Romulus is the eponym of Rome.
  2. A word formed from a real or fictive person’s name.
    Rome is an eponym of Romulus.

Related terms

  • eponymous


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