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Most eponyms come from characters in literature or greek legend. Some come from real people, most of whom are Europeans.

This week we'll present eponyms from people of the USA. I am curious how many of these are familiar to our readers across the ponds.

Annie Oakley - a free ticket or pass

Ms. Oakley was sharpshooter of renown, featured in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (1860-1926). The term come from comparing a punched ticket with one of her bullet-riddled targets.
 
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FWIW, whilst most Brits have heard of Annie Oakley, we don't use her name to describe a free ticket or pass.
 
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"Annie Oakley," as a free pass, is very old slang. I doubt anyone over here has used that term in that sense in the last 30 or 40 years.

In fact, it isn't overly likely that the average American under the age of 40 would be able to correctly identify the woman herself.
 
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John Hancock – a person's signature

John Hancock was the first signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence (image can be enlarged). He made his signature there very prominent: large, bold, and florid, right in the top-middle of the signature block.
quote:
the governor-elect's [Arnold Schwarzenegger's] autograph is gaining value. … As for the outgoing governor's John Hancock, "I've been doing this for 23 years, and no one has ever asked me for a Gray Davis autograph," Stickel said.
- Sacramento (California) Bee, CA, Nov 17, 2003

Purchasing Agent Sharon Page requested commissioners affix their signatures to the purchase order, and Ware was only too quick to offer his John Hancock.
- Amarillo (Texas) Globe News, TX, Oct 29, 2003

Article to mark the 50th anniversary of Israel's Declaration of Independence:
Space was left by the 25 signers for the 12 council members stuck in besieged Jerusalem, or overseas. But when Warhaftig came to Tel Aviv three weeks later, he put his John Hancock not in the reserved spot, but next to Ben-Gurion's name. [On a similar matter,] Ben-Gurion explained later that he had wanted more Hebrew names on the document.
- Elli Wohlgelernter, Jerusalem Post, April 30, 1998
 
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This one is known (at least by me) but not used over here.

Why should I let the toad work
Squat on my life ?
Can't I use my wit as a pitchfork
And drive the brute off ?
Read all about my travels around the world here.
Read even more of my travel writing and poems on my weblog.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by BobHale:

Why should I let the toad work
Squat on my life ?
Can't I use my wit as a pitchfork
And drive the brute off ?


I like it, but how does it relate to Americans Eponymous?

(random thought: "[/i]," said the Little Red Hen!)
[That doesn't relate to AE either]
 
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Now I see. It's not part of the message, but rather of the signature! (Which, by the way, is iconified in the email program Eudora as "JH" !)

I still like the sentiment.

Idle speculation: would "Uncle Tom" or "Charley Brown" or "Mickey Mouse" qualify for this theme? Mickey-mouse is even used sometimes as a one-word adjective rather than a noun.
 
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hab, they'd certainly qualify as eponyms, but this theme will focus on eponyms from real, non-fictional people from the USA.
 
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In 1884 General William Tecumseh Sherman squelched a movenment to draft him for president, stating, "If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve." His name is used eponymously in the press, though I do not find it in the on-line dictionaries.

Shermanesque - of an absolute, unequivocal refusal to run for office
(or sometimes, of any such refusal; see 3rd and 4th sample quotes)
quote:
many strategists and aides close to Daschle are just plain Shermanesque in their insistence that he will not be a candidate. ABC News, Feb. 28 2002 (2003?)

Chalabi denies that he wants to be his country's first democratically elected president. But his statements are something less than Shermanesque. In fact, they sound suspiciously like the carefully crafted formulations that American presidential candidates use when they're pretending not to be presidential candidates. - Chris Suellentrop, Slate Magazine, April 9, 2003

Byrd, who is as fiscally conservative as any leader in House history, was still sounding anti-tax last week. But not in as Shermanesque a fashion as before. "My first reaction would be to live within our means. Let's see what the options are," he said. – Martin Dyckman, St. Petersburg (Florida) Times, November 10, 2002

NATO in return should make "Shermanesque" statements ruling out establishing bases or putting nuclear weapons in the new member states. - Jim Hoagland, The Washington Post, January 9, 1997

During the U.S. Civil War, Sherman was also noted for his thorough, scorched-earth conquest of Atlanta (as seen in the movie Gone with the Wind). So his eponym is also used to refer to that event:

Shermanesque – brutally thorough (of a conquest)
quote:
when the just-completed 2001 NBA Finals are remembered, it might be for the Los Angeles Lakers' Shermanesque march through the playoffs, their best-ever 15-1 record during the run and their efficient disposal of the Philadelphia 76ers. - Salon On-line Magazine, June 19, 2001

This Shermanesque march over the Bill of Rights is fueled by cowardice. - Marianne M. Jennings, Jewish World Review, Nov. 13, 2001


[This message was edited by wordcrafter on Fri Nov 21st, 2003 at 6:33.]
 
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mae west - an inflatable life jacket, in the form of a collar extending down the chest.
(worn by fliers in World War II; illustrated in the seventh picture here.)
From the American actress noted for her (ahem) "full figure". I understand that in the same manner, "mae west" is also sometimes used as rhyming slang for "breast".
quote:
There we stood sweating like Hialeah horses under the hot Miami haze, strapped into orange Mae Wests, and moving like a colony of king penguins.
– John Edward Young, The Christian Science Monitor, October 16, 1997

This being a word-board, we of course have more interest in another of Mae's assets, her talent for chiasmus.
  • It's not the men in my life . . . it's the life in my men.
  • It is better to be looked over than overlooked.
  • I always say, keep a diary and someday it'll keep you.
  • Never let a fool kiss you or a kiss fool you.
 
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I've never heard the terms "Mae Wests" used to denote a pair of thrupennies, I have to say.

Richard English
 
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derringer – a short-barreled pocket pistol
[Henry Deringer, Am. gunsmith of Philadelphia (1786-1868)]

The misspelling of his name, with the double-r, has become the accepted spelling. Competitors apparently created that misspelling his rights to the use of his own name, and it led to a lawsuit, Henry Deringer vs. A.J. Plate.
 
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foley - during filmmaking, the adding of sound effects
The person who does this job is called the foley or the foley artist.

After Jack Foley (1891–1967), pioneering sound effect editor at Universal Studios in the 1930s.

You can find a brief description here. Watch the credits at the end of the next movie you see, and you'll notice foley artist credited.
 
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...most medical personnel (and anyone who's had a significant run-in with a urologist) have a different picture of that eponym: a Foley is a catheter that stays in the urinary bladder for long periods of time. Perhaps it's the upper-case "F" that distinguishes?

[Cross-thread diversion: anagram of llindwinge ? ]

[This message was edited by haberdasher on Sun Nov 23rd, 2003 at 17:10.]
 
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Let's end this theme with a smile:

sousaphone - a large brass wind instument, much like a tuba but shaped so that weight will rest on a shoulder and it can be more easily carried in a marching band
[named for John Philip Sousa Sousa (1854-1932), the famous marching band conductor and composer, known as "The March King"]

Here is a picture of the sousaphone. You can download a sample of Sousa's music from Wikipedia. The file is very big; shorter files are available but I cannot vouch that they are "safe".
 
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llindwinge - indwelling

You are so right, Hab, about "Foley." My definition for "Foley" will always be urinary indwelling catheter, Wordcrafter. Wink; though, Hab is right that it does have a capital "f".
 
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Come to think of it, isn't there also a Foley food mill that borders on the eponymous? Any epicures around who might verify?

That guy Foley seems to have been one versatile fellow!
 
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The definition of an eponym is: "A person whose name is or is thought to be the source of the name of something."

Is there a term for being named for something other than a person? While that may be as clear as mud, here is what I am thinking: I heard today that something was an "Apollo 13", meaning that it was a "successful failure." Is there a term for that? It obviously isn't an eponym.
 
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Stonewalling is a commonly used phrase her. Do you know of gerrymandering?
 
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We hear about gerrymandering all the time, Graham. Particularly when it comes time to reconfigure districts after the census, which is taken in every year ending in zero.

An eponym?
 
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Yes, and the interesting story (including painter Gilbert Stuart) behind it is here.
 
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In looking for the definition of "peruse," I found this page of eponyms.
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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Annie Oakley," as a free pass, is very old slang. I doubt anyone over here has used
that term in that sense in the last 30 or 40 years.
________________________________________________

Like, dude, didn't she invent sunglasses?
 
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