Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
Eponyms Login/Join
 
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted
It's been a couple of months since we looked at a favorite theme: eponyms. We'll start this week with a language-related eponym, one found in very few on-line dictionaries.

tadoma – a means by which a deaf-blind person can "hear" a conversation by touch. "The person places their thumb on the speakers lips and their fingers along the jaw line, touching the speaker's cheek and throat. They therefore pick up the vibrations of speech as well as the lip patterns." – Hugh Sasse.

Named for the first students taught this method, in 1920: Winthrop "Tad" Chapman and Oma Simpson. Helen Keller used tadoma to "hear".

As I understand it, skilled users of tadoma can "hear" very effectively (Professor Hong Tan, Purdue University: "some deaf-and-blind individuals can receive conversational English at almost normal rates using the Tadoma method"), but it is very difficult to learn and so is rarely used to "hear". However, tadoma can be a tool to teach speech to the deafblind: the student feels a speaker pronounce a sound, and then attempts to to reproduce that feeling with his hand at his own face.
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
Eponymic words allude to the tale of the people behind them. Often the tale is sordid; sometimes it is uplifting. This week we'll be focusing on ones with uplifting, humanitarian intent – or with such intent gone awry.


cinchona – the tree whose bark yields quinine
In about 1638 Contessa Ana de Chinchón, wife of the Spanish Viceroy of Peru, fell ill with a tropical fever. Her European doctors proved helpless, but she was saved by the folk-cure of the local Indians, made from the powdered bark of a local tree. She promptly undertook to send that miracle medicine back to Europe, and for over two centuries the "Contessa's powder" (the active ingredient of which is quinine) was the primary treatment for malaria.

This story may well be apocryphal, but it was widely believed, and in 1742 Linnaeus named the tree-genus for the Contessa de Chinchón, but unfortunately misspelled it, omitting the h.
. . . .[Some sources admit the alternate spelling "chinchona". Some give the Contessa's name as "Francisca Henríquez de Ribera" rather than "Ana".]

The name 'quinine' comes from the Spanish name for this bark, which was in turn taken from the Quechua Indian word quina=bark. (Some attribute the name 'quinine' to the city of Quechua, Peru.)

Legend has it that the Indians discovered cinchona's medicinal power when, following an earthquake, an ill and thirsty man drank from a lake into which several cinchona trees had fallen.
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
I’ve been remiss on our Word of the Day, so as we reactivate our “humanitarian eponyms” theme, let’s double-up a bit.

braille -- A system of writing for blind people, where patterns of dots represent letters and can be read by touch.
[Devised by Louis Braille, Fr teacher of the blind (1809–1852), who was himself blind from age 4 (some say age 3). He got the idea from a failed French military system of night writing, intended to allow soldiers to communicate quietly in the dark. The first braille book was published in 1827, but the idea languished. It was not until 1868, well after Braille’s death, that Thomas Rhodes Armitage, a Brit, recognized its importance and began to popularize its use.]

pasteurize – to partially sterilize (esp. milk or other liquid) by heat and time sufficient to destroy objectionable organisms without a major chemical change in the substance
[Louis Pasteur, Fr chemist (1822–1895)]

Since these two are quite well-know, let’s add a more obscure one.


lazaretto – a hospital to treating contagious disease, esp. leprosy (or, a quarantine station)
[from an Italian word blending lazzaro and Nazarto, each of which comes from a biblical name.
lazzaro – leper (like old English lazar), from Lazarus, the beggar full of sores in Luke 16:20.
Nazareto – popular name for a Venetian hospital maintained by the Church of Santa Maria di Nazaret.]
    The Council House was a frame building, away from the rest, that had been built in the old, wilder days as a lazaretto for surly drunks.
    – Kurt Vonnegut, Player Piano

    The segregated urban schools feel more like lazarettos.
    – Jonathan Kozol, Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of jerry thomas
posted Hide Post
See what I found while googlizing BEDLAM, which has an interesting history in its own right.
 
Posts: 6710 | Location: Kehena Beach, Hawaii, U.S.A.Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
jerry,

That is a neat site...! Thanks.

But is "googlizing" a verb...?? I just use "googling" and "googled"...

Are these words in the OED?
 
Posts: 3737 | Location: Georgia, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of jerry thomas
posted Hide Post
"Googlize," and "google" (v) are probably not yet in the OED, Kay, but by the time the Limerick writers get to that section I predict they will be.

Roll Eyes <== Google eyes
 
Posts: 6710 | Location: Kehena Beach, Hawaii, U.S.A.Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
Today’s eponym tells of a humanitarian intention that went awry.

As of the late 1700s it was generally accepted that decapitation (beheading) is, by a wide margin, the most humane way to execute a condemned criminal. But decapitation requires a skilled executioner to wield the sword with strong arm, steady hand and good eye. Such skilled labor being in short supply, decapitation was reserved for the nobility, and the lesser criminal had to endure a hanging or worse.

How undemocratic! Very early in the French Revolution, in 1789, a member of Constituent Assembly proposed on the grounds of humanity and egalité that beheading should be the sole form of execution. The well-meaning proposal was passed, but the insufficient supply of suitable human executioners proved a stumbling block, revealing the need for an efficiently mechanical device for beheading.

So such a machine was devised and built, through the Secretary of the Academy of Surgery, Dr. Antoine Louis. At first this machine was called a louisson or louisette after Dr. Louis, but it soon became known by the name of the good delegate who in 1789 had advocated decapitation as the humane approach. His name? Dr. Joseph Ignace Guillotin.

guillotine – machine for beheading, using a heavy blade that slides down in vertical guides; also, a shearing device (as a paper cutter) of similar action

Historical note: Some sources say that Dr. Louis invented the device, and that Dr. Guillotin proposed its use. But as far as I can tell, Dr. Guillotin simply proposed relying solely on beheading (by whatever means), and Dr. Louis was not the inventor but rather the (ahem) technical consultant on anatomical considerations.
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
pasteurize – to partially sterilize (esp. milk or other liquid) by heat and time sufficient to destroy objectionable organisms without a major chemical change in the substance
[Louis Pasteur, Fr chemist (1822–1895)]


Perhaps we might add two more along this line:

1. There is only commercial use for this one: Joseph Lord Lister, pioneer in the concept of antisepsis. He survives as the namesake of a well-known antiseptic mouthwash.

2. As far as I know there is no eponymic concept for that unsung (and even earlier) pioneer in the field, Ignatz Semmelweiss, whose story was so movingly told in Morton Thompson's 1949 novel The Cry and the Covenant. In an era when a hospital was a place you went to die, and puerperal sepsis (childbed fever) was common and devastating, he virtually eliminated the problem in his hospital in Paris. His secret? He insisted that his doctors rinse their hands between patients. Of course his colleagues either laughed at his methods or just ignored him completely.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: haberdasher,
 
Posts: 5588 | Location: Worcester, MA, USReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
quassia – a medicine against intestinal worms, once very popular in Europe; still in use in modern times

Graman Quassi, brought to the New World in Surinam as a captured African slave, later obtained his freedom and pacticed as a medicine man. He "came to be almost worshiped by some," and he discovered the medicinal value of the bark and heartwood of a certain tree. One C. G. Dahlberg told Linneaus of this in 1730, and Linnaeus named the tree in Quassi's honor. The name was later extended to the medicine.

Graman Quassi's name is probably from Ashanti dialect Kwasi, meaning boy born on Sunday (Kwasida).

This account is my reconciliation of differences in the various web and print sources. Some do not mention being freed from slavery; some list Dahlberg as the slaveowner; many omit one detail or another.
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
Cocaine, the first effective local anesthetic, became widely used in dentistry after 1884. But by the end of the century its addictive properties had been recognized. Chemists sought to concoct a better derivative that would not be too harsh for practical use.

stovaine – the first successful substitute for cocaine as an anesthetic
[Discovered in 1904 by Ernest Fourneau (1872-1949). The trade name stovaine comes from translating the French word 'fourneau', meaning 'furnace': stove + cocaine = stovaine]

Stovaine was quickly succeeded by procaine, a better product better known by its trade name novocaine [novus new + cocaine].
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
plimsoll line – a line on the side of a ship; it is unsafe if loaded to the point that its Plimsoll line sinks below the waterline. [Usually there are multiple lines, applying to voyages in various seasons and seas.]

I love the story of Samuel Plimsoll, so forgive me for telling it at length.

Under British law, unscrupulous shippers profited by sending out “coffin-ships” – unseaworthy, overloaded vessels, often heavily insured – endangering the lives of their crews. The law even made it illegal for a sailor to leave a ship in mid-voyage, once he realized it was unsafe.

Plimsoll, in Parliament, took on the sailors’ cause against the shippers’ political power. In 1872 he published a book which, though long and rambling, devastatingly documented that over 1,000 sailors per year were sacrificed. Early in 1873 The Times printed the story of fifteen seamen had been imprisoned for refusing go on board the ship Peru – which ship, when it finally sailed with a new crew, promptly sank, drowning three men. Finally the government appointed an inquiry commission and, in 1875, at last finally introduced a bill.

But when Disraeli later announced that the bill would be dropped. Plimsoll shook his fist in Disraeli’s face and called several MP’s "villains". He was force to apologize – but the popular agitation forced the government to pass a bill.

quote:
From Vanity Fair in 1873, in mid-battle:
. . .He is not a clever man, he is a poor speaker and a feeble writer, but he has a big good heart, and with the untutored utterings of that he has stirred even the most indifferent. He has taken up a cause, not a popular cause nor a powerful one -- only the cause of the British sailor who is sent to sea in rotten vessels in order that ship-owners may thrive. He has written a book about it -- a book jumbled together in the fashion of an insane farrago, written without method and without art, but powerful and eloquent because it is the simple honest cry of a simple honest man.
. . .Any number of actions for libel have been commenced against him, he has been forced to apologize in the House of Commons, and were it not that he has found strong and passionate support among the public, he would be a lost man. His crime indeed is great. He has declared that there are men among the Merchants of England who prefer their own profits to the lives of their servants, and who habitually sacrifice their men to their money.
. . .He has moreover averred that the labouring classes are the more part a brave, high-souled, generous race who merit better treatment than to have their highest qualities made the instruments of their destruction. He tells of men who go to certain death rather than have their courage impugned.
. . .He has secured the inquiry he asked for however, and in due course of time we shall learn from it that there never was a country where the humble capitalist was so enslaved by the arrogant labourer as this, nor a trade in which the labourer's arrogance was so strongly marked as in that which has to do with ships.
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Junior Member
posted Hide Post
What we call "sneakers" in the US used to be known as "plimsolls" in Britain many years ago. I think the Brits now call them either "runners" or "trainers."
 
Posts: 11 | Location: Oakland, California, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
rjwill6, do you know how the term became to mean "sneakers?"

BTW, great to see you here again! Big Grin
 
Posts: 23298 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of arnie
posted Hide Post
quote:
I think the Brits now call them either "runners" or "trainers."
"Trainers" is the word used.

According to Merriam-Webster plimsolls were named
quote:
probably from the supposed resemblance of the upper edge of the shoe's mudguard to the Plimsoll mark on a ship


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
Posts: 10930 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata  
 


Copyright © 2002-12