We return to one of my favorite themes: eponyms, or words from people's names.
Zamboni – a machine used to resurface ice rinks
[Frank J. Zamboni (1901-1988) & Co., Paramount, California]
A proprietary name, but occasionally used in lower case. For example:
– News 10NBC (Rochester, NY), Dec. 31, 2007
Out of curiosity, is that the origin of the movie/TV company, Paramount?
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.
Paramount Pictures began as a film distribution company (in 1914) in Ogden, Utah. Later (in 1916) Famous Players and Lasky Corp. merged and bought Paramount becoming Paramount Pictures. The city in southern California was named (in 1948) after Paramount Blvd which was probably named after the studio.
—Ceci n'est pas un seing.
– Nelson DeMille, Plum Island
[The company was founded in 1526 by gunsmith Mastro Bartolomeo Beretta (1490 – 1565/68).]
The dictionaries do not have this definition,¹ but I think the word is not used solely as a trade name. You will find references to a “Beretta” (as opposed to a “Beretta pistol”), and I think the term would be used only for pistols (not for rifles or other items made by that company).
magazine (in this sense) – 1. a chamber holding a supply of cartridges to be fed automatically to the breech of a gun 2. a store for arms, ammunition, and explosives
[French magasin, from an Arabic word meaning ‘storehouse’.]
¹ They list beretta only as a variant of biretta – a hat of the sort by Roman Catholic clergy: a stiff square cap with three or four ridges across the crown.
This is another example of a trade name being used as a generic. A Beretta is a type of pistol but not all pistols are Berettas. A certain Samuel Colt also made pistols - albeit using a different principle.
I'm not convinced that beretta has become or is becoming a generic term for a semi-automatic pistol. One could easily substitute "9mm Walther" or "Colt .45" in the quotation, and it would mean a 9mm manufactured by Walther or a .45 manufactured by Colt. The fact that it is a pistol is evident from the context (pocket, 6.5mm) not the word "Beretta".
The last two words, Zamboni and Beretta are two product-name eponyms for Italians. Here’s a third¹, and like the others, it is arguably still a trade name.
Jacuzzi – (trademark) a large bath incorporating jets of water to massage the body
The term traces to an American father’s love for his son. Italian-born Candido Jacuzzi (c.1903-1986) was the youngest of seven brothers whose company made submersible pumps for industry. He son, born 1942, was in infancy crippled by rheumatoid arthritis, and received regular hydrotherapy treatments at hospitals. Candido adapted the firm’s pumps for a home-use bath to ease his son’s pain between treatments.
– James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge, Step on a Crack
¹ I could follow Beretta with another eponymous pistol, the derringer – “a small pistol with a large bore, very effective at short range,” says OED. [Invented by U.S. gunsmith Henry Deringer (1786-1868), but spelled with a double-r by competitors.] But since that was word-a-day here a few years ago, I’ll just mention it in passing, adding that a Deringer was used to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.
Here’s an interesting confluence of culture and pop-culture.
Quasimodo – surfing: a maneuver in which the surfer rides hunched at the front of the board with head down, one arm forward and one arm
[from the hunchback in Victor Hugo's Notre-Dame de Paris (1831), for the surfer's hunched position]
A little music, maestro:
It's catching on in every city and town
You can do the tricks the surfers do
Just try the Quasimodo and the Coffin too
Grab your board and go sidewalk surfin' with me.
– Jan and Dean, Sidewalk Surfin'
Quasimodo the Hunchback, in turn, got his name from the day he was found on the church steps, Quasimodo Sunday, the Sunday after Easter. And that got its name from the first words of the traditional Mass for that day, Quasi modo geniti infantes...
Our recent eponym Zamboni concerned ice for skating. Several ice-skating jumps are also eponyms: the axel, salchow and lutz, after skaters Axel R. Paulsen (Norwegian, 1885-1938), Ulrich Salchow (Swedish, 1877-1949), and Alois Lutz (Austrian [some sources say Swiss], 1898–1918 [but some instead name Gustave Lussi]).
To explain such things pictures may be better than words, so I'll link you to videos. Also, I’ve found that dictionary-writers often mis-define sports terms. (Are they non-athletic sorts who do not know the sport well enough?) I present offer my own definitions, offered tentatively but after research. They are for the skater who does his/her spins counterclockwise, as 90% of skaters do.
To put it simply: An axel is recognizable because it's the only major jump in which the skater skates forward as he/(she) jumps into the spin. In a salchow he skates backwards in a counterclockwise curve that helps start his counterclockwise spin. In a lutz he skates backward without that helpful curve; it's usually easy to spot because it begins with a very long skate straight backwards.
axel – skate forward on left foot on outside edge (thus curving left, into the spin); jump and spin. Do however many spins plus a half-spin, so that when you land you are going backward
salchow – skate backward on left foot inside edge (thus again curving left); jump and spin
lutz – skate backward without that helpful curve; jump off outside edge and spin
As I said, an attempted lutz is easily recognizable, because it's usually entered from a very long and straight backwards glide. But watch the attempt closely. The skater usually leans left (with only the left foot on the ice) to show the judges that he/she is on an outside edge, but a notorious cheat is to change to the inside edge at the last moment, converting the lutz into a much simpler flip.
From these links, a further click will give you videos of the axel, lutz and salchow. Especially helpful videos are at a double-click on the second axel image, and in the slow-motion lutz and salchow.