Definition of eponym in English:


Pronunciation /ˈepəˌnim/ /ˈɛpəˌnɪm/


  • 1A person after whom a discovery, invention, place, etc., is named or thought to be named.

    ‘The eponyms are the French Marquis de Sade and the Austrian Leopold von Sacher-Masoch.’
    • ‘Another Egyptian king in whom the Greeks showed great interest, a figure entirely of legend rather than of myth-history like Psammetichos, was one Busiris, the supposed eponym of the place of that name.’
    • ‘A few years later, Old Lyme would become the eponym for the disease; and those once-annoying deer ticks were suddenly noxious.’
    • ‘Martz, who is single, has two small dogs: Su-Nae, a five-year-old Coton, and Sherpa, a 14-year-old Lhasa apso and the company's eponym.’
    1. 1.1A name or noun formed after a person.
      ‘If you're still using terms like cytotic lesion when you mean cancer, and if you can't resist abbreviations, eponyms, and Latin names for common illnesses, you may need help from the Plain English Campaign.’
      • ‘This in part is due to the confusion that arises by the numerous eponyms given to describe the same condition.’
      • ‘Guillain-Barre syndrome is an eponym for a heterogeneous group of immune-mediated peripheral neuropathies.’
      • ‘He is rightfully regarded as one of the founding fathers of nephrology, with his name immortalized in the eponym Bright's disease.’
      • ‘All forms of congenital jaundice are nearly universally referred to by their eponyms rather than by their descriptive names.’
      • ‘In the 18th century, the great German anatomist, von Sömmerring avoided using eponyms, i.e., the use of proper names.’
      • ‘The word 'hippo', 'mall' in the Bamana language, is an eponym for the country itself.’
      • ‘A commemorative symposium held in Prague in 1969 marked the 100th anniversary of his death, and his name lives on in several medical eponyms.’
      • ‘It is actually feasible to inspect every term in a nomenclature, looking for eponyms or other objectionable concepts.’
      • ‘Unsurprisingly, four fifths of the trainees surveyed said they thought that eponyms should be abandoned as a way of describing fractures.’
      • ‘While some eponyms may be simply disputed, others lean towards the apocryphal, like the idea that the Bloody Mary cocktail was named for England's ‘Bloody Mary,’ Queen Mary I of England.’
      • ‘I have avoided using eponyms for physical signs.’
      • ‘Leprosy was given the eponym Hansen's disease after Gerhard Henrick Armauer Hansen.’
      • ‘Although benign congenital hypotonia subsequently came to be known by the eponym of Walton's hypotonia, Walton was not the first to describe this entity.’
      • ‘An eponym is an honor, and these two men are not worthy.’
      • ‘But it was two Dublin clinicians more than a century later who gave heart block and its effects the eponym Stokes - Adams syndrome.’
      • ‘This is rare but can present with inflammatory conditions of the upper respiratory tract and the neck; it has the eponym Grisel's syndrome.’
      • ‘There is one odd similarity between medical and entomological eponyms: an extraordinarily high proportion of eponymous body parts seem to be concentrated in reproductive organs.’
      • ‘Naming experts are also wary of eponyms because they stake the company's reputation on the founder's personal reputation.’
      • ‘Like so many other eponyms, the origin of the Windsor Knot is disputed, and the Duke of Windsor himself dismissed that he had invented it.’


Mid 19th century from Greek epōnumos ‘given as a name, giving one's name to someone or something’, from epi ‘upon’ + onoma ‘name’.