Top 7 World's Most Popular Eponyms

In giving a name to a place, monument or building, there are some times when an individual's name is taken to be permanently used as a commemoration or token of gratitude for their contributions.

However, there are also several popular names out there that originated from public figures in the past. These names are known as eponyms and here we would like to share with you some of the world's most popular eponyms that are widely used today.

1. Nicotine

Nicotine is the main ingredient in cigarettes that is responsible for addiction. However, did you also know that the word nicotine was taken and inspired by a French officer named Jean Nicot?

When he came back to France in 1561 from his job as an ambassador in Portugal, he also brought back with him a type of tobacco plant that claimed to cause addiction. This unique plant has gotten the attention of many parties from the French royalty.

Nicot was introduced to the tobacco plant when he was in Lisbon whereby the plant was crushed and used as a medicine to treat various diseases. After proven its effectiveness to Queen Catherine de Medici as a way to alleviate her headache, the process of extracting nicotine has become one of the most popular activities in Paris.

In 1753, Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus named the tobacco species "Nicotiana" as an honor to Jean Nicot. The active ingredient inside the tobacco that causes the addiction was also named after him as nicotine in commemoration of Jean Nicot.

2. Boycott

It seems these days, the word boycott has become a popular word to be used about disagreements on something that has been done or committed. The man responsible for this world will be Charles Boycott who is not a rather popular Irish individual in the 1880s.

After ending his service as Captain in the British army, he then served as an estate manager in County Mayo and managed several lands owned by Lord Erne. Lorn Erne happens to be a wealthy man who lived lavishly by imposing high rent rates on all his tenants.

Charles Boycott has been assigned to collect all the rent and chase away any individuals who failed to pay accordingly. An organization that protects the rights of the Irish workers, the Irish National Land League, has ordered Charles Boycott to lower the high rental rate.

Charles Boycott refused to do so to the extent that all the workers united as a sign of protest. Consequently, the workers were also unwilling to harvest his crops, and shops did not serve him as they should, his neighbors ignored him, and even the mailman refused to give his mail.

Charles Boycott was forced to hire armed bodyguards to protect the workers he imported from Northern Ireland to harvest his crops and his name has become very synonymous with the protest tactics being used against him.

3. Silhouette

In the photography world, the silhouette is defined as a subject technique represented in the form of a single color, and in most cases, it will be black. For those of you who don't know, the word Silhouette was taken from the Finance Minister of France named Étienne de Silhouette.

The silhouette technique originated from a shadow profile picture cut from black paper that forms a popular art between the 1700s and 1800s. The appointment of Étienne de Silhouette in 1759 by Madame de Pompadour, a mistress of King Louis XV at the time when France was having the worst deficit.

Despite his rule being not too long, he was often insulted due to his austerity measures to regain back French economic power. The term "a la Silhouette" was used widely at the time to picture an action of being cheap and the name of the financer will be written on a piece of paper and will be looked down upon by the elites as a cheap alternative for paintings and dolls.

4. Cardigan

Some people who lived in Asian countries might not be aware of this word but a cardigan is a type of cloth that is commonly used to make jackets or winter clothes. We hardly see it in hot and humid countries as they experience hot weather all year long.

The word cardigan actually came from James Brudenell who held the title of 7th Early of Cardigan. He was considered a British hero who fought in the war and was very well known as an individual who have high taste in fashion and designer clothes.

The clothes worn by him were specially made to differentiate between him and the other soldiers. The popularity of James Brudenell has led to jackets and cardigan clothing being very popular all over the world, especially in cold climate countries.

5. Decibel

A decibel(often denoted as dB) is an algorithmic unit that is used to state the ratio between two physical quantity units that are commonly used to measure the strength of sound. One decibel is equivalent to 1/10 of one bel(B).

"Bel" is the measurement unit named after Alexander Graham Bell, a popular Scottish scientist, innovator, and engineer credited for creating the first practical telephone.

6. Casanova

The word casanova refers to men who have a highly desirable love for women. It can also mean a man who loved many women but not to the extent to be considered a player.

Did you also know that the word casanova was inspired by an individual name Giacomo Casanova? He happens to be an Italian traveler and nobleman in the 8th century. Similar to the name he was also in a relationship with many women out there.

7. Sandwich

Anyone out there would have known the word sandwich which is the most common food based on bread and enjoyed all over the world regardless of breakfast, lunch or dinner. But do you also know where this popular dish got its name from?

Around 1762, a British nobleman, John Montagu was gambling at the time. However, he was hungry at the time and ordered his servant to prepare a dish for him. But because he did not want to get his hands dirty, he told his servant to put pieces of meat between two pieces of bread.

On top of that, John Montagu also holds the title of Earl of Sandwich. This unique dish was given the name sandwich due to the title held by him.


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