New eponym

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Wed Aug 12 13:36:29 UTC 2009

The verbal phrase "to pull a [eponym]" is very common. Usually, the eponym chosen is fleeting and only of local interest to the speaker and his immediate circle, where the named person had done something either stupid or embarrassing in the immediate past.

So if I had crashed my car while fumbling with my iPod, my friends, upon seeing another friend driving and attempting to change songs on their MP3 player, might be advised "not to pull a Wilton." (fictional example, I have not crashed my car lately)

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Mark Peters
Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 6:00 PM
Subject: New eponym

Lindsey Graham coined a vivid expression recently, saying, "My message to my Democratic colleagues is: We made mistakes in Iraq, let’s not Rumsfeld Afghanistan. Let’s not do this thing on the cheap."

Political eponyms--like Clintonista, Jeffersonian, Bushism--are pretty common. I can think of plenty of nouns and adjectives, but can anyone think of political eponymic verbs that work like Rumsfeld? I'm doing a column on Rumsfelding this week, and I appreciate any leads. I just hope I don't Rumsfeld the article.


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