New eponym

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Aug 12 17:18:18 UTC 2009

At 9:43 AM -0400 8/12/09, Steve Kl. wrote:
>Herbert and Eve Clark have discussed this phenomenon extensively over the
>past several decades and it's a theme in many of their books and papers.

e.g. "When nouns surface as verbs", _Language_, 1979.  The classic is
"Houdini [(oneself) out of a situation]", but there was also
"Rosemary Woods'ed the tape".  There's also a Simon and Garfunkel
song that manufactures a whole bunch of eponymic passive
participles...let's see, yes, it's "A Simple Desultory Philippic"
(they don't make song titles like they useta):

First verse:

I been Norman Mailered, Maxwell Taylored.
I been John O'Hara'd, McNamara'd.
I been Rolling Stoned and Beatled till I'm blind.
I been Ayn Randed, nearly branded
Communist, 'cause I'm left-handed.
That's the hand I use, well, never mind!



>  One
>of my books at home has a chapter devoted precisely to this. I'll look it up
>tonight and get back to you.
>  - Steve
>On Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 9:36 AM, Dave Wilton <dave at> wrote:
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  -----------------------
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       Dave Wilton <dave at WILTON.NET>
>>  Subject:      Re: New eponym
>>  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.
>>  Mark
>>  ------------------------------------------------------------
>>  The American Dialect Society -
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