New eponym

Clai Rice cxr1086 at LOUISIANA.EDU
Wed Aug 12 18:45:01 UTC 2009

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Benjamin Zimmer [mailto:bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU]
> Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 10:22 PM
> Subject: Re: New eponym
> On Tue, Aug 11, 2009 at 9:20 PM, Laurence Horn<laurence.horn at>
> wrote:
> >
> > At 5:59 PM -0700 8/11/09, Mark Peters wrote:
> >>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
> >
Looking for verbs describing a large land boondoggle involving a certain
Secretary of State, I ran across the following passage in Google Books:

"It is high time for the community to decide whether this cultivation of
foreign attachment is to be made a matter of merit in the party to be chosen
to the greatest executive trust. Are we to be Pierced, Scotted or Sewarded
by such extraneous nonsense?" [Editorial, "Advancing Backwards." The
Republic, Vol 3, No. 1, January 1852.]

The passage refers not to foreign purchases or annexation but to the linking
of politicians to ethnic backgrounds in order to gain votes.

Unfortunately, only one other of the 82 g-hits was not a misspelling of
"rewarded," and that was to a young man in a novel who had lost his last
name, "un-Sewarded." So it doesn't look like "Sewarded" survived.

On the other hand, "Clintonize" is with "Carterize," "Dukakasize,"
"Goldwaterize," "John Towerization," "Muskie-ize," "(Willie) Hortonize" in
the same AmSpeech that lists "Bushism" and "read-my-lips" (but no "Bushlips"
68.2, 1993). I don't know about the others, but Clintonize seems alive and
well, though in several different meanings.

Clai Rice

The American Dialect Society -

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