Do you know the meaning of eponymous? Don’t worry — we’ll tell you. Read on to learn everything there is to know about the term eponymous.
As humans, we love to give our names to things. For example, we often name things that we established or founded after ourselves, like how the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was named after its creators, Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers.
In addition, we name things after the people who were involved in their discovery — take Halley’s comet, for instance, which was named after English astronomer Edmund Halley.
These are examples of something that’s eponymous, a word which simply describes someone whose name was given to something. Interested in learning more about the term eponymous? We can help. Read on to discover the definition of eponymous, its origin, synonyms, and more.
What Is the Definition of Eponymous?
The adjective eponymous refers to the place, person, or even thing that something else is named after. Cambridge English Dictionary and many other trusted dictionaries tell us that eponymous can be used to refer to something that is named something else.
Something that can get confusing with eponymous is that it can be used interchangeably with eponym. This is because eponym is the parent noun of eponymous.
To help explain what we mean, let’s discuss what the word eponym means.
An eponym also refers to a person, place, or thing that something is named after. One of the more well-known eponyms is the Achilles Tendon, with its eponym being Achilles. Another commonly known one is Lake Victoria, and its eponym is Queen Victoria.
Fun Fact: Did you know that Amerigo Vespucci is the eponym for “America”?
So, you can see now why eponymous and eponym can be used interchangeably. Simply put, they can both refer to someone whose name was given to something else, or vice versa.
What Is the Etymology of Eponymous?
When we look at a term’s origin (or etymology), we get to see how the word has evolved over time.
The word eponymous had its first documented use in 1833, deriving from the Greek word epōnumos, which in turn came from the word onym or onyma, literally meaning name. The word onyma has lent itself to a myriad of English words, including pseudonym, synonymous, and anonymous.
In the more traditional sense, an eponymous thing may have been more commonly used to refer to a totem or mythical ancestor that was believed to be the source of a clan’s name.
Today’s usage, however, aptly refers to such individuals as the owner of “Maggie’s Restaurant,” referring to a woman named Maggie.
What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Eponymous?
There are many words that we can use in place of the adjective eponymous. These words are called synonyms, which are phrases or words that have the same or similar definition as another word.
Not only do synonyms help to avoid repeating ourselves in conversation, but they are also a great way to expand your knowledge of the English language.
Below are example synonyms of eponymous:
- After whom something is named
- Commonly named
- In title only
- Wrongly named
- After which something is named
- In name only
When a word has the opposite meaning of the original word, that word is called an antonym. As was the case with synonyms, learning antonyms is a great way to memorize the definition of a word.
In this case — according to Word Hippo and other trusted thesauruses — the only antonym in the English language for eponymous is anonymous.
How Can Eponymous Be Used in a Sentence?
Now that you have a better understanding of the history, as well as the meaning behind eponymous, let’s review how to properly use it in a sentence. Try using the word eponymous in a sentence today!
Below you will find a few examples of eponymous to help get you started:
I know they had released a few EPs before, but their eponymous album was hands down their greatest album.
Absolutely nothing will ever top the Stooges’ eponymous debut album!
You must be thrilled to not only get out of London and move to Los Angeles, but you also get to be the central character and eponymous heroine in your debut role!
As children, we quickly lost interest in our father’s tales of the eponymous boogeyman.
I think, for me at least, my favorite Johnny Depp movie was his eponymous role in Tim Burton’s classic Edward Scissorhands.
I really prefer to use namesake instead of the word eponymous. For me, it makes the article feel a bit more approachable.
Arguably, one of the most commonly known eponyms has to be Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company.
I am so excited I was picked as the actor to portray the eponymous character of our next play!
There seems to be some confusion; you see, Robinson Crusoe is the eponymous hero of the book written by Daniel Defoe whereas Prince Hamlet is the eponymous protagonist of the Shakespearian tragedy Hamlet.
Do you know who the eponymous hero will be in your new literary work?
At the end of the day, if something is eponymous, it uses its own name as its title. For instance, most bands like to make the title of their first album eponymous and use the band’s name as the title for the record.