History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Fun for Friday: Eponyms

Ambrose Burnside, from whom "sideburns" derive their name

Ambrose Burnside, from whom “sideburns” derive their name

I talked about contronyms a couple of weeks ago, and today, I’m talking about eponyms! According to Wikipedia, an eponym “is a person, place, or thing after whom or after which something is named, or believed to be named.” Historical eras and scientific innovations often receive eponymous designations, but sometimes, they can be a little more fun.

Take, for example, the case of Ambrose Burnside, bearer of some serious facial hair. In his day and age, this was a unique style, and his facial hair configuration was originally referred to as “burnsides.” But later on down the line, the syllables were reversed, giving us today’s “sideburns.” Well done, Ambrose Burnside! You started a trend!Though most folks these days tend to keep their sideburns a bit more separate from the rest of their facial hair…

 

 


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