Huffpost Books
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Alex Novak Headshot

Boycott, Barbie, Leotard And Dunce: How Did These Namesakes Become Part Of Our Language? (PHOTOS)

Posted: Updated:

Most of us dream of a noteworthy legacy -- our 15 minutes of fame spread on to eternity. (Un)luckily for some, the English language is chock-full of eponyms -- proper names that have slipped into general usage as other forms of speech.

My new book "Tawdry Knickers and Other Unfortunate Ways to be Remembered" reveals the dark side of immortality -- a curiously related historical collection of nasty reprobates and unwitting victims of circumstance (90 of them), all of whom have had their names imported into our language in a way that might not have made them happy. The book includes our titular twosome: tawdry (poor, virginal St. Audrey) and knickers (New York blueblood Harmen Knickerbocker) as well as notorious namesakes that we wear (leotard), protest (boycott), and gargle (Listerine). These were all people whose names became a part of our lexicon and most of them weren't happy about it.

To buy the book or read more, visit www.tawdryknickers.com. Otherwise, enjoy the sneak peek.

Close
Tawdry Knickers
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Around the Web

Zenyatta's 19-win streak matches namesake's birthday

Not quite Ben 10 for namesakes

John Marshall students celebrate namesake's birthday one last time