Learn English – the term for giving an action or phenomenon somebody’s name, e.g. “Doing a Lord Lucan”


A friend of mine is keen on taking the glory (or adverse publicity!) when something goes wrong on a job he's working on and he likes to give it his name, e.g., "this is turning into a right Simpson of a job […]."

So I suppose my question is two fold:

  • What do you call it when somebody does this?
  • What is the grammatical description for the name when used in this context?

Best Answer

The term for this concept is eponym. From TheFreeDictionary:

ep·o·nym (p-nm) n.
1. A word or name derived from the name of a person. The words atlas, bowdlerize, and Turing machine are eponyms.
2. A person whose name is or is thought to be the source of the name of something.

I don't know if there's a verb that describes this process. Probably "making an eponym" would be the closest.

Edit: @JSBangs deftly suggests eponymize in the comments below, and that sounds good to me.