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Eponyms are words based on a person's or character's name. Sometimes the person's name and the word are exactly the same and the word simply takes on a new meaning. In other cases the person's name is slightly changed. When this happens, the stressed syllable of the new word can also change and you won't always recognize the origin, which might be a somewhat familiar name. Take, for example, gardenia. It's really just a man's name (Alexander Garden) with the plant-naming suffix -ia. In fact, all of the words in this list that end with ia are names for plants and are based on the last names of botanists.

Now You Try

  1. 1. Six of the eponyms listed above are inspired by characters from Greek or Roman mythology. Which six eponyms are they?

    The six eponyms based on characters from Greek or Roman mythology are narcissistic, tantalize, hector, vulcanize, cupid, and mentor.

  2. 2. If you discovered a new plant and you could use your first or last name to give a name to the plant, what would you call it? How would you pronounce it?

    Answers will vary; your teacher can help you.