Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Eponymous


The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is eponymous. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Eponymous is used to describe something named for a person or group (as in “Merriam-Webster, an eponymous publishing company named for George and Charles Merriam and Noah Webster”), or a person or group whose name is used for something (as in “the company’s eponymous founders”).

// The band’s eponymous debut album received critical acclaim.

EPONYMOUS in Context

“The Outer Banks of North Carolina made a name for themselves long before the eponymous Netflix show premiered in 2020.” — Lydia Mansel, Travel + Leisure, 26 Mar. 2023

Did You Know?

What’s in a name? If the name is eponymous, a name is in the name: an eponymous brand, café, river, or ice cream is named for someone or something. And because English is beastly sometimes, the one lending the name to the brand, café, river, or ice cream can also be described as eponymous. This means that if Noah Webster owns a bookstore called “Webster’s Books,” it’s an eponymous bookstore, and Noah himself is the bookstore’s eponymous owner. Most of the time, though, we see eponymous describing a thing named for a person—for example, an eponymous brand named for a designer, or a band’s eponymous album titled only with the band’s name. The related word eponym is less ambiguous: it refers to the one for whom someone or something is named. At our hypothetical “Webster’s Books,” Noah Webster is the bookstore’s eponym. Appropriately enough, the Greek root of both words is onyma, meaning “name.”

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