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List of Eponyms

This is a list of about fifty common eponyms. For each eponym you'll find a definition, two example sentences, the origin and a quick quiz question.

Adam's apple

the lump of cartilage surrounding the larynx (voice box) at the front of the human neck - most noticeable on adult men

Apgar score

a test given to a newborn baby one minute after birth and five minutes after birth. It evaluates the baby's physical condition. Babies who score low after five minutes are assessed again.


a food or other substance that triggers sexual arousal or makes sexual encounters more pleasurable

Asperger syndrome

a disorder on the autism spectrum. A person with Asperger syndrome typically has difficulty interacting socially and exhibits repetitive behaviours.


a book of maps

bobby British English

a police officer (informal, British English)


the withdrawal of support, or the refusal to buy or use something, as a form of protest or activism; (also a verb)


a writing system composed of raised dots that represent letters. It allows blind or visually impaired people to read.

Caesar salad

a salad made with romaine lettuce and croutons, with dressing usually made from olive oil, garlic, raw egg and parmesan cheese


a jacket-like, woollen sweater that opens at the front and may have buttons that are often left undone


a man who easily charms and seduces women; a womanizer


a temperature scale based on two fixed points with water freezing at 0°C (zero degrees Celsius) and boiling at 100°C. It is used in temperatures for weather, cooking and so on in most countries.


a person (usually male) with an exaggerated devotion towards a gender, person or group; a person with excessive patriotism


a sporting event involving horse-racing, usually with young horses; some other kind of race, for example bicycle derby


a compression-ignition engine that burns fuel on the inside by forcing into a small space and then injecting fuel into it. The air heats up and ignites the fuel without a spark plug. Diesel engines are used for heavy vehicles, such as trucks, trains and submarines. Diesel is also a low-grade petroleum for fuelling a diesel engine.

Down syndrome

a condition caused by an extra or partial copy of chromosome 21, resulting in mild to severe intellectual and physical impairment


a temperature scale in which the boiling point of water (212°F) and freezing point (32° F) are 180 degrees apart (today used mainly in the USA)

Fallopian tubes

two tubes that lead from the ovaries to the uterus in a female mammal. The ova (female reproductive eggs) travel from the ovary to the uterus through the Fallopian tubes.

Ferris wheel

an amusement park ride (for example, the London Eye) consisting of a giant vertical wheel that revolves slowly as riders sit in passenger cars suspended on its outer edge

Freudian slip

a verbal mistake that may reveal a person's true beliefs, emotions or subconscious feelings

graham cracker

a light, square-shaped baked cookie that is often today sweetened with honey


a small type of fish that breeds quickly and comes in many colours. They are often kept in fish bowls and aquariums.


an informal word for an unnamed male person; used in a plural form (guys) to refer to a group of people (including females)

hoover British English

a vacuum cleaner; a machine for cleaning house and car interiors; also a verb


a small indoor or outdoor whirlpool with massaging jets; a hot tub


something that is very large; also used as an adjective


a form-fitting, one-piece garment that covers the torso. It may or may not have sleeves, and is often worn by acrobats, dancers and skaters


an experienced and trusted guide or advisor; also a verb


a highly addictive medicinal narcotic drug derived from opium. It is often used as a pain reliever and sedative.

Morse code

a message system in which letters and numbers are represented by dots and dashes or long and short light or sound signals

Murphy's law

the idea, a supposed law of Nature, that anything that can go wrong will go wrong


a toxic, addictive liquid found in the tobacco plant


a sudden expression of fear or great concern; also a verb


photographers who work independently and follow celebrities to get photographs of them, often in an intrusive way


the exposure of food (especially dairy products) to a very high temperature in order to kill bacteria that can cause food to spoil

petri dish

a small, circular culture dish with a tight-fitting lid, made of glass or plastic. It is used for collecting cells or specimens and maintaining a sterile environment during an experiment.


a Mexican plant with specialized bright red leaves called "bracts" surrounding small yellow flowers. It is a popular houseplant at Christmas.


extreme luxury | more commonly used in its adjective form: ritzy


two slices of bread with some other food between them, such as meat, cheese or peanut butter


a brass musical instrument of the woodwind family, often used in classical music and jazz


a person who doesn't like to share his or her money; a person who doesn't like celebrating Christmas


fragments of metal from a bomb or shell


the outline of a dark shape on a light background; often the profile (side view) of a human face

teddy bear

a soft toy bear filled with stuffing


a standard unit of electromotive force that drives current | abbreviation: V


a standard unit of power | abbreviation: W

wellingtons | wellies British English

knee-length waterproof boots made of rubber or plastic


an electric-powered machine with a driver that resurfaces ice on an ice-rink by shaving it, clearing it and flooding it

Contributor: Tara Benwell