QUESTIONS FOR YOUR REFLECTION
1. Compound nouns (petri dish, Eisenhower jacket). Are these eponyms? I don't think so. Consider the implications for science, medicine, mathematics, where eponyms run amock (Coriolus effect, Heimlich maneuver, etc). What do you think?
2. Possessives (Alzheimer's disease, Plank's constant). Are these eponyms? What do you think?
3. Capitalization. As listed in the dictionary, some eponyms are capitalized, some aren't. Why the difference? Is there a drift from capitalized to lower-case?
4. Proper nouns. In certain usages, proper nouns behave eponymously ("Dude, hand me the Gibson; I feel a song coming on."). Expound on that.
5. There's a discrepancy between the number of males / females. Expound.
6. Fonts. Any engraver who designs a font names it after himself / herself. (Garamond, Bodini, etc) Should these be considered eponyms?
7. Metaphors ("Let's not elect another Reagan.") When does that become an eponym?
8. Which eponyms are archaic? Which are cutting edge? Is there a lifespan? Which recent eponyms are likely to stick around?
9. Does having a word named after a person really commemorate that person?
10. Do you need to know the etymology of a word to understand the word?
11. How does one promote a new eponym, esp. of one's own coinage?
12. Science, math, and medicine have thousands of eponyms. What's up with that?
13. What about tacking a suffix such as -ism, -ist, or -ian onto someone's name? Is that an eponym? Sometimes it is, sometimes not. What's the difference?
14. Many awards are eponymous: the Nobel prize, the Vince Lombardi trophy, etc. As proper nouns, are those eponyms? Is there enough disassociation? Was about the Oscar and the Tony, whose naming was more accidental than commemorative?