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Names in the News You Can Use

From Blagojeviching to Palinize, new eponyms abound Unless you're a hell of a multitasker, you've probably never ducked shrapnel while boycotting tawdry fashions and chauvinistic policies. But chances are you recognize the words shrapnel, boycott, tawdry, and chauvinistic, which are all eponyms-words..


From Blagojeviching to Palinize, new eponyms abound

Unless you're a hell of a multitasker, you've probably never ducked shrapnel while boycotting tawdry fashions and chauvinistic policies.But chances are you recognize the words shrapnel, boycott, tawdry, and chauvinistic, which are all eponyms-words derived from names, specifically Henry Shrapnel, Charles Cunningham Boycott, St. Audrey, and Nicolas Chauvin.Pop culture-propelled eponyms like MacGyver (to jerryrig a doohickey in the style of the TV character) and Darth (used to convey villainy, as in Darth Blago and Darth Cheney) have sources that are a little more familiar. Also, if you say you've been Dooced, many blogologically aware folks will know that you lost your job because of inappropriate material in a blog, just like Heather B. Armstrong, a.k.a. Dooce did.Eponyms are everywhere. Meanings jump from words to people like lexical herpes, though not all word-viruses have herpes-strength staying power. Here's a look at some in-flux, still-emerging dictionary-hopefuls before they sink back into the linguistic ooze or fly into the welcoming arms of standard English. Feel free to Bogart these terms as you please.Phelpsianadj. Extraordinarily successful, even beyond Michael Jordanesque and Tiger Woodsy-or just a hell of a swimmer. Also has taken on a bong-water-soaked odor as of late."Considering the events he's swimming include some of the toughest competition the state has to offer, Lohmeier isn't going in with Phelpsian expectations."(Feb. 12, 2009, Will C. Holden, Bozeman Daily Chronicle)Belichickverb. To commit the NFL no-no of illegal videotaping, like New England Patriots head coach and sweatshirt enthusiast Bill Belichick."A week or so ago, we wrote about a YAHOO story that stated the Broncos had been Belichick-ing on their own by secretly taping Chargers' practices. Now, the Denver coach is bucking back."(March 4, 2008, Sports by Brooks)Kinnearverb. Named for the actor Greg Kinnear, this describes the sneaky method of taking a picture of someone who isn't aware of it. Originated with blogger Yarn Harlot who Kinneared Kinnear himself."Clearly, I was Kinnearing like mad. The essence of Kinnearing is Not Being Noticed, so using the flash was out of the question. Hence, the many extremely blurry photos. Sorry about that."(Dec. 22, 2008, kmkat and her needles)Lohanedadj. To be Lohaned-or Ms. Lindsay Lohaned, for the formal among us-is to get blitzed, bombed, shellacked, marinated, [insert your own drunken euphemism here]."Super-duper model Naomi Campbell got completely lohaned while at a party Tuesday night in Capri, Italy."(June 11, 2008, www.tabloidwreck.com)Plutoverb. Eponyms aren't propelled only by people's names: even a space rock can get in on the act, especially if it loses its hard-earned planetary status. This is one is a few years old, but it has one notch on its bedpost: the American Dialect Society named it their Word of the Year for 2006."Kadence has a new thing where she NEVER calls Bryce Baba (Assyrian for Father) anymore. She always calls him Bryce and even though it is cute I am a little worried that in public people will think he's a stepdad or something so I have been telling Bryce that he got plutoed by Kadence. He has definately [sic] lost his status."(Jan. 26, 2009, The Coconut Telegraph)Blagojevichverb. The name of impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has many connotations, including bribe-inhaling, obscenity-spewing, and bazillion-hairs-having. The most notable use was a David Letterman quip that the now ex-governor's crimes included "one count of bribery, one count of fraud and one count of Blagojeviching." Also, the word sounds a lot like bitching and a little like kvetching, which may explain the following example."That, of course, is neither here nor there-just another repressed memory that I may explore further at some point. You'd think that I wouldn't be sitting here Blagojeviching about something as trite as growing up with a half-assed McDonald's when we just found out the state of Texas is like totally broke. Comptroller Susan Combs released her revenue estimate on Monday, revealing a $9 billion shortfall."(Jan. 12, 2009, Eileen Smith, Texas Monthly)Palinizeverb. To be treated (and marginalized) in a way reminiscent of Sarah Palin."‘They basically Sarah Palin-ized her,' Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) said on the CBS program Face the Nation while discussing how Kennedy had released written answers through a spokesperson in response to media inquiries about her policy positions."(Dec. 31, 2008, Baltimore Jewish Times)And that's just the tip of the name-berg. In the dark dungeons and loopy lofts of the Internet, you can find examples of almost any name being taken in vain. Last year Jeffrey Goldberg mentioned his prefrontal Spitzer lobe, in honor of the whore-liking ex-governor. Lushes get Winehoused as often as they get Lohaned. Anyone who goes Cruise-azy is likely to be Perez Hiltoned (blogged about by that or another celebu-vulture).What eponyms have you spotted on the ground or from your hovercraft? Let us know in comments-but please-no Blagojeviching.
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