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From Sexual Deviations to Sandwiches: A History of Eponyms

From Sexual Deviations to Sandwiches: A History of Eponyms

Eponyms are very common words in our life—many streets, cities and squares are named after famous people. But these are not the only examples of eponyms. While most of the objects, named after somebody, are obvious and well known, some are long-forgotten. Most of us do not even imagine how many eponyms exist in our life and that the most common things and notions bear names of real people.

Did you know that the saxophone was actually named after its creator—a Belgian designer Adolphe Sax? In fact, the saxophone is not the only creation of this inventor. The names of other instruments also derive from his—saxotromba, saxtuba and saxhorn.

What connection can there be between a French aristocrat and a seemingly modern sexual perversion? Sadism is a practice when a person experiences sexual arousal in response to pain. In fact, it is not a modern deviation. It was practiced in the times of Marquis de Sade (after whom this paraphilia was named) almost 200 years ago.

Similarly, masochism was named after an Austrian writer Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch who is renowned for both his sexual perversions and romantic stories.

Such a common thing as nicotine bears the name of a French ambassador Jean Nicot de Villemain. He was the owner of a tobacco plant and promoted medical properties of nicotine.

Bloomers are the garments that have been symbolic during the fight for women’s rights in the middle of the 18th century. They were named after a key figure of the movement Amelia Bloomer. Though she did not create them, Amelia was one of the movement’s first and the strongest advocates.

Very popular in the 19th century, Wellingtons were the creation of the 1st Duke of Wellington. He asked his cobbler to make a new kind of boots that would soon become very popular among the aristocracy.

Nowadays, the most popular snack is definitely a sandwich. But did you know that it is a British creation? Its probable inventor is a British statesman, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. It is considered to be the biggest contribution of Great Britain to gastronomy.

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