Anonyponymous: The Forgotten People Behind Everyday Words

By John Bemelmans Marciano

An encyclopedia of linguistic biographies: the witty, illustrated tales of the Earl of Sandwich, Charles Boycott, and different historic figures higher often called phrases than humans.

Eponymous, adj. Giving one's identify to someone, position, or factor.

Anonymous, adj. Anonymous.

Anonyponymous, adj. Anonymous and eponymous.

The Earl of Sandwich, keen on salted pork and matched slices of toast, came upon a singular method to devour all of them jointly. Etienne de Silhouette, a former French finance minister, was once so notoriously affordable that his identify grew to become a byword for chintzy practices―such as substituting a darkened define for a formal painted portrait. either bequeathed their names to the language, yet neither guy is remembered.

In this smart and humorous ebook, John Bemelmans Marciano illuminates the lives of those anonyponymous people. a type of encyclopedia of linguistic biographies, the publication is prepared alphabetically, giving the tales of everybody from Abu "algorithm" Al-Khwarizmi to count number Ferdinand von Zeppelin. besides them you will discover the likes of Harry Shrapnel, Joseph-Ignace Guillotine, and plenty of folks whose vernacular legacies have lengthy outlived their reminiscence.

Accented through a laugh line photographs and brief etymological essays on matters like "superhero eponyms," Anonyponymous is either a compendium of trivialities and a window into the attention-grabbing global of etymology. conscientiously curated and unfailingly witty, this e-book is either a gorgeous present for language fanatics and a real excitement to read.

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Within the anonyponymous, biographical historical past and the dictionary intersect within the realm of the ridiculous—and additionally of the extraordinary, the pleasant, and the attention-grabbing. i am hoping you take pleasure in those phrases and the folks in the back of them up to i've got. A·NON·Y·PON·Y·MOUS al·go·rithm n. a collection of principles for fixing an issue. No, the 1st anonyponymous individual within the e-book isn't really Al Gore. while a observe starts with al-, there’s a great opportunity it comes from Arabic. this can be real with alchemy, almanac, alcove, alcohol (ironically), and set of rules, named for Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, or, as his Latin translators known as him, Algorismus. within the early 9th century Baghdad was once quick changing into the world’s most vital middle of alternate and studying, and whereas engaged at its illustrious apartment of knowledge, al-Khwarizmi produced his most famed paintings, The e-book of Restoring and Balancing. In it, al-Khwarizmi defined how one can resolve complicated mathematical equations via a mode referred to as al-jabr, Arabic for “reunion of damaged parts,” which got here rendered in Latin as “algebra. ” (See approximately these al- phrases? ) On an excellent extra simple point, al-Khwarizmi used to be instrumental within the unfold of Arabic numerals. no longer that he invented them, nor did anyArab; the symbols originated at the Indian subcontinent within the centuries prime as much as Christ. The algorithm laid down through al-Khwarizmi for operating with those fancy Hindu quantity symptoms used to be so progressive that his identify got here to intend mathematics, first within the Arab international, after which within the shape algorism in the course of the West. yet this wouldn’t occur until eventually al-Khwarizmi’s books have been eventually translated into Latin, approximately 300 years after he wrote them, a sign of simply how a ways the Christian global lagged at the back of the Muslim one in the course of the highbrow deep freeze of the center a long time. Roman numerals—a method invented for notching sticks—didn’t be replaced via Hindu-Arabic ones till the mid-1500s. bou·gain·vil·lea n. a type of flowering vine. Louis-Antoine de Bougainville set sail in past due 1766 trying to develop into the 1st Frenchman to circumnavigate the globe. alongside for the trip used to be botanist Philibert Commerçon and the younger guy he had employed as his valet for the journey, Jean Bonnefoy. Bonnefoy used to be either committed and tireless, hiking all over the place with Commerçon and becoming fairly a skilled botanist himself. one of the vegetation they found used to be one they discovered in Brazil, a mountaineering, flowering shrub that Commerçon named in his admiral’s honor. nonetheless, the main celebrated cease at the journey wasn’t South the United States however the South Pacific, particularly Tahiti, first printed to the broader global in Bougainville’s later writings. Bougainville defined the island as a type of earthly paradise peopled by way of noble savages uncorrupted via civilization. Uncorrupted, might be, yet no longer fools. after they observed Commerçon’s younger assistant, they instantly knew what the workforce hadn’t but discovered, particularly, that he was once a she. Jean Bonnefoy used to be in reality Jeanne Baret. Tearfully, the younger lady defined to Bougainville that she’d followed her drag personality with a purpose to make a dwelling after the dying of her mom and dad.

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