Have you ever wondered where the word 'teddy bear' came from? In this lesson, we are going to talk about coinage and eponyms. Let's learn!

Coinage and Eponyms in The English Language

What Is Coinage?

Coinage is a type of word formation process that involves creation and general use of new words through sources like commercial products, technology, music, cinema, etc.

Common Examples of Coinage

Over time, certain words that were coined have gained widespread usage among people. For example:

  • google
  • nylon
  • vaseline
  • granola
  • xerox
  • teflon
  • kleenex
  • zipper
  • aspirin

Tip!

Words that are formed by coinage are usually written in lowercase letters when used in context, but when we want to refer to the source of the word, it becomes a proper noun and it has to be capitalized.

What Are Eponyms?

Eponym is a type of coinage in which new words are derived from the name of a person or a place.

Common Examples of Eponyms

"Sandwich" is an example of eponym

There are many eponyms that English speakers commonly use in their daily life. Take a look at some of its common examples:

hoover

It was named after William Henry Hoover, founder of the first vacuum cleaners.

teddy bear

Morris Michtom, a candy shop owner, decided to create a toy bear and dedicate it to the president, Theodore Roosevelt, who refused to shoot a bear. Then he called it 'Teddy's Bear'.

jeans

It is derived from the Italian city of Genoa where this type of cloth was first made.

sandwich

It is named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, who insisted on having his salt beef tucked between two slices of toasted bread.

Tip!

All eponyms must be written in lowercase letters when used in context. However, when used as a proper noun, they must be capitalized to show their uniqueness.

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