The Dictionary of Eponyms: Names That Became Words, by Robert Hendrickson ISBN 088029230x
Five out of five stars
This is a reference book that is fun to open at random and read about the origin of a specific word, all the while being an excellent source for understanding how some words came into existence. An eponym is a word created directly from the name of a real or fictional person. There are over 3,500 such words described in this book and they are educational as well as humorous.
For example, the Duke of the Scottish Argyle clan was known for putting posts in his pasture so that his cattle could scratch themselves and the pattern for what is now known as argyle socks is the traditional pattern of the clan. When a Scotsman scratched himself he would say, “God bless the Duke of Argyle!”
There is also a great deal of history in this book and it covers all areas of human endeavor. From Governor Elbridge Gerry and the political word “gerrymander” to the phrase “Even Steven” that was derived from a book by Jonathan Swift. It belongs in all reference libraries.