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Feb 1, 2010
This week's theme
Eponyms

This week's words
Annie Oakley
John Bull
Maginot line
daltonism
methuselah

Annie Oakley
Annie Oakley
Photo: NYPL

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

You could pay to have a football stadium named after yourself. You might be able to have a hospital wing named in your honor. But there's something money can't buy: having a word coined after your name, so that you become part of the language. Such words are called eponyms, from Greek epi- (after) + -onym (name).

Five people (some from real life, others from fiction) in this week's words achieved that feat, though not intentionally. All of these names have become eponyms.

Annie Oakley

PRONUNCIATION:
(AN-ee OHK-lee)

MEANING:
noun: A complimentary ticket; pass.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Annie Oakley (1860-1926), U.S. markswoman renowned for her skill at shooting, from association of the punched ticket with one of her bullet-riddled targets.

USAGE:
"If you're lucky, you've got an Annie Oakley."
Tom Rouillard; Big Top Goes Up Today; The Herald (Rock Hill, South Carolina); May 1, 1996.

See more usage examples of Annie Oakley in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The machine has got to be accepted, but it is probably better to accept it rather as one accepts a drug -- that is, grudgingly and suspiciously. Like a drug, the machine is useful, dangerous, and habit-forming. The oftener one surrenders to it the tighter its grip becomes. -George Orwell, novelist (1903-1950)

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