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Oct 18, 2021
This week’s theme
Eponyms

This week’s words
brewstered
hoover
cookie monster
marplot
Panglossian

brewstered
A poster of the 1985 film adaptation
Poster: Universal Pictures

Previous week’s theme
Bird words
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Each word has a story. It tells us where it has been and how it reached us. From Latin, Greek, whatever. But not every word has a story story.

By that I mean a word that comes with a whole mythology or a novel behind it. This is a word with a backstory, because it’s coined after a person. We call such words eponyms, from Greek epi- (upon) + -onym (name).

This week we’ll introduce you to five eponyms. These are coined after characters from real life and fiction. They have been in the language for hundreds of years or just a couple of decades. They are words coined after people on both sides of the Atlantic. They are all part of the language now. Say hello to them.

If you were to turn into an eponym and become a part of the language, what would your dictionary entry read? Share below or email us at words@wordsmith.org. As always, include your location (city, state).

brewstered

PRONUNCIATION:
(BROOS-tuhrd)

MEANING:
adjective: Very rich.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Montgomery Brewster, the title character of the 1902 novel Brewster’s Millions by George Barr McCutcheon. Earliest documented use: 2001.

NOTES:
In the novel Brewster’s Millions, Montgomery Brewster inherits $1 million when his grandfather dies. An uncle who hated this grandfather promises Brewster $7 million if he could spend that one million from the grandfather within a year. There are certain conditions, of course. He can’t just give the money away, he must get something of value in return, etc. The novel has been adapted into musicals, radio plays, and dozens of movies in many languages.

USAGE:
“He says he’s gonna buy a Mackie D’s when he’s brewstered. Wade tells him that the franchise on that is a million.”
Graham Johnson; Gang War; Mainstream Publishing; 2011.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The notion of making money by popular work, and then retiring to do good work, is the most familiar of all the devil's traps for artists. -Logan Pearsall Smith, essayist (18 Oct 1865-1946)

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