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Capitalizing Seasons

Don’t capitalize names of seasons unless they’re part of a proper noun, such as Summer Olympics or Spring Formal. Unlike the names of months and days of the week, seasons aren’t eponymous, meaning they don’t derive from...

Naming Aspirin

Aspirin is now a generic drug, but it was once a brand-name product made by Bayer. It’s just one of many genericized trademarks, also known as proprietary eponyms, which includes not only aspirin, but kerosene, dry ice, and cellophane. This is...

Criminy Jiminy

Hey, friends! This past weekend, we re-aired an episode you may have missed. Among other things, we talked anatomical eponyms in medicine, such as Achilles heel and fallopian tubes, which are being phased out; litotes, which use negatives to say...

Anatomical Eponyms

Anatomy is full of eponyms — that is, words inspired by the name of a person. For examples, there are the fallopian tubes, the Achilles heel, and the eustachian tubes. But there’s a movement in anatomy to replace eponyms with more scientific...

A Murmuration of Starlings

If you’ve eaten crispy chicken, you might also have had jo-jo potatoes. Speaking of chicken, ever wonder why colonel isn’t pronounced KOH-loh-nell? Grant and Martha have the answers to those nagging little questions, like the difference...

Solon

Solon often pops up in headlines as a label for legislators. It is actually an eponym, referring to Solon, an esteemed lawgiver from ancient Athens who lay much of the groundwork for the original democracy. Nowadays, however, the term solon is...