Sandersize and other Eponyms

I woke this morning with the word “ferberize” on my mind and then a string of associations to words such as sanitize, fantasize, compartmentalize and a whole string of words ending in “ize.”


I then returned to ferberize and realized that what was intriguing me was that a word, in common English usage, was based on a man’s name, Dr. Richard Ferber—his method for training babies to sleep by themselves is known as ferberizing.


I could not think of any other English words that were based on a person’s name until Quisling surfaced. So I googled (google is not a person’s name) words derived from names of people and listed first is 30 words derived from 29 people’s names and an elephant.


My intuition tells me there are many more than 30 words based on people’s names—though I initially could not think of even one beyond ferberize.


Here is a partial list:


bowdlerize – “remove sexually offensive words or passages from a written work before publishing it.” From Thomas Bowdler who published an edition of Shakespeare that left out such things as the porter scene in Macbeth.


boycott– “refuse to do business with someone.” From Charles C. Boycott who refused to conform to land reforms supported by the Irish Land League. The League acted against Boycott by preventing his access to stores, postal service and other economic necessities.


casanova – “a man gallantly attentive to women.” From Giacomo Casanova de Seignalt an Italian adventurer who wrote a memoir in which he bragged about his “conquests.”


chauvinism– “fanatical patriotism or an intense belief in the superiority of one’s own gender, group, or kind.” From Nicholas Chauvin, a soldier in Napoleon’s Army who was a by-word for stubborn loyalty to Napoleon’s Empire long after Napoleon’s defeat.


mirandize– “to read the legal rights to a suspect arrested on a criminal charge.” From Ernesto Miranda, a laborer whose conviction on kidnapping, rape, and armed robbery was overturned because arresting officers had failed to inform him of his legal rights.


My tentative eponym for Sanders is Sandersize. To sandersize is a method designed for parents of multiples to help their babies learn how to sleep on their own. For the moment, having lived through a week of colds and one toddler waking her sister and then the other reciprocating—and both finding their way into our bed—to sandersize is to recognize that ferberizing is not a one size fits all formula for parents and their children to learn to sleep—separately.

1 Comment

Kristy Brenner · January 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Great fun! I did not know boycott’s origin and had never heard of ferberize. And, I have to admit, I am relieved not to have had to Sandersize. Best wishes to you and your family as you explore the boundaries of this new eponym.

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