ABOUT EPONYMS AND UKRAINIAN CONTRIBUTION

Names of people or places that become common words are called EPONYMS. Confusingly, the same term may be used for common words that originated from the corresponding proper names. This way or the other, but the process is called EPONYMY by all the parties involved. The products of eponymy are such  words as volt  (from the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta), cardigan (from the English cavalry officer James Thomas Brudenell, seventh Earl of Cardigan, who wore this knitted jacket fastened with buttons during the Crimean War as protection against the cold winters), maverick (from the US pioneer Samuel Augustus Maverick, who did not brand his calves, while all other owners branded them), nicotine (from the French diplomat and scholar Jean Nicot, who introduced tobacco into France), teddy bear (from the US President Theodore Roosevelt whose nickname was Teddy (the usage emerged after a cartoon showed Roosevelt known as a bear-hunter, sparing the life of a bear cub).

Common lexemes that developed from place names are alsatian (Alsace, France), bikini (Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands), champagne (Champagne, France), denim (Nimes, France), hamburger (Hamburg), jeans (Genoa, Italy), jersey (Jersey, Channel Islands), kaolin (Kao-ling, China), mayonnaise (Mahon, Minorca), pheasant (Phasis, Georgia), pistol (Pistoia, Italy), rugby (Rugby School, UK), sherry (Jerez, Spain), suede (Sweden), tangerine (Tangier), tuxedo (Tuxedo Park Country Club, New York), Venetian blind (Venice, Italy).

Fictitious or mythical people can also be eponymous: He’s a real Romeo; What a Scrooge! Some other names of this kind: atlas, Cinderella, herculean, Jekyll and Hyde, man Friday (girl Friday, person Friday), quixotic, Shylock, mentor.

I’m not quite sure whether Ukrainians should take pride in having enriched the English language with their own eponym. The word titushky derives from the surname of Vadym Titushko who was one of the thugs hired by then-undemocratic Ukrainian government to attack and beat journalists on May 18, 2013. Radio Free Europe /Radio Liberty describes titushky as “burly guys dressed in sports wear who crack down on protesters or provoke clashes with the aim of tarnishing peaceful protests.” Unfortunately, at present titushky are also employed for raiding and illegal capturing small businesses for the benefit of more powerful competitors who have pulls with influential politicians or parliamentarians. Such raids and capturing usually follow the corresponding decisions taken by kangaroo courts.  A Dictionary of Modern Ukrainian Slang has also registered the word ititushky, which is a portmanteau of the words IT and titushky, and refers to hackers or ordinary users who act aggressively against democratic and/or pro-Ukrainian blogs and websites, using DDoS attacks, aggressive comments and trolling.

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