A New Eponym

As I know all of you know, an eponym is a word that comes from somebody's name. Braille from Louis Braille, silhouette from Étienne de Silhouette, etc., so on and so forth.
Leah sent me a link some time ago to a new eponym from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (also known as The Yarn Harlot): kinnearing, after the actor Greg Kinnear, whom she ran into at the airport. Kinnearing is taking surreptitious pictures of someone (possibly someone famous) without being obvious about it, or, in fact, without even looking through the camera's viewfinder. But you should really go read her post about it.
I realized I often kinnear (with my cameraphone) people on the subway or in the airport who are reading books by people I have met, which happens more than you might think. Then I send the pictures to the author, you know, just in case they have some paranoid idea that no one is actually reading their books. For instance, this woman is reading Wake Up, Sir! by Jonathan Ames:

And this person is reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (although I can't remember if I sent him this photo or not, I guess I'll just send him the link to this post):

I know, I know, it's a weird practice, but as a dictionary editor the chances are slim (or, more likely, none) that I will ever see someone randomly using a book I worked on in the subway … if you ever see that happen, kinnear away!

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3 thoughts on “A New Eponym

  1. My family has another type of eponym, called an Outerbridge. It’s when it appears the word has an obvious meaning but it really is based on a person’s name. The seminal example is Outerbridge: the outer bridge of the ones around NYC? Yes, but really named for Mr. Outerbridge.

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  2. Wow–Eugenius H. Outerbridge, no less (Wikipedia tells me)! He accomplished so much more than his brother, Euhenimus.

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