The Thanksgiving Bunbury

22 11 2007

We should all thank linguaphile@wordsmith.org for the following information.

This week’s theme: eponyms — words coined after someone.

bunbury (BUN-buh-ree) noun,  1)an imaginary person whose name is used as an excuse to some purpose, especially to visit a place. 2) To use the name of a fictitious person as an excuse.

[From Oscar Wilde‘s play The Importance of being Earnest where the
character Algernon invents an imaginary person named Bunbury as an alibi to
escape from relatives. He explains to his friend, “I have invented an
invaluable permanent invalid called Bunbury, in order that I may be able to go
down into the country whenever I choose. Bunbury is perfectly invaluable. If
it wasn’t for Bunbury’s extraordinary bad health, for instance, I wouldn’t
be able to dine with you at Willis’s to-night.”]

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One response

23 11 2007
Walt

I offer you a couple of eponymns: First “Fedora,” a hat worn by a character in a play: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fedora_%28hat%29. Fedoras were often worn by Humphrey Bogart, the etonymn for the eponymnous verb “bogart.” I’ll also throw in at no extra charge, “nixon,” as in “I shouldn’t have eaten that last burrito. I have to go take a nixon.”

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