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Name relations

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Topic: 9) Name relations (1 of 4), Read 52 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Wednesday, September 15, 1999 09:04 AM

Mary A. Powers, of Durango, Colo., writes: "I keep seeing the word 'namesake' used to describe the person after whom another is named. I have always understood it to mean only the person who is named after (for the sake of?) someone else. Granny Alice is not baby Alice's namesake, but baby Alice is the namesake of her grandmother. Is there a word for the person whose name is given to another?

People whose names are given to things, processes, etc. (boycott, cardigan, sandwich), do have a word -- they are (according to my rather old dictionary) eponyms. But though I've seen such people described as 'eponymous,' I've only seen the word 'eponym' used to refer to the reverse of the dictionary definition: to that which is named after the person. Shouldn't there be another word for this, too?"

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Topic: 9) Name relations (2 of 4), Read 31 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Van Happy (stillcrazyasever@hotmail.com)
Date: Wednesday, September 22, 1999 08:15 AM

I think having the same name makes two people namesakes regardless of whether one of them is actually "named for" the other person.

Thus we have the solution to your problem.
If you accept it, that is.

Van.

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Topic: 9) Name relations (3 of 4), Read 13 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Monday, September 27, 1999 12:29 PM

our (arguably) best desk dictionary (MWCD-10) gives us this: one that has the same name as another; especially one who is named after another or for whom another is named.

Webster's Third New International (from the same publisher) has it as: one that has the same name as another; especially one who is named after another.

this doesn't seem to be too helpful, but is probably a reflection of either (a) informal vs. formal usage or, more likely, (b) the passage of 10 years time between publishing dates -- MWCD is more recent.

today's wwftd is...

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Topic: 9) Name relations (4 of 4), Read 9 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Carol Saba (sabas@gateway.net)
Date: Monday, September 27, 1999 11:58 PM

I find that it's probably from "The name's sake," and, with sake meaning either "end" or "cause," I think it could apply either way. I have five good dictionaries but I keep going back to this old Thorndike-Barnhart.
Carol


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