25 Interesting Words Derived from the Names of People Throughout History

by Unbelievable Facts6 years ago

13 Masochism

Deriving pleasure from undergoing something painful, humiliating, sexual or otherwise. Named after Leopold von Sacher-Masoch who wrote a novel called Venus in Furs expressing his fantasies about dominant women wearing fur.

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch and Masochism
Image Source: liveinternet

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch was an Austrian writer and journalist known for his romantic stories of Galician life and utopian ideals involving socialism and humanism both in his fiction and non-fiction stories. He studied law, history, and mathematics at Graz University. He also worked against antisemitism and edited a progressive monthly magazine aimed at tolerance and integration of Jews in Saxony. Venus in Furs was published as a part of the series Legacy of Cain. The term “masochism” was coined by an Austrian psychiatrist Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing who wrote that Sacher-Masoch was afflicted with sexual anomaly and that it was showed in his writings – an assertion that did not please Sacher-Masoch. (source)

14 Mirandize

To read the Miranda rights to a suspect when being arrested. Named after Ernesto Miranda whose conviction for kidnapping, rape, and armed robbery was invalidated because he wasn’t informed of his right to remain silent.

Ernesto Miranda and Miranda Rights
Image Source: todayifoundout

In 1966, during the trial of Miranda v. Arizona, Supreme Court found that the Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights of Ernesto Miranda were violated. However, Miranda was later retried and convicted. The Supreme Court didn’t specify the exact words to be used when informing suspects of their rights but created a set of guidelines that must be followed. The ruling states that the suspect must be informed of their right to remain silent, that anything the person says will be used against them in court, that they have the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during investigation, and that if they cannot afford one then they will be provided one at no cost. (source)


15 Platonic

Refers to an asexual love between two people of different gender. Named after the Greek philosopher Plato who described the asexual love within same-gender relationships, which evolved during Renaissance to get its contemporary meaning.

Plato and Platonic Love
Image Source: coursera

In a philosophical text called Symposium, Plato explains the possibilities of how love evolved, both sexually and non-sexually. Two types of love were described in the text, earthly love, which is material desire and attraction towards someone, and divine love, which starts from physical attraction and transcends to love for Supreme Beauty. In other words, with genuine platonic love, the mind and soul are directed to spiritual things. The relation between two men was meant to have such love, as was expressed in pederastic relations in ancient Greece where young boys were sent to older men to be educated, protected, and loved. (source)


16 Pompadour

 A hairstyle worn with the hair swept upwards or high above the forehead. Named after Madame de Pompadour, a member of the French court and the mistress of French King Louis XV, who wore such a hairstyle.

Madame de Pompadour and Pompadour Hairstyle
Image Source: lefigaro, nextluxury, capellistyle

Madame de Pompadour was the chief mistress, a close friend, and a confidant to King Louis XV, and also a member of the French court. Apart from being a valued aide and advisor to the king, she was also a patron of art and architecture, and philosophers including Voltaire. Though some during her time criticized her for the influence and power she had, she is praised by many historians for it and for being a successful patron. The pompadour hairstyle, named after Madame de Pompadour, was popular in 18th century among fashionable women and was revived again in the 19th century, and continued to in style until WWI. (source)


17 Quisling

A traitor or a person who collaborates with the occupying enemy force. Named after Vidkun Quisling, a Norwegian military officer, who headed the government under Nazi occupation during WWII.

Vidkun Quisling
Image Source: dailystormer

Vidkun Quisling aided Nazi Germany when it conquered his own country in order to rule the collaborationist Norwegian government himself. The term “quisling” was first used by Norwegian Labour Party politician Oscar Torp in a newspaper interview referring to the followers of Quisling. The word was even used by J.R.R. Tolkien in his presentation “On Fairy-Stories”. It was picked up by many newspapers and The Times‘ editorial said: “To writers, the word Quisling is a gift from the gods. If they had been ordered to invent a new word for traitor… they could hardly have hit upon a more brilliant combination of letters.”(source)


18 Raglan

A type of sleeve that extends from the collar over the shoulder to the arm. Named after the 1st Baron Raglan for whom the coat sleeve was invented to allow him room for greater movement while using a sword.

Baron Raglan
Image Source: wikipedia

FitzRoy Somerset, the 1st Baron Raglan, was a British Army officer who lost his right arm during the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The Raglan sleeve was invented by coat producer, Aquascutum, for Lord Raglan for better movement, instead of the usual sleeve head which was prefixed. He is said to have worn a coat with this kind of sleeves after he lost his arm. (source)


19 Ritzy

Refers to something expensive or stylish, or someone haughty. Named after César Ritz, a Swiss hotelier, who founded several hotels including the Hôtel Ritz in Paris.

Cesar Ritz
Image Source: latinbusinesstoday

César Ritz was a waiter who, after spending five years in Paris during the Franco-Prussian War, gained enough refinement and confidence to transform himself into a maître d’hôtel, manager, and eventually hotelier. Ritz went on to buy and open several hotels with the code “Customer is always right”. In 1896, he formed the Ritz Hotel syndicate along with a South African millionaire, and they opened what would become Hôtel Ritz of Paris. His success led him to be known as “king of hoteliers, and hotelier to kings”. (source)


20 Rubenesque

Voluptuous or full figured features of a woman. Named after Sir Peter Paul Rubens, a Flemish Baroque painter, whose paintings of women were known for subjects with such features.

Sir Peter Paul Rubens
Image Source: wikipedia

Rubens is well-known for his Catholic Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythical or allegorical subjects. Also, his nudes of biblical and mythological women which he painted in baroque tradition as soft-bodied, passive, and highly sexualized beings to emphasize concepts such as fertility, desire, beauty, and virtue are well-known . His fondness for painting full-figured women was what gave rise to the term “Rubenesque” or “Rubensian”. (source)


21 Sadism

Deriving pleasure from inflicting pain, humiliation or suffering on others, sexual or otherwise. Named after Marquis de Sade who is notorious for his unrestrained sexual expression and erotic literary works.

Marquis de Sade
Image Source: tootlafrance

Marquis de Sade was a French aristocrat, revolutionary, politician, philosopher, and a writer. He wrote many novels, short stories, plays, and political tracts which were published either under his own name or a pseudonym. He believed in extreme freedom and being unrestrained by morality, religion or law. He was also infamous for his libertine sexuality and erotic works that depicted sexual fantasies containing violence and criminality, which led to establishing the words “sadism” and “sadist”. This was also perceived as blasphemy against the Catholic Church that caused him to be imprisoned or sent to insane asylums for 32 years of his life. (source)


22 Shrapnel

Fragment of a bomb, shell or an object thrown by an explosion. Named after Lieutenant General Henry Shrapnel who invented shrapnel shell, but the word later came to mean fragments of the shells after the explosion.

Henry Shrapnel
Image Source: alchetron

Henry Shrapnel’s invention, shrapnel shell, consisted of a hollow cannonball which was filled with lead shots that would explode in mid-air. However, he actually called them “spherical case” ammunition. The British Army later adopted the concept to create an elongated explosive shell and named after him. Soon the word “shrapnel” also came to mean fragmentation of artillery shells and any general fragmentation. The shells were manufactured using the original idea until the end of WWI. (source)


23 Boycott

To protest by withdrawing the usage, purchase or relations with someone or something. Named after Charles Boycott, an Irish land agent, who was excluded from the Irish Land League for evicting poor tenants.

Charles Boycott
Image Source: wikipedia, carolynjoycooper

During the Irish Land War, Captain Charles Boycott served as the land agent for an absent landlord, Lord Erne. In a year when harvests were poor, Lord Erne gave 10 percent reduction in rents. But later, in September that year, he refused to accept 25 percent as demanded by the protesting tenants. Charles Stewart Parnell gave a speech before any of these events occurred and said that the new tenants who take the farms of evicted tenants should be shunned instead of using violence. Though Boycott isn’t actually a new tenant but a land agent, the villagers started isolating him by stopping working in his field and house, and trading with him or even delivering his mail. (source)


24 Silhouette

The image of a person, animal or object in a single color or their shape viewed against a source of light. After Étienne de Silhouette, a French finance minister, who imposed severe economic restrictions during a crisis with the result that his name came to mean anything cheaply made, and eventually the contemporary meaning.

Image credit: Wikimedia

During the 18th century, France was in a financial crisis because of the Seven Years’ War, which caused the financial minister Étienne de Silhouette to use very severe economic demands, especially on the wealthy. Prior to the invention of photography, these cut out black profiles of people became the cheapest way to record a person’s appearance. These profiles were soon come to be referred as silhouettes in the 19th century, though such art was prevalent in the 18th century as well. (source)

25 Tattersall

A plaid pattern of regularly spaced horizontal and vertical stripes. Named after Richard Tattersall, the founder of racehorse auctioneer called Tattersalls, where the horse markets sold blankets with such pattern.

Richard Tattersall
Image Source: artclon

Richard Tattersall founded Tattersalls in 1766 and it is the main auctioneer of race horses in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The blankets with tattersall pattern were sold in Tattersall’s horse market during the 18th century and have become a very common pattern often woven in cotton or flannel as material for shirts and waistcoats. Traditionally shirts made from this cloth were worn by riders as formal riding clothes along with a stock tie. (1, 2)

Also Read:
12 English Phrases with Unexpected Origins

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