Quiz: The origin of eponyms

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on November 12, 2021

This week’s quiz is all about eponyms, people or places who inspired other names.

1. What connects 17th century French governor Michael Begon, Swedish doctor Andres Dahl, German scientist Leonard Fuchs and Scottish physician, naturalist and immigrant to the US, Alexander Garden? The list is by no means complete!

2. Which two word phrase for a loyal assistant originated from a best-selling 17th century book based on the life of Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk?

3. A tall multi-layered sandwich made with a variety of meats, cheeses and condiments and usually crowned by an olive pierced by a toothpick or skewer is named after which enduring comic strip character?

4. Though he was badly wounded in battle and received a meagre pension, this solider remained totally devoted to Emperor Napoleon. He was immortalized in the 1831 comedy La cocarde tricolore and his surname became a byword for blind unthinking belief in a cause. Name him.

5. A derrick is a lifting device commonly used for construction and aboard ships and docking facilities. The derrick is named after Thomas Derrick, who lived in the late 16th and early 17th century. What was his profession?

6. Which specific type of headwear was designed in 1849 by brothers Thomas and William to fulfil an order to design a close-fitting low crowned hat for gamekeepers that would not be knocked off by low-hanging branches?

7. In 1943, Chef Ignacio Anaya had to whip up something for some unexpected American tourists at his restaurant in Piedras Negras in Mexico and came up with a finger food of chips, cheese and jalapenos which were an instant hit, and became known by his nickname. What was Ignacio’s nickname?

8. Charles Brannock spent two years working on a device patented by him in 1925, which was named after him and used by almost everyone. What does a Brannock device measure?

9. Gothard Glas was born in Weimar Germany in 1923, and later moved to the Middle East and changed his name. He designed something that became a staple for his national army and also for security forces around the world, which he wanted to have a different name, but which ended up being named after him. What name did he adopt after moving to the Middle East?

10. Which film star inspired the nickname for the first inflatable live preserver, invented by Peter Markus in 1928 which saved thousands of lives during the Second World War?


1. They have flowers named after them - Begonia, Dahlia, Fuschia and Gardenia - respectively

2. Man Friday, from Robinson Crusoe written by Daniel Defoe

3. It’s called a Dagwood Sandwich after Blondie’s husband in the eponymous comic strip

4. Nicholas Chauvin, from where we get ‘chauvinism’

5. Thomas Derrick was an executioner. The device was originally designed to hang criminals

6. Bowler hats, designed by the Bowler brothers. The top hats previously used were easily knocked off.

7. Nacho, from where the dish got its name

8. Shoe size. Some of the first Brannock devices are housed at the Smithsonian Institution

9. Uziel Gal, the Uzi submachine gun is named after him

10. Mae West

Joy Bhattacharjya



Published on November 12, 2021

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