How to become a noun…

Aug 16, 2011 | Language

How do you become a noun? Easy – just invent something so utterly fabulous that it is named after you and becomes forever synonomous with your name!

Or you could even just like something a lot. Merely a shadow before unpopular 18th-century French finance minister Etienne Silhouette made known his love of the art of cutting out figures (much cheaper than painting) – the silhouette lives on.

M. Jules Leotard, French trapeze artist, invented and wore with great aplomb the ever-so-flattering one-piece so beloved by aerobics enthusiasts all over the world.

And we all know that the Earl of Sandwich invented the, well, sandwich (or at least, as legend has it, his valet did…) but did you know that “guy” – as in “that guy over there” – originates from the original firestarter, Mr Guy Fawkes? The word became slang for effigies, then for men wearing unusual clothes, and then just for men in general. Though I like the ‘men in unusual clothes’ bit the best.

For more people that became nouns, take a look at this great Slate magazine article. Can you think of any others?