a single-reed woodwind with a conical bore
He has never had any formal voice training, but plays the drums and
saxophone and a little keyboard by ear.
—Washington Times May 13, 2014
It's pretty clear that the Sousaphone was named after John Phillip Sousa, but the Saxophone is named after its inventor, a Belgian musical instrument designer named Adolphe Sax.
any of several South American ornamental woody vines of the genus Bougainvillea having brilliant red or purple flower bracts; widely grown in warm regions
The landscape is a gardener’s dream, dotted with mature oak and magnolia trees, hydrangeas,
bougainvillea, and roses, and it has plentiful space for additional greenery.
—Architectural Digest Dec 23, 2013
The plant was discovered by Louis Anton de Bougainville, an 18th century French explorer, and is named after him.
a point system of writing in which patterns of raised dots represent letters and numerals
A small number of chain restaurants offer menus in
braille; sometimes, they're even up to date.
—The Guardian May 22, 2014
Frenchman Louis Braille went blind as a child and developed his system of writing for the blind in 1824.
underpants worn by women
Lady cyclists inspired outrage and ridicule in the late nineteenth century when they sallied forth in
bloomers, which were subsequently adopted by the suffrage movement.
—The New Yorker Jun 6, 2014
Amelia Bloomer did not invent bloomers, but she was so strongly associated with the Women's Rights movement that the revolutionary undergarment bears her name. Bloomer published a newspaper concerned with women's issues and was even a strong presence at the famed Seneca Falls Convention with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott.
Nick Clegg is due to warn against letting the "forces of insularity and
chauvinism" dictate Britain's future in Europe.
—BBC May 19, 2014
It is doubtful that Nicolas Chauvin really existed, but the term that bares "his" name lives on. Chauvin, it is said, was a badly wounded, poorly compensated soldier who was nonetheless still loyal to Napoleon, even after the leader himself abdicated. Chauvinism has come to be used as shorthand for "male chauvinism" but in it's original use it meant fanatical patriotism, and by extension, fanatical devotion to any cause even in the face of overwhelming opposition.
an alphabet derived from the Greek alphabet and used for writing Slavic languages (Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Ukrainian, and some other Slavic languages)
Saint Cyril was a 9th Century missionary who helped devise a writing system to translate the Bible into the languages of the Slavic peoples.
an internal-combustion engine that burns heavy oil
Volvo hasn’t committed to bringing the plug-in
diesel vehicle to the United States, since
diesels make up such a small part of the U.S. market.
—Forbes Jun 5, 2014
The development of the Diesel engine, an important engineering feat, was the work of Rudolph Diesel in the late 19th Century.
a cone-shaped paper hat formerly placed on the head of slow or lazy pupils
When it comes to bad decision making, these folks deserve their
—Newsweek Apr 23, 2010
John Duns Scotus was actually a well-respected philosopher in his day, that day being the 13th century, and it was not until the 1500s, in a reaction against Scotus' ideas, that a "dunce", a follower of Duns, became a subject of ridicule, leading to the cap that labels one as "incapable of scholarship."
a tropical shrub with showy drooping flowers
Begin with some of the common herbaceous bedding-plants, such as geranium, coleus, or
—Ontario Ministry of Education
The flowering plant was named by its discoverer, Charles Plumier, in the late 1600s in honor of a botanist from the previous century, Leonhart Fuchs.
a type of submachine gun that is designed and manufactured in Israel
He delivered us to our hotel, where the man on the door was carrying a semi-automatic full-size
—BBC Jun 23, 2013
This gun was designed by Major Uziel Gal in the 1940s.
any of various shrubs and small trees of the genus Gardenia having large fragrant white or yellow flowers
Gardenia, one of the South's iconic shrubs, begins perfuming the air.
—Southern Living May 13, 2013
Another flower discovered by someone and named in tribute to someone else, this plant was discovered by Carl Linnaeus ( whose classification of the natural world was an influence on Darwin) and named for Dr. Alexander Garden.
putting a person to death by mob action without due process
In addition to the killings by organized groups, individual vigilante mobs carried out retaliatory
lynchings, Amnesty said in its report.
—New York Times Feb 12, 2014
The status of this eponym is a little unclear. The most probable candidate is William Lynch, who lead a group dispensing vigilante justice in 1780s. The other candidate is Charles Lynch, who fined and imprisoned British Loyalists at about the same time. Either way,
lynching at this time referred to a wide variety of punishments, not exclusively the act of hanging it became identified with.
a large burial chamber, usually above ground
Visiting foreign leaders normally make a trip to the
mausoleum of Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
—BBC Jun 9, 2014
Named after Mausolus, a ruler of part of the Greek Empire in the 4th Century B.C.E. His burial chamber, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
a paved surface having compressed layers of broken rocks held together with tar
The first eight mile of that road is pretty good
macadam and hard dirt.
— Joseph C. Lincoln
John Loudon McAdam invented this method of paving roads in the 1820s. Originally involving small stones and a binding agent, the technology has changed over the years but the basic principle has remained the same.
an alkaloid poison that occurs in tobacco
Jean Nicot, the French ambassador to Portugal, brought tobacco plants to France from a trip to Portugal in 1559. Originally touted for its supposed medicinal properties, the plant and later the molecule were named for Nicot.
relating to a victory that is offset by staggering losses
But the victims might only, at best, achieve a
pyrrhic victory: Should they win, they would still have to collect a judgment.
—Slate Feb 13, 2014
Pyrrhus of Epirus (319-272 B.C.E.) was a Greek and a staunch opponent of Roman rule, willing to sustain heavy losses for a victory.
good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries
Intriguingly, in a demonstration of the importance of
serendipity in science, this was not a hypothesis they had set out to prove.
—Economist May 29, 2014
From the Persian fairy tale
The Three Princes of Serendip first referenced in English by Horace Walpole, the 4th Earl of Orford and son of England's first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole.
Serendip is an old name for what is now Sri Lanka.
facial hair that has grown down the side of a man's face in front of the ears (especially when the rest of the beard is shaved off)
sideburns and scruffy hipster beards — not the norm in eastern Tennessee — are de rigueur for the under-30 set.
—New York Times Feb 3, 2014
Ambrose Burnside was Union General in the Civil War. He wore his facial hair extending from the side of his face and connecting to his mustache, but kept his chin clean shaven.
Sideburns is a corruption of Burnside, likely reinforced by the fact that the hair grows on the "side" of the face.
a unit of potential equal to the potential difference between two points on a conductor carrying a current of 1 ampere when the power dissipated between the two points is 1 watt; equivalent to the potential difference across a resistance of 1 ohm when 1 ampere of current flows through it
The Roswell research found, generally, that when battery voltage increased to 4.8
volts from 3.2
volts, toxin levels increased markedly.
—New York Times May 3, 2014
Alessandro Volta was an Italian physicist, best known for inventing the battery (electrochemical cell) in the 1800s. There is also a prize named for him for achievements in electricity, and a Volta Crater on the moon named in his honor.
any flowering vine of the genus Wisteria
Few sights are as beautiful as
wisteria trained along the roofline and railings of an antebellum house.
—Southern Living Feb 21, 2013
Botanist Thomas Nuttall named the flower after Caspar Wistar (the "e" is apparently a mistake that has been preserved) who was a physician who was an early proponent of vaccination and who held a Chair in Anatomy at The University of Pennsylvania.