Episode 21: Build Word Consciousness with Eponyms

One fun way to build word consciousness is to use Eponyms with students. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, eponyms are defined as “one for whom or which something is or is believed to be named.” Students may not realize that some of the things that we use in everyday life is named after a person. One famous example of an Eponym is the sandwich.

Before I taught this lesson, I looked for resources that would support the learning of my students. I researched Eponyms and found children’s books to help me teach them. One such book is Guppies in Tuxedo’s by Marvin Terban. Another source that I have in my professional library is The Vocabulary Teachers Book of Lists is an excellent source to get a list of Eponyms. This book not only houses lists of eponyms, but it has toponyms, exonyms, oxymorons, and palindromes. This is a very rich resource that I have used to help me build a word conscious classroom. In this podcast episode, you will here me introduce my students to Eponyms.

Diamond and Gutlohn (2009) mentioned that word origins are one of the elements of building word consciousness. Teaching students about eponyms is not only a form of etimology, but it also is a form of word play, as students enjoy playing with eponyms that are linked to their own names.


Diamond, L., & Gutlohn, L. (2009). Vocabulary handbook. Baltimore, Md: Brookes.

Fry, E. B. (2004). The vocabulary teacher’s book of lists. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Terban, M., & Maestro, G. (2008). Guppies in tuxedos: Funny eponyms. New York: Clarion Books.

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