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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    Default Awful words named for real people

    Awful words named for real people
    By Mark Peters

    (Mental Floss) -- We all want to live forever. But, chances are, you'd rather forego a legacy altogether than have your name be synonymous with a goofy flub like a spoonerism or a dim-witted word like "dunce."

    You can find a saint under tawdry in the dictionary.

    For the following eponyms, we ask: Did these word-inspiring folks really deserve their drag through the linguistic mud?

    1. Dunce

    Dictionaries don't play fair, and John Duns Scotus is proof.

    The 13th/14th-century thinker, whose writings synthesized Christian theology and Aristotle's philosophy, was considerably less dumb than a brick. Unfortunately for Scotus, subsequent theologians took a dim view of all those who championed his viewpoint.

    These "Scotists," "Dunsmen," or "Dunses" were considered hairsplitting meatheads and, eventually, just "dunces."

    2.(slipping a) Mickey

    When you have to drug somebody against their will (hey, you gotta do what you gotta do), it just wouldn't sound right to slip 'em a Ricardo, a Bjorn, or an Evelyn. It's gotta be a Mickey.

    At the turn of the 20th century, Mickey Finn was a Chicago saloon owner in one of the seediest parts of town -- and he fit right in.

    Finn was known for serving "Mickey Finn Specials," which probably included chloral hydrate, a heavy sedative. After targeted customers passed out, Finn would haul them into his "operating room" and liberate them of all valuables (including shoes).

    Never a Host of the Year candidate, this Mickey seems to have thoroughly earned his legacy, so don't hesitate to use it the next time you drug and rob your own customers.

    3. Spoonerism

    Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844--1930) was famous for his muddled one-liners.

    And though it's hard to know which ones he actually said, lines such as "I have a half-warmed fish" and "Yes indeed, the Lord is a shoving leopard" still prove that the sound-switching flub is pretty charming as far as mistakes go.

    The spoonerism has even been used as a literary technique by poets and fiction writers, giving Spooner little reason to roll over -- or otherwise inarticulately protest -- in his grave.

    4. Lynch

    Although several Lynches (not including David) have been investigated by inquisitive etymologists, Virginia native Charles Lynch (1736--1796) is most likely the man behind the murderous word.

    Lynch was a patriot, a planter, and a judge. But when he headed a vigilante court to punish Tories (British loyalists) during the American Revolution, he decided to play the roles of jury and executioner, too. Lynch has more than earned his besmirched name.

    In fact, he did half the besmirching himself by egotistically referring to his actions as "lynch law" and "lynching."

    5. Shrapnel

    While battling Napoleon's army, English General Henry Shrapnel (1761--1842) noticed that original-flavor cannonballs just weren't massacring enough enemies for his liking.

    So, to get more shebang for his shilling, he filled the cannonballs with bullets and exploding charges. These "shrapnel shells," or "shrapnel-barrages," were pretty darn effective, and later designs proved even more successful in World War I.

    Shrapnel didn't get much credit for the "innovation" during his lifetime, but he ultimately contributed to enough death and misery that he pretty much deserves to be synonymous with a violent, metallic byproduct of combat.

    6. Draconian

    A Lexis-Nexis news search shows that folks are still talking about "draconian policies," "draconian penalties," and, most frighteningly, "draconian sex rules."

    Though Athenian lawgiver Draco is not entirely confirmed to have existed, if he were real, then around 621 B.C.E., he instituted two time-honored traditions: 1) writing laws down and 2) making laws that were batcrap-insane

    They include ascribing the death penalty to such atrocities as being lazy, whizzing in an alley, and stealing an apple.

    Apparently, he justified his measures with a sort of non-logic along the lines of, "Jaywalkers deserve to die, and I can't do anything worse to mass murderers. So what're you gonna do?"

    7. Boycott

    In a nutshell? Boycott got boycotted. Charles Cunningham Boycott (1832--1897) was a retired English army captain who claimed his unwanted fame in 1880 when the Irish Land League decided to punish him for not lowering his rents.

    This then-new strategy, which was a mere paragraph in the Russian-novel-size saga of Irish land reform, was a kind of systematic shunning in which Boycott was cut off from servants, supplies, mail, and lifestyle free of death threats.

    He might have been an evil landlord, but if Boycott could see just how successful his name became, he'd probably be a very sad, regretful, evil landlord.

    8. Tawdry

    The story of St. Audrey (also known as St. Etheldreda) is a classic example of how bad names happen to good people.

    St. Audrey was the daughter of the king of East Anglia (then the Norfolk section of Anglo-Saxon England), who lived a monastery-founding, self-abdicating life.

    But, when she died of the plague in 679, she was sporting a pretty nasty-looking tumor on her neck, which gossipmongers blamed on her penchant for wearing audacious necklaces in her youth.

    After her death, silk scarves called "St. Audrey laces" were sold in her honor at Ely's annual St. Audrey's Fair. Then the British tendency for dropping letters and syllables took over, and Audrey became "tawdry."

    It was a short trip from there to the dictionary, and tawdry has been synonymous with gaudy ever since.

    9. Chauvinism

    Nicolas Chauvin was an early 19th--century French soldier who was so patriotic and nationalistic, he gave patriotism and nationalism a bad name -- or at least a new name.

    A slave to the cult of Napoleon, Chauvin shed his fair share of blood for the emperor.

    How did Napoleon show his appreciation? By giving Chauvin a ceremonial saber, a ribbon, and a pittance of a pension.

    Later, however, French dramatists began basing über-patriotic characters on Chauvin, which paved the way for the soldier's ultimate reward: a dubious spot in the English language.
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

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  2. #2
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    For years there was a myth going around that the toilet was invented by a fellow named John Crapper, giving us not one, yet two knick names for the device.
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
    George Bernard Shaw

  3. #3
    Good Enough namedmydaughterHALEN's Avatar
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    how bout "munson'd"
    after having the whole world in your hand only to have it ripped away, literally. roy e. munson.

  4. #4
    Good Enough vhrocker's Avatar
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    Default

    I used to work with a guy named Rolland Doobie.
    ALEX IS GOD!!!

    I've been doin' this for 'bout 20 years now, and I'll tell ya, to this day I still don't know the right drumstick from the left drumstick -Alex Van Halen


  5. #5
    On Fire Genghis_John's Avatar
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    08.22.16 @ 01:22 PM
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chefcraig View Post
    For years there was a myth going around that the toilet was invented by a fellow named John Crapper, giving us not one, yet two knick names for the device.
    Shitters Rule!
    "Everything comes to me while I'm sitting on the pot." - EVH

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk bsbll4's Avatar
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    12.15.17 @ 12:23 PM
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    "Crapper" actually came from a company name, Sir Thomas Crapper & Co. which proudly displayed their emblem on toilet tanks in Europe duing the World Wars. When soldiers came home, the monniker "going to the Crapper" stuck.

    The toilet itself was built by a prince who fell from grace from his queen. He made it so the palace would be cleaner, but when he published a book about how much the Queen loved the take a "crap" in his invention, he was promptly kicked out of good graces once again.
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

  7. #7
    no stinkin click! muffdiver's Avatar
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    What about Ryan Coke.....He invented a great drink...

  8. #8
    Baluchitherium mistere's Avatar
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    Default I Heart Huckabees

    Good stuff, Zeo. I might have a new one: Huckabee. Anyone with
    trite and outmoded ideas of an afterlife that (potentially) impact
    public policy.

    Mike Huckabee:
    "I'm pretty sure there will be duck-hunting in heaven and I can't wait!"

  9. #9
    Sinner's Swing!
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    Interesting article. In my family, we invent new names for everyday occurences. For example, my Uncle Bert is known for his clumsy moves. So if you accidentally turn the cake box upside down, you're "Doing A Bert".
    Mr. Horseradish courtesy of the International Horseradish Council and Brett.

  10. #10
    Super Duper Frontman track 5's Avatar
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    What about Charles Douche? Born in Orkeny Islands, UK in the year 1635. Passed on in 1673. He invented a water bag that was used to clean out water troughs that the cattle and livestock drank out of by way of a high pressure water bag. He would fill it up with water and then heat it up with a fire. The pressure, once hot enough, could be released through the burlap bag to clean out the troughs.

    Sucks to have that name as your family name. Sweet concept by the way. Out.
    Quin-a-se-i-co

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    "You stupid fuck!" Seen

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  11. #11
    Hang 'Em High RRMB's Avatar
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    I dated a girl once named Anita Skaar. No biggie right?? Well, the last name is pronounce "score."

    I lived down the street from two Richards. Both use Dick on the mailbox in front of their house. One's last name is Merchant. The other, Head. I shit you not.
    "Jesus, that fucker just crawled out of his hen house that was destroyed by the Alabama tornados. Fucking 280mph plus winds sucked the gleam off this bitch and passed it on to a bird in Rhoad Island." - Hurricane Halen 5/3/11 (about my birthday chicken from seenbad)

    "Pete is this big, loud muthafucker with a big ass heart, y'all!!!!---------" - Hurricane Halen 9/27/13

    "Princess Freckle-Tits hasn't had a good day." LLFHS 7/8/10 (on Lindsay Lohans' legal drama)


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  12. #12
    Atomic Punk Raldo's Avatar
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    When I graduated college, a politician from New Hampshire was our guest speaker. His name......and I kid you not...was Dick Sweat. He did NOT go by Richard or Rich but Dick. When he was running for re-election, his signs were always stolen.
    Remember the Heroes - 9/11/01

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