An eponym is word that is derived from the name of a person. The person can be real or fictional. Have your students take the quiz that follows. Each item provides a clue about the person and definition of the word. For each item, students must identify the eponym. The answers are given in parentheses.

  1. A very tall California tree named after an Indian chief. (Sequoia)
  2. A measurement for electricity named for the Italian physicist who invented the electric cell. (volt as derived from Volta)
  3. A stuffed animal named in honor of a former president of the United States. (teddy bear as derived from Teddy Roosevelt)
  4. A type of engine often used in large trucks named for the German engineer who invented it. (Diesel)
  5. A facial hair feature named for a Civil War general and popularized by Elvis. (sideburns as derived from General Ambrose Burnside)
  6. A type of tuba used in a marching band named for the most famous American composer of martial music. (sousaphone as derived from John Philip Sousa)

Follow up by having your students identify eponyms they know.